Tips from our herbalist: August
Monday 14 August 2017
With summer in the UK seemingly over for this year, resident Herbal Technician Jane Wallwork-Gush optimistically shares ideas for natural sun protection.
It is summer time and the weather is unseasonably cold and wet, but we live in hope that the sun will come out soon and bathe the earth in warm rays. The sun is the giver of light and heat, symbolic of life, growth and energy and many deities have been associated with the sun. It has been worshipped by many and we still worship the sun today albeit it in the pursuit of warm bright holidays!
Minimising exposure to the sun to avoid harmful UV rays, wearing a hat and keeping skin covered where possible are important practical steps. It's also possible to eat a diet rich in skin protecting nutrients. The following can help in defending against skin damage from the sun:
- Blue green algae such as Spirulina (pictured above) and Chlorella contain a powerful antioxidant called Astaxanthin.
- Carrots, sweet potato and red pepper are sources of beta carotene, another antioxidant which protects the skin from free radical damage. Our carrot root macerated oil would make an excellent daily supplement.
- Lutein is another antioxidant offering protection to the skin from UV damage, leafy greens are an excellent source and kale & spinach powder can be added to a smoothie, as can tomato powder which contains lutein.
- Green tea has proved to be an exceptionally powerful antioxidant and is a perfect way to keep cool on a hot summer day. A spray bottle filled with ice cold tea and/or Sage hydrosol can also be used as a cooling face and body mist suitable for use by the whole family.
Alongside commercial sun screens, many oils have SPF values and can give some protection, with carrot oil being an excellent choice as it has a double advantage of being macerated in sesame oil, a natural sunscreen absorbing UV rays of the sun. Evening Primrose oil also absorbs UV radiation. A gentle cream can be made at home:
40ml Evening Primrose Oil
60ml Carrot Macerated in Sesame Oil
100ml Sage Hydrosol
Heat the oils and the beeswax together in a double boiler pan or use a glass bowl in a saucepan of water. When they have melted, remove from the heat and slowly add the Sage Hydrosol and beat until smooth. Place the cream in a jar and keep in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Apply generously before going out in the sun.
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