Most colorectal cancers begin with polyps—small clumps of cells that attach to the intestine walls. While polyps usually start out benign, they can turn into cancer over time.
During the 1950s and ’60s, there was almost no way to get through puberty acne-free. Then the magnitude of acne-faced teens dissipated. Now acne, also known as pimples or zits, seems to be making comeback.
As acne becomes more prevalent so are the pharmaceutical solutions dispensed by dermatologists. You know, the folks who say sunshine will cause skin cancer and recommend you lather up with those carcinogenic sunscreens.
If you or someone you know is concerned about the presence of pimples, there is a natural, inexpensive solution – thyme. (more…)
Herbal preparations of thyme could be more effective at treating skin acne than prescription creams, according to research recently presented at the Society for General Microbiology’s Spring Conference in Dublin. Further clinical testing could lead to an effective, gentler treatment for the skin condition.
Researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University tested the effect of thyme, marigold and myrrh tinctures on Propionibacterium acnes — the bacterium that causes acne by infecting skin pores and forming spots, which range from white heads through to puss-filled cysts. The group found that while all the preparations were able to kill the bacterium after five minutes exposure, thyme was the most effective of the three. What’s more, they discovered that thyme tincture had a greater antibacterial effect than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide — the active ingredient in most anti-acne creams or washes.
Dr Margarita Gomez-Escalada who is leading the research project explained how tinctures are made from plants and herbs. “The plant material is steeped in alcohol for days or even weeks to prepare a tincture. This process draws out the active compounds from the plant. While thyme, marigold and myrrh are common herbal alternatives to standard antibacterial skin washes, this is the first study to demonstrate the effect they have on the bacterium that causes the infection leading to acne,” she said. The researchers used a standard in vitro model that is used to test the effect of different substances applied to the skin. The effects of the tinctures were measured against an alcohol control — proving their antibacterial action was not simply due to the sterilizing effect of the alcohol they are prepared in.
These initial findings pave the way for more research into the use of tinctures as a treatment for acne. “We now need to carry out further tests in conditions that mimic more closely the skin environment and work out at the molecular level how these tinctures are working. If thyme tincture is proven to be as clinically effective as our findings suggest, it may be a natural alternative to current treatments,” explained Dr Gomez-Escalada.
A herbal treatment for acne would be very welcome news — particularly for acne sufferers who experience skin sensitivity. “The problem with treatments containing benzoyl peroxide is the side-effects they are associated with,” said Dr Gomez-Escalada. “A burning sensation and skin irritation are not uncommon. Herbal preparations are less harsh on the skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties while our results suggest they can be just as, if not more, effective than chemical treatments.”
As a previous article noted, the popular Simon and Garfunkel song of years gone by had a famous line which included four very healthy herbal spices. Besides the first two herbs (parsley and sage) featured in a previous article, rosemary and thyme also have a host of health benefits – which are detailed below:
Those of us who go back a few years likely remember the line about parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme in the huge Simon and Garfunkel hit song about two ill-fated lovers, “Are You Going to Scarborough Fair”. Many have speculated that the reference to the four popular herbs was due to their use in Medieval Europe to help cleanse the air and ward off the infamous black plague. Others have thought that the reference to the four herbs was because the combination may have been used as a love potion.
Whatever the reason for their inclusion in the popular song, the many health benefits of those four popular spices make them a herbal health quartet worth loving and singing praises about in their own rights.