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Foods, Herbs & Plants to Boost Natural Collagen Production

Foods, Herbs & Plants to Boost Natural Collagen Production

Collagen the Fountain of Youth

Who needs botox when there is collagen? One of the main organic components of the skin (80%) is collagen.

Collagen makes your skin elastic and is responsible for how tight or how flaccid and wrinkled it is. Besides being beneficial for a firm, smooth and glowing skin, it has other benefits on our health:

  • Supports bone health
  • Promotes vascular health
  • Keeps nails strong
  • Prevents hair loss
  • Supports eye health
  • Boosts immune system
  • Promotes joint and cartilage health
  • Supports gut health

Collagen – the inner corset of the body

Did you know that collagen is the most important fiber component of skin, bones, tendons, blood vessels, cartilage and teeth?

In the human body we find it mainly in the connective tissue. Collagen is the most important structural protein of the skin and works like an internal scaffold that holds our body together.

Collagen contains the three amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, which the body needs to produce its own collagen. A well-functioning collagen formation is essential for the health of our skin.

Our body independently forms the natural building substance daily with the help of certain cells, so-called fibroblasts. These store moisture and promote skin regeneration.

But unfortunately it doesn’t stay that way forever.

With aging the collagen breaks down faster than it is formed. As a result new collagen forms, but more slowly until the collagen renewal lags behind the breakdown.

The result: our skin becomes dull, lacklustre and wrinkles form.

So what to do to keep the skin firm and beautiful for a long time?

Collagen-boosting foods, plants and herbs

There are several foods, plants and herbs that help to boost collagen and promote a more youthful looking and radiant skin. Feed your skin beauty from the inside-out.

Foods rich in Collagen

Bone broth, chicken fricassee, fish, shell fish, egg white and gelatine.

TIP: Vitamin C is important for collagen synthesis. The body needs a sufficient supply to produce collagen. To get the most out of your collagen intake, always pair it with vitamin C. Find a list of vitamin C rich foods here.

Aloe vera

Rich in vitamin A and C, antioxidants and highly anti-inflammatory it is a great remedy for the skin. It can be applied topically or taken orally. It has been used for healing wounds, burns and cuts for ages. Find here my recipe for “Skin Boost Smoothie.

Holy basil

An Indian herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. Due to its antioxidant actions it helps with irritations such as acne, eczema and cleans pores and treats successful blemishes. It contains ursolic acid which help protect the skin and has as well anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Furthermore, it increases the elasticity and, as a result reduces wrinkles.

Pearl powder (Zhen Zhu)

One of the most used Chinese herbs for a glowing complexion and can be found in pills, tooth pastes and face masks. It´s rich in many trace minerals, amino acids, boosts antioxidants and fibroblasts in the body.

Huang Qi

It´s commonly used in beauty formulas as it increases the blood flow to the skin. As a result it flushes out toxins and fights free radicals and acts as a great immune system booster. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial actions help the skin to maintain its firmness and elasticity.

Schizandra (Wu Wei Zi)

Another Chinese herb that is considered to be a great anti-aging herb. It is said to protect fibroblasts from UV radiation and to eliminate stress-related signs of fatigue. Furthermore, it detoxifies and protects the liver.

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM herbs.

Chinese medicine offers as well Gua Sha for the face, a specific type of facial massage with a scraping tool to encourage circulation, lymph flow and to smooth wrinkles. Learn more about it and save your spot at my next online live workshop.

Gua Sha Face Massage – Get rid of Wrinkles and Pimples Naturally

 

Online Facial Gua Sha Course

Pamper your skin with the treatment once reserved for Chinese royalty. This course will provide you with the Gua Sha techniques to use as part of your home beauty regime.

Encourage your collagen where you want to, tighten facial muscles, move your lymphs and remove puffiness for a younger and brighter looking face.

Gua Sha Face Massage – Get rid of Wrinkles and Pimples Naturally

Gua Sha Face Massage – Get rid of Wrinkles and Pimples Naturally

Gua Sha the natural facelift

An effective help against wrinkles, blemishes and pimples that you can do yourself, wouldn´t that be great? And if you could see the results right after the treatment, that would be even better! Gua Sha face massage can do this.

