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Acne and Pimples – Finding relief with the right Diet and Chinese Medicine

Acne and Pimples – Finding relief with the right Diet and Chinese Medicine

Acne and larger pus-filled pimples that are sometimes even painful and itchy can indicate a profound imbalance in the body. The specific areas of the face and body where the acne is found, can indicate precisely which organs have fallen into disharmony. The most affected areas are the face, chest and upper back.

Periods of hormonal changes, stressful times, bad nutrition, climate and lifestyle changes or inner emotional conflicts can all lead to outbreaks. As a result, women and men who are affected often experience shame, low self-esteem and despair when the acne and blemishes persist long-term.

Even humidity and hot weather can create skin issues and a new outbreak of pimples.

Sometimes, skin care products help to reduce the severity however, improvement in nutrition and other internal factors is essential for profound healing of acne and pimples.

Your emotional health affects acne

Acne is most commonly present during adolescence, a period with psychological instability. But, also after this life span it can affect women and men in all kinds of ages.

Jacques Martel explains in his book “Le grand dictionnaire des malaises et des maladies” the related emotions and inner conflicts that are often seen with acne.

According to him, the face relates to our individuality and the harmony between what I live internally and what is happening externally. The face is that part of us that faces others first, the one that allows us to be accepted or rejected. Thus, acne is often associated with a lack of acceptance of oneself. It can relate to feelings about ourself or others of:  irritation, criticism, resentment, rejection, fear, shame or insecurity. In some cases the affected person may even find herself ugly or disgusting. The inner lived conflict is manifested by a revolution of pimples. Instead of experiencing liberty and movement in life, the person withdraws herself in her inner world, feels stuck and frustrated. She may even be afraid of losing her face when telling someone what she feels and fears the judgments someone could make about her.

The back represents our past, habits, old fears and anxieties. When it is on the upper back, it represents repressed anger or irritation that needs to be relieved. On the chest, it represents the future and what is planned for me.

As a result, we need to give our inner emotional wellbeing as well the needed attention for healing our skin.

Acne as seen by TCM

According to Chinese medicine, acne results from heat in the lung or stomach meridian and / or blood heat and stagnation in different energy pathways. As more heat is present, pimples can become redder, itchier and more inflamed.

Another important factor can be phlegm. A clear sign of phlegm is seen if the skin shows thick pimples, boils, swellings and fluid-filled blisters.

In this article, I would like to show you which symptoms can be seen at the different disharmonies of acne and blemishes and which simple nutrition changes can help to relieve symptoms.

Lung heat symptoms

  • dryness of mouth and nose
  • predominance of acne near the nose and lower cheeks
  • sometimes slight itching
  • often red tongue in the first third with a thin yellow coat, pulse may be rapid and floating

Disorder in the chong- and ren mai with blood heat

  • excessive emotional disturbances
  • chin, jaw and chest area are mostly affected
  • sometimes excessive hair growth
  • skin gets worse before menstruation and better when period sets in
  • may experience fullness of stomach or nausea
  • may experience premenstrual symptoms (PMS)

Stomach heat symptoms

  • constipation or dry stools
  • foul breath
  • aversion to heat
  • pimples around the mouth, shoulders and back
  • slight sweating
  • large appetite
  • increased thirst and a preference for cold drinks
  • normal or redder in the centre of the tongue with yellow, sometimes sticky coating, pulse may be rapid and forceful

Blood heat and blood and qi stagnation symptoms

  • emotional trauma and disturbances
  • long persisting severe acne with often scar tissue
  • dark red and inflamed eruptions which resemble pustules
  • flushed face
  • strong aversion to heat
  • dark urine and dry stools
  • red tongue with often redder tip and dry yellow coating, rapid pulse

All of these imbalances can be seen as well with dampness-phlegm. If this is the case you will also see:

Dampness-phlegm symptoms

  • deep, thick and fluid-filled pimples
  • swollen pimples
  • oily skin
  • thirst with no desire to drink
  • purple or red tongue with a greasy or sticky coating
  • pulse may be slippery or wiry

Diet and lifestyle changes for relieving acne and pimples

Most importantly when suffering from acne is to change the nutrition and lifestyle habits to reduce heat in the body. As seen above, heat and sometimes in combination with dampness are the causing reasons for acne. Consequently, you need to avoid foods that produce heat and eat more foods that cool down the heat. In addition to that dampness-phlegm causing foods need to be cut out. Luckily, there is a variety of foods that can be easily consumed every day.

Avoid foods that produce heat

  • chocolate and cacao
  • spices like cinnamon, pepper, piment, chilli, ginger and ginseng root, anise, rosemary, muscat, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, tabasco
  • onions and garlic
  • vinegar
  • lamb, mutton, sheep, goat, deer, sausage
  • overconsumption of meat
  • deep-fried, grilled and smoked foods
  • foods containing sulfur
  • shellfish especially shrimp
  • horseradish and leek
  • chai tea
  • alcohol especially red wine and high-percentage alcohols
  • coffee – also see my article “Coffee – Is it good or bad for your health?”

