Alternatively Speaking: Renewal and regeneration

Alternative medicine enthusiast Natalie Marx answers your questions: How can I regenerate new skin?

Tea Bags (photo credit: Courtesy)
Tea Bags
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The following questions deal with renewal and regeneration. It may seem a bit odd that as we approach the secular new year - a fresh start and time of possibilities - that this time of renewal is placed here in the middle of winter. If given the choice right now between starting off down a new, unexplored path of life or staying home, snuggled up under a warm blanket, I would choose the blanket and let my mind wander away from the complexities of life. Perhaps this is then the  wisdom of winter: Giving us every possible rationale to slow down, relax, and stop and think. It's only when we are still enough can we dip into our own deep well of creativity and purpose. If we truly take advantage of the quiet that winter offers to us, maybe we will actually find our resolve and renewal. The true strength of a New Year’s resolution is gained from its birth in a quiet and comfortable moment of reflection.
So, as the days become shorter and the cool winter breeze begins to stir; sit down, relax and let yourself imagine your possibility.
 Q. After several years of suffering with sever acne along my face, back and upper arms, my skin has virtually cleared. I now suffer from scars and damaged skin. Can you recommend vitamins or herbs that help to regenerate new healthy skin?
A. Vitamin E has wonderful properties which enhance blood flow, encouraging the healthy growth of cells. Northwestern Health Sciences University states that vitamin E helps to regenerate skin and improves the texture of the face. You can find sources of vitamin E  in foods such nuts and corn.
Part of the function of vitamin A includes enhancing cellular growth and promoting healthy skin cell development. It is also responsible for the production of sebum, a natural oil found on your skin that keeps it hydrated. Since you suffered from acne you may want to avoid the creams and instead find good sources of vitamin A in eggs, milk, cheese and fish oil.
Pine Bark Extract protects your skin by binding elastin and collagen and preventing their breakdown. This substance also protects the tiny capillaries and restores good blood circulation, assuring the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the skin, and removing waste.
My number one recommendation for skin regeneration would have to be calendula. At a time when blood supply is diminishing, calendula helps to create new blood vessels in the skin. It's also packed full of carotenoid pigments and lutein, the antioxidant effects of which fight free-radical damage. Research indicates that calendula stimulates collagen synthesis and cell regeneration for healthier looking skin.
You can also increase your intake of Vitamin C since it helps with the production of skin cells and tissue. Vitamin C enhances a protein called collagen, which is responsible for making skin, scar tissue, blood vessels and muscles. Vitamin C also helps to reduce the damage of ultraviolet exposure. A lack of vitamin C can result in dry scaly skin.
Finally, Gotu kola has many different actions on the skin. It activates collagen synthesis and slows collagen breakdown. Its effect on the micro-circulation helps to improve cell nutrition and detoxification. It rebalances the keratinisation process (the replenishment of keratin in cells) of the top layer of the epidermis so preventing moisture loss and therefore restoring your skin’s integrity.
Q. My hectic lifestyle and neglect to my body suggest to me I need to de-tox! Desperately looking for some herbs to help cleanse my system. Can you suggest any? I am not on any other medication.
A. My first port of call for a cleansing herb is Milk Thistle. It is mostly used to cleanse the liver and treat liver disease. The active ingredient is silymarin, a substance that blocks the entrance of toxins into the liver cells and promotes toxin excretion from the liver cells. Toxic materials are transported from the liver through the bile. The bile then transports toxins from the liver to the intestine where they are excreted from the body through the feces. Milk thistle protects liver cells from toxic substances, therefore protecting liver function.
I recommend buying the tincture and taking 15 drops of Milk Thistle tincture in half a glass of water twice daily (once on rising and once before bed).
Dandelion root is also very effective in stimulating the kidney and improving pancreas and stomach functions. While it stimulates and secretes bile from the gall bladder, it can also act as a diuretic. Dandelion root is also rich in nutrients containing B vitamins, magnsium and calcium. The root is available in tincture, tea or dried leaf form and can be purchased in health food stores.
Yellow dock root is an all round general health tonic. It supports the body's natural pathways of detoxification by supporting the liver, lymph system and the digestive tract. It is loaded with nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and B vitamins. Yellow dock root is available as a dry leaf or capsule and can be purchased in a herb shop or a natural food store and can even be taken as tea.
Burdock is another useful herb and can restore the liver, also aiding digestion. Just like the dandelion root, burdock cleanses the blood. As well as getting rid of toxins, it is also beneficial to ridding excess fluid and helps reduce fat in the body. Beware that too much of the root can dry out the body. It can be used in teas combined with licorice root or stevia, you may like to add honey to make it more palatable to drink. Also available in most herb shops or natural food stores.
Q. Since my mother died, I have lost all sense of motivation and feel a total loss of drive and enthusiasm. I have a lack of joy and I am carrying the weight of responsibility to take care of the rest of my family. Do you have any herbal remedies that can help me to regain the motivation?
A. Flower essences are wonderful for balancing mental and emotional problems. Flower essences are subtle energy medicines that affect us as a whole - mind, body and soul. Their medicinal history spans centuries. Throughout the journey of life,  they can be taken to assist us through different stages and the challenges that life throws at us. They help us to find our inner wisdom and intuition. Grief can have a powerful effect on our mental clarity and the power of flower essences can free energy blockages, and act as a catalyst for inner change and transformation.
The Australian Alpine Mint Bush Essence can help bring clarity and the courage to pursue your goals and follow your dreams. This flower grows in exposed rocky sites in the alpine and sub-alpine areas of south eastern Australia. It is particularly good for people who work in healing, health administration and caring situations where there is a great deal of responsibility for other people. I prescribe it to those who give much of themselves both physically and emotionally, often listening to people in pain and need.  Alpine Mint Bush can revitalize and bring about a renewed enthusiasm and joy in your life for what you do, and will help to refresh and revitalize with this feeling of mental and emotional exhaustion. As all mints, it is refreshing and cooling.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.
Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer then email Natalie with your question at
Someone Once Said: 'New Year, same Goal.'  -Joe King