For a few years, I totally underestimated the power of herbal teas. Instead, I opted to take strong herbal tinctures and powerful neutraceuticals – I truly felt I needed something really intense to battle my equally intense acne. So for awhile that is exactly what I did, until I noticed that my body seemed completely overwhelmed by all the strong remedies that I was taking. My skin only improved a bit, my hair was continuing to fall out, and my body was wired and anxious. I stopped all supplements and visited a wise old colleague who sent me home with some gentle herbal teas and homeopathic medicines. As a naturopathic doctor that loves functional medicine and scientific studies, I was a bit skeptical. But I followed her advice and noticed a deep, profound change in my body. My skin cleared, my hair stopped falling and my energy returned. Well, well, well…. The concept of gentle but powerful was not really part of my paradigm at the time. I was a creature of extremes, not balance. The harder I worked, the harder I played. No pain, no gain. I can sleep when I’m dead. Sound familiar? I cringe as I write this. My ideas began to shift and and I began to use gentler remedies with myself and my patients. Some patients continued to do well with more intense protocols, but some of my patients needed gentler options. But one thing was very clear – herbal teas were very powerful, easy, affordable and safe acne remedies. Without further ado, I would like to share my favourite Clear Skin herbal teas with you. For each cup of tea, steep 1 tsp of herb (or 1 teabag) in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Drink 2-4 cups of herbal tea per day.
- Nettle leaf tea – Nettle leaf is especially nourishing for the skin and the hair. It contains high levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C , and B vitamins. As a diuretic, it helps to flush toxins out of the body. And, most importantly for treating acne, it blocks DHT, the active androgen that causes acne.
- Holy basil (Tulsi) tea – This is probably my favorite herbal tea because ancient yogis used to drink this tea before long periods of meditation. The effect on the nervous system is profound – deeply relaxed yet alert. It is a powerful adaptagen that does not overstimulate the adrenal glands, which makes it especially invaluable to any acne patient that is suffering from stress. It balances cortisol, balances blood sugar levels and reduces anxiety.
- Spearmint tea – Don’t confuse this tea with peppermint! Studies have shown that 2 cups of spearmint tea can reduce the levels of testosterone (a type of androgen hormone that causes acne) in women with PCOS. Direct acne annihilation!
- Green tea – Green tea contains a powerful polyphenol called epigallocatechin 3-gallatte, otherwise known as EGCG, which is a clear skin powerhouse. Actions include reducing inflammation, balancing blood sugar, and balancing hormones. EGCG increases levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which bind excess androgens in the body and helps prevent acne. Used topically, green tea can reduce acne lesions by up to 50%! Be cautious if you suffer from anxiety and insomnia. The caffeine can be aggravating to the nervous system. Try a decaffeinated version instead.
- Dandelion Root tea – Dandelion tea is a stellar detoxifier. Many acne patients are not efficient detoxifiers, and dandelion root tea helps to support the liver. The result? Better detoxification and better skin. I love drinking “Dandy Blend”, which is a great coffee alternative.
- Chamomile tea – This is my go-to tea when I am out and about. Chamomile is incredibly relaxing for the nervous system and available at almost any restaurant and café. Although it doesn’t directly battle acne, its effects on the nervous system are helpful.