Written by Dr. Elizabeth Trattner
History of Quinoa
Quinoa has been around for thousands of years and consumed by the native people of Peru, Chile and Bolivia. In recent decades quinoa has made it into health food stores as a new superfood because of its high protein content for a grain. Quinoa consumed is high in amino acids, vitamin E and Lysine. These all help make collagen, elastin and contain anti-oxidants, all of which help to rebuild and repair the skin.
Recently, quinoa is being used in cosmetics. Like with anything new in the cosmetics world, a plant must undergo studies to support any claims. There are two Quinoa studies cited in this article that show its promise for hair and particularly skin. This superfood is promising for diminishing fine lines, brightening the skin, and helping heal acne scars.
A study in the Int J Cosmet Sci. in 2015 demonstrated that quinoa contains tyrosinase inhibitors, an enzyme that decreases pigmentation and therefore brightens the skin and has been shown to be effective in reducing brown spots and hyperpigmentation keeping skin bright. Being rich in Riboflavin, a B vitamin, Quinoa helps with the production and regulation of melanin. The physical symptoms of aging skin are lessened through the reduction of intracellular oxidative stress and MMP (matrix metalloproteinases) enzymatic activity, and tyrosinase enzymatic activity.
Quinoa has the ability to help recover damaged skin and reduce aging of the skin and skin damage. Ecdysteroid is another compound in quinoa (J Biochem Mol Toxicol)that helps reduce damage and oxidative stress, helping to recycle skin matrix, particularly the structural proteins, collagen and elastin in the skin and aids acne scarring. Its antioxidant properties help reduce the aging process by rebuilding skin from matrix metalloproteinase) enzymatic activity.
Quinoa grounded like other scrubs made from grains, has a gentle husk or outside covering. Many women from Andean countries like Peru, Bolivia and Northern Chile have been using Quinoa to gently exfoliate their face for centuries. Make sure to use quinoa that is gently ground. Mix with an organic skin oil or water and gently rub into the face. Rinse with a damp cloth and make sure the quinoa doesn’t block the drain. If you don’t want to make your own there are several new products on the market using quinoa as a main ingredient.
When consumed as food, Quinoa is extremely high in antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals, and can help fight aging and several diseases. In a 2009 study, researchers found that among five grains, three grasses, and two legumes, quinoa had the highest antioxidant content of all. Compared to other foods, quinoa demonstrated superiority in disease reduction.
Quinoa protects against oxidative stress, which can damage and age skin and hair. It is important for readers to realize using quinoa alone will not cure their skin and hair issues. It is, however, another wonderful botanical that has demonstrated efficacy in treating hyperpigmentation and reducing oxidative stress.
Excerpts of the above, have been used for an interview for Newsweek magazine.
About the Author.
Dr. Elizabeth Trattner has been practicing Chinese and Integrative medicine in Miami since 1991, specializing in women’s health.
Elizabeth is a graduate of University of Arizona’s Center of Integrative Medicine, holds a chef certificate from the Natural Gourmet Institute and received Shamanic training and initiation.
She’s a current Member of the Global Wellness’ Beauty Meets Wellness Initiative Committee and is a contributing expert for hundreds of publications and digital media.