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If the eyes are the window to the soul, the skin is the window to our physical health. Even though our skin is on the outside of our body, the texture and appearance of the skin is a result of what is happening within the body. Glowing, supple skin is a reflection of good gut health and circulation. Skin that appears red, dry, inflamed, and itchy, is a sign that your body needs a little extra love and self-care, so here are the best tips, teas, and foods to help you correct these imbalances naturally using the healing power of plants.
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Redness and inflammation are classic indicators of too much internal heat in the body. Internal heat isn't mentioned in modern medicine, but in both Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, heat in the body refers to certain conditions and symptoms that include:
- Inflammation and joint pain
- Frequent breakouts
- Canker sores in the mouth
- Anger and irritability
- Excessive sweating
- Rashes on the skin
There are several things you can do to counteract excessive internal heat naturally: drink teas that have a cooling effect, avoid aggravating foods, and try to keep your emotions on an even keel.
The best herbal teas for cooling internal heat in the body include chrysanthemum, hibiscus, and rose petals. Green tea is also cooling, especially jasmine green tea. These teas do not need to be served chilled in order to be effective. Surprisingly, iced drinks create stress in your digestive system, so drink the teas hot, warm, or at room temperature for best results.
Loose Leaf teas that have a cooling effect on your body:
- Moroccan Rose Mint is a refreshing tea that can be enjoyed warm or cool, but also makes a wonderful facial rinse
- Inflammation Relief is a blend of cooling botanicals, including chrysanthemum and rose petals, that relieve both inflammation and stress
- Jasmine Green tea combines the benefits of green tea with the cooling and soothing effects of fresh jasmine
Certain foods can aggravate and increase internal heat, such as acidic and sour food, spicy food, fried food, and processed food. This doesn't mean that you need to avoid all spices; there is a huge difference between freshly made salsa and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (which can actually erode the lining of your stomach). While spices tend to be warming, fresh herbs like cilantro, Italian parsley, and dill, are cooling, and reduce excess heat. Fresh herbs add a ton of flavor, so add them to your salads and soups, and sprinkle them on fresh veggies and fish.
Cooling foods include juicy fruits such as melon, cucumbers, pears, raspberries, and strawberries. If you eat dairy, avoid hard cheeses, which are harder to digest, and opt for a soft, mild cheese like chevre.
Another way to reduce internal heat is to learn to keep your emotions cool and level through meditation, slow deep breathing, and being mindful about your emotional state. The temperature of emotion is baked right into our language: anger is hot; frustration is a steady burn; jealousy is sharp and acidic; chronic stress is like friction heat. Conversely, a calm and tranquil emotional state is associated with coolness: keep a cool head; don’t lose your cool; cool it, guys; go cool off; cool and composed; just chillin'; chill out. An unemotional person is called “cold.”
Because chronic stress has such a negative effect on your skin, work on reducing your stress before reaching for expensive creams that will sit on the surface of your skin but not actually solve the problem. The best herbal teas to relieve chronic stress include lemon balm, linden, and passionflower. Loose Leaf’s Daily Calm blend contains all three and is available right here.
As with all natural remedies, remember that healing is a process, not an event, so stick with it, be consistent with your efforts, and you will see results.
*This information has not been evaluated by the FDA, and is not intended to diagnose or cure a medical issue, or replace professional medical care. If you are pregnant or nursing, are under the care of a physician, or on prescription medication, talk to your health care provider before making any changes to your diet or routine.