Traditional Chinese Medicine in Cosmetics

Mar 1, 2012 | Contact Author | By: Huiliang Li, Jahwa Cosmetics
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Title: Traditional Chinese Medicine in Cosmetics
Traditional Chinese Medicinex organicx Yan-Zhix botanyx yin and yangx
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Keywords: Traditional Chinese Medicine | organic | Yan-Zhi | botany | yin and yang

Abstract: Cosmetics based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are formulated not only using TCM drugs, but also according to cultural theories and principles. This article serves as a review of TCM drug ingredients, history and principles, to assist product developers in understanding how they can be combined for products targeted to this specialized market.

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H Li, Traditional Chinese Medicine in Cosmetics, Cosm & Toil 127(3) 198-206

Market Data

  • Suppliers are engaging in the advanced research of plant-derived peptides, encapsulated actives, active plant stem cells, complex extraction processes and clinical testing.
  • The Indian market has traditionally been drawn toward natural products; while consumers elsewhere must be educated about the benefits of natural herbs, this knowledge is inherited from generations.
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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the medicine that can be used for preventing and treating diseases, the application of which follows traditional Chinese principles and philosophies. It is an approach to health that treats the human body as an organic whole. It holds that although viscera and tissues in the body have individual functions and responsibilities, they also coordinate to maintain normal life activities. Furthermore, TCM considers the human body and its external natural surroundings, which are dependent upon one other as an organic whole. As a result, even body surface problems such as acne, pigmentation, abnormal complexion and dry, coarse skin are viewed as the outcome of disharmony among viscera, tissues and organs, or between the human body and the natural world.

In China, TCM has been used for thousands of years in cosmetics as an important tradition that follows this theory of skin care. Research and development of using natural herbal ingredients or TCMs in skin care has grown. However, the use of these of ingredients has been controversial. Strictly speaking, TCM cosmetics are not only based on the use of natural animal, botanical and mineral materials, which are traditional TCM ingredients, as functional components, but also the formula’s prescription and formulation theories. In other words, TCM cosmetics are not simply made by adding TCM ingredients into formulae; most importantly, cosmetic formulas are formulated and dispatched according to TCM theories and principles as described here—and all TCM cosmetics on the current market should adhere to this formulation concept in order to be differentiated from other products.

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This is an excerpt of an article from GCI Magazine. The full version can be found here.

 

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Table 1. Cosmetics that use different herbal or TCM ingredients

Table 1. Cosmetics that use different herbal or TCM ingredients

Research and development of using natural herbal ingredients or TCMs in skin care has grown.

Table 2. TCM connection between emotion/mind with external skin or hair problems30

Table 2. TCM connection between emotion/mind with external skin or hair problems<sup>30</sup>

Since emotions are endogenous, they can directly impair the zang-fu organs, which in turn result in various skin or hair problems.28 The TCM connections between emotion/mind with external skin or hair problems are summarized here.

Figure 1. Oracle bone inscriptions

Figure 1. Oracle bone inscriptions

Oracle bone inscriptions that refer, in Chinese, to: a) beauty, b) makeup and c) bathing

Figure 2. Lip styles prevalent in different dynasties

Figure 2. Lip styles prevalent in different dynasties

Ancient TCM prescriptions were classified in various ways by use, function and material, such as by lip makeup styles, including Yan- Zhi blend, charming pomegranate, crimson spring, light red spring, tender Wuxiang, half bashfulness, dewdrop, pale red core, gradated scarlet, etc.

Triple Energizer

The triple energizer is one of the six fu-organs and the largest fu-organ in the human body. It transfers the essence-Qi that is sourced from the kidneys and serves as a pathway for body fluid. It is formed by three parts, namely the upper energizer, middle energizer and lower energizer. The water metabolism of the human body is accomplished by the joint function of the triple energizer, the lungs, the kidneys and the spleen.29

Footnotes [Li 127(3)]

a The Herbal T’ai Chi Detoxifying and Nutrient cosmetic series is a line of products from Herborist.

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