Having raised two girls, my experience about boy teens is limited to that of my little brother (who is also my best friend). And that experience was very limited since he is only a few years younger than I! Occasionally I, as a Master Herbalist, receive questions from or about a male teen that require me to do a little research or review material covered when I was working on my Master Herbalist diploma. I suspect you would not be surprised that there is much more material available for teen girls than teen boys. The good news is most conditions in adolescents are common regardless of gender. So in this article I will cover what I have found to be the issues male teens are most concerned about – at least by those who have talked to me in the past couple of years.
Number one issue seems to be that of having acne. Yes, this is also a problem for teen girls. But from a boys perspective, trying to hide the condition with make-up is not really an option, so the condition is much more ‘out there, front and center’.
Acne (acne vulgaris, common acne) is a disease of the hair follicles of the face, chest, and back that affects almost all males and females during puberty as a result of the effects of hormones on sebaceous glands.
Click here to have an understanding of what acne is (with excellent pictures) and explanation of why you NEVER want to pick at them.
So what are the herbal treatments for acne? Two easy answers – Garlic oil and Tea Tree oil. Both are antimicrobial. So they destroy the bacterial that is thriving in the excess oil from acne. And both are anti-inflammatory, although Tea tree oil is a much milder anti-inflammatory herb than garlic. As the bacteria multiply in a clogged pore, the pore becomes inflamed. Inflammation is what causes a pimple to look red, hot, and swollen. So even though both herbal oils will treat acne, if there is major inflammation, Garlic Oil may be the best treatment.
Where do you find Tea Tree oil and Garlic oil (besides coming to my Herb Shop)? Tea tree oil is sold in many drug stores and health food stores. Garlic oil can be found in some health food stores. Or make your own.
Use as a topical application for skin problems such as athlete’s foot or acne or even use it for bug bite wounds.
- 8 oz garlic, peeled and minced
- Olive oil, warm
Place the garlic in a large jar and add enough oil to cover the garlic.
Shake and allow to rest in a warm place for two to three days.
Strain the oil through cotton or muslin until all traces of garlic have been removed. Any remaining pieces can cause mold.
Bottle in a dark jar and keep refrigerated.
We all probably remember some of the emotional turmoil we experienced as teens. For my generation, we just dealt with it – as it was not a topic discussed, even if we knew how to discuss it! However, there is a wonderful herb called Lemon Balm that is safe, tasty, and has gentle, health promoting effects for teens (unless they have hypothyroid conditions, a subject I plan to cover in the future). It enhances cognitive function, improves mood, treats stress headaches, promotes better sleep quality, and is excellent for nervous stomach and for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Any of these conditions sound like what a teen you know is going through? See if they will enjoy a cup of Lemon Balm tea a half hour before going to bed. And/or add lemon balm leaves to their salad (might have to sneak them in…).
With not having boys, I never knew about a condition called orchitis. Orchitis is the inflammation of a testis. which usually occurs in an adolescent as a complication of mumps. Swelling of the testis usually begins about five to seven days after the salivary glands become swollen (sign of mumps). The condition starts with a headache, an increased feeling of uneasiness, a rise in temperature, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. Treatment for this condition involves plenty of bed rest, scrotal support, ice pack beneath the testicle, and treatment of the primary infection. The use of Dong Quai if very helpful for this condition, as well as herbs that are antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, relaxing nervines, such as Cramp Bark, Black Haw, and Roman Chamomile. These herbs will help relieve the pain.
The normal rough and tumble experiences that result in scrapes and bruises are stereotypically assigned to boys, but I know from first hand how they are just as much an experience with girls. It doesn’t stop when they reach adolescents or even adults. So keep in the medicine cabinet the jar of Arnica Cream for bruises and muscle strain and Calendula Salve for scratches and abrasians. Keep Lavender essential oil for first and second degree burns and an aloe vera plant nearby for sun burn and insect bites.