“Outer beauty is inner beauty made visible.”
– Paulo Coelho
“Pretty is something you’re born with. But beautiful, that’s an equal opportunity adjective.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
We can talk about the biological pathways, the enzymes and mechanisms of action for herbs that are known to elevate physical beauty (and we will), however, ultimately, it’s the cliché that is most deeply accurate; true beauty radiates from within. When you feel good, you look good. When you do good, you look good. When you show yourself love, you look good. So these herbs are tools for self-care, take them with the intention to nourish and nurture yourself in your entirety.. not just because they increase collagen production, have potent antioxidant effects or you discover that they make your hair thick and shiny!
Also of note is that essentially all Adaptogens can be considered herbs for beauty, as they increase resilience to stress and stress and aging are almost synonymous, and that when we see evidence of a herbs effects on the outside (eg. Improved skin tone or hair lustre), it is evidence of the good it is doing within, as the body will naturally prioritise the healing and integrity of internal tissues over external.
Schisandra is a beauty secret dating back to ancient China. It helps to protect skin from environmental stress and toxin accumulation while promoting hydration and improved skin tone. It is believed to work partly by balancing the fluids of the skin.
Studies have shown evidence that Schisandra enhances mitochondrial antioxidant status. An effect that may offer generalised protection against environmental, emotional, and chemical stressors.
It has also been used for centuries, with much success, for people who suffer from mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and mood swings and for promoting mental clarity, increasing motivation, and raising energy levels.
It has a dual effect on the nervous system that is a hallmark of many adaptogenic herbs. It is a mild central nervous system stimulant that enhances reflexes, and performance, and at the same time it is calming and helpful in relieving anxiety.
It helps to enhance endocrine function and male and female reproductive health and healthy sexual energy.
In one journal published study, “findings suggested that Schisandra extract protected skin against photoageing by inhibiting secretion of (catalytic enzymes), reducing collagen degradation, enhancing the anti-oxidant defence system by suppressing lipid peroxidation and improving glutathione levels, and by delaying cell ageing.”1 Essentially, they protect against oxidative damage.
Another study showed that active compounds in Schisandra decrease the activity of enzymes that break down elastin in skin. 2 Elastin is a lesser known protein than collagen, but equally important in maintaining skin health, integrity, tone and texture.
There are a myriad of pathways herbs can work on that directly affect “beauty”, in particular skin health.
They may purify the blood (such as Indian Sarsaparilla in YIN YANG), draw toxins out of tissues (TRIPHALA & Chlorella, Spirulina & Nettle in GREEN DEVI), improve liver function (SCHISANDRA), digestion & gut health (YOGI), hormone balance (SHAKTI, MOON, ROSE & HE SHOU WU) or circulation (SCHISANDRA, BHAKTI).
These actions will all show in the skin over time, and are indicative of health and healing from within.
They are then perfectly complemented with other “beauty herbs”, that have specific antioxidant (and therefore anti-aging) properties, or have a special affinity with skin health and collagen production such as;
SCHISANDRA, ROSEHIP (found in our BHAKTI, GLOW & COCO IMMUNE blends), ROSE (also in our GLOW and BHAKTI blends), and GOJI & ALOE (both found in GLOW).
Please note; according to TCM, schisandra is contraindicated in cases of excess heat, or in the early stages of a rash or cough. May exacerbate gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcers. It is also contraindicated in patients with epilepsy, hypertension, intracranial pressure, pregnancy, breastfeeding & CNS depression.
1 Inhibitory effects of Schisandra chinensis extract on acne-related inflammation and UVB-induced photoageing Miaomiao Guo, Yue Lu, Junpeng Yang, Xin Zhao & Yanhua Lu
2 Schisandrin B protects against solar irradiation-induced oxidative injury in BJ human fibroblasts. Chiu PY1, Lam PY, Yan CW, Ko KM.