Facial Gua Sha is the Chinese beauty secret to rejuvenate your skin naturally and to smoothen your wrinkles. That´s why we call it the “Botox of the Far East”. This centuries-old method from Traditional Chinese Medicine has proven itself in a way no cream, no matter how expensive, can do. It makes sense to fight facial aging holistically instead of injecting individual wrinkles which brings some health risks with it. The results of Gua Sha are visible on the entire face and the treatment has a noticeably positive effect on health and well-being.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha, also called scraping, is an ancient massage technique in which the skin is repeatedly scraped with a rounded object (porcelain spoon, coin, horn or jade scraper). It is often used on the back and muscles, where the scraper is pressed firmly onto the skin and repeatedly moved along a meridian, muscle cord or fascia.

Gua Sha helps to dissolve stagnations that have accumulated in skin, muscle and connective tissue. The skin itself is irritated but not injured. As a result, bruises can occur in these areas. However, these are only a sign that the tissue is detoxifying. 

But no worry, this is not going to happen when we do Gua Sha on the face.

How to use Gua Sha on your face

The face is only gently scraped in certain directions without producing any bruises, just strong enough to reach the deeper connective tissue. The result is supposed to be rosy skin with good blood circulation. Consequently, the face will look more sculpted and lifted.

How much pressure we apply is very individual. While one woman gets red skin very quickly, another has to scrape very long until the skin really shows colour.

A Gua Sha facial treatment also includes the neck and décolleté as tensions in these areas also influence the face features. We normally use a Jade scraper for the treatment. Jade is a cooling and cleansing stone. 

Of course, it’s great to begin with it early in life but it´s never too late to start with this anti-aging face massage. Besides smoothing scars and wrinkles and preventing new ones, it helps to have a fresh rosy complexion with soft and friendly facial features. Blemishes and acne can improve significantly from it.

gua sha jade scraper

How often and when best

The best time to scrape is in the evening. During the Gua Sha face massage the facial fascia gets a lot of impulses, and the tissue continues processing them without you noticing it at full speed. As a result, the skin is much more sensitive to sun light and air pollution and needs the rest and safety of being at home. The actual work of the fascia often happens after the massage. Many acupuncture points are stimulated during the scraping. Therefore the skin is happy when it has some time to relax afterwards and you will have a better and more profound result the next morning.

8 benefits of Gua Sha facial massage

1. Powerful remedy for acne and pimples

The stimulated blood circulation improves wound healing and the skin has an improved ability to clean dirt, sebum and clogged pores. Therefore it has a very positive effect on acne and pimples. 

2. Gua Sha smoothes the skin

After the treatment the skin looks a bit like ironed out. When you have already scraped one side of the face, compare it with the other one. You will see a difference!

3. Detoxifies the tissue

Gua Sha has a strong detoxifying and cleansing effect and helps expelling disease-promoting substances out of the body.

4. Frees the fascia

Glued fascia are stimulated to remove blocked substances, which have settled over time in certain areas.

5. Moves the lymph

The scraping massage moves the lymphatic fluid and thus helps the lymphatic system to remove waste materials. The lymphatic system becomes sluggish with age, which leads to unsightly swellings e.g. puffy eye bags.

6. Relieves tension

Muscle tension such as in the jaw or neck are loosened. Sometimes the tension is more concentrated in the forehead and mouth area. You might subconsciously press your lips or draw your eyebrows together and this encourages new wrinkles. Gua Sha helps the muscles to get rid of the tension and can help to improve headaches, neck and jaw pain.

7. Improves the absorption of nutrients

After the massage the skin is extremely well supplied with blood, and nutrients can be absorbed and stored again in the skin. Therefore it´s advisable to put on a face mask from time to time after scraping.

8. Stimulates the flow of energy

Since there are many meridians in the face, the Gua Sha massage stimulates countless acupuncture points. This benefits the face’s energy cycle. Consequently, tensions in the neck and jaw and jammed lymphs on the throat can be unblocked and removed. 

Online Facial Gua Sha Course

I invite you to learn this wonderful method very comfortably in my online course so that you can use it with a good feeling. In this course you will learn the full technique for applying Gua Sha in your face, neck and décollté.

The Gua Sha self-massage takes less than 10 minutes once you master it, and it significantly enhances your face care program. 

