10 Effective Chinese Herbal Remedies for Acne

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions affecting people. Characterized by pimples and breakouts on the face and other parts of the body such as the chest and back, acne not only occurs in adolescents but is also suffered by adults. Acne breakouts often occur as a result of hormone changes, stress, trigger foods and poor skincare routines. 

Although acne is usually viewed as a mild medical condition, severe acne attacks–especially those that occur on the face–can leave not only physical scars but emotional ones too. Treating acne is, therefore, very important for cosmetic purposes as well as for maintaining a sense of well-being and self-confidence.

To treat acne, most people try over-the-counter medicated creams and skincare products. These treatments are often ineffective because they do not address the root cause of the attacks. The result is, at best, temporary relief from acne with the condition reappearing at the slightest provocation.

Recurring acne often leads people to try prescription creams and drugs, which can, unfortunately, pose serious side effects and health risks. These unsatisfactory treatments are leading people to explore more natural methods for getting clear and healthy skin. A safer, holistic approach is to use Chinese herbal remedies to address acne. 

This approach takes into account many factors in the person’s health which may be contributing to the cause of acne. Additionally, Chinese remedies for acne do an amazing job at reducing the appearance of blemishes and rejuvenating the skin.

Chinese Herbal Remedies for Treating Acne

Traditional Chinese Medicine treats breakouts through a combination of Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and dietary suggestions. According to Chinese herbal medicine, the body is divided into meridians, and acne is viewed as ‘heat’ in the stomach and lung meridians. The stomach meridian begins on the face and extends to the chest area, while the lung meridian is the region from the chest area to the middle of the body. Greasy and spicy foods create a lot of undigested metabolites in the body that produce more heat. When there is excess heat in the body, the heat rises to the face. Therefore, excess heat in the stomach and lungs results in acne on the face and chest area. Counteracting this excess heat is one objective of Chinese herbal remedies for acne. Let’s now take a closer look at these Eastern remedies.

  1.   Acupuncture

Acupuncture helps in treating acne by flushing out the toxins that are responsible for heat buildup in the body. Acupuncture works on the belief that medical problems arise when the energy flowing along the meridians in the body is interrupted. Sterile needles inserted at specific acupuncture points restores the normal flow of energy in these meridians. Acupuncture also regulates the hormones responsible for skin secretions, thereby reducing inflammation and the accumulation of bacteria.

  1.   Mung Beans

These beans are full of amazing ingredients that help with skin care. They are full of phytonutrients, healthy fiber, powerful antioxidants and proteins that fight the free radicals on the skin that cause inflammation. They can be taken as a meal or blended into healthy face masks. The regular consumption or topical application of these detoxifying legumes will reduce puffiness and promote healing from acne.

  1.   Jin Yin Hua

The Jin Yin Hua herb, also known as the honeysuckle flower, is a powerful Chinese herb with multiple uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This flower has a rich fragrance and sweet nectar, but more importantly, it is full of anti-inflammatory and antibiotic elements that make it great for helping maintain healthy skin. The medicinal part of the plant is the dried flower bud. When consumed, the cooling and lightweight nature of Jin Yin Hua allows the herbal properties to rise up through the meridians, clearing excess heat in the stomach and lungs and eliminating toxins that cause acne. These characteristics make Jin Yin Hua a highly-beneficial ingredient for face creams. Wash your face regularly with Jin Yin Hua extracts or apply topical creams containing the herb for increased protection from acne-causing agents.

  1.   Face Cupping

Cupping is an ancient remedy that has been gaining popularity for exercise recovery and pain relief. This technique is also effective in improving the health of the skin. Dull and damaged skin usually results from toxin accumulation under the skin as a result of poor circulation. The suction technique in cupping promotes proper circulation in the skin to flush out harmful toxins that cause skin blemishes. It also promotes the flow of nutrients to the face which helps keep your skin healthy and glowing.

  1.   Zhen Zhu

Zhen Zhu, commonly known as pearl, is one of the treasures of dermatology. In crushed powder form, Zhen Zhu helps deal with stubborn acne breakouts on the face and other body parts. It contains about 18 different amino acids and other healthy minerals that are needed in the production of collagen in the body. Collagen is needed to keep the skin firm and plump, so using Zhen Zhu helps maintain a youthful and glowing skin appearance. People of all ages and genders can use Zhen Zhu. When consumed, Zhen Zhu eliminates the harmful toxins in the blood that are responsible for acne breakouts. It also minimizes rashes on the skin and relieves skin itching. Other uses of Zhen Zhu include calming the spirit and nourishing the heart, making it one of the most amazing Chinese remedies around.

  1.   Gan Cao, Licorice Root

Chinese licorice root helps clear excess heat that builds up in the body as a result of the accumulation of toxins in the body. Extracts of this great Chinese herb can be added to tea or crushed and applied topically on the skin. It also inhibits the production of sebum that is responsible for skin breakouts.   

  1.   Raw Honey

Raw honey helps detoxify the liver and contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Using raw honey will help free your body of harmful toxins that cause skin blemishes. Try adding a spoonful or two to a glass of water and drinking daily. You can also apply a thin layer of raw honey directly to your face to help fight free radicals on the skin. Try making a mask by grinding one or several of the herbs mentioned in this article with honey and applying to skin for a minimum of 20 minutes.

  1.   Calendula

Calendula is one of the potent plant species around. It has a lot of applications and it has been used extensively for medicinal and cosmetic purposes for some time now. Calendula and marigold belong to the same plant species with calendula often referred to as pot marigold. You can take it orally, and for the best treatment of acne, apply it topically. Calendula is a powerful antioxidant and as such, it will fight the free radicals on your skin that are responsible for acne attacks. It is rich in flavonoids that enhance its anti-inflammatory properties, further boosting its ability to fight free radicals on the skin. It seems like there is nothing this powerful Chinese herb cannot do when it comes to boosting skin health. Make calendula part of your skincare routine to enjoy more healthy, glowing skin.

  1.   Dang Gui

Dang Gui, which is extracted from the roots of the Angelica Sinensis plant, is another herb that helps with acne treatment. It often goes by the name “female ginseng” since it is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for feminine health support. Dang Gui contains estrogen-like compounds that may help lower the acne-producing androgen hormones in the body. Since too much Dang Gui can make the skin more photosensitive, the Chinese herb should be taken in small amounts or as directed by a TCM specialist.

  1.   Huang Qi

The Huang Qi herb, also known as Astragalus root, is a widely-used Chinese herb that can be used to treat acne, boost the body’s immunity, improve digestion and cleanse the kidneys and liver. Rich in flavonoids, Huang Qi helps fight free radicals that cause inflammation on the skin. Additionally, Huang Qi contains amino acids that improve collagen production in the body. To help in the treatment against acne and improve skin quality, try using Huang Qi in topical treatments and/or steeping it in a tea.


Each of these Chinese remedies for acne provides multiple health benefits. They are not used to simply treat or mask the symptoms of acne and they do not pose the serious side effects that come with prescription drugs. Rather, individuals using Chinese herbal medicine can often enjoy improved health and wellness alongside beautiful skin. 


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