HerbNet....for everything herbal

 

Ask the Herbalist--Skin Problems

Your banner could be here.....email for details

BACK TO ASK THE HERBALIST INDEX
ANSWERS FROM CARLOS:
QUESTION
: Hi, I was wondering, what skin conditions does licorice root work on?

ANSWER: A paste made using Licorice extract is effectively used to brighten up the skin.  Licorice is also used to treat inflammatory skin conditions, rosacea, atopic dermatitis, skin irritations and psoriasis.


QUESTION
: My wife has a problem with a hard skin and peeling skin on the soles and heels. What do you advise?

ANSWER: There are several ways I have found to combat this condition. I suggest she soaks her feet well in warm water, then use a pumice rock (available at all drug stores) to scrape away all dead cells. Then apply Tru Blue Cracked Heel Treatment (available at Bed, Bath and Beyond) or X-Viate Cream (available by prescription only). Apply after baths, upon awakening and before bedtime.  The condition will begin to clear within 2-3 days, but she must continue to do it. I also suggest that she wear socks as often as possible. The brand Ms. Pedicure also has several products that are worth looking at. In particular Intensive Heel Cream, if using this product it is best to apply at night and wear socks; the heat generated by the socks helps to speed up the process.

QUESTION: Is it safe to combine Ashwagandha and Vitex?  I am currently taking Vitex, Curcumin and milk thistle.  I am 40 and my face is breaking out in cystic pimples, it is a hormonal imbalance.  I am not pre-menopausal.

ANSWER: It is safe combining both. Of course, this all also depends on the form, dosage and frequency.

The root of most imbalances are toxins. I would strongly suggest a 48 hour fast. Drinking only Green tea with 25 drops added of Dandelion root extract. Drink 4-5xs day for 2 days. Sweeten only with a bit of honey. If hunger overtakes you during your fast you may eat yogurt, grapes or unsalted crackers. Extracts and tinctures work better and faster.

After you fast continue drinking the above infusion for 5 more days, 3xs day. Drink plenty of fresh water daily.

You must eliminate foods that are counterproductive to your goals and stagnate the system such as: Red meats, pork, white sugar, all dairy,  chocolates, cookies, chips, sodas and colas, alcohol, all processed foods, foods with additives and preservatives and all fried foods.

Enhance your diet with plenty of fresh oily fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines), chicken, turkey, brown rice, fresh garlic and onions, fresh raw or steamed vegetables and plenty of fresh fruits.

To be totally successful you must adopt a low-level regimen of exercise to help sweat-out toxins. Tai Chi or Yoga would be great, or in the alternative walking or jogging.

QUESTION: Sorry for the essay but I want to be thorough. I am a 23 years old woman. I have been suffering from acne and oily skin on my face, back and chest for almost 10 years. I started getting them on my back and forehead, but when I was 17 i had a huge, cystic outbreak on my right cheek. I then realized that I was also having irregular periods and terrible mood swings and insomnia prior to getting them. Somehow I made the connection that i have a hormonal imbalance with low progesterone levels and I started on vitex every morning. Vitex regulated my periods, stopped my PMS and cleared me up very well on my face but I was still getting them on my back. I managed to control my forehead acne by applying a topical and a daily dose of neem tablets for liver cleansing.

My face stayed clear with the regimen until I had to live away from home at 21, and I started getting cystic acne only on my jawline and chin. I was also starting to have breakouts on the left cheek, which has never happened before.  The vitex no longer helped me, but actually worsened it. So I stopped. When I started supplementing with calcium and magnesium tablets, my left cheek cleared up. I read more about vitex and saw comments that vitex actually depletes magnesium reserves in the body. Maybe after so many years of vitex, it was taking its toll on my body.

Evening primrose oil helped somewhat, but not completely. Then I read about the effects of saw palmetto and started on them a year ago. Apparently my jawline acne probably comes from high testosterone levels (?) They seem to control the cystic acne I was getting on my jawline, although not entirely as well as how vitex helped previously. I am not sexually active but I also felt that my drive was high. Saw palmetto seem to lower it (in which I am ok with).  However, they only worked when I take a dosage higher than recommended on the bottle, which is saw palmetto extract 640mg (each capsule containing 160mg of 4:1 standardized saw palmetto extract) I take two capsules in the morning and another two at night.

Presently my periods are fairly regular and not problematic, and while I still get acne on my body, it has decreased significantly. Recently I find myself easily tired and low spirits. It could be due to my irregular sleeping hours...

I feel I eat a relatively healthy diet since 15, and since 16 I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, with eggs and occasional fish and poultry. Living away from home, I try to eat as healthy as possible (can't have fresh fruits daily, food is more oily, occasional refined carbs). I take regular amounts of soy products for protein. I take a multivitamin with minerals, along with vitamin C and zinc, daily. I'm considering adding salmon oil for omega 3 DHA and EPA (and good mood!)

Is saw palmetto harmful in the long run? Will it deplete some sort of mineral like vitex? I've also read that it is advisable to take breaks when using herbal supplements to avoid overdependency (I've never done so with vitex).

ANSWER: Herbal medicines should be used for a maximum of 3 months, then stopped for 2 weeks and then the protocol must be re-evaluated. 

I suggest to you to use the extract or tincture of any herbal medicine you are using. Extracts and tinctures work better and faster, plus there's no shelf-life involved. 

Since you are following a good diet I suggest that you may benefit from a traditional Chinese formula named Margarite Pills. Eat plenty of fresh oily fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines), fresh garlic and onions, brown rice, yogurt, honey, raw or steamed vegetables and fresh fruits. 

You may benefit by drinking Green tea and adding 25 drops of extract or tincture of Dandelion root. This will help rid the body of toxins. Drink 3-4xs day for 48 hours. Sweeten only with a bit of honey. Avoid foods that stagnate the system: Red meats, pork, white sugar, all dairy and all fried foods.

You may also find benefit in going on a 48 hour fast, drinking only the above and fresh water. After your fast continue drinking the infusions for 5 more days.


QUESTION:
Hello Carlos I have vindaligo which is a pigmentation of the skin that turns the skins natural color .What Herbs could I use for this illness

ANSWER: Treatment for vitiligo is often long-term and difficult, but I will try to help.   

My first suggestion is that you do a detox, a fast for 48 hours drinking only Dandelion root tea. The best way is drinking Green tea and adding 15-20 drops of extract or tincture of Dandelion root. Sweeten with honey and drink 4-5xs for 48 hours. Also drink plenty of fresh water during this time. If hunger overtakes you, you may eat yogurt.

Fresh Wild Duckweed juice rubbed on the spots has helped some people. Other herbs that have helped are St. John's Wort, Melon pulp and Parsnip root juice, just rub on the spots several times a day.  Infusions of St. John's Wort have also been helpful to some. Sweeten with a bit honey and drink 3xs day. 

In Chinese Medicine we sometimes use a liniment named Xiao Dian Ling applied topically.  Do not get discouraged the course of treatment for this condition is sometimes 3 months or more.

QUESTION: Do you know of any cures for the skin condition Knuckle Pad?

ANSWER: Unfortunately there is no herbal treatment for this condition. There are instances that radiation has worked, but you must consult with your doctor for this. other than that you may want to try applications of salicylic urea to reduce or help soften the areas.

QUESTION: I get these little itches and I scratch them and it looks like a mosquito bite. down below, you know, and my thighs there behind  and around my knees under my breasts,  my arms, my waistline. Now I feel as if they are going up my back. I added salt to my bath and a hand full of cayenne. Seems ok, but they return. Today I put tea tree oil and lavender on, but still theyíre there. Then I heard about orange oil. They also said the juice. I had 1 orange, it stopped the itching mostly but right now I feel it returning. Could you help?  I really donít have money,, but still I need to know what to do???

ANSWER: Sorry to hear about what's happening.  Avoid cayenne it is heating! Find calendula make an infusion and apply topically. You may find some comfort in orange or lemon oil.  Other than that Hydrocortisone may be of use.

QUESTION: What are the treatment for atopic dermatitis and herpes rash.

ANSWER: It is very important that you detoxify your system, I would suggest a 48 hour fast drinking only infusions of Burdock and Dandelion root and adding to these 25 extract of Nettles. Sweeten only with a bit of honey and drink 5xs day during the fast. If hunger over-takes you eat Yogurt.

The first thing that comes to mind with atopic dermatitis is eliminating foods that may be linked to this condition, such as: All dairy, wheat, egg whites, soy, fish, shellfish and peanuts. As well eliminate red meats, white sugar and all fried foods. Avoid eating hot and spicy foods, these help to make things worse. 

Enhance your diet with plenty fresh oily fishes like salmon and mackerel. Eat plenty of fresh raw or steamed vegetables and plenty of fresh fruits, but avoid citrus during an attack. 

Eliminate soaps and detergent, instead use oatmeal baths. It is also important to wear light clothes. Dark attracts dampness and it is not what is needed here. 

To relieve itching you may find comfort using Aloe vera, or a salve that contains Marigold or Comfrey.

In TCM the overall medicine diagnosis of herpes is caused by active toxic Damp Heat. Within this larger category, three specific patterns are differentiated: damp heat pouring down; toxic heat accumulation; and Liver and Kidney deficiency.

Blistering and erosion of genital tissue, plus burning and itching are the key symptoms of the pattern of damp heat pouring down. Outbreaks are considered to be precipitated by the over-consumption of candy and sugar, which promote the formation of active damp heat. Recurrent outbreaks are due to poor dietary habits, including the eating of hot, spicy foods, heavy, greasy foods, and alcohol. The leading Chinese herbal formula to treat this pattern is Damp Heat Clearing (Long Dan Xie Gan Wan).  This remedy is very effective in this stage of the disease.

Erosion of genital blisters and fever are the key symptoms for the pattern of toxic heat accumulation, in which the outbreaks are triggered by unexpressed anger and emotional upset, as well as the over-consumption of hot, spicy foods. I suggest you avoid heating foods, such as: Red peppers, black pepper, garlic, onions and cinnamon. Avoid these in particular during an attack. Also avoid heating liquids like coffee.  Stick to cooling foods during an attack, such as salads and fresh fruits. A time-tested Chinese herbal formula for this pattern is Toxin Clearing (Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin). This is a powerful formula for the acute stage of genital herpes.

The Liver and Kidney deficiency pattern has less fluid-filled blisters, but is characterized by frequent outbreaks, back pain, and joint soreness. The recurrent outbreaks are caused by constitutional weakness, stress, fatigue, episodes of cold or flu, menstruation changes, and seasonal changes. A renown formula for this pattern is Water Fire Balance (Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan). This is also an excellent preventive formula for recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes.

Take 50mg Zinc daily it speeds up recovery and take 1,000mg Vit. C and 2,000mg of Omega-3 - Omega-6 daily.

Last, but certainly not least there is prevention. Avoid excessive and prolonged exposure to stress, this can and will bring about a herpes outbreak.
Always wash your hands before and after touching any part of the body.
Avoid sexual contact if lesions are on genitals, condoms will not guarantee safety.
Avoid kissing if there are blisters on the lips or mouth.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol has a depressant effect on the immune system.

 

QUESTION: I am considering taking White Oak Bark to help control acne, although, I did a search online and Iíve read that it has blood-clotting agents.  Does this mean that it might cause blood clots?

ANSWER: What that means is that if there is a continued flow of blood at the injury site, it will help contain, divert the blood or help clot if necessary.

While White Oak bark is used in many forms, internally it will really only help treat diarrhea and topically it helps with inflammation of the gums or the skin. Throughout history it has been used to treat a variety of ailments, as many plants have, but in our experience its best uses are as described above.

Controlling acne is a matter of following a proper diet, exercise and supplementation.  If you are currently suffering from it, I would suggest a 48 hours fast to detoxify the body, drinking only Dandelion root infusions 4-5xs day and plenty of fresh water. If hunger overtakes you during this time, eat yogurt.  After the fast, maintain a proper diet avoiding all fried foods, white sugar and all dairy. Avoid chips, cheese, chocolate, sodas and colas. Drinking coffee and alcohol only in moderation.  Continue drinking the Dandelion root infusions 1-2xs day for a period of 5 days. 

