Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Benefit: Protects and stimulates
Ophelia in Hamlet remarks that "rosemary is for remembrance." But it stimulates more than just memory: When it comes to skin, rosemary is invigorating, energizing, and protective. Italian scientists have found rosemary leaf extract to be a powerful, natural anti-aging ingredient that works to safeguard skin from the damaging effects of pollution and the sun's ultraviolet rays. A recent study in the International Journal of Tissue Reactions reported that rosemary leaves contain strong antioxidants capable of inhibiting free-radical damage on the skin's surface. Because rosemary also has astringent properties, which both stimulate the scalp and remove excess oil, aromatherapists often recommend it for hair care, citing its ability to put an end to oily flakes.
White Willow Bark (Salix alba)
Benefit: Exfoliates congested skin
The bark from the white willow shrub contains salicin, which has been used for centuries to break fevers, relieve pain, and reduce swelling. (It's the original source of aspirin.) Willow bark is also an effective natural exfoliant--in fact, it's the source of the salicylic acid contained in many beauty products today. "Willow bark extract helps break down oils, so it's great at helping to clear oil plugs and breakouts," says San Francisco-based Patrick McRae, former product development coordinator for Zia Natural Skincare.
5 More Botanical Beauties
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) is known for its ability to heal wounds and burns. But it's also an effective emollient when utilized in creams.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) has antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties, which makes it a superb wound healer and all-around skin soother.