The old adage, “You are what you eat,” is spot-on. What you ingest has an affect on your external body as well. This is one of the most important aspects of maintaining beautiful skin. You can be using the purest, finest products, but if your diet doesn’t align, your skin only has half of what it needs. It’s fed from the inside out.

In the winter I cook with herbs, spices, and botanicals to support my constitution and boost my immune system.

When making stews, curries, soups, grains, beans, and anything else that simmers for a while, I add dried astragalus root slices, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, onion, burdock root, ginger, and fresh turmeric root for delicious and healing additions.

During cooler weather, I also sip homemade chai and herbal teas, drink plenty of water, and eat an array of greens. White sugar and alcohol can weaken our immune response, so I limit my intake even more then I normally do. It’s natural to crave warm foods in the cooler months and shy away from cold greens. Since salads can be one of the primary ways we eat greens, this pushes us to mix it up a bit. I love making green soups, steaming greens and adding them to curries and stews. It’s a wonderful, yummy solution.

Mixing up the types of greens you use isn’t just pleasing to the palette, but helps diversify your nutrient intake. Try using less sought after greens, such as parsley, cabbage, bok choy, collards, beet tops, watercress, and chard.

Using cayenne, paprika, red chilis, ginger, mustard, chili and other heat-producing spices in cooking is warming and comforting when it’s cold outside. Plus they help keep your metabolism up. Many of these spices are also anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, and filled with beneficial nutrients that are key to maintaining overall health, as well as the health of your skin.

For years, I’ve formulated my skin and body care products with these herbs, spices, and botanicals. For example, astragalus and burdock root bath soaks and turmeric and licorice root face masks are mainstays at Sumbody. While some of these ingredients may not be revolutionary now, many are overlooked, underused, and undervalued for skin care and deserve more attention.

Here’s a spiced-up recipe to get you started:

Anti-inflammatory, age-defying mask activator and toner:

  • 2 small slices turmeric, chopped
  • 1 1/2 inch burdock root, chopped
  • 1 slice dried astragalus root
  • 1 1/2 inch or 1 tea bag of pure (unflavored) licorice root
  • 1/8 inch vanilla
  • 8 goji berries
  • Sumbody’s Deep Sea Mask or facial clay


  • Measure 4 cups of pure water (chlorine and plastic-free is best) into a small pot.
  • Simmer all herbs until reduced to half.
  • Use this tea as a toner and store in fridge.
  • Mix liquid with any powdered mask or facial clay. For a deep detoxing, mix with Sumbody’s Deep Sea Mask.

Nature provides us with all we need to be healthy. It’s just a matter of using it in the right forms, concentrations, and combinations. Even meal planning involves a little health knowledge mixed with science, and knowing what a body needs to maintain optimum health. Skin is no different. Devise a skin health care strategy.

Deborah Burnes is the CEO and Co-Founder of Sumbody, a truly natural product line and the author of Look Great, Live Green and Natural Beauty Skin Care.

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