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An Intro to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that has been used to diagnose, treat, and prevent illnesses for more than 2,000 years. Its basic concept is that a vital force of life, called Qi, surges through the body, and any imbalance to Qi can cause disease and illness. TCM practitioners use treatments that are specific to the individual, such as acupuncture, cupping, or moxibustion, to restore this balance. In this blog, we will explore the great practitioners of TCM, along with Qi and the meridians of the body, and TCM’s use in herbal medicine, food, genetics research, and drug development. 

A Look At Traditional Chinese Medicine

China has one of the world’s oldest medical systems with acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies dating back at least 2,200 years. The earliest known written record of Chinese medicine is the Huangdi Neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic) from the 3rd century BCE, which provided the theoretical concepts for TCM that remain the basis of its practice today.

In essence, TCM healers seek to restore a dynamic balance between two complementary forces, Yin (passive) and Yang (active), which pervade the human body as they do the universe as a whole. According to TCM, a person is healthy when harmony exists between these two forces; illness, on the other hand, results from a breakdown in the equilibrium of Yin and Yang.

Treatments to regain a Yin and Yang balance may include:

  • Acupuncture, which involves the insertion of very thin needles through the skin at strategic points on the body.
  • Moxibustion, which consists of burning dried mugwort on particular points on the body.
  • Cupping, which is a form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin with the application of heated cups.
  • Massage, which can help to regulate the flow of energy and blood, increase blood circulation, and relieve body pain and stress.
  • Herbal remedies, which can strengthen organ function and support good health.
  • Movement and concentration exercises, such as tai chi, which include specifically-designed movements to help an individual regain balance.

Cupping, Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Tai Chi Pictured: Cupping; top left (The Thirty), Acupuncture; top right (Forbes), Moxibustion; bottom left (American institute of Alternative Medicine), Tai Chi; bottom right (Britannica)

The Great Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The hard work and dedication of various practitioners in ancient China have made an impact on not just Traditional Chinese Medicine, but also Western Medicine. A few great practitioners of TCM to take note of are:

Zhang Zhongjing

Zhang Zhongjing

Pictured: Zhang Zhongjing   Source: The Wandering Cloud ACM

Zhang Zhongjing (150-219 CE), the most famous of China’s physicians, lived during the Eastern Han dynasty and was known for his remarkable medical skill and significant contribution to Traditional Chinese Medicine. He wrote a medical masterpiece entitled Shanghan Lun (Treatise on Cold Damage Diseases). Zhang Zhongjing’s theory and prescriptions, such as moxibustion, acupuncture, and herbal medicine, are still of great medical value and are the standard reference work for TCM.

Hua Tuo

Hua Tuo

Pictured: Hua Tuo    Source: The Epoch Times

Another famous physician of Traditional Chinese Medicine was Hua Tuo (145-208 CE). Hua Tuo developed the use of anesthesia in surgery and further advanced the Chinese’s knowledge of anatomy. He was also the first person to use narcotic drugs in the world, preceding the West by about 1600 to 1700 years.1

Wang Shuhe 

Wang Shuhe

Pictured: Wang Shuhe   Source: The Coltons Point Times

Wang Shuhe (180-270 CE) was a Chinese physician who wrote the Maijing (The Pulse Classics), which is an influential work describing the pulse and its importance in the diagnosis of disease. Wang Shuhe’s contributions to medical science were not limited to sphygmology, though; he also made outstanding contributions to the collation of ancient literature. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi, and the Meridians

A main aspect of TCM is an understanding of the body’s Qi, which is known as life force and literally translates to “vital breath.” Qi is universal and embraces all manifestations of energy, from the most material aspects of energy, such as the earth beneath your feet, to the most immaterial aspects, such as light and emotion.

Life, it’s said in the Chinese medical classics, is a gathering of Qi. A healthy and happy human being is a dynamic but harmonious mixture of all the aspects of Qi that make up who we are. Qi is in a state of continuous flux, transforming endlessly from one aspect of Qi into another. It’s neither created nor is it ever destroyed; it simply changes in its manifestation.2

Qi flows through invisible meridians, or channels, of the body that connects organs, tissues, veins, nerves, cells, atoms, and consciousness itself. There are 12 major meridians with each connecting to one of the 12 major organs in TCM theory. The meridians are also related to circadian rhythms, seasons, and planetary movements, which create additional invisible networks.

