Tag Archives: Skin

Removing unwanted hair


Earlier it was only women who were concerned about excessive body hair and its removal. They visited the friendly neighbourhood parlour to get their eyebrows shaped and moustaches removed. Times have changed; now both men and women want to get rid of unwanted hair – from face, arms, legs, chest and back. A hairy torso (male or female) is no longer considered attractive!

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In men excessive body hair is often, paradoxically, paired with male pattern baldness. This excessive hair not only looks cosmetically unappealing but can result in excessive sweating, and infections in the hair follicles.
Excessive hair growth in women is usually familial or due to obesity. Such women may have hair in areas such as the face, chin and back.

Women produce both male and female hormones. If the balance is disturbed, and more male hormones are secreted then the woman can become very hairy. This can occur during the teens or in later life. It may be due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), congenital adrenal hyperplasia, if excessive steroids are administered or produced in the body as in Cushing’s syndrome, with some anti depressants and medications like danazole. In rare cases, it may be due to male hormone secreting tumours. If the hirsuitism is accompanied by deepening of the voice, loss of scalp hair and acne, it is called virilisation.

Shaving is a time tested method to remove hair from the arms, legs, axilla [armpits] and face. Shaving facial hair does not make it grow back thicker, coarser or faster. Apply shaving gel or foam first to soften the hair. Poor technique can cause ingrown hair.

A few unwanted hairs can be plucked using tweezers but it is painful. Pulling in the direction opposite to hair growth can cause ingrown hair and scarring. Apply ice immediately to the tweezed area to reduce swelling and redness.

Hair removing creams are available OTC (over the counter). The chemicals dissolve the hair shaft. Allergy can develop to the chemicals so it needs to be tested on a small area first. It can burn the skin if it is left on for too long.

Hot or cold wax can be used to remove hair. This can be done professionally in a salon or at home. It is messy and painful. Infection and burns can occur. It should be avoided if acne creams are also being used.

Twisting thread and then pulling the hair out is called threading. It is a technique done in parlours. It can cause pain.

Laser treatments have become very popular in recent times. Beauty parlours and spas offer such treatments. Only a licensed pro-fessional should do it. A physician should be available on the premises to tackle any side effects. Lasers suitable for Indian skin need to be used. The sittings need to be scheduled at the correct intervals 8-10 weeks apart. It does not get rid of unwanted hair permanently. After repeated sittings, hair growth is reduced by upto 80 per cent. It can cause scarring, keloid formation and pigment changes. That is why it should be tried on a small area first.

Hair can be removed permanently with electrolysis. A professional uses a needle to apply an electric current in the hair follicle. There may be tingling and pain. The process is slow and time consuming but is permanent. It can cause pigment changes. Several sittings spaced out over a period of months are required.

Resources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Potentilla hippiana

 

Botanical Name: Potentilla hippiana
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Genus: Potentilla
Species: P. hippiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: P. effusa. P. leneophylla. P. leucophylla.

Common names : Woolly cinquefoil, Horse cinquefoil, and Hipp’s cinquefoil

Habitat : Potentilla hippiana is native to North America, where it occurs in western Canada and the western United States. It occurs in eastern Canada and the US state of Michigan as an introduced species. It grows on dry soils. Open grassland sagebrush, often on saline soils, to juniper scabland and pine forests of the foothills and lower elevations in the mountains.

Description:
This perennial herb grows up to half a meter tall from a thick caudex and taproot. The leaves are up to 19 centimeters long or more and each is made up of several toothed leaflets. The leaves may be hairless to hairy to woolly. The fruit is a tiny achene. This species hybridizes with several other cinquefoil species, such as beautiful cinquefoil (P. pulcherrima) and elegant cinquefoil (P. concinna).

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It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Easily grown in a well-drained loam, preferring a position in full sun but tolerating shade. Prefers an alkaline soil but tolerates a slightly acid soil. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Medicinal Uses:

Oxytoxic; Poultice; Salve.

The whole plant is oxytocic, poultice and salve[155]. An infusion of the plant has been used to expedite childbirth. The plant has been used as a lotion on burns and a poultice of the fresh leaves applied to injury. The plant is dried, powdered and applied to sores.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potentilla_hippiana
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Potentilla+hippiana

Mentha x villosa var. alopecuroides

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Botanical name: Mentha x villosa var. alopecuroides
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms : Mentha x rotundifolia. (L.)Huds.

Common Name: Apple Mint

Other names: Bowles’s mint, Bowles’ mint
Habitat : Mentha x villosa var. alopecuroides is native to Central and southern Europe, including Britain, Mediterranean region, Azores. It grows on the roadsides and in ditches in the S. and W. of England. Probably a hybrid, M. spicata x M. suaveolens.

