unicaArticol publicat in "UNICA"

unica- Oct 1999 -

La vie en rose!
by Bianca Brad

Cosmetic is the art of beauty, and the term comes from the Greek kosmos, meaning order, system, jewelry, and decoration. Here it refers to our effort to care for and keep a harmonious external beauty. The specialists rather deal with the beauty aspect than with health, leaving, as normal, this second preoccupation with the dermatologists. Therefore, should the face creams contain substances so strong as to provide for the miracle effect promised in the ads, they must be released only on a recipe. The truth is that no cream in the ads exceeds in skin beneficial substances the natural products in fruit and garden vegetables. Then, why not use what’s at hand, considering its efficiency, and why not saving money?!

In the last issue we’ve seen how good the fruit is for skin and body. This time we are going to see the qualities of plants. From the 3,600 species existing in Romania, some 10% are used in the traditional medicine. To use them efficiently, the plants can be prepared for an infusion, decoction, maceration, cataplasms, etc.

Infusion: this is the most frequent way to use the plants, especially their leaves and flowers. To make it, put 1-2 teaspoons of flowers (leaves), crumbled and damped in a china or enameled container, and leave them for 5 minutes. Add 250 ml boiled water, cover the container and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Filter the liquid.

Decoction: the crumbled plant is put in a enameled metallic container (1-2 teaspoons in 250 ml water), add water and bring to boil (at low flame) for some 15-30 minutes (15 minutes for leaves and flowers and 30 minutes for roots). Filter and add water.

Maceration: can be made both for cold and for warm. For cold: wash the crumbled plant and put it in water at the ambient temperature. Leave for 3-6 hours. Filter. For warm: mix 20-30 g crumbled plant with the same quantity of concentrated alcohol. After 12 hours, add 200 g sunflower oil. Leave the mix for 3-4 hours on the water bath. Boil and mix from time to time. Leave for 2-3 days, filter the liquid and leave it again for 24 hours. Filter again. Keep in small, colored bottles.

Cataplasm: use the crumbled plant and mix it with hot water until you get a paste. Put the paste between two clean fabrics and place on the injured place.

Let’s see now the benefits of the “beauty flowers”, the plants the beautify us:

- Corn flowers are being used for wrinkled eyelids and tired eyes. They have claming and tonifying properties, with an antiseptic effect. Place cataplasms or infusion made of 2 teaspoons of flowers in a glass of boiled water, on your eyes. As well, they are used for kidney conditions, as an infusion three times a day (before the main meals), with a concentration of 2-3 g/200 ml.

- Water cresses have cicatrizing and anti-inflammatory properties, and are used for burns, wounds, frostbites and ulcerations. Because they activate surface blood circulation, the flowers are being used in the treatment of dry skin, as an infusion made with 4 teaspoons of flowers in a glass of water. For wounds, wash the wound with 10 g of tincture in which you added 100 ml of water (make the tincture through the 8-day maceration of 20 g of flowers in 100 ml alcohol). They are also recommended as tea for gastric and duodenal ulcer and to relieve menstrual pain.

I won’t add but peppermint, or mint, recognized for its strong smell and aromatic taste. The leaves have stimulating, antiseptic properties and can also be used as a tonic. As for cosmetics, peppermint is recommended for oily skin, through the application of pledgets with an infusion made from 50 g leaves in a liter of water. You can also get a refreshing face water, pouring 100 ml boiled water over 3 teaspoons of crumbled leaves. Leave it to reach an ambient temperature and add 2 apple vinegar teaspoons. In the form of ethereal oil, it soothes irritated skin and inflammations. If you want a tonic bath, put 200-250 g of leaves in a sachet and leave it in the bath while you’re in.

- Rose leaves. The beautiful roses are not considered only for their superb look and nice smell, but also for their antiseptic qualities. In case you have tired or cried eyes, put pledgets with an infusion made from a teaspoon of rose leaves in 100 ml of water. The ethereal oil is recommended for all types of skin, especially for the dry and sensitive type. Did you know that roses are good for flu? Get aromatic vinegar through the 5-day maceration of 100 g of leaves with 100 ml of alcohol and 900 ml of vinegar. Press the leaves in a mull and rub yourself with this vinegar. If you got aphthae, gargle with an infusion of 2 teaspoons in 200 ml of water.

- Lime flowers. They are often used as calming, sedative and sudorific teas. As for cosmetics, they are used to fight circles round the eyes, with pledgets with an infusion of 4 spoons in a glass, or a decoction made from 20 g of flowers in 30 ml of water. If you have insomnia, drink 2-3 teas a day, sweetened with honey (not for diabetics!). They are also recommended for tonsil inflammations (gargling with infusion and a teaspoon of boric acid), flu (tea from infusion) and for relaxation, put a sachet of lime flowers in the bath, also apply pledgets on the eye and in 10-15 minutes you’ll fell fine.

- Hollyhock is emollient and anti-inflammatory. You can treat furuncles with an infusion of hollyhock flowers. Use the followers and leaves to make an infusion of 30 minutes, with a teaspoon in 100 ml and place pledgets on your face to fight cuperosa. Also for the cuperosa and also with the hollyhock, but this time the roots, apply pledgets with decoction of a teaspoon in 100 ml. For dry and wrinkled skin, use pledgets with decoction (30 minutes) of 3 spoons in a glass and add a spoon of honey. Because of its emollient and hydrating properties, apply the pledgets with a mixture of 2 spoons in a glass of water, in case of wrinkled eyelids.

- Heart’s eases is the most efficient antiallergenic, diuretic and depurative species. It’s being used especially for acne and eczema. Use an infusion of one teaspoon in a glass of water and drink a spoon every 3 hours.

- Lavender is being used for its properties: diuretic, antiseptic and stimulating. It’s being used for acne and burns. Apply pledgets with infusion made with a spoon in a glass of water. You can put it in hot water, possibly combined with other plants.

- Chamomile has anti-inflammatory, cicatrizing, and antiseptic properties. For oily skin, I recommend steam baths with infusion made from 2 teaspoons of flowers in a glass of water. For irritated skins, apply pledgets with infusion made from 3 spoons in a glass of water. Hair can also be washed with chamomile tea, thus gaining blonde treats.

These are only a few plants that can be used as cosmetics.