I recommend that you research a Traditional Chinese Medicine known as Margarite Beauty pills. These have ample history in proving effective, if a proper diet and regimen of exercise is followed.

QUESTION: I am 34 years old female and  I have been a pesce-vegetarian (I eat fish but exclude all other meats) for about 3 years.

I am writing to you because recently I have had a very bad acne break out and my dermatologist  told me it was caused by a hormone imbalance and put me on Spironolactone.

Itís working to clear up my acne, but I started to do some research about the drug (unfortunately after being on it for almost two months) and I do not want to take it any more Ė besides the fact it is tested on animal (which I have moral issues with) it also has shown to cause tumors!!   

I donít want to risk my future health or the health/lives of lab animals just to have clear skin. My question is can you tell me if  there is any alternative medicine to help me with my hormonal based acne?  

I also have a feeling I might have PCOS (although I havenít been diagnosis yet).  

ANSWER: First I would suggest a 48 hour fast drinking only infusions of Dandelion and plenty of fresh water. If hunger overtakes you, eat plain yogurt. This will help in detoxifying the system. 

Eliminate from your diet white sugar, all fried foods and all dairy.

Use only an oatrmeal-based soap. You may want to try a natural cucumber mask.  After your fast, continue drinking the Dandelion tea.  You may also try Margarite Beauty Pills an old and effective traditional Chinese medicine.  

If you are diagnosed with PCOS let us know and perhaps we can help.

QUESTION: As a teenager I did not experience any acne. Now I am 30 and for about 5 years I have been experiencing horrible acne. I have tried everything and nothing seems to help. Are there any herbal substitutes I could take to help this. I am currently taking peppermint pills that help with my bacterial overgrowth that the doctors can not get rid of. 

ANSWER: My concern would be your diet, although acne may also be caused by a hormonal imbalance, I would first suggest that you eliminate all products containing white sugar, chocolate, sodas and colas, and all fried foods.

Avoid also all dairy products, they stagnate the system, and all red meats. Enhance your diet with plenty of fresh fish, salmon and mackerel in particular, eat fresh garlic and onions daily, fresh local vegetables, fruits and salads, and drink plenty of fresh water. Incorporate in your daily routine a plan of exercise.

Your body is essentially releasing toxins, you must help to release them appropriately. I would encourage you to Drink infusions of Dandelion 4-5xs day. Sweeten only with a bit of honey. Dandelion is well-known as one of the best plants to help us get rid of toxins. You may add to these teas, Red clover and Burdock root in equal amounts, if available to you. 

In TCM we incorporate to the above Margarite Pills, these are very effective, but without getting rid of the toxins first they will not work as well. 

You may also find comfort in washing you face with an oatmeal-based soap, or in the alternative take oatmeal baths, they are very soothing and I highly recommend them.

ANSWERS FROM AMANDA:
QUESTION
: Is there an herb out there that can help with skin problem (on the face....more like small crater in the skin) and if so, where can I find it?

ANSWER: If your small crater is from a wound, Helichrysum essential oil can be massaged in daily for weeks to months to minimize scarring. If there are craters from acne, 2 cups of Dandelion root tea daily over time can improve your skin's condition be optimizing elimination. This network has many excellent companies selling both herb tea and essential oils.

QUESTION: My daughter is 28 and has a condition akin to acne, but yet it never comes to a head.  It is red and has the appearance of acne. Mostly on her cheeks. She did not have this condition until she came back from college.  The building she lived in was about 100 years old, so the mold buildup in the heating and cooling was probably fantastic.  Her diet was not something that she paid close attention to as well.  She is on the thin side, she does some exercise.  Her eating habits could be better.   I need some suggestions on what she can take to get rid of this constant, chronic condition that will not go away.  I have tried to get her to take olive leaf and some other natural things, but so far nothing has phased it.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

ANSWER: Your daughter can improve her skin first with a change in diet. Cut out white flour and sugar. No pasta, no tortilla chips, no cheese. Load up on fruits in season that she likes, vegetables of all colors - she needs orange carotenoids in carrots, chlorophyll in leafy greens, reds in purple lettuce, radicchio, and if she likes them, sweet red bell peppers. Steamed, salads, stir fries (not too heavy on the olive oil). Lean proteins, leaning toward vegetarian staples such as lentils, cooked beans of all kinds, spiced with basil, thyme, ginger, and others for improved digestion, plus some fresh ocean caught salmon, or cold water fish. This is not as simple as taking a few herbs but as you discovered, simply taking something herbal "for skin" doesn't cut it in cases like hers. I do not know of any olive leaf information that would lead me to rely upon it for her condition.  The key to skin at your daughter's age is hydration (no diet coke, no diet anything, which she might drink even though she is on the thin side; these culprits are common in our mainstream culture). Fresh food, more plain water, regular exercise that works up a sweat, staying clean, and THEN maybe herbs for skin....
                Let me know if she is willing to make some permanent self help moves that will improve her overall health. Then the herbal part is easy. Dandelion root tea, 3 cups a day, or Yogi Tea Skin Detox Tea. Without the food and water component, though, she will struggle to clear her skin for good.

QUESTION: I have suffered with Stage 1 to Stage 2 HS (Hidradenitis suppurativa) for the past 20+ years.  I have gone to dermatologists and specialists to no avail. They mainly wanted me to take low dose antibiotics for the rest of my life.  I was concerned with the long term ramifications of such a medical course of action and have chosen to self treat with melaleuca oil and antibiotic cream to manage the symptoms.  Is there something I can take that is herbal that will eliminate the flare ups?  I am including a link about HS in case you are not familiar with it.  http://www.hs-usa.org/hidradenitis_suppurativa.htm

ANSWER: Thank you for informing me of this condition, Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), which I have not treated before. When I was in Britain learning about health and disease, we called it by the French name, Verneuil's. I have, however, treated abscesses and fistulas with herbal medicine. You are right to raise concerns about the risks of life-long antibiotics, even at low dose. Disruption of digestive flora, so important to immune health, is just one of the costs of this limited biomedical approach to HS.

I encourage you to continue with your use of Ti tree essential oil (Melaleuca species) and topical antibiotic cream. Long term immune support in the form of Andrographis and similar herbs internally plus Myrrh topically with your Ti tree and antibiotic ointment may be of help. Internally, Andrographis has an effect on immunity without disrupting normal flora. The tincture tastes pretty bad, and the tea doesn't extract the properties you want. A tablet or gelcap of concentrated extract (not just the raw herb powder) is probably best. I do not represent any supplement company and many have good products, but I know MediHerb, distributed by Standard Process, offers a high quality Andrographis Complex.

In addition, in my experience with other skin conditions involving problems with cysts, boils, abscesses, and fistulas, a daily soak in a hot bath with one ounce tincture of Myrrh and one ounce tincture of Oregon Grape helps during flareups and as a prevention at early stages of new lesions. The tincture will make water look cloudy and strange. Soak in it without soap for at least 20-30 minutes, adding more hot water to your comfort. After, pat skin dry gently and wear loose clothing as your temperature adjusts after a long hot bath. This gets expensive so consider resources within this network that teach you how to make a pint of perfectly good tincture for a fraction of retail prices. These tincture hot soaks need only happen for three to ten nights in a row when flareups threaten or occur.

In my understanding of HS, flare-ups are triggered by hormonal changes, stress (different hormonal changes), and hot wet weather conditions. Since the holistic approach to treating the whole of you involves taking steps to optimize your response to stress, weather change, and the normal changes in hormones that characterize life, I encourage you to look beyond "immune" herbs, as helpful as they are. Fat soluble vitamins A,D, E, and K, along with B complex for stress, Vitamin C as support for collagen and more, plus anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating omega 3 essential fatty acids are among your nutritional allies.

Your many years managing this tells me you are resourceful, determined, and a good candidate for changing the way HS has flared and progressed up to this year. Seek professional support from someone experienced in integrative care, even if they have not treated HS. You may well need to teach a practitioner what works and what doesn't, in order to gain him or her as your health partner. In this way, a care provider can best advise and monitor affordable, realistic, satisfying natural medicine that is tailored to your changing health.

FROM LORYHL DAVIS
QUESTION: What can you do for alligator skin on the legs and also cellulite on the legs?

ANSWER: Do the cleanse and diet changes I sent to you, and make raw juice a big part of your life, daily.
Also use our comfrey salve on the  areas, and use the Inulin powder for the friendly bacteria in the bowel.
We have these items, if you would like to get them.  We also have the support you need if you want to do the cleanse and feel the huge difference in your well being, and the health of your cells.  (downloads: cleanse, oil pull, gall bladder, life force, castor oil)

QUESTION: My daughter, age 18 is suffering psoriasis on her scalp since age 12 or so.  I brought her to skin specialists for treatments, medications which include shampoo....it seems that none of these can help. One of the specialist even told us that this is uncurable disease..which made her felt helpless, upset & give up.  Is there anything that you can recommend? Thank you for your time and help.

ANSWER: Please read the downloads on this email. There is a cleansing diet, a gall bladder flush, and castor oil packs for the abdomen. Although this may seem strange, it is important to realize that the body is toxic for some reason: diet, drugs, stress, vaccines, food allergies, chemical poisoning, etc, and the cleanse will help get rid of this.  Cilantro, is very good for ridding the body of chemicals, stored in the liver, add more fresh cilantro to the diet. Omega, Essential fatty acids, fish, fresh nuts, almonds, pistachios, all fresh. These will help restore the integrity of the skin cells, and rid the body of inflammation. Lot of green veggies, fruits, whole foods, not processed.  The herbs to use for cleaning the body, are mentioned in the download, those you can order from us. Drink, 1/3 c. aloe vera juice two times daily, sip it,  make sure she does it. Use the meat of the fresh aloe vera, to sponge on the trouble spots. If you live near Kuala Lumpur, go to the downtown area, and there is a really good herb shop there, they have Buddhist Monk, herbalists work out of the shop, and they will help you locally as well. I have been there. When I went some time ago, it was Dr Moon, who was there, but I am sure someone else is there now, he was excellent, very helpful.  Please let us know if we can serve you further.

QUESTION:
  I am a 36 year old woman who is suffering from flat warts on my face.  They seemed confined to one spot for a while, but have now spread all over...Help!!  My herbalist suggested taking Nature's Sunshine VS-C, combined with Elderberry and Zinc Losenges, as well as dabbing them with Tea Tree Oil several times a day.  What do you think, and how long should it be before I see results? My last resort is to have them frozen off at the dematologist, but I am a natural girl, and want to avoid it.

ANSWER: I suggest the following:
- one of the best wart removals, I have ever seen is fresh dandelion juice, the white goo, on the inside of the stem, rubbed on the warts, as many times a day as you can. It is quick and effective.  It being the wrong time of the year, I suggest you try the other herbalists suggestion, but also get some Neem oil, and apply that to the warts as well.  If you go to the Florida, or Arizona or a have a friend there who can send you overnite, a bunch of the fresh dandelion, then freeze them, and use as often as you can, daily.  Also you can get some blood root, and make a wash of it, with aloe vera juice, and use that several times daily also. Do this until you get the fresh stuff in the spring or now.  We have herbs here at our shop, if you would like to get them from us.

QUESTION: I have a bump on my cheek that looks like a mosquito bite. I have had it for 4 years now. I have tried everything to get rid of it. I dry it out with tea tree oil. Several layers peel away. It will be flat for a few days. Then it comes back. I go through this progress weekly. I went to my dermatologist, he said it was a overactive sebaceous gland. He gave me some cream that didnít work. Once in awhile if I pick at it, it bleeds. I am 40,exercise, not overweight, eat organic, no red meat, vitamins everyday from a to z.  Not on birth control pills. But I am having some hormonal issues. Been using progesterone cream for hormone hair loss and water weight for the last couple of months. Any help would be appreciated.

