Many people keep an aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller) plant in their homes due to its well known ability to soothe, calm, cool, and protect minor cuts, scrapes, kitchen burns, sunburns, and rashes. It is truly one of the best known topical herbs for healing, and with good reason!
Most moisturizing skin care ingredients fall under the category of humectant (water attracting and hydrating) or emollient (protective, barrier-enhancing). Aloe is one of the few plants that offers both humectant and emollient properties. It is lightweight, unlikely to clog pores, and is a great way to hydrate and seal in moisture. Aloe also has cooling and gently astringent properties.
Aloe vera gel can be extracted from the leaves of the plant using a vegetable peeler, and can be applied directly to blemishes, rashes, sunburn, or other minor skin ailments.
Rose petals are also highly nutritious and contain Vitamin C, iron, calcium, flavonoid antioxidants, glycosides, and tannins. Though rose petals often get the most attention, rosehips offer wonderful skin nutrition. Rosehips are extremely high in Vitamin C (higher even than citrus fruits), Vitamin A precursors (in the form of carotenoid antioxidants), Vitamin K, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium; essential fatty acids, as well as other nutrients.
Rosehips may be made into a tea that can be used as a facial compress or toner. Rosehip fruit or seed oil is beautiful in topical skin care preparations, as it absorbs well without leaving a greasy residue, and is well tolerated by most skin types.
Though many herbs can be made into teas, tea itself—black tea, oolong tea, green tea, and white tea—comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The type of tea the leaves ultimately become–and the nutrients it contains–depends on the age of the leaves when harvested (white and green tea are the youngest), and the length of fermentation time (oolong and black teas are fermented the longest).