The Meridians

Pictured: The Meridians    Source: Dr. Huong

In acupuncture, for example, very thin needles are inserted into specific areas along the meridians. The needles stimulate the meridians and readjust the flow of Qi to balance the body’s Yin and Yang. While the meridian network can be used to alleviate symptoms, it’s also said that TCM can endow individuals with the ability to change consciousness after treatments.

To learn more about Qi, the meridians, and acupuncture, click here

Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Five Element Theory

Philosophers have questioned the origins of life and the makeup of the universe since prehistory, the time before written records existed. According to some traditions, including TCM, everything in the universe comes from the five elements: wood, fire, earth, water, and metal.

“The five elements are used in pretty much every different style of TCM to some extent to diagnose and differentiate between different illnesses, dysfunctions, and people,” says Tiffany Cruikshank, licensed acupuncturist, experienced registered yoga teacher, and founder of Yoga Medicine.

The elements are all connected; wood feeds fire, fire makes earth, earth creates metal, metal holds water, and water nourishes wood. Each element both controls and is controlled by another element. One element may manifest heavier within us than others, which is where we are strongest, yet most vulnerable.

Each element has unique characteristics and becoming aware of your elemental dominance can help explain the physiology and pathology within your body. Here’s a breakdown of the five elemental types in TCM:

  • A “Wood Personality” is someone who is athletic, energetic, and adventurous. Wood personalities tend to be anxious and angry, and may suffer from orthopedic issues, migraines, or ADD.
  • A “Fire Personality” is someone who is passionate, creative, and authoritative. Fire personalities tend to be impulsive and irritable, and may suffer from insomnia, high blood pressure, chest pains, or headaches.
  • An “Earth Personality” is someone who is nurturing, generous, and caregiving. Earth personalities tend to be worrisome and pensive, and may suffer from abdominal issues or hormonal problems.
  • A “Metal Personality” is someone who is meticulous, honest, and responsible. Metal personalities tend to be melancholy and may suffer from constipation, lung and skin issues, or allergies.
  • A “Water Personality” is an old soul that is known to be wise, reflective, and private. Water personalities tend to be indecisive, fearful, and paranoid, and may suffer from back pain, knee pain, and kidney and bladder infections.

TCM's Five Element TheoryPictured: The Five Element Theory traits and characteristics    Source: Scottsdale Acupuncture

If you want to find out your element type, you can take this quiz

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Herbal Therapy

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbs and herbal formulas are used to strengthen organ function and support good health. TCM practitioners have an understanding of the essence of various herbal components to create a healing effect that goes beyond the chemical composition and physical properties of the herbs to correctly stimulate or adjust the body’s own energy vibration.

Many TCM herbal formulas have been in use for more than 2,200 years, and are composed of ingredients chosen to function in combination with each other. In Western Medicine, medications are commonly prescribed for a specific effect, while in TCM, each herb in a formula has a different purpose or role to help the body achieve harmony. 

For a plant to be included in TCM herbal therapy, each of its parts has to be identified for a different healing purpose. The following are a few of the most used Traditional Chinese Medicinal herbs, along with their benefits:

  • ‌‌‌‌Ginkgo Biloba: Promotes Brain Health and Improved Memory
  • ‌‌‌‌Ginseng (Ren Shen): Offers Immune Support and Improved Bone Strength
  • Turmeric: Possesses Anti-inflammatory, Anti-oxidant, and Digestive Health Properties
  • Astragalus (Huang Qi): Offers Immune Support and Brain Protection
  • Cinnamon: Regulates Blood Sugar and Promotes Dental HealthGinseng; top left. Astragalus; top right (, Turmeric‌‌‌‌; bottom left (Homestead and Chill), Ginkgo Biloba; bottom right

Pictured: Ginseng; top left (Me & Qi), Astragalus; top right (EBAY), Turmeric‌‌‌‌; bottom left (Homestead and Chill), Ginkgo Biloba; bottom right (Indiamart)