ANSWER: Although you eat organic and exercise and take vitamins, it is probable you need to detox your body.
Please read the downloads, and see if you can manage to do the following:
- cleanse,
- oil flushing
-castor oil packs, on abdomen, and on the bump on the cheek
- gall bladder flush
It is important to understand the benefits of flushing the toxins, and making sure all the blockages are released into the body, and out the elimination channels. Blocked pores is a sign of this toxic buildup, especially as we age.

QUESTION: My son suffers from eczema on both his elbows and spots on his head. There are a few spots starting on his knees too. I had the same as a teen and received cortisone for it....is there something else that he could be taking?

ANSWER: Please look at this cleanse, and the castor oil packs, diet cleansing sheet, and other info to develop health, and rid the body of toxins ( the abdomen, needs to detox) plus kidneys are likely overloaded as well. And we suggest the formulas, Life Force Fiber Food, Giver to My Liver, and also taking essential fatty acids ( for the skin), Herbal Green Alkinalizing Mix.  We suggest our herbal Comfrey Salve on the areas of the skin, that are sore, or rashy. A clean diet will help tremendously, This could  be genetics, combined with toxic buildup, vaccines, allergy to foods, stress, bowel congestion, poor diet, etc.

QUESTION: Hello, I have high anxiety and for some reason in the past couple years I started picking my skin. It's beyond help and I can't seem to stop...I use to have beautiful skin. Is there an herb that can cure this? Please let me know. Thanks.

ANSWER: There are several things for you to try. Here are some of them to start with:
- take a mineral combination, high quality, I can mix it for you, or buy one from a good health store, preferably, a powder or a liquid
- look closely at your diet, detox it, and make sure it is full of whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables
- take my herb formula, called Essence of Peace, it is for fetishes, and addictions, and calming and healing the nervous system, and nurturing the brain, 1 tspn. two to three times daily
-take some flower essences, like, Holly, and Bleeding Heart, they heal on the emotional level, 10 drops three times daily
- speak with someone you trust who is a professional in the field of emotional healing
- look at your life and see if you can find ways to laugh often, and love more.
- walk daily, 10-15 mins, barefoot, on dirt , sand, gravel, grass, this will help rebalance the electromagnetic energy in your body, that is necessary to break this unhealthy pattern, take up and pursue physical fitness, in whatever way you can. Deep breathe.
- if something or someone in your life is causing you pain and hurt, find a way to deal with it, that is healthy for you, and those involved.

QUESTION:  Hello,  Just curious to know if there are any herbs that treat excessive facial blushing? Any little thing makes me go very red! I would greatly appreciate it if you know anything that helps this problem?

ANSWER:  If you are a young person, it is quite possible, you have this condition, due not only to a physical condition, perhaps fair skinned, and light complected, but also due to emotional issues, that are part of your makeup. I, without knowing what you are like, or your life experiences, would suggest our water based herbal skin spray, Mountain Mist, that works very well on soothing red skin, not to mention, damaged skin, from weather and sensitive skin, also with essential oils in it, that are for soothing the psyche, and calming emotion ( contained in the Mountain Mist spray for sensitive skin). You may also  be sensitive to spices, and/or spicey food, or strong smelling chemicals, so pay attention to what your body is telling you. This can often contribute to delicate skins, reactivity in different situations. You could use the flower essence , Bleeding Heart, and also suggest you google, Emotional Freedom Technique, and use the information to help yourself, it is free, simple and highly effective, it works if you use it.

 

ANSWERS FROM KAREN MALLINGER
OVERACTIVE SEBACIOUS GLAND

QUESTION:
I am a 37yo woman who has suffered from an overactive sebacious gland for many, many years.  I have tried every cleanser, toner, exfoliant and mask out there and have even tried Retin-A all to no avail.  I have been told that perhaps going on birth control could help regulate my hormones and thus bring down the oil production.  I really don't want to go this route and was wondering if there was an herbal route that you could recommend.   Thanks.
 
ANSWER: Try to avoid the birth control route if you possibly can. It may cause you more problems in the long run. The trick here is to find out why your sebaceous gland is over-producing. Sounds like a hormone imbalance to me. I do have a tea you might want to try as well as some wonderful all natural toners. You can find the tea in the Apothecary on my website at www.allgoodegifts.com  It's called Hormone regulator tea. You may want to do a liver cleanse as that could also be contributing to this. Working on the inside sometimes helps the outside tremendously.  The toners are in the personal care section.

PSORIASIS
QUESTION: I've turned mostly to herbs for health ailments and have found many serious positive
results. I have psoriasis too and haven't really found a thorough fix, but I know one exists. I am taking 'HEROSE' a Chinese herb and for about $1000.00 I've managed to get rid of about 20 percent of my lesions for good. It's been a year now and I have no return of where they where. If you haven't heard of 'Herose' for psoriasis, the website is www.herosepharma.com'. Anyways I would also like to know are there any natural cures found in any herb in your database of information. It's very difficult to pay that kind of money and really not completely solve the problem. I never use steroids or derivative medications. Please E-mail at your convenience.

ANSWER: YIKES! That's pretty expensive!  I have a salve that people swear by called Ancient Healers Salve. The other thing you can do is concentrate on your liver. A detox is probably a good idea for you. Skin problems can almost always be traced back to the liver and toxins.  Dandelion Root, burdock root, licorice root and milk Thistle are good herbs to start with. I have a tea in the Apothecary called Liver Cleanse that will get you on your way. (And it's no where near $1000!!)

DRY SKIN
QUESTION:
During winter I have very dry skin problems, and while searching on the internet I found your site. With lots of faith I am writing hoping you can cure my problems.

In detail, from the child hood I have this problem of getting dry skin during winter. I have traveled to more than 13 countries and have shown my skin to many skin specialists. They say I have a lack of water during winter or suggest some moisturizing creams.  But still my problem hasn't been solved.  As usual, every winter my skin get cracks (like a fish--scaly skin all over my body) and when summer starts all the skin parts will go away in bathing.

Can you please tell me how to avoid this. Because of this condition I have a lot of problems as my confidence level goes down when I meet anyone during winter.  Skin specialists told me to apply oil, creams etc, but it didn't help me. Due you think i am lacking any vitamins or some thing? No one in my family has this problems.  All of your FAQs have only oily skin problems not dry skin problems..

ANSWER: Dry Skin in the winter is very common. Some of it can be attributed to the water we are using, not enough humidity in the house because of dry heat etc. Diet is also a major contributor to dry skin. If you aren't getting enough of the essential oils in your diet, that may be causing some of it.
 
Make sure you are staying hydrated. Lots of pure, clean water - not out of your tap at home, every day. A healthy diet with lots of nuts and seeds, and Vitamin E every day will go a long way to help you.
 
Coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer and is good for you internally as well, so if you add that to your diet as well as put it on your skin, that may help as well.

MOLLUSCUM
QUESTION:
My 6 and 8 year old girls had a couple of friend over for a swim in our above ground pool. When the girls got out of the pool for lunch, I noticed one of the friends neck was absolutely covered with wart like bumps. I asked her nicely about her rash and she told me it was Molluskum (something I've never heard of). I immediately hit the Internet for more info and came across your site. Could you please fill me in. Because of the pool party, should I expect my girls to break out in wart like bumps? Does Molluskum become non contagious after a certain length of time? Should I scrub my girls down immediately after sharing a pool with this virus?

ANSWER: Molluscum is a skin disease caused by the poxvirus this virus causes tiny clusters of flesh colored or pearly bumps, which are benign tumors. The virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact it has evolved into a (STD)  in adults. Lesions caused by the molluscum virus can be found anywhere on the body except on the palm of the hands, and the soles of the feet. Those with low immune systems as in HIV patients are more likely to suffer more severe outbreaks. Molluscum virus can cause inflamed lesions, to cover the entire body and high fevers which may result in a stay in the hospital. HIV patients should ask their health care provider, about the benefits of taking vitamin A, C, E, to aid in building a stronger immune system.
 
There is no cure for molluscum. Molluscum is more common in children the lesions will be found on their face, trunk of the body, arms and legs. The molluscum virus thrives in warm, moist tropical places, in poor over crowded communities, schools, prisons, anywhere people are confined and cleanness is an issue. Molluscum is spread from child, to child, through handling objects that an infected child has held, using each other's cloths, and towels. Children play hard and perspire therefore, rubbing their face, and arms a perfect environment for the molluscum virus. The lesions caused by the molluscum virus may disappear by themselves, or they may cause bleeding due to being scratched, or picking at them. Lesions found on the face may spread and become inflamed. When inflammation, or bleeding occurs the child needs to see a health care provider immediately. Molluscum can cause disfiguring scares that affect the face, which the child will live with for the rest of their lives. Health care providers may choose to remove the molluscum lesions, to save the child from becoming disfigured.
 
The best thing for you to do is ensure that your children have a strong immune system. a healthy diet, pure water, lots of exercise, Vitamins A, C, E and selenium.

REACTION
QUESTION:
On Sunday I used 100% tea tree oil (15 - 20 drops) on my face mixed with Sandalwood powder and to my surprise in 15 minutes my skin appeared red and burnt. The next morning when I woke up it had reddened even more (NO blisters or anything appeared). Today it appears darker and stretched than
yesterday. Wrinkles appear in that area when I smile or laugh. Does that mean peeling is going to take place in a few days? And will it leave any mark on my face? (I hope not since I have my wedding in coming 3 weeks). Please help me!!

ANSWER: Hard to say. If I were you, I'd cleanse it carefully and use some jojoba, coconut or avocado oil on it until the wedding. What exactly were you trying to accomplish anyway? Tea tree oil is very good as an antiseptic or antifungal, but I'd always mix it with a carrier oil, especially if you are going to use it on the sensitive skin on the face.

QUESTION: The past few years I have had an over abundance of stress in my life, and it only multiplied in the past 2 years, and increased the past year. In 2002 I had a complete hysterectomy and was taking injectable Depo Estradiol, 2 cc every 3 weeks, plus taking anti-depressants and Lipitor. Due to uncontrollable financial trouble I came off the Lipitor and had to take the Depo Estradiol every 6 - 8 weeks, and would forget my anti-depressants at times, taking every 2 to 3 days. I now take them daily and have had the Depo
every 3 weeks for about 2 months. I have a very itchy scalp no matter if my hair is washed or dirty, or what type of shampoo is used. In May or June 2003 my head began breaking out in sores, ending up with 20 + sores on my head. These sores healed almost completely, then I had color put on my hair in May or June 2003. May or June 2003 more sores began to break out on my scalp. In May or June 2003, both arms began to itch to the point of driving me nuts, but there was nothing there, visibly. After scratching, small bumps
would surface from under the skin. The itching continued, which caused sores on my arms. At times after scratching, welts will come up, then the bumps, and the welts go away. Nothing at all helps the itching! The itch is so severe it cannot be ignored. I even wake myself up from sleeping with my arms out stretched scratching them, and my head. From all the sores and scratching, I now have so many scars on my arms. I have lumps, under the skin, on the back of my head/neck area, on the lymph glands, which do not go
away. They are small, but will get a little larger, then smaller. I have taken antibiotics, but nothing changes. I have had blood work that comes back showing no trouble. Any recommendations? Thank you for your help.

ANSWER: I have no idea. I would suggest you get yourself to a dermatologist and find out what's going on. They HAVE to be able  to diagnose it. I can't even venture a guess without knowing what the diagnosis is. Sorry.


WARTS
QUESTION: My daughter has molluskum warts, I am curious  if this is the same strain of
virus as penal warts? ( which my husband has mysteriously contracted 15 years into our marriage) Also, would neem work as an anti-fungal both internal and topically for this! thanks!

