Centuries of Chinese know-how has given us many ways of healing the body through the use of herbs and plants. Natural remedies have been around for millennium and have been used by our ancestors (not only the Chinese). In ancient times, some people knew that certain plants were excellent aids for the recovery from various maladies, although they didn't know why. For example, a simple remedy, still known today as “Friar's Balsam", received the name because this natural remedy was always carried by the mendicant friars as they visited among the people who looked to them not only as teachers but for medical help.
The healing properties found in the plants are due to vitamins, mineral salts, etc. contained in them. Some have acids, such as citric acids from the citrus fruits and the malic acid in apples and other fruits. Other acids may be found in the herbs. The components of these often supply a need that can restore the body to optimum health.
Western medicines that are popular today are actually derivatives from plants taking their most useful properties and place them in tiny little capsules. The advances in science and technology have made it possible for more concentrated plant nutrients to be used for health purposes. Also, other properties from minerals can now be extracted.
In treating acne, for example, scientists have found a way to extract sulfur from ores and use if as an antibacterial to reduce acne. There are a lot of plants and herbs which have been used by our ancestors to help combat acne such as oranges and sandalwood. They can be converted into ointments, poultices or applied directly into the affected area.
There are many people who are more comfortable with over-the-counter products than herbal remedies, considering the latter as backward and ineffective. However, a large number of the population who need to cure their acne prefer the organic methods. Here, is a comparative review between the natural treatment and over-the-counter products.
1. Convenience - While natural remedies for acne require long preparation methods, over-the-counter acne treatments come in ready-to-use bottles or tubes. Although some stores are now specializing in organic acne remedy that only needs boiling, some people find over-the-counter products easier to use.
2. Availability - Acne herbal remedies are hard to come by while over-the-counter products are well-stocked in your local pharmacy.
3. Strength and Effectiveness - The ingredients in over-the-counter products are much stronger compared to the diluted effects of herbal remedies. Also, most of the ingredients are chemicals designed to help reduce acne. The most effective and common ingredient in acne products is benzoyl peroxide which helps get rid of excess oil and dead skin cells. These two are the culprits in the process of clogging the skin's pores. Sulfur is used in tandem with resorcinol which has the same effect as benzoyl peroxide and has the added bonus of removing blackheads and whiteheads. Salicylic acid has the effect of preventing clogging of pores as well as whitehead and blackhead removal. These ingredients cannot be found in most plants but some plants can provide the same effect such as antibacterial properties and the ability to help unclog pores.
4. Side Effects - In terms of side effects, over-the-counter products can prove to have severe side effects. Some of them are harsh chemicals that can strip the skin's natural oils resulting to a worse case of acne. Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and sulfur have drying effects on the skin often resulting to skin irritations, redness and stinging sensations, scaling and minor swelling.
The author is an online medical researcher and webmaster of Best Acne Products and Natural Acne Treatments Visit site for related article “Acne Products - Knowing the Active Ingredients".