Herbs can have effects on the body as powerful as pharmaceutical drugs, which is why you should consult with your doctor before taking part in herbal therapy. Additionally, you should never abandon your regular medication or alter the dose without the knowledge and approval of your doctor.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Food

Much like herbs, TCM views the healing properties of foods in the same way; different foods carry different energies that can go directly to specific organs to help them heal. Food is divided into five natures, called “siQi”: cold, cool, neutral, warm, and hot. The nature of food is not determined by its actual temperature, but rather by what effects it will have on an individual’s body after consumption. 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, when a person continually eats one type of food, it creates an imbalance in their body and affects their immune system. Thus, one of the keys in Traditional Chinese Medicine is to keep our body “neutral.” Traditional Chinese Medicine also tells us that having food at a moderate temperature is ideal to avoid overstraining the digestive organs.3

TCM Food Chart

Pictured: Traditional Chinese Medicine Food Chart    Source: Pinterest

There’s a saying in TCM: “The five grains provide nourishment. The five vegetables provide filling. The five domestic animals provide enrichment. The five fruits provide support.” This means that a balanced diet, where foods are consumed in appropriate combinations according to their natures and flavors, serves to supplement the essence that the human body needs.4

Traditional Chinese Medicine, Genetic Research, and Drug Development

Considering the fact that Traditional Chinese Medicine is now an academic discipline in the field of medicine, there are modern developments that are worth taking note of, such as the use of TCM in genetics research.

The Yin and Yang principle can be applied to a genetic disease such as inherited breast cancer and its associated genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. According to this principle of natural law, if either of these genes is activated, somewhere in another part of the genetic code there also exists a gene to fix this action. There must be complementary programs running — one for developing the disease and one for healing it.5

In addition to genetics research, nearly 200 modern medicines have been developed either directly or indirectly from the 7,300 species of plants used in TCM. For example, ephedrine, an alkaloid used to treat asthma, was first isolated from the Chinese herb Ma Huang. Another alkaloid known as huperzine A was isolated from a widely used ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine known as Huperzia serrata, which is a type of fir moss.

Ma Huang; top, Huperzia serrata, bottomPictured: Ma Huang; top (The Plant Attraction), Huperzia serrata, bottom (HSN)

In Conclusion

Even if you aren’t familiar with all of the fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine, you’re probably familiar with some of its practices. Maybe you’ve had an acupuncture session, taken turmeric for arthritis pain, or signed up at the local tai chi studio. Either way, TCM’s popularity has remained consistent throughout the centuries for improving health and wellness when used alongside conventional medical therapies.

What is your TCM elemental type? Have you ever tried a TCM treatment? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hua_Tuo [1]

https://magazine.circledna.com/what-does-traditional-chinese-medicine-say-about-qi/ [2]

https://www.pingminghealth.com/article/581/warming-and-cooling-characteristics-of-common-foods/ [3]

https://qiblog.emperors.edu/2015/10/the-role-of-healthy-eating-in-traditional-chinese-medicine/ [4]

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3814386/ [5]

 

The Ancient Practice of Gua Sha

Gua Sha (pronounced gwa-shah) is a tool, or tools, used to scrape the skin to promote circulation. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) utilized Gua Sha tools thousands of years ago to increase blood circulation and heal the body. Today, the practice continues to evolve into a sought-after addition to people’s beauty regimen to tone and tighten skin. In this blog, we will explore the origins of Gua Sha, its benefits, and the tools and techniques used for this ancient skin practice.

What Is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is a traditional Eastern and Southeast Asian healing technique in which a smooth, credit-card-sized “board” is pressed along the body’s skin; however, in more recent years, it’s been adapted for the face and neck, as well. The idea behind Gua Sha is that light pressure releases fascial and muscular tension and moves sluggish lymph fluid to tone the face.

Originally, Gua Sha was used to release different aches and pains in the body. For example, in TCM, it was commonly used on the upper back to invigorate blood flow, release heat toxins, stimulate lymphatic drainage, activate various acupressure points of the body, and stimulate an immune response bringing beneficial cells to the area.