ANSWER: I wouldn't use neem internally. It can be used quite safely externally as can Tea Tree Oil for the treatment of warts. Warts are caused by viruses which are very contagious, so unless you have them, your husband's sudden "appearance" is not such a mystery.

QUESTION
: I'm writing to ask about a skin problem I am having.  I have searched numerous websites for answers and then found yours.  What really excited me is that I saw you are in Niagara Falls.  I am here in Buffalo.  I think my skin problem is weather related, so I thought you of all people can understand our weather.
             I am 30 years old and did suffer with mild acne as a teen, however it went away in my mid-20's and I was fine for 4 to 5 years.  A pimple now and then around my cycle, but over all great skin!! (Oily, but no more problems) Then last summer out of nowhere I developed a rash type condition on my face.  It sort of resembles acne, bit also looks a lot like prickly heat or a heat rash.  Finally after 2 months of hell I went to the doctor (last September) got and antibiotic (oral) and hydrocortisone cream and within 2 weeks it was
gone!
           This year around the end of May---it came back!  I am really reluctant to start the meds program again.  I have been keeping a journal and it seems to flare up on rainy, muggy, damp or "thick" days.  As you know, we have a lot of those days.
          I have a good diet (I think), and exercise regularly (however I do exercise outside in the thick air.)  However, I will be honest..I am not a big liquids drinker.   I do not get a lot of water each day. I know you will tell me to drink water, which I will try to do, but is there any other herbs I might benefit from?  Maybe toxins are being sweated through my skin more on these damp days and it it aggravating my face?   (I am very careful about make-up, too.)  PLEASE, please help me if possible.

ANSWER: I applaud your discipline in keeping a journal to track your health issues! Good for you! That certainly helps you nail them down and see what the external causes might be. The problem with antibiotics and steroids (which is what hydrocortisone is) is that they only treat the symptoms, not the underlying cause. So you become dependent on the medical community without ever really addressing the issue.
         Yep, you're right, if you're eating lots of green leafy veggies and avoiding processed foods and artificial sweeteners, I'm going to tell you to drink water - a lot! Especially if you are exercising. Stay away from those sugary drinks. They are pure sugar and do NOTHING to increase wellness and health. Pure, clean water, not out of the tap.
           Next, there are things you can do topically. I would make sure you are using a good toner and refreshing your skin with it several times a day if you tend to have oily skin or are sweating a lot. Try not to touch your face with your hands as that just transfers bacteria.  Last, I have a wonderful soap called Peppermint and Tea Tree that my young customers absolutely love. You can find it on my website at www.allgoodegifts.com  under Soaps in the Herb Shoppe. Tea tree oil is very beneficial for treating acne, herpes breakouts or anything that requires an antiseptic. Using that with pure cotton balls every day will also help you.

ECZEMA
QUESTION:
my 4 mo old daughter has what I've been told is allergic eczema. Her itching is uncontrollable. I have cut out all allergic foods to my diet b/c I'm breastfeeding exclusively, but this has not helped. Even medicated creams are not stopping the itch. Any suggestions to treat her itchiness? At this point I'm trying to treat the symptoms to give her little body some relief--she can't sleep at night b/c she is so itchy. I have tried few things to treat the cause, but nothing works that I have found,  please help us, any suggestions will be welcome.

ANSWER: I have a wonderful salve called Ancient Healer's salve that I give to my clients with eczema and psoriasis and they all rave about it. It is very gentle and may offer some relief for your little one. Also, make sure you are bathing her in something very gentle like castile soap. I have an all natural baby wash as well. Go to www.allgoodegifts.com and check out the Personal Care section. The baby wash is not on there yet, but if you e-mail me, I can add it to your order if you're interested.

SKIN TAGS
QUESTION:
I am searching for a natural remedy for the skin tags around my neck.  There are several small ones and some growing.  Need help.  .

ANSWER:  Someone very wise recommended Tea Tree oil to me for the same problem. You have to be persistent. Several times a day. But it really does work. Also, up your intake of Vitamin B complex. For some reason, a deficiency in that area seems to contribute to their growth.

RASH
QUESTION:
 
I have a very good friend who is an older gentleman.  I believe he's 64.  And, he has been a drinker most of his life.  This hasn't been a problem for him most of his life.  However, it may be a problem now.  He's getting rashes all over his arms and legs.  He has stopped drinking.  But, the rashes persist.  He unsuccessfully tried putting aloe (grown wildly in Hawaii where he lives) on the rash.  This made it worse.  He then put olive oil on the rash.  This did help.  He has a very good diet of mostly organic vegetables and sparsely any meat.  He and I were wondering about any other possible treatments he could practice.  I have had a wonderful experience with herbs to heal my own occasional health difficulties.  However, my knowledge is limited.  I would greatly appreciate your insight.  Thank You.

ANSWER: I can't say that the alcohol contributed to the rash, but I have a wonderful salve called Ancient Healers Salve that works wonders on rashes, eczema, psoriasis etc. You can find it on my website at www.allgoodegifts.com in the Personal Care section.

FEVER BLISTERS
QUESTION: I have used a herbal remedy for fever blisters.  It was made from three essential oils.  Two were Tea Tree and Lavender.  Do you have any idea what the third oil could have been?  This was a topical treatment that prevented the site from becoming a full blown out-break.  The are healed without blistering.  Please help me if you can.

ANSWER: I don't know what the third oil you were using is. It could be anything, but lavender and Tea Tree are excellent for cold sores. That's what I use. Straight on a Q-tip. You could add some Vitamin E oil to it since the tea tree can be a bit drying to the lips, but the lavender should help that.  Also, this is a malady of the immune system that never goes away once you get it. It stays dormant in the system and is brought on by stress. Make sure you are taking a good B complex and zinc in your supplements. Also, Acidophilus is great to ensure you have lots of the good bacteria in your system.

WHITE BUMPS ON BABY
QUESTION:
QUESTION: My 15 month old son has raised white bumps (almost like pimples but no pus) on the front of his thighs, all around his lower legs, on the dorsal part of his lower arm, and on his cheeks (nearer his ears than to his nose).  There is no itching or redness.  His skin does not seem particularly dry.  His pediatrician calls it eczema though in reading about eczema, it sounds as though redness and itching should be present for it to be eczema.  His pediatrician tells me not to worry, not to treat it, not to (of course) pick at the bumps and that he will grow out of it.  But it looks awful and people are always asking what's wrong and look at me like I'm a bad mom when I say I'm not doing anything for it except using Eucerin cream on it (which has had no effect).  The bumps have been present since about 8 months of age, before he had cow's milk (he was breastfed until 12 months).  His diet consists now of the "Super Babyfood Diet" with fruit juice & grain and bean porridge with a green and yellow veggie for breakfast (supplemented with dried kelp, brewer's yeast, one fish oil capsule, and a multivitamin), then homemade yogurt, flaxseed oil, avocado, and ground nuts or wheat germ for lunch (with milk to drink) and then whatever veggies and fruits he will eat the rest of the day.  Any suggestions are appreciated.

ANSWER: The first thing I see in the diet you described is a lack of protein. If you are a vegetarian, where is your son getting his protein from? I didn't see any soy products, so I'm just checking. The skin is the window to the liver. Any breakouts or problems that manifest on the skin usually indicate a problem in the liver. It sounds like his diet is pretty healthy, so I'm assuming you are not giving him processed foods, white sugar or white flour. If you are, that needs to stop. I have a salve that I use for eczema with calendula and comfrey in it. It is on my website at www.allgoodegifts.com  in the Personal care section.

MOLES
QUESTION: 
Is it true that too much chlorophyll causes moles to grow?  I think I heard that around 10 years ago and obviously don't remember the source. By the way does tea tree oil shrink them. 

ANSWER: I've never heard that. Could be an old wives tale. If that were so, every grass eating animal would be covered in moles, don't you think!? Seriously though, Tea Tree oil is more effective on warts and skin tabs since it is anti-fungal. I have had success with tying a piece of unwaxed dental floss around the base of the mole as close to the skin as you can get. Tie it tightly and within a week or more, depending on the size of the mole, it will drop off since the blood supply has been cut off.

OILY SKIN
QUESTION:
 
My skin (especially my nose) is becoming very oily when I am stressed and with the sun. What herb or other things do you advise me to take?

ANSWER: Part of what's happening is that your body is trying to protect you from overexposure to the sun. Has anything changed recently in your life, eating habits, exercise, stress levels, anything? How long has this been happening, or did it just start?
           Without having more of a history, it's hard to say which direction to take. If your skin is excreting an inordinate amount of oil, that means there's too much there, so you might want to cut back on the amounts you are ingesting, especially if they are saturated fats. (All the folks with dry skin are praying this would happen to them!!)
        Lastly, I would suggest an all natural toner. Pure witch hazel extract is one of the best and very good for your skin.  I have a special combination I have formulated for some friends of mine who have teenagers going through this. It's hormonal in their case. I'd be happy to make some up for you if you like.

SKIN TAGS
QUESTION:
 
I am interested in herbs that will assist me to remove small body skin moles in the neck and under arms areas.  Natural removal is what I am looking for.

ANSWERS:  
I'm assuming you are talking about skin tags; small, soft, flesh colored growths of excess tissue that hand from the skin. They usually occur in clusters on the armpits, eyelids, groin, neck and other body folds, Skin gags stay the same size and color. If they are brown or change size or color, I would suggest seeing a dermatologist to determine they are not something else. If they are indeed skin tags, there are several things you can do. Aloe Vera, bloodroot, Black walnut extract, and comfrey can be applied to the skin tags and covered with a bandage to prevent irritation from clothing until they fall off. Also, take 1000-2000 mg of bromelain 3 times a day between meals until the warts/skin tags disappear. Bromelain activates the immune system and provides an enzyme that dissolves warts. Another less traditional, but effective method is to tie a small piece of dental floss around the tag. Pull it tight. Leave it there and as the blood supply is cut off to the tag, it will just fall off. Also, you can get the same thing doctors use in the pharmacy now. It is a spray that freezes the warts. Not completely natural, but effective and another option for you.

BOILS
QUESTION: I have since childhood had breaks out of boils/pimples on the buttock. After numerous visits to a dermatologist and medicine, it was said....nothing more could be done.  If they got uncomfortable, come in and we could work on them.  I have been taking echinacea/golden seal but that doesn't seem to have helped.  I use peroxide and witch hazel to clean and even have used black salve.  Any suggestion on herbs that might help.

ANSWER: The skin is an indicator of the state and health of the liver. If you're suffering from breakouts of any kind, my suggestion would be to heal the liver and get it healthy.
           A salve containing comfrey root, comfrey leaves, calendula and St. John's Wort would also provide some relief and healing for you Make sure your diet is healthy. Sugar, white flour and processed foods will only exacerbate the problem. In computers we have a saying GIGO - It means garbage in, garbage out. If you don't put quality stuff in, you can't expect the machine to run well.
            I can provide both a tea for your liver as well as a salve for you. Go to my website at www.allgoodegifts.com and in the Herb Shoppe under personal Care Products, you'll find a comfrey/calendula salve. In the Tea section select CUSTOM from the drop down and in the comments section of the checkout, put "Liver Cleanse Tea".

PSORIASIS
QUESTION:
I am 31 years old and I have been suffering from psoriasis for 9 years now.  I have tried so many treatments and nothing seems to work I was wondering if you could recommend an herb to try.

ANSWER: 
My first suggestion to you involves your diet. Reduce the fat, eat lots of fiber, fish and green leafy veggies, use fish oil, flaxseed oil or primrose oil supplements every day. I have a fabulous salve that I developed for a very good friend who suffered from Psoriasis for years. If you're interested, e-mail me with the word ORDER in the subject line for more information. Chaparral, dandelion and yellow dock are all helpful in relieving the symptoms of psoriasis.

