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3/11/2009
From hurting to healing
From hurting to healing
THE SKIN LIVES. Enveloping a person’s body, with a surface area of approximately 22 square feet and weighing up to 22 pounds, the skin is the largest human organ. Naturally, it performs vital functions.

One key function is its role as a communicator. Its fine network of nerves allows us to perceive temperature and pain. This intricate system gives us our sense of touch.

As a layer that separates the inner and outer worlds and the regulator between these worlds, the skin wards off damaging effects. It protects the body from stress, extreme temperatures, viruses and bacteria.

The skin stays in constant, direct contact with the outside environment. As a result, it is vulnerable to nearly anything and everything. This explains why even a small accident can incur a hurtful cut, bruise, scrape or burn. Depending upon the severity of the wound, the skin’s ability to healthfully function may also be limited.

The skin heals:

Humans have self-healing powers that immediately jump into action when the skin is injured, initiating its natural regeneration processes. Nature-derived substances in the form of botanicals, herbs, oils and waxes support this process so that the skin heals quickly and efficiently, avoiding further irritation, pain and long-term damage.

After cleaning a cut or scrape, one should apply a natural, homeopathic ointment formulated with the purest ingredients to further soothe the wound and help it heal. Herbs grown organically or biodynamically are preferable, as they are full of healthy, healing powers, without the risk of added irritation and infection from unknown ingredient contaminates. Michael Murray, N.D., a professor and member of Bastyr University’s board of trustees, names calendula and mercurialis as his favorite plants for promoting skin repair. “The flavonoids and essential oil components help reduce inflammation and soothe irritation,” he says. “Those effects go a long way in removing the main obstacles that delay repair due to minor trauma to the skin.”

The Skin Loves Plants:

Fresh ingredients, dried or made into a medicinal tincture immediately after they are picked, best support the skin’s healing. Because life gives life, the more vital, living properties in a plant, the better it can help the skin rebuild itself.

Other wounds like stovetop burns or sunburns can be treated with trusted herbal remedies like arnica and urtica. Arnica is used medically as a bactericide and immune-stimulant, working to activate the body’s natural healing responses. Urtica, also known as nettle, follows the basic principle of homeopathy. Employing the 200-year-old concept of “like treats like,” urtica in potentized (diluted) form is used to heal burns due to its natural mode of transmitting a stinging sensation, like a burn, when one comes in contact with the plant in nature.

Like our bodies’ natural processes, homeopathic remedies work with the whole organism rather than its isolated symptoms. This holistic form of medicine follows the approach that only small amounts of a substance are needed to achieve a great healing effect. The process of mixing a plant extract with alcohol or water, known as potentization, also releases the plant’s healing, active substances.

Other skin-nourishing ingredients like beeswax, lanolin and natural plant oils play a role in the healing process. Beeswax, for instance, protects the skin from dryness without inhibiting its ability to breathe, which is key to healing. Likewise, lanolin, also known as wool wax, is compatible with the skin’s own oil composition and therefore helps prevent moisture loss.

Everyday life brings its share of risks and occasions for injury. While a doctor should be consulted in the case of serious wounds, treating minor skin wounds is easy to do whether at home, the playground or the office. Quickly responding to any accident large or small is important, making skin-caring medicines essential to every first aid kit. Then healing can begin.

Weleda believes that natural substances compatible with the skin have a calming effect, supporting its natural ability to function and heal. Each of Weleda’s first aid, homeopathic ointments are formulated with healing organic and biodynamic® plant extracts and are free of synthetic preservatives, which can cause allergic reactions. The products are safe and recommended for children.