Gua Sha works by promoting blood circulation. When you scrape the skin gently on the face or body, you’re stimulating a certain meridian point, which corresponds to an organ in the body that’s responsible for your skin’s overall health. In turn, you’re sending a signal to your body that this area needs more circulation.

The Origins of Gua Sha

Back-view illustration of Gua Sha treatment from Fangyi chuyan (A Modest Proposal for Epidemic Prevention)

Pictured: Back-view illustration of Gua Sha treatment from Fangyi chuyan (A Modest Proposal for Epidemic Prevention)    Source: Gua Sha Massage

With its origins in the treatment of abscesses in the Warring States period (475-221 BCE) of ancient China, Gua Sha has been a mainstay as a folk medicine since antiquity. 

Theories of “sha” disease gradually developed based on the premise that a pathogen was to be cleared and dispersed from the body and this was combined with a scraping technique, initially involving a hemp rope rubbing method using water or sesame oil in the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368 CE).

By the Qing dynasty (1644-1912 CE), the method of scraping had become more precise and expanded towards the entire body. A working framework for the treatment of sha was also developed at this time which enabled a wider application of scraping and included instructions for headaches, numbness of the face, and head shaking.

It was not until the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE) that anything resembling the practice of cosmetic scraping appeared, which was in the form of jade rubbing to treat facial scars. Many of the ideas behind facial Gua Sha have been influenced by traditional Chinese cosmetology, which from the Warring States and Qin and Han Dynasties, came ideas of how the human body and skin color changes are directly related to changes in people’s temperament, age, health, and qi.

Ancient doctors rarely recorded the specific methods, time, and treatment of Gua Sha but in the 20th century with the work of Jiang Jingbo and later Lu Jiru, Gua Sha was reinvigorated and an adapted, modernized style of Gua Sha therapy was promoted.1

The Benefits of Gua Sha

Implementing Gua Sha into your self-care routine may offer these potential benefits:

Gua Sha May Help Reduce Inflammation and Puffiness

Similar to other types of massages, gliding a Gua Sha tool across your face or body can promote microcirculation in your soft tissues, aka blood flow in small blood vessels. This increase in blood flow might help physical symptoms of inflammation like puffiness and swelling.2 The practice may also help lymphatic drainage by moving fluid away from swollen areas.3

Gua Sha May Boost Your Skin’s Collagen Production

Every year, our skin produces 1% less collagen; collagen keeps our skin strong and elastic.. Giving yourself regular Gua Sha facials can help ramp up your skin’s collagen production, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.4

Gua Sha May Increase the Efficacy of Skincare Topicals

Gua Sha can increase the efficacy of the skincare you’re already using. If you apply your moisturizer or serum and then give yourself a massage, the Gua Sha tools helps push the product deeper into your skin. This can help your serum absorb better and allow you to experience the full benefits of the formula.

Gua Sha Can Alleviate Tech Neck and Other Pains

If you feel the aches and pains from uncomfortable work posture or constant scrolling, a Gua Sha body massage might help. In a small 2014 study involving 60 regular computer users with neck and shoulder pain, researchers found that Gua Sha helped reduce pain and improve range of motion.5 Individuals in a small 2011 study also reported that Gua Sha helped reduce neck pain when compared with people who used heating pads.6

Gua Sha Can Improve Headache and Migraine Symptoms

If you’re dealing with migraines or headaches, Gua Sha might help relieve pain and tension in your head and neck. A 2007 case study of a 72-year-old woman reported that Gua Sha helped relieve migraine symptoms over a 14-day period.7

Gua Sha Can Aid in Muscle Recovery

Gua Sha’s ability to promote blood circulation might also help move the buildup of lactic acid that accumulates from your workouts. In a small 2017 study involving 65 male weightlifters, people who had Gua Sha treatments reported that lifting weights was easier post-treatment. Researchers concluded that Gua Sha might also help speed up muscle recovery and be a potential alternative to other sports recovery methods.8

Gua Sha May Help Tourette Symptoms

Tourette syndrome is a condition that affects the nervous system and causes sudden involuntary movements or sounds. While Gua Sha is not a miracle cure, limited research shows it might help reduce symptoms when combined with other treatments.

