Formulas for herbal skin care are routinely comprised of many different herbs. Some herbs are known from their traditional uses that go back centuries. A few of these, especially ginseng, have also been studied in modern scientific research.
The old Chinese observation that ginseng is wasted on youth has some merit. It is perhaps the best known herb for reversing the ravages of time. Of course, people of all ages want to preserve the youthful health of their skin. Harm from too much sunlight, from dehydration or from any of a myriad of other stresses, can accelerate the aging of skin.
This is where ginseng comes to the rescue as one of the top ingredients in a multitude of herbal skin care products. It is no longer an Oriental secret. The whole world knows about the anti-aging effects of ginseng. Ginseng has even attracted attention from those geeky scientists who spend so much of their time indoors in their white lab coats.
What Makes Ginseng So Powerful?
Research on ginseng over the past several decades reveals a number of beneficial constituents. The main category of these substances is referred to as saponins. The name of this class of plant natural products comes from its soaplike properties. Saponins are partly soluble in water and partly soluble in oil. This is an ideal combination for getting through the oily upper layers of skin, all the way into the watery environment inside cells.
Getting to the right places is just the beginning for ginseng saponins. Their benefits really begin after they have infused skin cells. About two dozen unique ginseng saponins, called ginsenosides, have been discovered. Each has slightly different chemical properties, which is the foundation of their many health benefits.
When taken orally ginsenosides impact the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system, and the immune system. When used topically, in a variety of natural skin care products, ginsenosides provide a huge boost to skin health. Activities include warming the skin to enhance microcirculation, driving collagen synthesis to reduce wrinkles, reversing skin damage from overexposure to heat or UV light, and even directing healing to repair skin wounds.
It is no wonder that ginseng occupies a top position in the list of best-selling herbal products in the world.
Benefits of Ginseng for Skin Health
Boosting microcirculation, meaning blood flow to the tiny vessels in skin, accelerates the delivery of key repair factors. This is important for the complicated processes that skin metabolism has for reducing inflammation. Improving blood flow transforms reddened or dry scaly skin to a natural, healthy glow.
Inflammation is at the root of most health problems, including those of skin. Puffiness, undereye circles, and even wrinkles indicate underlying inflammatory responses. Using ginseng to boost the skin’s natural anti-inflammatory actions reverses all of these unsightly symptoms.
Skin health also depends on regeneration. Ginseng is especially important for stimulating the proliferation of new cells. Building new cells in a timely fashion is the foundation for keeping skin looking toned and youthful.
Science Behind Ginseng for Skin Health
Ginseng is one of the few herbs whose value is so great that it merits its own research journal. The Journal of Ginseng Research is a quarterly, peer-reviewed scientific publication about all aspects of ginseng and health. This journal has been publishing original works on ginseng cultivation, biology, chemistry, pharmacology, veterinary science, biochemistry, manufacture, and clinical study since 1976. It is a treasure trove of information about ginseng.
Just one recent study in the Journal of Ginseng Research shows what scientists are finding out about the importance of this herb for skin health. This study was conducted at Chonnam National University in South Korea. The experiment was designed to determine the therapeutic effects of an extract of ginsenosides on skin wound healing. The results showed positive effects by reducing the number of inflammatory cells and by enhancing collagen deposition.
This is just one example of scientific research that confirms the traditional uses of ginseng for skin health.
Finding Good Herbal Skin Care Products
A sound foundation from traditional knowledge is always a good start when evaluating formulas for herbal skin care. Plenty of herbs fit the bill. The bonus is when they also have strong backing from modern scientific research. This is where ginseng shines. Modern studies form a solid bridge to ancient wisdom. It is clear that ginseng has a lot to offer for skin health and beauty. It is truly one of the superstars in herbal skin care.