Posted by Home Herbalist on 7/25/2019 to Herb Word: Vocabulary for the Home Herbalist
The dictionary defines the herbal action 'astringent' as being a substance that tightens or constricts body tissues. Often tissues may feel tight, 'puckered', or constricted. There are many substances that do this rubbing alcohol, herbal teas made with astringent plants such as raspberry, rose, shepherd's purse, etc. In plants, the astringent compound is usually high sources of tannins.
One of the most well known astringent herbs, Witch hazel, is often extracted to create great skin toner that can cleanse skin, remove grime, minimize pores, and even dry out oil, and battle acne.
Note: Alcohol may excessively remove oil and dry out your complexion. Stacy Cox a Los Angeles-based esthetician says "Astringents reduce the acid mantle in your skin as well as the pH balance. You can't 'overdose' [your skin] on toner, but you can definitely 'overdose' on astringent." Toners can be made by extracting astringent herbs into glycerine for a gentler effect than alcohol.
When it comes to herbs there are certain times we would seek out an herb with astringent properties, like excessive uterine bleeding, diarrhea, excessive perspiration, when things need to be drawn out, contract veins, weeping wounds, burns etc.
Some examples of astringent herbs are:
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.)
Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) Leaf & Root
Crane's bill (Geranium)
Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea)
Lemon (Citrus x limon)
Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandicum)
Oak bark (Quercus)
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) leaf and root
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursis)
Tea (Green & Black) (Camellia sinensis)
Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Yarrow (Alchillea millefolium)