A 2017 case study of a 33-year-old man found that a combination of Gua Sha and other therapies appeared to reduce his Tourette syndrome symptoms. 9 

Gua Sha May Help Perimenopausal Symptoms

A small 2017 study involving 80 perimenopausal women found that people who had Gua Sha treatments for 8 weeks experienced fewer symptoms compared with the control group receiving only traditional therapy. 10

Gua Sha Tools

Some of the most common Gua Sha tool shapes are:

The Wand-Shaped Tool

Gua Sha S Shaped Tool

Pictured: Wand Gua Sha tool  Source: Eastern Currents

This long, slender tool has 2 pointy ends that are best to use for specific areas where you want to apply pressure and relieve tension in the body. These areas are primarily in the hands, feet, laterals, back, neck, and shoulders. The challenge with this shape is the limited maneuverability around the face and smaller areas of the body.

If you’re interested in adding this tool to your regime, check out the LEOSENSE Gua Sha Bian Stone Wand Tool.

The Dolphin

Gua Sha Wing or Fin Tool

Pictured: Dolphin Gua Sha tool    Source: DH Gate

This tool shape is one of the most popular and commonly purchased Gua Sha tools available on the market. It’s easy to hold due to its small size and is perfect for contouring different areas of the face including the jawline, nose bridge, chin, and under-eye area.

While the heart-shaped tool is great for the face, neck, and hands, it might be less effective to use in other parts of the body as its edges are not long enough to hold onto, and therefore less workable for applying firmer pressure.

If you’re interested in adding this tool to your regime, check out the MEEKU Gua Sha Stainless Steel Dolphin Tool.

The Spoon Tool

Gua Sha Spoon Tool

Pictured: Spoon Gua Sha tool    Source: Amazon

A Gua Sha spoon is a sculpting tool that helps you target acupressure points along your face and neck to gently release any muscle tension. Its spoon-like shape helps to target smaller areas as well as harder-to-reach areas like those around the nose and eyes.

If you’re interested in adding this tool to your regime, check out the Top Sewing Gua Sha 100% Jade Spoon Tool

The Comb Tool

Gua Sha Comb Tool

Pictured: Comb Gua Sha tool    Source: Amazon

This shape is exactly what it sounds like: a Gua Sha scraper equipped with comb-like prongs. On one side of this tool, you have the classic curved edge, perfect for a facial treatment. On the opposite side, the stone is shaped into a comb so you can give your scalp a nice, deep massage.

If you’re interested in adding this tool to your regime, check out the FORUHEALTH Gua Sha Jade Comb Tool.

Gua Sha Materials

Here’s a look at the most common materials used in Gua Sha:

  • Rose quartz is one of the most popular stones for Gua Sha tools. It’s said to be the stone of compassion, love, and emotional healing. Likewise, it supposedly has calming properties, which makes it ideal for people with sensitive skin and those who suffer from acne, rosacea, or other skin issues. According to some, rose quartz is also the best material for reducing signs of aging. In addition, as a healing stone, it’s used to drain toxins and negativity from the body.
  • Jade is a widely-used stone in the world of Gua Sha. Jade is known for its cooling effect, as well as its ability to balance the body and our inner energies. Similarly, some people claim that it helps relax the nervous system. If you’re looking for a tool that will reduce facial puffiness, jade might be your best bet. Plus, it’s known to promote lymphatic function. 
  • The Bian stone is also lauded for its healing properties. It’s an ancient stone with a wide range of uses, and one of those happens to be Gua Sha. According to certain studies, the Bian stone may help regulate blood pressure. Also, when used in a full-body Gua Sha treatment, it’s ideal for treating lower back pain.
  • Amethyst may help reduce stress and negative energy. Like jade, amethyst is perfect for cooling down the skin. Moreover, some people claim that it fights bacteria and targets the pores. 
  • Clear Quartz is among the rarest of these materials. It’s often referred to as a “master healer.” Many fans believe that it balances the mind, body, and spirit, providing a feeling of calm and clarity. Clear quartz is great for all skin types.

DIY Gua Sha

Once you choose the perfect shape and material, you can start using your Gua Sha tool every day or at least two to three times a week. To prevent any rashes or irritation when doing a Gua Sha massage, make sure to always use a facial oil first.

