The use of plants for medicine is as old as mankind. Some wild plants and their parts are often used to treat some of these skin diseases. Discover how here.
Skin diseases are numerous and are a frequent health problem affecting all ages, from newborns to the elderly, causing damage in various ways. In addition to being used in natural treatments, many serve as a basis for the production of new synthetic agents and consequently new drugs.
ROLES OF THE SKIN
Because it interacts with the environment, the skin plays a key role: (i) the protection of the body against pathogens, (ii) excessive water loss, (iii) isolation, (iv) temperature regulation, (v) sensitivity, (vi) storage and synthesis of vitamin D by the action of ultraviolet (UV) and protection of vitamin B folates, (vii) oxygen absorption and (viii) water resistance.
There are more than a thousand conditions that may affect the skin but most skin diseases can be categorized into 9 common types:
A rash is a red area, inflamed skin or a group of individual spots. It can be caused by irritation, allergy, infection, an underlying disease, as well as by structural defects such as blocked pores or malfunctioning oil glands. Examples of rashes include acne, dermatitis, eczema, hives, pityriasis rosea and psoriasis.
These occur when a virus penetrates the stratum corneum and infects the inner layers of the skin. Examples of viral skin infections include herpes simplex, shingles (herpes zoster) and warts.
Such infections are caused by a variety of bacteria and can infect the surface layers and/or the deeper layers of the skin. If not treated correctly, these infections can spread throughout the body. Examples include folliculitis, cellulitis, and Lyme disease. Bacterial infections are best treated with antibiotics.
Harmless fungi are always present on the surface of the skin. Infection occurs when these organisms enter the body. These infections are usually superficial, affecting the skin, hair, nails and include athlete’s foot, lock itch and ringworm. However, in people with a suppressed immune system or who have been taking antibiotics for a long period, the fungi may spread deep inside the body causing more serious diseases.
These infections occur after exposure to parasites such as lice and scabies.
The amount of pigment in the skin is determined by the amount of melanin produced by the body. The loss of pigment (hypopigmentation) can be caused by the absence of melanocytes, malfunctioning cells, exposure to cold or chemicals, or by some types of infection. An increase in pigmentation (hyperpigmentation) can be caused by skin irritation, hormonal changes, aging, a metabolic disorder, or any other underlying problem. Age spots, freckles and melasma are examples of hyperpigmentation. Vitiligo is an example of hypopigmentation.
Tumors and cancers
These growths arise when skin cells begin to multiply faster than normal. Not every skin growth is cancerous. Some tumors are harmless and will not spread. Skin cancer is the most common of all the cancers, affecting 800,000 Americans each year. In 90% of the cases, it is caused by sun exposure. Prevention involves protecting the skin against damaging ultraviolet rays. Early detection helps to improve the chances of a cure. Regular self-examinations are, therefore, recommended.
Trauma describes an injury to the skin caused by a blow, a cut, or a burn. Whenever the surface of the skin is broken, the body becomes more susceptible to infection and disease.
Wrinkles, rosacea, spider veins and varicose veins are among those conditions that cannot be neatly categorized. Wrinkles are caused by a breakdown of the collagen and elastin within the dermis, which results in sagging skin. Rosacea is a chronic disorder in which the skin of the face becomes red and develops pimples, lesions and more rarely enlargement of the nose. Its cause is unknown. Spider veins and varicose veins become apparent when blood vessels enlarge and become visible through the surface of the skin.
HERBAL DRUGS FOR SKIN DISEASES
In addition to conventional treatments, natural herbal medicines are becoming increasingly popular due to their various advantages, such as fewer side effects, better tolerance, being relatively less expensive and acceptable due to a long history of use.
Several plants have been investigated for the treatment of skin diseases ranging from itching to skin cancer. So far, 31 plants have been reported to be effective in various skin diseases during the last 17 years (1995-2012) of research work.
In this article, we limit ourselves to addressing only the benefits of Cannabis Sativa
The powder of the leaves serves as a dressing for wounds and sores. Ganja is externally applied to relieve pain in itchy skin diseases. Hemp seed oil is useful to treat eczema and other skin diseases like dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis/cradle cap, varicose eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus and acne rosacea. By using hemp seed oil, the skin is strengthened and more able to resist bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Crushed leaves are rubbed on the affected areas to control scabies. It is an excellent option to nourish the skin and protect it from inflammation, oxidation, and other causes of aging.
Curiosities: Considered as a superfood, hemp has a natural concentration of essential fatty acids with a balanced ratio of omegas 3 to 6. Hemp also contains GLA, or gamma-linolenic acid, in a much higher concentration than found in any other known plant. Hemp seed oil is used as a substitute for traditional cooking oils in recipes or as a skin and hair moisturizer.
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Source: an article by Nahida Tabassum and Mariya Hamdani