The online course includes as well:

  • face gymnastic
  • lymphatic drainage anti-aging massage
  • post-treatment face mask 
  • herbal tea mixture for better skin

VIRTUAL GUA SHA PARTY – BOOKING BUTTON BELOW

When: Thursday, June 4th at 8.30pm CET

Where: we meet on Zoom

Read on for more tips:

Foods, Herbs & Plants to Boost your Collagen Production

Online Facial Gua Sha Course

Pamper your skin with the treatment once reserved for Chinese royalty. This course will provide you with the Gua Sha techniques to use as part of your home beauty regime.

Encourage your collagen where you want to, tighten facial muscles, move your lymphs and remove puffiness for a younger and brighter looking face.

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.

Stay connected and drop by on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.

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 brokkoli sprouts
  • 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.

Also see my article: Gua Sha Facial Massage – Get rid of Wrinkles and Pimples Naturally

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.

How would it feel to free yourself from your symptoms? Ready to change and invest time and energy to get to the root of your problem? Then book your session now. I am looking forward to meeting you.

 

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;

Congee: Health Benefits and How to Make this Rice Porridge

Congee: Health Benefits and How to Make this Rice Porridge

Congee is a healing rice porridge used as an everyday medicine to heal and sustain your health

Where does this healthy, simple rice porridge come from?

This ancient recipe from Traditional Chinese Medicine heals your gut health and is a real dish for kings. Food is one of the most important pillars of sustaining health and therefore, congee is high up the list! This silky, savoury porridge is an everyday breakfast in China and in some other parts of the world. Congee is also called jook, khao tom moo, and arroz caldo.

What are the health benefits of eating congee?

To be straight with you, you have probably eaten more intense flavoured dishes. However, this simple grain soup is easily digested and assimilated, tonifies the blood and the Qi, harmonizes the digestion and soothes inflammation. It ensures an optimal balance for Yin and Yang which results in good health. If you want to detox your body, cure your intestinal flora, lose some weight or enhance energy circulation, eat this creamy rice porridge on a regular basis.

Which health problems can be addressed with congee?

– red skin rashes like atopic dermatitis, eczema, acne
– water retention (oedema)
– overweight
– food allergies
– digestive problems, especially stomach burning, soft stools, diarrhoea
– hot flashes
– cellulite
– endometriosis
– cysts, fibroids and myomas
– chronic bladder infections and urinary tract infections
– headaches and migraines
– menstruation problems
– recurrent lung infections and respiratory allergies
– congested nose and sinuses

When should you avoid eating congee?

– during pregnancy
– if you are underweight or suffering from anorexia
– if you have chronic ice-cold feet and constant freezing
– if you are experiencing chronic constipation and hard, painful stools
– when feeling very weak and exhausted

Do you want a better and more aligned life to achieve deeply desired results? A life with more energy, a peaceful mind, and habits that go toward lifelong health and wellness? Discover my health and lifestyle program Embody to Thrive.
Discover more

How to make congee?

To prepare congee, you simply need to simmer a small amount of rice in a large amount of water for several hours (3-4 hours).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice (around 100g)
  • 10 cups of water

The proportion must be 1: 10. If your digestion is weak, take white rice. Otherwise, I recommend you whole grain rice. Always take organic rice to lower the risk of having arsenic in your rice.

Equipment

Pressure cooker (needs less cooking time, around 1-2 hours) or saucepan with a lid.

How to cook

  • Combine the rice and water in the cooker.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and partially cover.
  • Continue simmering for around 3-4 hours (pressure cooker less). Stir the congee from time to time. If the porridge is getting too stiff, add more water.
  • Serve the congee in a bowl and enjoy with a spoon. No spices, salt and fat are added.

Congee can also be cooked from other grains depending on the therapeutic goals.

How often should I eat congee?

This depends on which issues and goals you have. You can replace one of your regular daily meals with a bowl of congee. Ideally eaten in the morning between 7 – 11 am as this is when the spleen and stomach are most active. The congee warms up the digestive system and sets a good foundation for the body to absorb the nutrients from the rest of the food that you will eat throughout the day.

If you want to do a rice cure, simply eat the congee for 3 to 7 days. At least 3 days are necessary, as it is during this period of time that a person’s gut bacteria changes. To further help the body rinse out the toxins, it is recommended that you drink plenty of hot, boiled water and herbal teas based on your personal demand. If you have slight problems of evacuation of the bowels, soak some chia seeds overnight in water and add them to your congee.

How would it feel to free yourself from your symptoms?  Ready to change and invest time and energy to get to the root of your problem? Then book your session now. I am looking forward to meeting you.