Spring is here and the first herbs have already emerged almost everywhere. Many have already made their first wild herb expeditions and caught goutweed, nettle and many other wild herbs. Did you know that wild herbs are useful also in skincare?
A lot of wild herbs are picked up nowadays just for food. They are delicious and vitamin-rich vegetables. However, learn first to identify the herbs you eat. Also learn to identify toxic plants that look like edible herbs. It is better be sure what you pick up.
When you go into the woods to pick up wild herbs in early spring, they are very small. As a small herb, they are very challenging to identify. If you are not sure what herb is in question, just let it grow for a while. Bigger herb is much easier to identify.
Basically, same wild herbs can be used both for cosmetics and for food. Wild herbs used for cosmetics must be non-toxic as well. It is good to understand that if herbs are not mentioned to be eaten, their toxins can be absorbed through the skin.
Let’s look at the three most common wild herbs that are really easy to recognize.
Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria)
Goutweed is really a common wild herb. Goutweed always grow in large groups. They spread around aggressively through their underground roots. If you pull off the goutweed with roots you will only spread it even further. Broken roots start immediately spreading the weed. The easiest way to eliminate goutweed is to cut the stem. So, if you want to have goutweed in your garden, don’t cut the stem but always pull it off with roots.
The goutweed is easy to identify because it smells like a carrot. Rip the goutweed stem or leaf and smell; you can clearly smell the fresh carrot.
The other thing that makes goutweed easy to recognize is that it has a very clear chute on the stem. The shape of stem is not round.
The leaves of goutweed are divided into three parts and these three parts are again divided into three parts.
The goutweed can be mixed with a cowbane or a fool’s parsley. However, the leaves of cowbane are different and it grows in wetlands and near the shore. The leaves and stem of the fool’s parsley look also different.
The goutweed usually grows in the yards in semi-shade, even in fairly dry places. It’s a real spring’s wild herb. The goutweed is also very useful in skin care. Use it fresh because then you will get the most out of it.
Health benefits of goutweed
The goutweed is an old medicinal plant. It has been used for hundreds of years for rheumatism and especially for gout. In England, goutweed is sometimes called the herb of St. Gerard. St. Gerard is the patron saint of people suffering from rheumatic diseases.
For the skin, the goutweed does not provide any actual medicinal effect. In cosmetics, it is wise to use herbs that do not have medicinal effects. Medical herbal ointments are different thing. However, the goatweed is full of minerals and especially vitamin C, which is essential for the skin. Goutweed is a soothing herb for the skin. Of course, anyone can also be allergic to it. So, test the goutweed cosmetics first on your skin before you do an entire facial herbal treatment.
Here are a few old guidelines how to use goutweed in skin care
Moisturizing honey-goutweed face mask
This face mask contains goutweed juice. I used a food processor to shred a mixture of goutweed and cucumber as small as possible. I used my hands to squeeze the juice.
Mix following together:
- 2 tablespoons goutweed juice
- 2 tablespoons of cucumber juice
- 1 teaspoon of good quality honey
Soak the mixture in a face cloth (a linen cloth is good) and leave it on your face for 20 minutes. At the end, rinse your skin with clean, lukewarm water.
Goutweed mask for oily skin
- 2 tablespoons of grounded goutweed
- 1 tablespoon of milk
- A little organic oatmeal
Use the ingredients to make a paste and apply to the skin. Oatmeal is included to make the paste firmer. So it is up to you how much you want to use them.
Apply the mixture to the skin and let it be for 15 minutes. Rinse off gently.
Goutweed mask for dry skin
- 2 tablespoons of grounded goutweed
- 1 raw yolk
- 1 teaspoon of your favourite facial oil
Make a paste and apply to the skin. Let it be for 15 minutes and rinse with cool water.
Skin rejuvenating goutweed infusion
- A handful of fresh goutweeds
- 1 litre of boiling water
Pour boiling water over the goutweeds and let simmer for about an hour. Add the goutweed infusion to bath water. You can also rinse your hair with a goutweed infusion. It should eliminate dandruff.
Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
Everyone knows the nettle. It’s the first of spring herbs. Nettle shoots are already finding their way up through the snow in March. As a nutrition, very small nettles are the best. In cosmetics, nettle can be used throughout the growing season. There is no problem in strong oxalic acids when used externally. Big nettles can also be picked up for baths and drying if used only externally. Many wild herbs in skin care are not as effective as nettle. I have written earlier about nettles here.
Nettle contains a lot of silicon. It is therefore well known in hair care and nowadays also in skin care. Nettle suits best for dark hair as a hair rinse. It gives a nice, little depth to the dark colour. Nettle gives a beautiful shine to the hair.
Nettle increases blood circulation on the surface of skin. Therefore, it is good additive to lotions and creams. It also removes heavy metals from the skin and acts as a detox in masks.
Because nettle contains oxalic acid, it works well as an sour rinse instead of vinegar. For this purpose, especially the biggest, grand nettles from the edge of the compost are the best. They are just the nettles that should not be used for food.
For cosmetics, nettles should always be heated. The burning stings of nettle are destroyed when heated. So put, the nettles in boiling water for at least 10 minutes before use. Filter the nettle water with a coffee filter to get all the stings off. You can use such an infusion as a base for toner or for the water phase of cream.
Prepare a nettle rinse for your hair
Nettle rinse suits well for the treatment of dark hair. At the same time, it treats the scalp and prevents dandruff
- 1 litre of fresh nettles, loosely measured
- 2 litres of fresh water
Boil the nettles slowly in the water for about 20 minutes
Filter the liquid and use it to rinse dark hair.
Dandelion is also familiar to everyone. The hated and loved dandelion is a weed that spreads sunshine-coloured love in every yard, sometimes or even usually too much.
Dandelion has become a popular wild vegetable in salads. It tastes nicely bitter like arugula (rucola). Round-leaf dandelions are slightly milder. Buttons of dandelion are also a popular vegetable.
Dandelions can also be used in cosmetics. Many wild herbs in skin care are worth a try. The cream made from dandelion flowers is effective for neck and shoulder pain areas. It is worth trying sometimes if you want to use herbal therapeutic creams.
Dandelion is a good herb for impure skin. It inhibits the growth of bacteria in the skin and soothes the skin. Dandelion has been used in traditional herbal medicine to remove warts and control fungal infections of the skin.
Dandelion soothes the skin and works well on sunburned skin. You can make an after-sun product from a dandelion infusion. Use a dandelion infusion as the water phase of the cream. I have written instructions for the preparation of infusions here. You can read the basic instructions for the emulsion cream here.
If you do not want to make an emulsion cream, you can always extract the dandelion with the base oil of your choice. A suitable oil could be, for example, sunflower oil. I will introduce you to making oil extraction here.
Here’s how to make a soothing dandelion facial toner
- Pick up 7.5-10 decilitres dandelions from a clean place
- Put the dandelions in a jar with a lid and fill it with boiling water
- Allow the mixture to cool, close the lid and put it in a fridge for three days
- Strain the liquid and bottle it in a spray bottle. Use as a toner
- Store toner in the refrigerator, as it does not contain any preservative. Of course, you can add a preservative if you wish.
- Dandelion toner will remain usable for about 5 days if you store it in the refrigerator.
Dandelion toner can be sprayed on the face and all over the skin. It curbs inflammation, narrows pores and soothes the skin.
Differences between dandelion and nettle
Nettle was a sour plant in nature. The nature of the dandelion is again clearly alkaline. Nettle speeds up the skin’s blood circulation but dandelion soothes the skin. So you should think about which plant you want to use for skin care. If you have acne rosacea skin condition, then dandelion is better for you. Nettle could make your skin really red.
I have now presented you three wild herbs, which you can prepare cosmetics. Wild herbs in skin care may not be so familiar to everyone. I really want you to get excited to try them. The time of wild herbs is soon at its best. It is essential to take full advantage of what nature has to offer.
Have you tried any other wild herbs in making home cosmetics?