ACNE
QUESTION:
I am a 33 year old female who has suffered with oily skin since 9 years of age.  I still get breakouts and have cystic acne as well.  I must wash my hair daily or it looks greasy.  My breakouts are worse a week before my period.  I also have  patches of skin under my eyes near my nose that get red and flaky, the dermatologist called it dandruff and I use Elidel which does help.  I also use Retin-A which really makes my face feel like it is on fire even though I only use it about 1-2 times a week.   I have very large
pores across my nose, cheeks and chin but scarring isn't that bad.  I'm healthy, not overweight and get 8 hours of sleep a night.  I have tried EVERTHING from department stores, dermatologist to home remedies, you name it  and I've tried it ,  nothing works!  Any suggestions?

ANSWER:
Well, going back to my old standby, the diet, I have to ask  first how you're eating?  Our skin is the largest eliminative organ of our bodies and what goes in, comes out. In one way or another.  Since you are 33, it could partially be hormonal, though I can't be sure. Your doctor can do blood tests to test the estrogen levels to see if there is an imbalance there. You say you've had this condition since childhood, so it may be genetic as well.  First, make sure you are eating lots of leafy greens and drinking plenty of water. You'd be amazed at the difference it will make, trust me.  Try some lavender cold compresses. 1 part lavender essential oil to 10 parts pure distilled water. Soak a washcloth in the mixture and place over your face. Leave there until it warms to body temperature. Then reapply. Do this 3 times a day. Internally, you can try milk thistle or chaste tree either caps or in tea. The chaste tree will help with the pre-menstrual flare-ups.

RASH
QUESTION:
I
have a quick question. I have these raised red nickel size bumps on my neck, forearm, leg and stomach. at first I thought it was ringworm, but they don't have white centers, plus I have been using some
antifungal cream but they haven't gone away. they have been there for about two weeks. I am 21 years old and I work for a medical facility where i see many patients a day with different problems so I most likely got it form work but I don' know what it is! oh yeah they don't itch. can you help me?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, being an herbalist, I cannot diagnose or prescribe medicines. Do you have any doctors at this medical facility you work at? I'd get someone to look at it, preferably a dermatologist.
Once you have a diagnosis and know what it is, I might be able to help. Let me know!


ACNE
QUESTION:
I have a reoccurring condition with cysts on my face. Acne they call it. I've tried all kinds of topical treatments and my doctors only want me to take drugs. I think there could be some underlying cause for them to keep coming back and in the same spots on my chin. The dermatologist tells me it's not food related but I have a hard time believing what they tell me because they only want to shove drugs down my throat. Can you help?

ANSWER: Your letter didn't say how old you are. If you are a teenager, you may be experiencing typical acne brought on by the hormone changes you are going through. This also happens to older women when we begin to go through hormone fluctuations as we approach menopause. I have to disagree with your doctors saying it isn't food related. We really are what we eat, and several foods can exacerbate acne. Make sure your diet includes lots of green, leafy vegetables and fresh fruits as well as plenty of water every day. Avoid fatty foods, oils, saturated fats, sugar and all junk food. Also, vitamins, A, C and E are critical for healthy skin. To detox the liver and blood, I would recommend Burdock root, milk thistle and red clover.  

Tea Tree essential oil is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic. Take a Q-tip and apply directly to the blemishes 3 times a day. If you must wear make-up, try one that is water based.

ECZEMA
QUESTION:
someone told me that alfalfa could possibly help my problem with eczema. if
this isn't true could there be anything that might be of help

ANSWER:  I don't know about alfalfa, but aloe Vera gel can be very soothing. Also Avena, Calendula, and Chamomile, externally. Internally, try burdock root, Oregon grape root and sarsaparilla. Avoid moisturizing creams and lotions as they inhibit the "barrier" function in eczema-affected skin, and encourage infection..  Also, any of the antioxidant compounds that stop the production of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals may offer some relief.  Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and raspberries all fall into this category.

ANSWERS FROM DAVID BRILL
MOLLUSCUM
QUESTION:
I have a 6 year old with molluskum on her legs and arm.  She has had it
about 6 months and the dermatologist is giving her Aldera cream alternating with Dermatop
because the Aldera causes her skin to be so red that it appears burned. I am concerned about scarring
and other issues. Your answer on the web page regarding Molluskum said that it are a character
of a disturbed T-cell immune defense? Does this mean this could be a symptom
of anything more serious?

(FYI: My daughter has also suffered from chronic sinus infections and leg pains, from 18 months throughout 5 years of age - both currently under control via diet and calcium/magnesium supplements.   )

You mentioned herbs such as lemon balm and Sage and Echinacea and Astragulus -  Echinaccia, as I understand is only to be used a week off and a week on.  Is it safe to give Sage and Lemon Balm to a 6 year old and if so in what form and amount and have these been proven effective against Molluskum.

ANSWER:  If she has Molluscum contagiosum it is normally caused by a virus in the Pox family.

Sage is a great antiviral, she can drink the tea which is quite strong, here is a suggested method for making the tea: Tea 1 teaspoon dry crushed leaf (for fresh us twice this amount), steep covered 30 minutes, 2-3 Cups a day

Echinacea can be taken for more than a week at a time, if you are concerned about the alcohol content in the tincture you can use a glycerin based extract which tastes great to kids (very sweat), adding this glycerin extract to the sage tea would sweeten it and make it more palatable.

Lemon Balm is another great antiviral, Tea  1 t carefully fresh dried or 2 teaspoon of the fresh plant, 8 oz water,steep covered 15-20 min, 2-4 C day.  It tastes great and can be combined with the Sage tea and the Echinacea glycerin or tincture.

For external use I would try Saint Johnswort oil another great anti viral, it is a blood red infused oil which is a great vulnerary and wound healer.  Rub it on the affected areas.

Poke has been used for this but you would need to consult with a qualified herbalist who has used this herb for this condition for help.

A wash with elderberry or chamomile tea will help with itching or scratching.  Apply to the skin with a cloth soaked in a strong tea made from the herbs.

Astragalus would boost her immune system help to fight the virus.





WARTS
QUESTION:
  Hi, I have a question about warts. I heard and have read that milkweed(asclepias syriaca) can get rid of warts, unfortunately it is winter and we don't have any right now. Do they make the milk from milkweed into any kind of oil?

ANSWER:  The milk you refer to is a latex, many plants that have a latex in their leaves and stems have been used for warts, this includes, wild lettuce, dandelion, celandine and many in the milk weed family.  Most people simply gather their own in season.  I know of no oil or product that is made of this latex.  We do have a tincture of Celandine that is made from the whole plant and so includes the latex of Celandine.  It could be applied externally to the wart several times a day, it is a very strong yellow stain so be careful around clothing.  It is considered an escharotic (flesh eater) and for this reason is used to eat warts.  Try not to get it on healthy skin for it can cause irritation.  When Celandine is broken it releases an orange yellow latex which is topically applied to the wart when the plant can be found fresh in season.  

MORE ON WARTS

WARTS
QUESTION:
I find your website very interesting and informative. I have gone through several websites regarding warts but many did not seem to address the problem of scarring when applying herbal remedies. I have many warts on my face and so far chickened out for laser surgery on two occasions, preferring a less invasive but effective treatment.

Please recommend some herbal remedies that I can apply on my face without causing scarring.

ANSWER: I am not sure I can help you, I am sorry.

You may want to try the herbs which have latex in them such as Dandelion, Wild Lettuce and Celandine, break the stalk and apply the latex, Stronger tissue eating herbs such as Mayapple and Bloodroot can definitely cause scarring you would need to protect other areas of unaffected skin.

To soothe and protect the skin use Fresh Aloe gel mixed with vitamin E and Lavender essential oil. The infused oils of Saint Johnswort and Calendula are also great for the skin.

There must be another reason for you condition, treating the symptoms will not get rid of the source of the problem. Have you seen a dermatologist? Any diagnosis given from anyone? It is hard for me to help with the little you have given and the distance which separates us.

What type of warts are they?

Most warts are caused by viral infections you may want to try some antiviral herbs and rotate them throughout your daily diet. See my other answers to treating viral conditions and herbs suggested for ideas.
 

PLANTAR'S WARTS
QUESTION:
A friend asked me if I knew of any herbal remedies to get rid of a planter's wart. I recently read that dandelion sap is useful for getting rid of warts, but it didn't specify a specific kind. Since dandelion isn't currently in season, would an dandelion extract work? I'm open to other suggestions.

ANSWER: No dandelion extract will not work, you need the latex sap from the plant, when you break the stem and the white milky stuff oozes out. It is this fresh latex of Dandelion, Wild Lettuce and Celandine which have some effect on warts. A stronger flesh eating plant would be mayapple or bloodroot but they can cause scaring and I would suggest finding someone who knows what they are doing in your area to apply these. I have also heard that the slimy side of a banana peel will help correct this problem. Apply the slimey side to the wart and hold in place with a band-aid change banana peel and dressing daily. It will probably take some time to be effective, give it a couple of weeks to a montH

MOLLUSKUM
QUESTION:
  I recently visited the doctor about a bump I found near my genitals, she told me it was molluskum, and it would go away  by itself, and didn't offer any treatment except to burn them or freeze them off. Its been a few months and they are still there. Is there anything I can do to speed the healing process and will these "warts"; or the virus causing them ever go away? Please help me, the doctors don't seem to have the answers I need.

ANSWER:  I would use Immune boosting or balancing herbs such as medicinal mushrooms, echinacea and astragalus.  In addition I would mix in some antiviral herbs such as Lemon Balm and Sage to name a few.  See my other answers in this section.  Use the search feature and look for these category of herbs in my other answers.

The following is a download about Molluskum from another internet site.

The Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a DNA virus from the group of the smallpox viruses (2, 3). Typically it is seen with children in the face and neck area and with older patients in the Anogenital region (2, 3, 8). The transfer effected via direct contact, the incubation period is with 2 to 8 weeks (2, 3). The flat prominent warts are often treated with central Eindellungregress in the course of months or by means of exercision. It is well-known that patients with the acquired immune deficient syndrome (AIDS) have a increased risk of infection. Mollusca contagiosa are a late cutaneous character of a disturbed t-cell-immune defense.


STRETCH MARKS
QUESTION: 
I was wondering if there is anything that would help reduce the stretch marks after delivery.

ANSWER:  The best way to help with stretch marks is to use creams, lotions and oils on the abdomen skins as the baby is growing inside you during the entire period when your abdomen area is being stretched by the growing child inside you. Post delivery is after the stretch marks have already been made, you could still try some creams, lotions or oils such as calendula, lavender, aloe, etc. but it would have been best to start while the baby was growing and stretching your abdomen from the beginning.



BUMPS
QUESTION:
  My three year old gets small bumps on her buttocks. They start out like a small blister and then become progressively angered until they resemble a boil. I thought she was getting chicken pox, but she she has been immunized.  Her pediatrician said to put antibiotic ointment on the spots, but there is no change.  Now one of these bumps has appeared on her back. A friend brought a bar of hommade soap, I think with chamomile, which really helped. I'm not sure if it was chammomille, but if it was, I need to find more.

ANSWER:  Chamomile tea is a great anti-inflammatory for the skin, if you cannot find the soap simply make a strong tea and dip a cloth into it apply to the affected skin areas,  you cannot also give her a chamomile bath.

My concern would be what is causing the bumps, has she been exposed to a virus? are they heat blisters, is she still in diapers and could be allergic to them.  The Chicken Pox immunization is not 100% effective, she could still get them.  And there is very little health problems  associated with getting them we have chosen not to get our daughter immunized.

Elder flower is another good wash for the skin, taken internally it is an excellent antiviral and helps to bring out eruptions speeding the end to the disease.  When elder flower tea is combined with peppermint it is a excellent tasting tea for children to consume. 


  Hi there David, I came across your site and wished to ask you a few  questions. I am 21 yrs. old and am struggling for the last while with liver spots and acne in my back...I can't seem to get rid of them and have tried some herbal remedies but I guess I haven't been consistent and as disciplined as I should be. My diet is relatively healthy but because I am a full-time university student I don't always have proper meals....if you can suggest anything I would appreciate it...I live in Toronto so a consultation with you is pretty much impossible....I am really self-conscious about them and it really gets me down sometimes.