After using your Gua Sha tool, be sure to clean it with soap and warm water.

Facial Gua Sha: A Step-by-Step Guide

Always begin with your neck to release tension and assist with lymph drainage. Repeat each step three to five times. For a more detailed look at this technique, you can check out this video.

  1. Hold the skin at the base of your neck with your hand that isn’t holding the tool. Using the divot in your tool, use upward strokes, and glide up the cervical spine (the middle of your neck) from the base of your neck to the base of the skull and give it a wiggle. 
  2. Turn your Gua Sha tool to use the long flat edg. Gently glide down the side of your neck next to your shoulder. Hold your skin taut a few inches down from where you are gliding the Gua Sha.
  3. Repeat on the other side of your neck.
  4. Using the divot on your tool, glide up from the center of your collarbone to your chin. Use feather-light pressure.
  5. Choose the side of your face you would like to work on first. Use the divot of the tool to go from the middle of your chin towards the ear along the jawline.
  6. Use the long side of your Gua Sha and hook the tool under the cheekbone drawing out and up towards the ear.
  7. Using light pressure, slowly sweep from the side of your nose, under the eye, out towards the temple
  8. Next, using lighter pressure, going along the brow bone, use the long side of the tool to sweep from the center of the forehead to the temples.
  9. Starting at the space between the eyebrows, stroke up to your hairline. Move over to the right eyebrow and repeat.
  10. Finally, you can scrape from the center of your forehead towards the earlobe and down to your collarbone using a downward motion to help flush your lymphatic system.

The Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil Is Perfect For Gua Sha

The Herban Wisdom Facial Oil

The golden rule of Gua Sha is to always apply facial oil before using your stone. You need enough slip so that the tool can easily glide across the contours of your face — without it, you can pull or tug at your delicate skin.

The Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil is a high-vibrational facial oil that will compliment your Gua Sha routine perfectly. This exceptional formula is a powerful skin treatment fusing clean plant nutrients rich in antioxidant, adaptogenic, rejuvenating, and moisturizing properties.

Just a few drops incorporated into your own Gua Sha ritual can help visibly recharge skin to appear calm and balanced, radiating with a gorgeous natural glow. 

You can shop the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom® Facial Oil here

References:

http://en.chinaculture.org/info/2013-04/25/content_456628.htm [1]

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1550830707001772?via%3Dihub [2]

https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/9/11/3678/htm [3]

https://blog.sidekicktool.com/gua-sha-wrinkles/ [4]

https://he01.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/ams/article/view/66337 [5]

https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/12/3/362/1829149?login=false [6]

https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/107731 [7]

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254627217300262 [8]

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S200529011630125X?via%3Dihub [9]

https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2017/03000/Effect_of_Gua_sha_therapy_on_perimenopausal.10.aspx [10]

Coriander Seed Oil: The Ancient Ingredient That’s Amazing for Skin

While Coriander spice is a culinary staple, Coriander Seed Oil deserves a place in your wellness and skincare routine. Coriander Seed Oil, derived from the ripe seeds of the Coriander plant, has an intriguing history of being used medicinally and topically for its health and beautifying benefits.

Coriander Seed Oil is extracted from the Coriandrum sativum plant through steam distillation. It is native to regions spanning from Southern Europe and North Africa to Southwestern Asia. However, the crop is widely distributed throughout the world. The entirety of the Coriandrum sativum plant is edible. Its leaves, commonly known as cilantro, have a delicious, lemony flavor that accentuates Mexican and South Asian cuisines. Coriander seeds, on the other hand, are used in Indian food for their warm and spicy flavor.

With promising antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-oxidative properties, Coriander Seed Oil is garnering attention in the beauty industry as a beneficial skincare ingredient.

The History of the Coriander Seed

Coriander seeds have been found in ancient ruins that date as far back as 5000 BC. The Egyptians used the seeds as an aphrodisiac and as an ingredient in perfumes. Additionally, the tombs of pharaohs contained Coriander seeds as a suspected symbol of eternal love.1 The Romans and Greeks used it to flavor their wine, while Indians used the seeds in natural remedies.

