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STYLE : Spring Beauty : The Latest on Looks : The Herbal Alternative

April 04, 1993

Suffering from breakouts due to stress? Try a little bupleurum and paeonia tea. Trouble with whiteheads? Add a bit of coix. Dry skin? Sample some schisandra.

Ancient Chinese recipes aren't approved by the FDA, so purveyors of these herbs, tinctures, tonics and powders can't make medical claims. But advocates of Oriental medicine, such as Drew and Katica Francis (right) at The Golden Cabinet in West L.A., can tell you all about the traditional uses of particular concoctions through the centuries. And lots of people, including Susan Sarandon and Dolph Lundgren, are listening.

"In Chinese medicine, we try to find the weakness of the body," says Drew Francis, who studied in Nanjing, China. "For women, it's often the blood. We give blood tonics to increase energy and normalize the menstrual cycle. It regulates how they feel and look."

At the moment, Francis is introducing his own series of herbal extracts, which can be taken in tea or capsule form. At least one of them is beauty-related: Beautiful Hair, a blend that was originally known as "Seven Treasures for Beautiful Whiskers," contains shou wu , lycium and other hair-enhancing herbs.

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