External factors: According to TCM and Ayurveda, wind, dry weather, and excess cold or heat are all damaging to the skin. Furthermore, in Ayurvedic medicine, these factors lead to a vata imbalance, which is often the culprit for dry skin.
Internal factors: According to both disciplines, excess internal heat coming from factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, stress, or skin pathogens can result in dry, itchy skin. In Ayurvedic medicine, these internal factors can also lead to a vata imbalance and dry skin.
Deficiency in Vital Energy: In TCM, this is a Qi (energy) and blood deficiency due to chronic illness, aging, or anemia. In Ayurvedic medicine, this is due to depletion of Ojas (vitality). This leads to a loss of skin moisture and nourishment, which causes dry skin.
If chronic dry skin goes untreated, it can impair your skin’s barrier, making your skin more sensitive to allergens. This can lead to chronic allergies and itchy, irritated skin.
So what are potential remedies for dry skin? One herbal remedy is angelica root (pictured below). Angelica root is known as Dang Gui in mandarin and Choraka in Sanskrit. There are several varieties of angelica root and multiple varieties of the angelica family of plants. Both the Chinese angelica (angelica sinensis) and the Indian angelica (angelica glauca) are thought to have tonic properties, which promote vitality, according to traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic philosophies. Further, studies in mice show that angelica sinensis shows promise for helping to reduce irritation and itchy skin.
One of the best ways to use angelica root, is to add it to your bath. Angelica root can be obtained from online herbal sellers or from a local Chinese or Western herbal shop. It can be found in raw form, as fluid extracts, tinctures, and granules. If you buy the herb in raw form, you’ll first need to make a decoction by heating or boiling the root down into an extract. You can either do this earlier in the day or while cooking dinner at home. If you buy it in an extracted form, you can skip this step.
Angelica Root Decoction
Boil and simmer 1 oz angelica root in 3 cups of water until only 2 cups remain. This should take approximately 40 minutes.
Angelica Root Home Spa Bath
2 cups angelica root decoction.
1 cup organic milk (preferably non-homogenized milk from grass fed cows)
1 oz orange blossom hydrosol
1 tablespoon jojoba oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon calendula oil
1 tablespoon honey
5 – 10 drops calendula CO2 extract
Add this mixture to your bath and skinjoy a relaxing, hydrating and rejuvenating home spa experience!
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