The best results are seen when you cut off these foods for at least 10 weeks and then continue to eat them very scarcely.

Other heat producing factors

  • stress and time pressure
  • suppressed and excessive emotions produce heat especially anger, frustration, sadness and dissatisfaction affect the skin health
  • eating too quickly
  • lack of sleep and going to bed too late (after 11pm)
  • hot weather

Foods that help to reduce heat

  • steamed and cooked dishes, soups and stews
  • rice, also see my article and recipe for a “Congee” 
  • amaranth, quinoa, millet (high content of silicon), polenta
  • small quantities of duck
  • steamed and cooked vegetables
  • watercress, radishes
  • sage, melissa
  • chamomile, orange flower and rose flower tea
  • peppermint and dandelion (be careful when suffering from digestive problems and a general feeling of cold)
  • apple and pear compote
  • berries like strawberry, blueberry, currant, cranberry, gooseberry
  • fresh sprouts such as nasturtium
  • small amounts of quark, sour milk, sour cream and kefir
  • legumes (be careful if you suffer from digestive problems)

If you suffer besides heat symptoms as well from dampness-phlegm you need to

Reduce foods that produce phlegm-dampness

  • overconsumption of raw foods esp. salads
  • drinking while eating
  • excessive drinking without thirst
  • white sugar and sweets (one of the most seen reasons!)
  • honey, sweets and ice-cream
  • noodles and bread
  • wheat bran, wheat sprouts
  • tomato, cucumber
  • yogurt, cheese and other milk products
  • cold drinks, soft drinks, fruit juice
  • pineapple, kiwi, rhubarb, lemon, banana, kaki, mango, papaya, watermelon, honey melon
  • dried fruits
  • algues
  • shellfish
  • soy sauce, tofu and other soy products
  • agar-agar
  • mineral water, wheat beer
  • too many eggs (more than 4 per week)
  • overconsumption of coconut milk
  • greasy foods
  • red meat
  • salt

Other dampness-phlegm producing factors

  • stress
  • fast food
  • smoking
  • drugs especially marijuana
  • humid and hot weather

Eat more reducing dampness-phlegm foods

  • eat small quantities of bitter salads like arugula, chicory, radicchio
  • basil, parsley, cardamom, curcuma, caraway seed, oregano and majoram
  • celery, black radish and cabbage
  • adzuki beans, kidney beans
  • all mushrooms especially mu-err and shiitake
  • apple and apricot
  • sardines

Clients who are suffering from acne and pimples are often very impatient to see quick results. It’s important to mention here that the longer the acne already persists the longer it will take to see results. Therefore, when the acne already exists for more than six months and has entered deeper layers, I use in my practice Chinese herbs and acupuncture to relieve symptoms quicker.

Many people suffering from acne and pimples have deep emotional conflicts which produce heat in the body. Besides the emotional aspect, stress and constant time pressure can lead to excessive heat in the body as well. Consequently, it should be looked for relaxation exercises or therapist and coaches who can help to adequately express emotions.

Do you have more questions?

Please contact me if you are interested in an individual consultation and treatment. You can also leave a comment below if you have further questions and feel free to share your experience. Do you have other tips for improving acne? Then let us know about it!

 

References

Acupuncture Case Histories from China; Chen Jirui, M.D. and Nissi Wang, M.Sc.;

Le grand dictionnaire des malaises et des maladies; Jacques Martel;

Mit der 5-Elemente-Ernährung zur Wohlfühlfigur; Barbara Temelie;

Die 8 außerordentlichen Gefäße in der traditionellen Medizin; Barbara Kirschbaum;

Menopause Hot Flashes & Sweating: 6 Natural Ways To Control It

Menopause Hot Flashes & Sweating: 6 Natural Ways To Control It

What is menopause?

In the years before and after the last menstruation, women are in their menopausal years. It indicates the transition from the life phase, in which women can have children, to the phase of life in which no pregnancy is possible.

Menopause usually begins in the mid-40s. The ovaries gradually produce fewer hormones, ovulation is less frequent and consequently, fertility decreases. An indication: the menstrual bleeding is more irregular. The cycles are often shorter at first, later often longer. Finally, the menstrual bleeding ends completely.

The very last menstrual period is called menopause and the timing varies greatly for all women. In some women, the period stops at the age of 45 or earlier. Others do not experience menopause until the mid-50s. Years can go by until the hormonal change is complete.

Menopausal symptoms

There are many women who come through menopause relatively easily and have little or no problems. Menopause is not a disease but a normal life phase. However, because the level of the female sex hormones, progesterone and oestrogen, changes during this time, symptoms can appear such as: sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disorders, mood swings, restlessness, period cycle changes, and a change in weight may occur. How likely and how strongly women suffer from menopausal symptoms is very different in each case.

What causes hot flashes and sweats during menopause?

