Herbs for the Skin

Pore Story: Herbs for the Skin

January 11, 2015

Heather Wood Buzzard


Just as the snake sheds his skin, so we must shed ours.” - the Buddha

I. The Skin as Voice, The Pore as Story

...questions for reflection...

What is the story my skin is trying to tell me?

Am I comfortable in the skin I am in?

Why skin? Why not fur, feathers, scales, spines? How does our skin express our unique humanity and ability to communicate? What does the skin, as our outer covering of choice, lend itself to? What does it do best?

If my skin had a voice, what would it say? How would it say it? Why? How can I work with my skin to and listen to what it is telling me?

II. From the Outside In

  • Plantain (Plantago major, lanceolata) leaf and seed

    • Poultice, infusion of the dried leaf, fresh leaf oil/salve, edible cooked green.

  • Comfrey (Symphytum uplandica, officinale) root and leaf

    • Infusion of the leaf – up to 3 quarts/week, fresh leaf or root oil/salve.

  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) leaf and flower

    • Tincture of fresh flower in spray, tea, poultice, fresh leaf/flower oil/salve.

  • Violet (Viola odorata etc...) leaf and flower – NOT root

    • Tincture, edible cooked or raw green, infusion of the dried leaf, poultice.

  • Chickweed (Stellaria media) leaf and flower

    • Poultice, fresh herb oil/salve, edible raw green, infusion.

  • Calendula (Calendula officinale) flower

    • Tincture, oil/salve of fresh flower, edible raw flower.

  • Elder flower (Sambucus nigra)

    • Tincture, infusion, vinegar, oil/salve.

  • St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum, punctatum) flowering/budding stalk

    • Oil/salve, tincture.

III. From the Inside Out

  • Black Birch (Betula lenta) bark

    • Infusion of dried inner bark, tincture, syrup.

  • Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) flower and a little leaf

    • Infusion of the blossom – up to 2 quarts/week, edible raw flower.

  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root, leaf, sap and flower

    • Tincture, edible raw or cooked, sap topically on skin, dried leaf infusion.

  • Burdock (Arctium minus, lappa) root and leaf

    • Tincture of fresh root, infusion of the dried root, edible raw or cooked, poultice of the leaf, oil of the seed.

  • Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus) root

    • Tincture.


Sk-Infusion for Chronic or Acute Skin Challenges

Burdock root ¼ cup

Sassafras root 1 tbsp

Sassafras leaf ¼ cup

Black birch bark ¼ cup

Dandelion root ¼ cup

Pour boiling water over the dried herbs in a 1 quart mason jar and lid tightly. Steep 4-8 hours, strain, and enjoy at room temperature, iced, or re-heated with a bit of honey.

Nature's Wash and Toner

Any or all of the herbs in the “From the Outside In” section above, dried or fresh


Rose petals



Place the herbs in roughly equal parts into an appropriate size glass jar until the jar is full up to about 1 inch from the top. Pour organic witch hazel extract over the herbs until they are well covered. Lid and shake well. Label and let “brew” out of the sunlight for 4-6 weeks or longer as desired. Strain out the herbs, compost them, and use the resulting (blackish) liquid as an incredibly astringent, antiseptic, antibacterial, scar-healing, and anti-inflammatory face wash and toner. Also very useful for a wound wash and topical application for rashes, cutes/scrapes, blisters, explosive pustules or papules, and many other skin abrasions.

Book Recommendations and Further Information

  • Skin Deep: A Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin by Ted Grossbart

  • Stop Picking On Me (available online only at stoppickingonme.com)

  • Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar

  • The Earthwise Herbals (Volumes 1 and 2) by Matthew Wood

  • The Wise Woman Herbal by Susun Weed

  • Naturally Healthy Skin: Tips & Techniques for a Lifetime of Radiant Skin by Stephanie Tourles