ANSWER:  The following herbs have been used for liver insufficiency with pimples and skin alterations, such as colorings.

1. Red Alder, Tag Alder, Latin Name:  Alnus rubra

2. Barberry, Latin Name:  Berberis vulgaris

3. Oregon Grape Root, Latin Name:  Mahonia aquafolium

They are strong bitter herbs and stimulate the liver, they are considered alterative herbs which help the body rid itself of wastes by stimulating the elimination pathways.  The second and third one listed act as broad spectrum antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral agents. 

You need to taste the bitterness for best effects.

I would suggested you would also benefit from regular use of a bitter herb blend 5-10 minutes before meals to jump start and improve digestive and eliminatioin action.  Read my other answers on bitter herbs.

EPIDERMOLYSIS BULLOSA
QUESTION: 
I have a two year old daughter who was born with a rare and devastating skin disease.  My daughters name is Abriana we call her Abbi.  She was born in 1998 .  When she was born we found out that she has a devastating skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).  This disease effects her outside from her head to her toes and inside from her mouth to her anus.  She is missing a protein in her collagen 7 gene.  This causes her skin to blister and sloughs off very easy.  She lives every day in bandages on her arms, legs, and upper body.  Abbi has many different open wounds all over her body.  Ever since she was born I have been trying to find something that will make her more comfortable. Since there is no cure to EB, I try very hard to make her life as comfortable as I can.  I am interested in trying in anything that might work on helping her heal a little faster, and cut down on her scaring.  I have recently come across a cream tha
t I would like to try on her.  I have heard that I could only get a hold of it in Mexico.  I was wondering if there was any way that you would be able to help me get a hold of it or anything that could help her.  The name of this cream is Tepezcohuite.  I am very interested in getting a hold of this cream or anything that might help inside or out.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Anything you might have to offer will be helpful.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.  

ANSWER:  This is what I found in the net about the plant and a product.
Tepezcohuite (or Mimosa Tenuiflora Poiret) has been used since the time of the Maya Indians who had long recognized its healing properties on burns. A more recent event that led to Tepezcohuite's popularity is the 1984 incident of a gas complex explosion in a Mexican suburb. The Mexican Red Cross ran out of normal medical supplies and so turned to using the powder of this tree bark to treat burns. The treatment was so effective that they again used it a year later when an earthquake caused a gas explosion in the Aztec capital.
Tepezcohuite is known as a burn cream and with good cause; it can heal very serious burns without leaving a scar, yet it is all natural: a cream made from the powder of tree bark. Its properties as an anti-microbial, an analgesic agent, and a cellular regenerator have been verified by institutions such as the Mexican National Institute of Social Security, the National University, and the Ministry of Health. It is also highly effective against acne, skin blemishes, and pressure sores among other things.
Hozro Consultants is selling Tepezcohuite for everyday treatment of burns, scrapes, cuts and skin problems in (size) oz. jars of cream for $(amount) per jar. You can order online, by fax, or by mail using our order form
Hozro Consultants, 47-01 Greenpoint Ave., #114, Sunnyside, NY  11104-1709,  the e-mail address is hozro@hotmail.com, and the phone number is
212/729-8776. Large jar is $10 plus shipping, and we will ship anywhere

Additionally you could try the following

Aloe, Latin Name:  Fresh Aloe vera gel can be used internally and externally to speed healing good for burns, rash, ulceration, inflammation, increases cell proliferants and  stimulate healthy cell growth.

Sarsapirilla, Latin Name:  Smilax species: Inflammatory conditions of the skin, bowels and connective tissue.  Skin conditions that are red, hot and inflamed.

Calendula, Latin Name: Calendula officinalis has special affinity to skin and mucus membrane tissue, builds them and heals, use both cream, oil or ointments externally and tincture or tea internally.  Tea can be used as a poultice on the skin also.

Gotu kola, Latin Name:   Centella asiatica    use in combination w/ Sarsparilla for inflammation and skin conditions can be taken internally and applied externally.

Reishi mushrooms, Latin Name: Ganoderma lucidum:  good for immune system and red inflamed painful skin, adaptogen lowers stress levels

Burdock seed, Latin Name:    Arctium lappa is great for red inflamed skin conditions and sooth throat, dryness, combines well with sarsparilla and evening primrose oil.

Yellow Dock, Latin Name: Rumex crispus (means curled): For weeping, oozing skin conditions:  eczema, psoriasis with serous or pus drainage combines well with sarsaparilla or gotu kola.

Elder Flower, Latin name: Sambucus nigra (European), S. canadensis:  Make a tea of flowers and use on skin to relieve dryness and itching, smooths and sooths skin.

For a homemade skin care combination, mix infused oil of calendula and saint johnswort with fresh aloe gel and several drops of lavendar essential oil, test on small area of skin for several days to see reaction.

  

CHILBLAINS
QUESTION: 
I've read about arnica, agaricus, and tamus as possibly useful remedies, but can't find any specific information about what form, how much, how long, etc.  I'd be grateful for any suggestions you have ( or can direct me to) regarding the topical treatment of this annoying winter problem. 

ANSWER: Chilblains are a painful sore appearing on the foot or the hand which is caused by exposure to cold.  They can appear as red and/or itching patches on the extremities of the body such as fingers, toes, nose, ears and swelling can occur.
 
One cause which has been suggested for this condtion is poor circulation.   The best treatment is to avoid getting these areas cold and wet to avoid getting it and once they occur try hard not to scratch them.

In the past herbal poultice made with one part Powdered Marshmallow or Slippery Elm and two parts vegetable oil, mixed together and applied morning and night have been used to help.  Additionally, a fresh poultice of chickweed has also been used successfully in the past to aid this condition and other inflamed conditions.
To help with circulation try a cup of ginger tea twice a day and add Garlic to your daily diet or supplement with pills.  Ginkgo and Prickly Ash also increase circulation esecially to peripheral areas such as those affected by this condition.  They would be ingested as a alcohol extract.

 

ECZEMA
QUESTION: 
  I want to ask you about the herbs that are used in the treatment of some skin diseases : eczema and urticaria and how we can use them.............

ANSWER:   Eczema is an allergic reaction that shows on the body as mainly itchy, inflamed patches of skin on the face, elbows, knees, and wrists.  Eczema is most commonly seen in young children and infants, than in adults.  Western medical treatment for eczema consists mainly of topical steroid creams.    
       
The use of essential fatty acids such as those from Evening Primrose Oil have been shown effective after several months of use.  Typical recommended use and is high 2 to 4 grams a day for upwards of 6 months to see results, some combine EPO and fish oils.

10 mg of zinc picolinate and 1 mg of copper daily in children under 10. For older individuals, the dosage is 15 to 30 mg zinc taken daily, balanced with 1 to 3 mg of copper daily.        

Creams made from chamomile, licorice and/or calendula used singlely or together have been widely used in Europe for this condition.

Yellow Dock, Curly Dock, Latin Name: Rumex crispus is good for oozing weeping skin conditions such as eczema, for red and inflammed conditions it combines well with sarsaparilla or gotu kola. 

Urticaria, commonly called hives, is an inflammation of the surface layers of the skin, and is characterized by small, itchy red or white welts. These welts are sometimes called wheals. It is thought Urticaria is usually caused by an allergic reaction, but is also associated with excess exposure to the sun, allergies to foods ingested, stress and extreme exercise.

Nutritional supplements used are Vitamin C and B12

Herbs normally used for hives are the following:

Dan shen, Red Root Sage, Latin Named: Salvia miltiorrhiza

Huang Qin, Chinese Scullcap root, Latin Named:  Scuttellaria biacalensis

Reishi mushrooms Latin Named: Ganoderma lucidum

ATOPIC ECZEMA
QUESTION:
I have an 18 month old grandson who has been having problems with Atopic
Eczema since he was born.  His pediatrician tried to let him avoid milk in
his diet when he was younger. She has treated him with Hydrocortsone ointment
and Elocan, but there  was no relief.  He has also been seen by a
Dermatologist who says that it cannot be cured, he might eventually grow it
out.  The only thing he recommended was skin lotion and soap for sensitive
skin to keep the skin moist, but it seems to be getting worse.  This little
baby is in great agony as he keeps scratching and sometimes there is bleeding
as the skin gets damaged.  I would be very grateful if you can help him.

Thanks for your reply and your recommendation.

ANSWER: Without all the details I can only provide some generic relief.

Skin problems are usually related to the digestive system or liver, treat
this and they usually clear up.

For external use I would make an Elderberry tea, Latin Name: Sambucus nigra
(European Species), S. canadensis (USA species) of the flowers to wash on the
skin, Elderberry helps with dry itchy skin because it is an emollient.

Oats, Latin Name: Avena sativa, A. fatua (wild oats) is good for itchy skin
conditions, cook small amount on stove top till thickened then add to bath
waters. Usually stops the itching and is also good for the skin.

Milk Thistle, Latin Name: Silybum marianum is good for the Liver and helps
with dry itchy skin. Taken as a tincture would be best.

Burdock seed Latin Name: Arctium lappa is great for dry itchy skin use in
combination with Milk Thistle, again as a tincture.

For red and inflammed conditions Yellow Dock combines well with sarsaparilla
or gotu kola, both of which are great skin herbs. 
Use a dietary supplement with Omega 3 fatty acids such as deep sea fish oil
or Evening Primrose Oil.
Zinc supplementation is said to be effective for eczema in some children. The
usual dosage is 10 mg of zinc picolinate daily in children under 10, balanced
with 1 mg of copper.

But the problem with most of these approaches is they are only symptom
relief, you need to find the source of the problem.  Food allergies have been
associated with this condition.

I would clean up the childs diet, no processed or refined foods, eat only
whole foods, some food allergies can cause skin reactions, eliminate dairy,
wheat or gluten containing foods.  I would try a elimination diet then slowly
introduce foods to see what the source of the problem could be looking for
problems as each food is reintroduced.

One food allergy disease which is hard to diagnose in children is Celiac
disease:  Children with Celiac disease tend to have certain blood test
abnormalities. In particular, a low red cell count (anemia) is common as a
result of iron and vitamin deficiency. Not only do children with untreated
celiac disease tend to be quite short, x- rays of their bones show a lack of
calcium and an overall slowing of bone growth. Enamelization of teeth may be
impaired. A gluten- sensitive skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis) can be
observed in adults with celiac disease. This rash appears as painful, itchy,
raised red blotches on the elbows, knees and buttocks. However, this skin
rash is uncommon in children, but you may want to investigate this
possibility.

FORMACATION
QUESTION:
My sister has suffered from a severe skin itching for 3 years and has not been able to find a cure for this. Besides taking drugs to knock her out, she is also going through menopause and can get into a very bad fit of rage. She has been on a low dose of birth control and it seems to put her in a worse mood. My sister was watching the Oprah Winfrey show and heard about the term for skin crawling called formacation. Could you please give me any information on how to help my sister, as she seems to be going out of her mind. I feel that she is taking to many prescription drugs and feel that there has to be an alternative medication or herbal remedy for her problem. Thank you for any help in this matter. 

ANSWER: Without knowing all the facts. This is what I would tell my sister to try:

Dang Qui, Chastetree & Black Cohosh for hot flashes, skin crawling, constipation & vaginal dryness associated with Menopause.

RINGWORM
QUESTION:
I'm looking for a treatment of ringworm

ANSWER: Ringworm is a fungus named as Tinea capitis when in the scalp, Tinea corporis when in the beard, Tinea barbae when in the nails and Tinea unguium when on the feet.

Use antifungal herbs, such as Tea Tree or Thyme essential oil, Tea Tree is one of the few essential oils which can be applied directly to the skin, Thyme essential oil needs to be diluted. Also Garlic and Green Black Walnut husks are antifungal, see my other answers for antifungal herbs online at this website.

