Excess pigmentation - Melasma; Loss of pigmentation - Vitaligo
herbal tonics for:
Excess pigmentation - Melasma;
Loss of pigmentation - Vitiligo
Excess pigmentation - Melasma;
Loss of pigmentation - Vitiligo
Herbs and Pigmentation
Excess pigmentation - Melasma
Loss of pigmentation - Vitiligo
What is Skin Pigment?
Various shades and colors of human skin are created by the brown pigment, melanin. Without melanin, the skin would be pale white with varying shades of pink caused by the blood flowing through it. Fair-skinned people produce very little melanin; darker-skinned people produce moderate amounts; and very dark skinned people produce a great deal. People with albinism have no melanin.
Melanin is produced by special cells (melanocytes) that are interspersed among the other cells in the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. After melanin is produced, it spreads into other nearby skin cells.
HYPERPIGMENTATION (MelasmaLess Tonic)
When exposed to sunlight, melanocytes produce increased amounts of melanin, causing the skin to darken, or tan. In some fair-skinned people, certain melanocytes produce more melanin than others in response to sunlight. This uneven melanin production results in spots of pigmentation known as freckles. A tendency to freckles runs in families. MelasmaLess Tonic is recommended
Increased amounts of melanin can also occur in response to hormonal changes, such as those that may take place in Addison's disease, in pregnancy, or with oral contraceptive use. MelasmaLess Tonic should be taken.
Some cases of skin darkening, however, are not related to increased melanin at all, but rather to abnormal pigments that make their way into the skin. Diseases such as hemochromatosis or hemosiderosis or some drugs that are applied to the skin, swallowed, or injected can cause skin darkening. A buildup of bilirubin (the main pigment in bile) causes the skin to turn yellow (jaundice).[see LiverDetox]
Melasma (dark patches on the skin)
Melasma produces dark brown patches of pigmentation on sun-exposed areas, usually the face.
Melasma tends to appear during pregnancy (mask of pregnancy) and in women who take oral contraceptives, although it can occur in anyone. The disorder is most common in sunny climates and in people of Latin or Asian origin.
Melasma produces irregular, patchy areas of dark color that are the same on both sides of the face. The pigmentation most often occurs in the center of the face and on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and nose. Sometimes people have the patches only on the sides of the face. Rarely, melasma appears on the forearms.
The patches do not itch or hurt and are only of cosmetic significance.
Melasma usually fades after pregnancy or when an oral contraceptive is discontinued. People with melasma can use sunscreens on the dark patches and avoid sun exposure to prevent the condition from getting worse. Skin-bleaching creams containing hydroquinone and retinoic acid can help lighten the dark patches. If the condition doesn't fade when pregnancy is over or when oral contraceptives are discontinued, of if these dark patches on the face (or body) then you can take ther herbal medicine MelasmaLess Tonic to help to clear the dark patches.
Tinea versicolor (pityriasis versicolor) is a fungal infection of the topmost layer of the skin causing scaly, discolored patches. [For treament of this fungal condition click here]
Sun damage produces many of the skin changes that people commonly associate with aging. Long-term exposure to the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is responsible for wrinkles, both fine and coarse; irregular pigmentation; brown and red spots; and the rough texture of sun-exposed skin. MelasmaLess Tonic can help the skin tone and the excess pigmentation spots and patches on the skin.
An abnormally low amount of melanin (hypopigmentation) may affect large areas of the body or small patches. Decreased melanin usually results from a previous injury to the skin such as a blister, ulcer, burn, or skin infection. Sometimes pigment loss results from an inflammatory condition of the skin or, in rare instances, is hereditary. A common skin infection, tinea versicolor, can also cause pigment loss in patches of skin.
Vitiligo is a disorder in which a localized loss of melanocytes results in smooth white patches of skin.
The cause of vitiligo is unknown, but it may involve an attack by the person's immune system on melanocytes. Vitiligo tends to run in families and may occur with certain other diseases. Thyroid disease is present in almost one third of people with vitiligo, but the relationship between the disorders is unclear. People with diabetes, Addison's disease, and pernicious anemia also are somewhat more likely to develop vitiligo. The disorder may occur after physical trauma or a sunburn.
Although vitiligo does not pose a medical problem, it may cause considerable psychologic distress. Our herbal medicine for Vitaligo will help with the condition and the distress.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
In some people, one or two sharply demarcated patches of vitiligo appear; in others, patches appear over a large part of the body. The changes are most striking in dark-skinned people. Commonly affected areas are the face, elbows and knees, hands and feet, and genitals. The unpigmented skin is extremely prone to sunburn. The areas of skin affected by vitiligo also produce white hair, because the melanocytes are lost from the hair follicles. Premature graying of scalp hair may occur even when the underlying skin is unaffected by vitiligo.
Vitiligo is recognized by its typical appearance. A Wood's light examination is often performed to help distinguish vitiligo from other causes of lightened skin. Other tests and biopsies are rarely necessary.
No cure is known for vitiligo, although some people regain their color spontaneously. Treatment may be helpful. Herbal treatment usilizes herbs with a steroidal action. Small patches sometimes darken when treated with a phytocorticosteroid lotion (totally plant based and without the side-effects of steroid drugs and creams). Some people use bronzers, skin stains, or makeup to darken the area. Because many people still have a few melanocytes in the patches of vitiligo, phototherapy restimulates pigment production in more than half of them combined with ultraviolet A light (PUVA) and narrow-band ultraviolet B light treatments are most beneficial. However, phototherapy takes months to be effective and must be continued indefinitely. This can be combined with our herbal tonic.
Some people who have very large areas of vitiligo sometimes prefer to bleach the pigment out of the unaffected skin to achieve an even color. Bleaching is done with repeated applications of hydroquinone cream to the skin for weeks to years. The effects of bleaching are irreversible. We recommend that before you take the decision to bleach your skin you try the herbal method, and then later combine this with phototherapy (ultraviolet light see above for details).
Acknowledgements to the Merck Manual
These two tonics address the causes that result in these conditions:
Excess pigmentation - MelasmaLess Tonic
Loss of pigmentation - VitiligoLess Tonic
Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.
Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.
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General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.
Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.
A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.
A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.
Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.
The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.
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