According to folklore, the Persians grew coriander seeds around 3,000 years ago to provide a pleasant fragrance in the hanging gardens of Babylon.2  Also, within the Bible, coriander seed is mentioned in Exodus 16:30 when God supplied manna to the Israelites in the wilderness.

Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Coriander Concepts

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the coriander plant is known to belong to the ‘Warm/Acrid’ family of herbs that release ‘Exterior’ ailments.3  These herbs purportedly treat early-stage diseases that affect the upper respiratory tract, eyes, ears, nose, throat, and skin. TCM believes that Exterior conditions disrupt the Wei Qi (immune system) and that Warm/Acrid herbs induce sweating that can expel these ailments.

Practitioners believe that Coriander can help bring balance within the body by restoring Yin and Yang, a key concept in TCM. Since Coriander is known to be Warm, it tends to help those who have too much Cold in their body. Having too much Cold means one either has a Yin Excess (Yin is Cold) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot). 4

Benefits of Coriander Seed Oil

Coriander Seed Oil is renowned for a multitude of health benefits. Taken internally, the oil has been used to aid in digestion due to its soothing quality. It possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties and has been taken orally for halitosis. Additionally, it has been used as a calming agent to address shock, trauma, and stress.

Coriander Seed Oil consists of three main components: monoterpenols, monoterpenes, and ketones. These elements give Coriander its cleansing, antioxidant, and wellness-boosting properties.

Coriander Seed Oil is replete with key antioxidants and active agents that provide amazing benefits, such as:

  • Terpinene: antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties
  • Quercetin: a flavonoid with antioxidant properties
  • Tocopherols: a form of vitamin E, absorbs UV rays, helps prevent UV-induced free radical damage
  • Linalool: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties
  • Terpinolene: antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial properties, acts as a sedative when mixed with linalool
  • Cineole: anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial
  • Phellandrene: antifungal, antibacterial
  • Dipentene: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-stress

If you want to explore more of the antioxidants and active agents within Coriander Seed Oil, check out our ingredient glossary.

Coriander Seed Oil in Skincare

Coriander Seed Oil was first used in lotions and skincare products for its deodorizing benefits. However more recently, it has become more widely used for its skin-caring antioxidant potency.

The benefits of Coriander Seed Oil for the skin are impressive:

  • It’s rich in vitamins. This includes Vitamin C, which promotes skin brightening as well as Vitamin E.
  • It’s anti-inflammatory. Can help soothe and calm sensitive or irritated skin.
  • It protects skin cells from oxidative stress. Antioxidant power helps prevent collagen fragmentation and skin diseases including cancer.
  • It supports skin wellness. Helps promote a clear complexion and improve oily skin.

DIY Uses of Coriander Seed Oil at Home

With your medical practitioner’s approval, there are many ways you can use Coriander Seed Oil at home – topically, aromatically, or even ingested. Here are some ideas for at-home DIY uses:

  • Mix a few drops of Coriander Seed Oil with water to combat bad breath.
  • Blend a few drops into a carrier oil like jojoba or MCT and use it as a massage oil to help relieve stiffness and promote circulation.
  • Add two drops to your bath to help increase libido.
  • For a refreshing and calming scent, add a few drops in a burner or diffuser. Coriander Seed Oil blends well with Bergamot, Cinnamon, Grapefruit, Ginger, Neroli, Lemon, Lime, Orange, and other citrus fruit oils.
  • Apply it directly to your back for digestive difficulties. Or take it internally with honey and water.
  • If you have sensitive skin, apply it neat to promote a clear complexion and address oily skin.

Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom Facial Oil

Coriander Seed Oil is integrated into the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom Facial Oil for its aromatic properties and as a tonic to promote a feeling of well-being.

If you’re interested in experiencing Herban Wisdom Facial Oil for yourself, try a free sample. Along with your purchase, you’ll receive a $10 off promo code. At $100 per ounce, this sample is worth $16.67 by itself, which is an amazing deal. While supplies last.

https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/coriander-seed-oil.aspx#_edn1) [1]

https://www.localharvest.org/blog/48630/entry/a_little_history_of_coriander [2]

https://www.meandqi.com/herb-database/coriander [3] [4]