Jan 28, 2017

In our skincare regimen, we’ve come to a point where we slather at least five products on our faces to avoid aging: retinol, eye cream, whitening, night cream, collagen cream, and who knows what else.

But there are Old World miracles long developed and used by the Chinese that are all-natural and basic, yes, yet just as effective as drugstore products. Traditional herbal medicine helps the body’s self-healing capacity to correct conditions that cause skin problems in the first place. The next time you’re in Chinatown, add these to your shopping list.

Ling zhi
Rich in minerals, amino acids, vitamins, and essential oils, this mushroom helps cellular regeneration, and its strong antioxidant properties make it an effective skin anti-pollutant. It also helps retain water and maintain elasticity, keeping the skin hydrated and smooth.

Bai guo
More commonly known as gingko, it is one of the most precious plants in China and contains amino acids and collagen. Gingko helps maintain the skin’s elasticity, keeping it young-looking and fresh as it reduces the appearance of wrinkles. It also has compounds that are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which make it a great natural cleanser.

Zhu ru
You’ll never have pimples with zhu ru. It is actually shaved bamboo and can be used as a gentle exfoliant that also moisturizes skin. The zhu ru’s pulp contains lignan, which helps balance oil production and prevent clogged pores, which are the beginnings of acne.

Ju hua
Known better by its English name chrysanthemum, this flower contains energizing compounds that stimulate circulation. It nourishes and invigorates the skin and gets rid of fatty deposits such as cellulite when combined with massage and warmth. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to tighten skin.

Ren shen
This fleshy-rooted plant, popularly known as ginseng, promotes blood circulation to improve cellular function and regeneration. It also contains saponin, which has the ability to make rough skin smooth by removing excess oil and dirt from the outermost layers of the dermis. In addition, saponin has a compound called panagy acid that keeps skin hydrated. The overall effect: supple and younger-looking skin.


This story was originally published in Northern Living, January 2015.

TAGS: bamboo gingko ginseng herbal medicine nolisoliph traditional chinese medicine