You may be familiar with aloe vera for your skin, but you may not have known that chamomile has also been used to treat skin disorders. Both plants have a long history of use in medicinal treatments, and modern science is beginning to take notice. A few clinical studies have emerged, although both herbs need more evidence to be considered cures or serious treatments. The FDA does not regulate the use of these herbs, so use caution and consult a doctor before using.
Aloe is a native plant of Africa, and has traveled great distances as an ingredient in sunburn and skin softening lotions. According to MayoClinic.com, the gel from the leaves of the plant have been used topically for thousands of years to treat dermatological conditions. This succulent plant is easy to grow, making it a beneficial addition to your home pharmacopoeia.
Aloe and Skin Care
Clinical studies show that aloe can be a beneficial ingredient in skin repair. A study by S. J. Hosseinimehr, et al, published in "Acta Dermatovenerologica Croatica" in 2010, discussed the use of aloe for burn wounds. When compared to another topical cream, silver sulfadiazine, rats with burn wounds found faster healing with aloe cream. Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, has also been treated effectively with aloe, according to a study by J. F. Fowler and colleagues published in the "Journal of Drugs in Dermatology" in June of 2010. The article discusses a variety of botanicals, mentioning that aloe vera's anti-inflammatory properties may be responsible for its effectiveness.
According to Drugs.com, chamomile comes in two varieties that are commonly used as medicinals, Matricaria chamomilla, or German chamomile, and Anthemis nobilis, or common chamomile. The flowers have been used in teas to promote calm and sleep, as well as to help with diarrhea, upset stomach and travel sickness, states the website. Like aloe, chamomile has also been used on inflammatory skin conditions such as burns and wounds. The book "The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine" states that chamomile contains flavonoid and essential oils that possess significant anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy activity. The book also claims that chamomile is widely used in Europe for the treatment of psoriasis.
Chamomile and Skin Care
German chamomile was mentioned in a study by S. H. Lee, et al, published in the "Journal of Veterinary Science" in March of 2010. Mice with atopic dermatitis were given either German chamomile or jojoba oil. After four weeks mice in the chamomile group experienced less scratching, and serum levels of histamine were significantly lower than levels in the control group. The German chamomile not only had a topical effect, but it influenced blood chemistry as well.
Chamomile can also improve the appearance of skin, according to a study by L. Bauman published in the "Journal of Drugs in Dermatology" in November of 2007. The article states that chamomile can improve skin's texture and elasticity, as well as reduce signs of photodamage. It may have some antioxidant capacity, and is used in skin care products as an emollient while providing anti-inflammatory benefits.
Some allergic reaction cases have been noted in regards to chamomile. If you have an allergy to either chamomile or aloe vera, do not use. If you develop a rash or any other type of reaction, discontinue use and consult your physician. Always talk to your doctor or dermatologist before beginning the use of any new herbal supplement or topical application.