Anti-Aging and Beauty Secret of Ancient Chinese Empress
Empress Wu Zetian officially ruled as emperor of China during the Zhou dynasty from 690 – 705 AD. She was the only female emperor of China in over four thousand years. When she took the throne at age 65 her beauty had become legendary and her skin was said to be as radiant as that of a young woman. Her secret was using pearl powder both internally and externally.
An ancient Chinese text, the Bencao Gangmu by Li Shizhen, stated that pearl could stimulate new skin growth, healing damage from the sun and aging.* And although its benefits for the skin are it’s most well known attribute, pearl does much else.
How Pearl Powder Benefits the Skin, Hair and Nails
Pearl is mineral rich. The major mineral it has is calcium which is highly absorbable. In one small study, pearl outperformed inorganic calcium carbonate in bone mineral density.*
Our pearl powder has 156 mg of highly absorbable calcium per gram.
Pearls are created in similar ways to human calcium metabolism on the DNA level, meaning that these nutrients may be more beneficial than most other sources.*
It is also rich in many other major and trace minerals including magnesium, manganese, strontium and much smaller amounts of many more.
Pearl powder is a complete protein. In addition to all eight essential amino acids it has nine more. These include: Aspartic Acid, Thronine, Serine, Alanine, Phenylalanine, Arginine, Methionine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Leucine, Valine, Proline, Tyrosine, Cystine, Histidine, Taurine.
Pearl powder is protective to the skin from aging.* It slows down the development of melanin which can cause freckles and skin spots.* This may be due to the support of superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, one of the body’s strong antioxidants. It also contains the three amino acids, cysteine, glutamate and glycine needed to create the master antioxidant glutathione.
Pearl helps the skin to maintain hydration, creating a better barrier to retain water.*
Pearl has been shown to enhance the healing of fibroblasts, the cells in collagen that produce collagen.*[4,5] Collagen gives skin its elasticity and helps prevent wrinkles.
Some of the benefit may come from complex signaling proteins found in pearl including conchioline, nacrein, mucoperlin, lustrin, perlucin. As these are used in creation of the pearls, they likely interract with keratin, collagen and other cell types that are only beginning to be scientifically studied.*
Bone, Joint and Recovery Support
Besides the skin, all of those collagen supporting properties work deeper in the body.
Pearl powder helps with support strong bones as it helps with bone mineralization and the regulation of osteoblast and osteoclast function.* This includes in cases of estrogen deficiency.*
These same benefits will also be great to anyone that needs added recovery like athletes.
Other Compounds and Benefits
There are other amazing compounds found inside of pearls that are only just being investigated scientifically:
- Alkaline Phosphatase, which may be one of the active components in biomineralization*
- Porphyrin, the blue pigment in some pearl
One rat study saw reductions in reduced bodyweight, visceral fat and blood triglyceride levels without influencing food intake.*
Other historical uses include in cases of epilepsy, hypertension, insomnia, palpitations, ulcers and more.*
Pearl’s Shen and Nervous System Effects
Pearl is also well known for helping to support the mood when taken internally.* In Chinese medicine this is known as a great Shen Tonic. This can help with anxiety, nervousness and sleeplessness.*
One study found that pearl helped to down-regulate the 5-HT activity, and upregulate GABA activity, which may be some of the physiological action behind these benefits.*
Another Chinese study gave pearl powder to children with mental disabilities and found statistically significant increases in IQ in the majority of them.*
As opposed to many of the herbs we carry at Lost Empire Herbs, pearl is cold energetically, which can help bring balance to many of the heating herbs available.
In TCM, pearl works on the heart and liver meridians.
Processing, Fermentation and Quality
Regular pearl powder is not water-soluble and thus, certain components like the calcium and keratoprotein may not be absorbable by the human body.
Our pearl powder is processed with lactic acid bacteria, in a fermentation process, using various enzymes which makes it water soluble, activating the calcium and freeing up amino acids and other elements. This enzymatic process also gives our pure pearl powder a sour taste.
This is also known as hydrolyzed pearl powder. It is also micronized. The particle size is 200 mesh or 74 micrometers.
Our pearls are from Hyriopsis cumingii, which is a kind of fresh water pearl.
Directions For Internal Use
Our recommended dosage is 300 to 500 mg or approximately 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon three times a day. This can be taken with or without food.
Mix pearl into water, tea, coffee, juice or smoothies. Easily dissolves in liquids when stirred in.
For best results take pearl powder for 60-90 days to notice skin and bone effects. The shen effects are likely felt quicker than this.
Directions For External Use
Pearl powder can be used effectively to make a mask. It can be mixed with other ingredients or used by itself just by mixing it with water. Mix a small amount of water with the powder until you have a thick liquid. Apply to your face and let sit for ten minutes before rinsing.
Many people use a similar process as a spot treatment for acne.
Lastly, pearl powder can be used as a face powder. Put a small amount into a saucer and use a fluffy makeup brush to brush it over your face. As a powder it works as an exfoliating agent.