The reason for hot flashes and sweating in menopausal women is probably the fall in oestrogen levels. This oestrogen deficiency causes an increase in stress hormones such as adrenaline. It is believed that a sudden increase in such stress hormones can lead to heat attacks and sweats.

Menopause relief for hot flashes and excessive sweating

Many women struggle with recurring hot flashes with strong sweats during menopause. Most of the time, a heat wave suddenly spreads over the face, neck and upper body. The face reddens and it follows a sweat that lasts a few minutes, then it often sets in a chill. Even at night, some women sweat increasingly during menopause. This can disturb the sleep as well. As a result, some women experience psychological and physical discomfort.

Is there a way out? Read on for some natural remedies and lifestyle tips that can help you to get it under control.

Hot flashes and excessive sweating: What you can do

Nutrition

Avoid spicy and deep-fried foods and don’t consume:

  • anise
  • fennel
  • cardamon
  • oatmeal
  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • nutmeg
  • thyme

as they are considered to have warming and heating properties according to Chinese medicine.

Eat more cooling foods like:

  • zucchini
  • spinach
  • eggplant
  • tomat0
  • watermelon
  • radish
  • cabbage
  • cucumber
  • sprouts
  • soy products

Your preferred cooking method should be steamed and boiled in water.

A very efficient way to reduce heat and sweating in the body is eating regularly “Congee”:

Congee – Health benefits and how to make this rice porridge

Coffee and alcohol only in moderation

Caffeine and alcohol can lower the oestrogen level and thus irritate the temperature controller. Anyone who has hot flashes and sweats should, therefore, reduce their coffee and alcohol consumption.

Check my article: Coffee – Is it good or bad for your health?

Herbs and medical plants

There are some herbs which can help to relieve hot flashes and sweating. These include, for example, lycopodium which is rhythm-strengthening, cooling and reduces anxiety and restlessness. Ribes nigrum (black currant) has hormone regulating effects and also helps with other menopausal symptoms. Sage is antiperspirant, cooling and balancing while strengthening the feminine aspect (Yin).

Please note that herbal medications can have interactions with other medications. Therefore, please consult an herbalist.

Breathing exercises

Breathing is vital. The body is nourished with fresh oxygen and carbon dioxide is exhaled from the body. But not only that, your breath also changes depending on your mood: If you are stressed, you breathe rather quickly and flat. If you come to rest, the breath slows down again. Deep and proper breathing is therefore important to reduce stress hormones and promotes good health and well-being.

6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less

Hot/cold showers

Many menopausal women find relief with alternating shower temperatures between hot and cold. At first, you need to start with a warm shower. Then put cold water on the bottom of the foot and bring the shower up the outer leg and back on the inside. Then repeat on the other side as well as the arms with the same procedure. After warming up with a hot shower, repeat the cold showers twice more. The treatment should end with a cold shower.

The right clothes

When suffering from hot flashes and sweating, the right clothes are important and a sweat proof undershirt can do miracles. Wear two to three thin garments over each other. You can then quickly take off a jacket or sweater during a hot flash and have a pretty women’s undershirts on. If you get cooler, put the other things back on.

About the author Carina Greweling

She is a state-approved naturopath from Germany who studied after her exam Chinese medicine, craniosacrale therapy and Bach flowers and deepened her knowledge of meditation and yoga while she was living in India. She offers in her practice in Paris tailor-made treatments and is specialised in women’s health. In regular workshops and yoga retreats she proposes to gain deeper knowledge and inspiration about a healthy body and mind. She also gives online consultations.

Vegan Broccoli Soup with Cashew Butter

Vegan Broccoli Soup with Cashew Butter

The health benefits of broccoli

Spring is all about those wonderful green veggies, and the nutty, rich flavour of broccoli makes for the perfect invigorating meal. Broccoli is full of beta-carotene, selenium, vitamin C and zinc, and is, therefore, a powerful immune system booster and helps protect the body against springtime illnesses. It is also rich in phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6 and E. This vegan creamy broccoli soup is indulgent, a treat for your taste buds and a gift to your body.

Broccoli and its properties in Chinese medicine

  • has a cooling effect
  • specifically strengthens the liver, lungs and spleen
  • helps the spleen to build up the blood, e.g. with anaemia, dry eyes, photosensitivity, brittle nails
  • expels pathogenic dampness, e.g. for oedema 
  • benefits vision health, e.g. shortsightedness, conjunctivitis, red eyes
  • is recommended for cancer prevention as it is rich in phytonutrients which support the body to rinse off these substances that can cause cancer
  • cools liver heat and helps to relieve sudden severe headache

Broccoli soup ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2-3 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

How to make it

1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Then saute for two minutes.

2. Add vegetable broth and boil about ten minutes – until broccoli is completely cooked.

3. Then add black pepper, basil, and cashew butter. Transfer to the blender and mix until smooth and creamy.

You can add fresh parsley and basil. Enjoy!

 

This article originally appeared on artoflivingretreatcenter.org/blog