Probably the best choice would be Usnea, Old's man beard, Latin Named: Usnea barbata. Use a tincture internally and topically, this is alcohol based extract and may burn on contact, try a small skin area first to see results or side effects. 

ATOPIC DERMATITIS
QUESTION:
My son, age 30, was born with atopic dermatitis; however, it has only been in the last 10 years that his condition has become chronic. He's tried several conventional remedies with no success and has also had acpuncture and Chinese methods with no success. I read somewhere that taking Brewer's yeast might help. Could you comment on that? Any other suggestions would also
be appreciated.

ANSWER: 
I am not sure I can help with this problem in this forum, would he consider a full conciliation?

Here are some thoughts...

Atopic dermatitis 
Alternative Names: neurodermatitis; infantile eczema; atopic eczema; dermatitis - atopic; eczema; eczema - infantile; eczema - atopic 

Definition: A skin disorder involving hypersensitivity reaction within the skin characterized by inflammation, itching and scaling 

Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Atopic dermatitis can occur in an infantile (children) or adult form. It is most common in infants, and at least half of those cases clear up by age 18 months. There is often a family history of asthma or allergy like hay fever, skin problems such as, eczema, psoriasis and additionally any other allergy-related disorders. In adults, it is generally a reoccurring chronic long term condition.

Neurodermatitis is a form of atopic dermatitis characterized by a self-perpetuating scratch-itch cycle. This is usually associated with stressful life conditions there is also a physiological changes in the nerve fibers are also present.

Atopic Dermatitis is a hyper reaction occurs in the skin like an allergic reaction, causing chronic inflammation. The inflammation causes the skin to become itchy and scaly. Chronic irritation and scratching can cause the skin to thicken and become leathery-textured, although this is more pronounced in the localized form, lichen simplex chronicus.

Exposure to environmental irritants can worsen symptoms, as can dryness of the skin, exposure to water, temperature changes, and stress.

The best herb for this sounds like Burdock seed, Latin Named: Arctium lappa. This herb is appropriately used for red hot skin conditions, swelling, dry, scaly or crusty skin. And Burdock seed combines well with evening primrose oil and sarsaparilla. Use them orally.

Sarsaparilla, Latin Named: Smilax species, S. bono-nox appropriately used for inflamed conditions of the skin which can be hot and red, helps to bind toxins in the gut and eliminate from body. 

There seems to be a component of stress involved in this condition, you may want to employ adaptogen herbs such as the Ginseng family (start with Siberian Ginseng) and B- vitamins (brewers yeast is high in B's)

It has been suggested environmental toxin may play a role, stay away from chlorinated water, insecticides, pesticide, and other household paints, chemicals and cleaners. Paints and carpets give off toxins into the air along dusts and mites seem to be a problem for some. Several studies have indicated the need for a filter to remove chlorine and fluoride from household drinking and bathing water. More chlorine and fluoride are consume during a daily shower than through drinking tap water.

A second theory suggests poor air conditioning systems which incubate molds and fungus and then spread them through the house is a problem. Employ filters to clean the air.

Finally sick building or home syndrome has been indicated in some cases, good ventilation and removal of rugs and building materials which give of gases and toxins such as formaldehyde, formalin and methlybenzene have proved effective.


Brewerís Yeast 

Also known as: Saccharomyces cerevisiae 

What does it do? Brewerís yeast is the dried, pulverized cells of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a type of fungus. It is a rich source of the B-complex vitamins, protein (providing all the essential amino acids), and minerals, particularly chromium. Brewerís yeast should not be confused with bakerís yeast, nutritional yeast, or torula yeast, which are low in chromium.

ITCHY SCALP AND SKIN
QUESTION:
I have a terrible problem with itchy scalp which sometimes carries over to my face and back. I know it is caused by the shampoos I have used while in the shower and have tried a number of different ones. The only type I have found to be less itchy is Head and
Shoulders or a similar (housebrand) type, but I am still not happy with those either as I still have some itching. Even the 'itchy scalp' Herbal Essence' shampoo is a problem for me. I have to shampoo daily because my hair is oily and limp and my skin is oily even at the ripe old age of 48! Any suggestions?

ANSWER: 
It sounds like you sebaceous glands are working over time and I am wondering why? Most skin problems are liver or hormone related, I would really like more information on this. My other questions for you are do you use, coloring agents or get perms, you may be allergic to the chemicals involved. I am wondering what your occupation is? Some jobs lead to a build up of wastes and toxins in your body so your skin, which is the largest elimination organ in the body, may be over taxed because the other organs are not keeping up or can't help because they are overtaxed dealing with these agents or are not functioning properly for another reason. Do you have a problem with your either your lungs, liver, bowels or urinary tract? Some people are allergic to an ingredient called Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) that is commonly used in many soaps, shampoos to make them suds easy. You may want to find a shampoo which does not contain this. Secondly many people with skin problems, find the use of homemade lye based soaps help clear them up. You may want to experiment with these.

Herbally

Elder Flower, Latin name: Sambucus nigra (European), S. canadensis (North American) - is appropriately used as an infusion. A infusion is a strong tea made of the herb and traditional called "Queen of Hungary" water, for itchy dry flaky skin, is demulcent and soothing. This herb is good for the skin, tones it and leaves skin soft. 

Milk Thistle, Latin Name Silybum marianum is a great liver herb and is appropriately used for dry scaly, scratchy, itchy skin mix with burdock seed and omega 3 fatty acid (especially fish oils)

Burdock seed, Latin Name: Arctium lappa is a wonderful herb for dry, scaly and flaky skin problems. For skin problems Burdock seeds work well with Evening Primrose oil and Sarsaparilla. Burdock is appropriate for dry skins conditions associated with dry constipation.

Sarsaparilla, Latin Name: Smilax species, S. bono-nox is the North American Species) this herb is a good Alterative and skin herb.

Oats, Latin Name: Avena sativa, A. fatua (wild oat) This herb is good for itchy skin conditions, cook small amount on stove top until thick add to bath waters and soak or in your case you might want to apply to your scalp as a poultice, in other words lets is stay thick and mix into hair onto scalp then rinse out after 10-15 minutes in shower. 

The Chinese herb

Sha Shen, Sand root, Na Sha Shen - Glehnia (northern), Bai sha shen - Adenophora (southern) Latin Name: A. tretrophylla/ A. stricta and Glehnia littoroais. This herb moistens everything including dry skin. Especially dry skin associated with dry other dryness in body such as constipation or sticky sputum.

If this is a fungal problem a wash using the essential oils of Tea Tree and Lavender may help these two are essential oils which can be directly applied to skin without dilution in a carrier oil.

Plantain and Calendula are topically good for the skin, make poultice and apply to scalp or make a strong tea and soak cloth in tea apply cloth to scalp. Menthol containing herbs used topically are best for itching skin. These include Peppermint, Eucalyptus and others.

I would also help increase elimination via other pathways of the body using alterative herbs such as Barberry and Oregon Grape Root, Latin Name: Berberis vulgaris and Mahonia aquafolium these will increase liver function helping to eliminate toxins via the bowels, where skin problems are associated with a stagnant liver.

Use a vegetable juice fast to help cleanse your system.

Drink lots of water 12-15 glasses a day.

SKIN CONDITION DUE TO MENOPAUSE
QUESTION:
I am 45 and in peri-menopause, a cycle in Aug 0f 99 and my last one (so far) in May of 00. I started taking Promensil last year ( Yam derived isoflavones I think) and at the order of my OB/GYN, started vitamin E for cysts in both breasts. Cut out caffeine. I've never been one to take a lot of medications, not even aspirin. The only thing I carry around in my purse is a RX for possible migraine attack which I take maybe twice a year to interrupt a migraine headache from becoming full blown. The migraines started with my first pregnancy when I was 18. I grew up on red meat and mashed potatoes, but in the last 5 years our regular meals consist of fish, chicken, lots of veggies and grains. I love fruit and eat it when I can except for ,about 7 years ago I developed a violent reaction to watermelon - nausea and vomiting, cramps etc.., I love it but won't touch watermelon anymore. The worst thing I eat is when I get an urge for salty stuff like Fritos or chips. I can live without sweets. I don't get hungry very often but when I eat I usually eat too much, I'm, 5"2" and weigh about 160#. I like to work hard, I enjoy physical exertion but (this may sound strange) but didn't begin to sweat like most people do until 2 years ago. I used to be' jealous of my peers who got beads of sweat or soaked clothing. All of a sudden now I sweat. I've had three cases of Giant Hives in my 20's. Became sensitive to Poison Oak in my 30's. I'm susceptible to getting tiny growths in the summer when I'm in the sun too much - on my shoulders, neck or nose. 
Had pimple problems until 2 years ago when it all seemed to clear up with no effort on my part.I've never been a big water drinker but have started to drink a lot more water in the last year. In '98 I developed an irritation in the vaginal area, no real rash, just an overwhelming itch. It disappeared in '99 and was replaced by a dry scaly rash on both my shins behind both my ears and also in the higher pubic area. At the same time I was doing a lot of landscaping and got what I thought was poison Oak on my forearms but it never blistered, just itched like crazy and stayed in the same exact area where I had contacted poison ivy last year. I have it to this day. Also, I have developed irregular patches of itchy skin on my sides and abdomen that turn red and scale then leave a pigmented scar about the size of a nickel. I'm wondering if any of the following supplements
I'm taking might be the cause: garlic, parsley, B Complex, Calcium with Soy, Estroven/Promensil, or Vitamin E. (Or maybe I just have bugs!! Ha Ha !
One thing I've always had is a sense of humor.)I would appreciate your opinion. I know you cannot give in depth answers but maybe you could make a
suggestion.

ANSWER: I would suggest finding a local herbalist to help you clarify these issues, you have several things going on.

It is interesting that 2 years ago several issues occurred or ended, what happened 2 years ago in your life that may account for this?

My thought is you entered your perimenopause state then!

Here are some thoughts for you.

The giant hives, you said you had, could have been shingles, and your recent dry skin to red patched, pigmented skin incidents may be a recurence. The virus involved in this process, herpes zoster, never really goes away. It hides in your nervous system waiting for a opportunity to reemerge. Stress is a big pre shingle episode factor. Find a stress reduction technique and begin using it. To deal with this virus, rotate antiviral herbs through your diet on a daily basis, such as: Lemon Balm, Elderberry, Sage, Thyme, Basil, Licorice, Cinnamon, Fresh Ginger, Horehound, Hyssop, Chrysanthemum flowers, Mullen Flowers just to name a few. Add them to dishes such as in salads for meals or make teas with them.

Additionally Saint Johnswort is antiviral, besides its recently (in the past several years) advertised antidepressent qualities.

Without knowing all the facts here are some areas to think about. 

For Cystic Breast Disease: 

Figwort, Carpenter square, Latin Named: Scrophularia nodosa / S. marylandica this herb is good for cystic breast and lymphatic stagnation

Red Root, Latin Named: Ceanothus americanus is good for fluid filled cysts and chronic lymph congestion, very good for cystic breast disease.

Red Clover, Latin Name: Trifolium pratense good for lymphatic congestion and cystic breasts, good alterative, it also is rich in isoflavones.

Violet, Latin Named: Viola odorata, V. papillonacea, V. xeodensis is a good lymph herb and relieves constipation and helps with cystic breast disease. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) they used it to clear hardness in the body i.e. cysts.

Evening Primrose, Latin Name: Oenothera biennis: Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) is good for cystic breasts, menopausal issues such as vaginal dryness, dry skin. With EPO use you may need a high dose to see effect, higher then suggested on bottle, try it then adjust up if necessary.

The Chinese Herbs

Dan shen, Red Root Sage, Latin Named: Salvia miltiorrhiza is good for lumps in breast (cystic breast disease and tumor cell growth). It is a very popular female reproductive remedy.

Mu dan pi, Tree Peony,Latin Named: Paeonia suffruticosa is good for cysts in the body and headaches and is used for menopausal formulas.

