Going Back to our Roots

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This week I want to hone in on one of my favorite aspects of my practice: botanical medicine. Botanical medicine refers to the use of plants and herbs to treat or prevent various medical conditions. This alternative therapy has been around for thousands of years and used with great success.

Although a novel could be written about the many ways to utilize plants as medicine (and many have been), there are two areas I want to focus on specifically - how herbs can be instrumental in helping both the skin and liver. Our largest external organ (the skin) and our largest internal organ (the liver) are deeply interconnected. So much so, that our skin acts as a direct reflection of how the body is functioning. If your skin is off, something’s gotta give - and it might be your liver.

The liver is the hub of detoxification in our body. Anything that goes on our skin or that we ingest is broken down and eventually reaches the liver through the bloodstream, think portal vein. Take a moment to reflect on your life on a daily basis and the countless toxins we are exposed to - air pollutants, hidden additives in beauty products, pesticides, processed foods… the list goes on.

Whether we realize it or not, our liver sorts through all of those substances and cleans up our blood via filtration. It takes a lot of work! As time goes on, the liver can become congested and overloaded with toxins. The body then uses other outlets, such as the skin, to get rid of the excess toxic buildup. That’s when we begin to see the dreaded breakouts or dull and dry complexion.

With that being said, the liver can always use some help to boost its capabilities. The wonderful thing about botanical medicine is that it is able to accomplish this in a gentle way that works in conjunction with your body, rather than causing further harm. Supporting your liver with specific herbs not only helps to decongest the detoxification pathways, it then helps you get that glow from the inside out. Here are some of my favorite herbs which I love incorporating into my own routine: 

  • Schisandra 

    • This herb is also known as an adaptogen, meaning it is able to protect the body from a multitude of stressors and strengthen the immune system. More so, it is wonderful for overall liver function. The reason being that it stimulates enzymes in the liver and promotes new liver cell, hepatocyte, growth. Plus, having this herb in tea-form tastes great, too!

  • Saw Palmetto

    • Not just for men! If you struggle with hormonal acne, look no further. Its anti-androgenic properties make this plant the perfect choice. Androgens are the hormones associated with male characteristics and when in excess, can cause hormonal acne. Women battling with PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, typically have an excess of androgens, which presents as hormonal acne (seen along the jawline or on your back), oily skin and hair, excess hair growth and irregular menstruation.

  • Dandelion

    • You mean those pesky weeds you find in your backyard? Yes, that’s right! These little guys are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. For that reason, some people will actually eat them raw and add them into salads. They have been shown to protect liver tissue and also act as a diuretic. Clear skin here we come!

  • Milk Thistle

    • Many studies have shown this plant to be effective in treating inflammatory conditions that negatively impact the liver, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis. It also has antioxidant properties, which as we know, is essential for feeling our best!

  • Chamomile

    • I am sure you have heard of this one before! Calming is what this herb does best - especially for the skin. It has both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it will help to clear pores and keep skin looking as smooth as ever.

  • Sarsaparilla

    • Last but certainly not least, this plant not only fights cancer cells, it fights free radicals too. It acts as a diuretic, helping your body release toxins and excess fluids more quickly, as well as maintaining electrolyte balance. This herb is also rich in flavonoids, which are the powerful antioxidants found in plants! It has been shown to reverse liver damage and keep it functioning at optimal levels.

Remember, your skin tells a story that your insides cannot… so make sure you are paying close attention! There are so many wonderful remedies for clearing skin and helping the liver detox. I personally use Pure Encapsulations Liver GI Detox and Vital Nutrients Liver Support II. These formulations give you an amazing boost all in one dose through incorporating many of the herbs I mentioned - and even more. Check out my online store for those supplements and all of my favorite liver & skin loving go-to’s.

Lana Butner