Description:
Mentha x villosa alopecuroides is a perennial herb growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It produces small mauve flower spikes in summer.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a slightly acid soil. A sunny position is best for the production of essential oils, but the plant also succeeds in partial shade. Apple mint is commonly grown in the herb garden. There is at least one named variety, ‘Bowles mint’ is said to be a superior form and it is the form usually cultivated commercially for mint sauce. Unlike most members of the genus, this species is resistant to the disease ‘rust’. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The whole plant has a strong aroma of spearmint. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.
Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. A strong spearmint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods, this is also the main species that is used to make mint sauce. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.
Medicinal Uses :
Apple mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

Other Uses:
An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. The plant repels insects and was formerly used as a strewing herb. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards: Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+x+villosa+alopecuroides
http://www.hooksgreenherbs.com/mentha-suaveolens-bowles-applemint-buy-herb-plant-online/

Mentha x piperita vulgaris

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Botanical Name:Mentha x piperita vulgaris
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name :Black Peppermint

Habitat :Black Peppermint is native to Britain. It is a natural hybrid plant, M. aquatica x M. spicata, found in moist soils in ditches, waste places etc.

Description:
Mentha x piperita vulgaris is a dark leaved hardy perennial herb, growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to October. Flower colour is mauve. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for the production of essential oils, but plants also succeed in partial shade. Prefers a slightly acid soil. A commonly grown herb, it is often cultivated commercially for its essential oil. This is the black form of peppermint and it is said to produce a superior essential oil, making it the preferred choice as a food flavouring and for medicinal purposes. The oil is of better quality when the plant is grown on dry soils. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Edible Uses:
Leaves are eaten raw or cooked. A strong peppermint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. This plant should not be used by pregnant women, see the notes above on toxicity. An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavouring in sweets, chewing gum, ice cream etc. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.
Medicinal Uses:
Black peppermint is a very important and commonly used herbal remedy, being employed by allopathic doctors as well as herbalists. It is also widely used as a domestic remedy. This cultivar is considered to be stronger acting than white peppermint (Mentha x piperita officinalis). A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders (especially flatulence) and various minor ailments. The herb is abortifacient, anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator. An infusion is used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, spastic colon etc. Externally a lotion is applied to the skin to relieve pain and reduce sensitivity. The leaves and stems can be used fresh or dried, they are harvested for drying in August as the flowers start to open. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic and strongly antibacterial, though it is toxic in large doses. When diluted it can be used as an inhalant and chest rub for respiratory infections. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Cooling’.

Other Uses:
An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. It is used medicinally and as a food flavouring. It is also an ingredient of oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc. Peppermint leaves are used as an ingredient of pot-pourri. They were formerly used as a strewing herb. The plant repels insects, rats etc. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards: In large quantities this plant, especially in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so should not be used by pregnant women.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+x+piperita+vulgaris
http://www.herbalhaven.com/shop/product-details/101/mint—black-peppermint

Mentha piperita officinalis

Botanical Name: Mentha piperita officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name : White Peppermint

Habitat : White Peppermint is native to Europe and was first described in 1753 by Linnaeus and thought to be a new species. However, it was later determined to be a hybrid from parents Mentha aquatica (Watermint) and Mentha spicata (Spearmint). It is still sometimes found in the wild near the parent plants. The preferred native habitat is moist soils near streams and natural drainage lines. White Peppermint is fast growing and is one of the main cultivated varieties of Peppermint.

Description:
White Peppermint is an evergreen perennial growing from 30-90 cm high, with a spreading habit. It has green leaves that end in a point and have serrated edges. The leaves are quite large at 4-9cm long and 1.5-4cm wide. The leaves a stems may be slightly fuzzy. The purple flowers are held in whorls and appear in summer. White Peppermint is very similar to Peppermint, however it lacks the red flush sometimes appearing on leaves and the red stems. Overall, the White Peppermint is a lighter shade of green and it has a milder taste than Peppermint.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for the production of essential oils, but the plant also succeeds in partial shade. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Often grown in the herb garden and also commercially for its essential oil. The whole plant has a pleasant aroma of peppermint. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. Produces a better quality essential oil if the plant is grown in dry ground. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.
Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. A mild peppermint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavouring in sweets, chewing gum, ice cream etc. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. It may be used added to drinks, salads, desserts and cooked dishes. It is used in toothpaste…..click & see
Medicinal Uses:
White peppermint is a very important and commonly used remedy, being employed by allopathic doctors as well as herbalists. It is also widely used as a domestic remedy. This cultivar is considered to be milder acting than black peppermint (Mentha x piperita vulgaris). A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders (especially flatulence) and various minor ailments. The herb is abortifacient, anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator. An infusion is used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, spastic colon etc. Externally a lotion is applied to the skin to relieve pain and reduce sensitivity. The leaves and stems can be used fresh or dried, they are harvested for drying in August as the flowers start to open. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic and strongly antibacterial, though it is toxic in large doses. When diluted it can be used as an inhalant and chest rub for respiratory infections. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Cooling’.
Menthol, the active constituent in Peppermint, activates cold sensitive receptors on the skin and mucosal tissues creating the cooling sensation

Other Uses:
An essential oil obtained from the whole plant is used in perfumery. It is also an ingredient of oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc. Peppermint leaves are used as an ingredient of pot-pourri. They were formerly used as a strewing herb The plant repels insects, rats etc. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards : In large quantities this plant, especially in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so should not be used by pregnant women.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppermint
http://www.herbcottage.com.au/mint-white-peppermint.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+x+piperita+officinalis