Traditional Chinese medicine understands that the approach to healthy skin in the winter, or any time of the year for that matter, starts from the inside out. Skin care has become a multi-billion dollar industry, yet most of these products contain drugs or harsh chemicals that often do little to improve the root cause of a skin condition, and in some circumstances may actually exacerbate the problem.
TCM, on the other hand, uses the same natural remedies and techniques that have worked for thousands of years–in fact, dermatology is a specialty of TCM practitioners. Rather than simply applying a treatment to the skin, the TCM approach is to address the internal problem, allowing the skin on the outside to then heal itself. TCM sees the body as a system of interrelated parts. In TCM, all disorders, including dry or winter skin, which on the surface may seem to be caused by external forces, actually have their root causes in internal imbalances between qi, blood flow, yin, yang, and blockages of different energy pathways within the body.
To treat dry skin, the practitioner would seek to strengthen one’s immune system and decrease the body’s sensitivity to the cold and other negative environmental hazards. It is also important to balance the internal organ systems using herbal medicines and acupuncture to remove blockages of qi that are contributing to or causing the dry or itchy skin. Releasing toxins from the skin can also eliminate the itchy, red skin.
Wolfberry is one herb that has long been used in Chinese medicine for treatment of dry skin. To TCM practitioners, wolfberries nourish and restore the liver, kidneys and blood. To Western scientists, this may not be surprising as the wolfberry plant contains powerful anti-oxidants including vitamin C, linoleic acid, thiamine, beta-carotene, and riboflavin. Wolfberry is better known as goji berry and is available in many health food stores in liquid and dried forms.