Xia ku cao, Self Heal / All Heal /Heal -all, Latin Named:Prunella vulgarus is used for all cystic conditions, to soften hardness, combines well with figwort.


In general use alterative herbs such as violet, cleavers, poke, red root, red clover and also other lymphatic herbs.

Do you have any problems with your liver or fat digestion if so use liver herbs such as dandelion, headaches can be caused by liver stagnation or even constipation, liver herbs will help with both.

Increase water intake to 12 -15 glasses a day, for a while you will pea more often then your body will adjust and you will pea more volume at your usual times and frequency.

For your pre and menopausal issues

Helonia Root, (False Unicorn), Latin Named Chamaelirium leuteum used appropriately for menopause to normalizes hormones and for palipatations. Use with Chaste Tree, Licorice and Alfalfa

Alfalfa, King of Herbs, Latin Name: Medicago sativa It has substantial amounts of phytosterols, phytoestrogens and isofavones. This herb could be classified as slightly amphoteric to female reproductive system because is normalizes estrogen levels, in estrogen deficiency it mimics estrogen but in estrogen excess it takes up receptor sites in the body. It is also highly nutrious and good for the bones.

Black Cohosh, Latin Named: Cimicifuga racemosa, Good for menopause especially doom and gloom depression, hot flashes, anxiety and uterine pain

Blue Vervain, Simplers Joy b/c used in Simples, Latin Name: Verbena hastata is good for menopause issues, such as anxiety, irritation or irritability and spasm.

Chaste Tree, Monks pepper, Latin Name: Vitex agnus-castus is used for anxiety, hot flashes, menopause. Used with Oats and Shatavari for vaginal dryness. This is a herb for menopause: regulates hot flashes and is used for sweating with Sage and Ox-eye daisy. Good for menopausal anxiety, irritation and skin crawling (formacation). 

Saint Johnswort, Latin Named Hypericum perforatum can be used for depression caused by menopause

Motherwort, Latin Named: Leonurus cardiaca: anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, palpitations caused by menopause

Oats, Latin Named: Avena sativa, A. fatua (wild oats) Good for menopausal women with vaginal dryness and lack of desire.

The Chinese and western herb Gan Cao, Licorice Root, Latin Named: Glycorrhiza uralensis is used to harmonize reproductive problems, menopausal hotflashes & vaginal dryness in combo as mentioned above. It has phytoestrogens, isoflavones.

The Chinese herbs

Bai shao yao \Ba Zhow\, White Peony root, Latin Name: Paeonia albifloria is good for menopause, liver, and sweat gland control, it adjusts flow back to normal.

Ge gen /goo gun/, Kudzu, Latin Name: Pueraria pseudo-hirsuta P. pseudo-harsisa P. thunbergii good source of isoflavone and helps reduce menopause issues.

Nu Zhen zi, Shiny Privet, Ligustrum fruit, Latin Name: Ligustrum lucidum good for peri and menopausal issues caused by deficient estrogen levels

Dang Qui, Tangkuei, Dong Quai, Latin Name: Angelica sinesis is good for menopause issues such as hot flashes, skin crawling, constipation & vaginal dryness. Combines well with Black Cohosh and Chastetree

Look for "Women's four herb" tea it may be of help to you.
See my answer for sweating for other sweat controlling herbs. 

CYSTIC ACNE 
Question:
my daughter-in-law has cystic acne and has tried so many
things. Can you recommend an herbal approach?

Answer: There really is no simple answer but it is most likely a hormone imbalance or problem with the liver. Is the acne cyclic or get worse at menses? Does she have a problem with fats or sluggish liver? How heavy is she? Problems which last a long time such as this take time to cure. Look for results in a couple months.
        Try Saw Palmetto, which is not just a men's herb, it helps to balance hormones and has been effective with acne.
         To help the liver use Dandelion Root, My all time favorite mild liver herb. A great combination for the liver and digestion in general is Dandelion, Orange Peel and Angelica.
          She might also want to use some diuretic herbs, such as Dandelion Leaf, that has been tested as effective as Lasix.
           In general Tree Peony, Latin Name: Paeonia suffruticosa is good for cysts all over the body and is part of the Chinese formula "Womens 4 herb tea".


RASH
Question:
I have had a heat rash that comes back repeatedly under my
breasts, stomach flap area and under my left arm. I used to only have the
problem occasionally under my breasts and stomach flap, but due to an
accident in which I fractured/dislocated my left shoulder (broke the ball of
the ball & socket joint in 12 pieces and ripped it out of the socket) I cannot raise my left arm enough to keep sufficient air to the area and now I have the problem there...big time! I cannot use deodorant of course, and
sometimes it can be embarrassing.
           I have tried baking soda baths and Epsom salts baths, corn starch, Lanacaine,
Gold Bond powder and cream, hydrocortisone, lotrisone, Tinactin, chamomile,
Benadryl, lemon balm, and comfrey.
           I have consulted my regular doctor about this, and he gave me the lotrisone
but seemed to think it wasn't much to worry about... but he doesn't have to
put up with the burning, stinging, itching, and pain, along with the
spreading redness and embarrassment. Can you recommend an herbal remedy? I
have a small herb garden in which I have flat and curled parsley, lemon balm,
lemon thyme, sage, oregano, chamomile, caraway, dill, basil, spearmint,
catnip, thyme, pennyroyal and marjoram. I would appreciate any expertise you
can pass on to me!

Answer: 
I would really like more information about you, diet, lifestyle, health etc. 
Without that I am taking a shot in the dark. It seems you have tried
everything, but I will give you some things to think about. 
            Lets try stopping the moist environment from the inside the following herbs
that help with sweating.
            The herbs generally associated with excess sweating are:
Sage, Latin Name Salvia officinalis, combines well with lycanthimum (ox eye
daisy) for excess sweating
White Peony root, Latin Name: Paeonia albifloria is an amphoteric to
sweating, reducing excess sweating or increasing loss of sweating, it
balances and harmonizes the sweat response, increases or decreases sweating
as needed.
Astragulus, Huang Qi, Yellow Leader, Latin Name: Astragulus membrananceus
(beware there are other species being used as a substitute) is an amphoteric
to sweating, reducing excess sweating or increasing loss of sweating, it
balances and harmonizes the sweat response, increases or decreases sweating
as needed. It also helps build immune response to stop the infection.
Schisandra berry, Wu wei zu, 5 flavor fruit, Latin Name: Schisandra chinesis
(northern) S. sphenanthera (southern, is preferred species) Astringing in
activity: puckers the jing, night sweats, inappropriate sweating. Schisandra
gently stimulates metabolism and normalizes immune response.
Additionally the following herbs can help.
Get as much Garlic in you as possible, add it to her daily diet, you should
smell like garlic.
Use medicinal mushrooms such as Gano derma, Maitake, Shitake and Chaga help
to build the deep immune system and fight infection. Make broths of the
mushrooms as a base for vegetable soup or take them as tinctures.
More tips:
Keep the area clean, bath and shower daily and after getting sweaty, change
clothing so you are not sitting around in sweaty outfits. Less damp wet and
dark, less possibility of infection. 

SUNBURN
Question:
What is good cure for sunburns besides not getting burned

Answer: A simple answer would be to use fresh Aloe Vera Gel, Break open the leaf of an Aloe Vera plant, scrape gel out, open and scrape several leaves, then mix one drop of Lavender essential oil into gel and apply to burn. Extra gel and Lavender mixture can be refrigerated for later use. Apply several times a day. Aloe is very soothing to the skin and the essential oil of lavender is one of a few essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin without being diluted by a carrier oil.

Here are a few more sunburn relief tips
Drink a gallon of water a day, remoistening the skin from the inside out will help with recovery.

DO NOT use over-the-counter creams and sprays that may contain benzocaine. Benzocaine often causes an allergic reaction to the skin and can make sun burned areas worse.
Take cool baths, don't use bath salts, bath oils or bubble bath, the water needs only be cool not cold or ice cold.
Pat skin to dry with a plush towel, do not rub.
Do not scrub or shave sunburned skin.
Stay out of the sun until the burn heals. 
If the sunburn is severe or you are blistering, feel faint or nauseous, see a doctor immediately.

WARTS
Question:
I read that Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) can be used to remove warts. How do you prepare a solution of it?

Answer: What kind of warts?  The latex of Celandine, Dandelion and Wild Lettuce have been traditionally used for warts. Break stem and squeeze out latex, it should be applied several times a day to the wart for up to 2 months. Bloodroot is an escharotic, I would suggest finding an expert to assist with its use.

ESCHAROTIC: /Esch-ar-ot-ic/ a corrosive, tissue-eating substance. Herbal examples are bloodroot and mayapple. Escharotics have been traditionally used for skin cancer. The addition of zinc chloride (to the different red and black herbal salves which have been sold) dramatically increases the tissue eating effect, it can cause scarring.

HORMONAL ACNE
QUESTION:
I'm currently taking 80 mg soy isoflavons per day it helps with a hormonal acne (if acne) problem i recently received. I'm only 35 and the soy helps but I notice I gain weight on it. Is there anything else I can try? I have tried lower doses of the soy but the bumps on my face or acne reappear.  I am also trying wild yam for the to help ease the stronger menstrual cramps the soy gives me. help!

ANSWER: End of commercial!
Withouth knowing all the facts here are some areas to think about.
I am glad to hear that your use of soy is helping I would suggest that all the legume family would be appropriate in your diet. They all have similar constituents and effects; make beans part of your everyday diet.
Do you have any other symtomology, cysts, lympth congestion, PMS issues, is the acne cyclic or get worse around menses, etc. Have you had your hormone levels checked? How is your bowels, lung and urinary tract working?

Skin problems are usually Hormone or Elimination systems and Liver function related. Hormone balancing and alterative herbs which increase elimination are appropriate for use. Herbs used to improve sluggish liver are specifically used in many cases which leads to increased elimination via the bowels and improvements in the skin.

Using bitter herbs helps the digestive system work better, taken 5 - 10 minutes before meals, bitters help to jump start the digestive process increasing production and secretion of saliva, acid, bile, enzymes and increasing peristalsis which leads to better elimination of wastes. I would include bitters formulas or herbs everyday.

Figwort, Carpenter square, Latin Name: Scrophularia nodosa / S. marylandica is appropriately used for chronic acne rosacea and stasis of blood. It can be used both internally and externally as a poultice or wash applied to the skin.

Pipsissewa, Latin Name: Chimaphila umbelata is used appropriately for skin problems such as white heads, boils, PMS acne and for women with break outs at menses. This herb increases elimination of waste via the kidney as a non irritating diuretic.

Saw palmetto, Latin Name: Serona repens is not just a man's herb it is used for hormonal acne and is used as a male and female reproductive tonic. It is also useful for cystic and fibroid conditions for women.

Red Alder, Tag Alder Latin Name: Alnus rubra or Alnus serrulata is used for skin conditions that tend to be cyclic and is good for big red pimples that never come to a head, acne rosacea or acne caused by hormone cycles. This herb can be used internally and externally as a poultice or wash. 

Sarsapirilla, Latin Name: Smilax species, S. bono-nox is the North American species, Sarsapirilla is used for inflamed conditions of the skin. Skin conditions that are red, hot and inflamed. This herb binds with toxins in the gut to carry out of body

Red clover Latin Name: Trifolium pratense is a good alterative for skin problems it helps increase lympth flow. It is also appropriate for estrogen sensitive cancers. Red clover is rich in formononetin, genisitine, daidzein and other isoflavones like Soy.

Barberry and Oregon Grape Root, Latin Name: Berberis vulgaris and Mahonia aquafolium these herbs will increase liver function helping to eliminate toxins via the bowels, where skin problems are associated with a stagnant liver.

Balmony, Turtle head, Latin Name: Chelone glabra (white flowers) and C. lyonii (pink flowers) are again used for stagnant liver problems leading to acne or other skin problems