Q&A: What is Traditional Oriental Medicine?

East Asian skincare, and in particular Korean and Japanese beauty, may have taken over our bathroom shelves in recent years, but how much do you know about Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM), from which many of its healing, natural ingredients are taken?

We spoke to botanical authority and Doctor of Chinese Medicine Dr. Jenelle Kim DACM, who explains more about the plant and herb extracts used for thousands of years in this ancient practice.  

What’s the history of Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM)?

“The roots of East Asian herbal medicine go back over 5,000 years – it’s one of the longest recorded practices of using plants and herbs to treat illness and boost good health. TOM is more holistic than Western medicine and uses the principal of a life force or energy known as qi, that runs through the body along meridians. Ill health can come from an unbalanced or blocked qi.”

Why is TOM great for skincare?

“The beauty secrets of the East are catching on for good reason. Traditional Oriental Medicine is an amazing botanical resource. It has information on hundreds of plants and herbs, and how each individual part of the plant, from the leaves and roots to seeds, stems and flowers, acts differently on the body. One plant alone can contain hundreds of active compounds. People in the East have been perfecting and using these tried-and-tested natural formulas to give them healthier, more beautiful skin for thousands of years. Many of TOM's potent plant extracts have been proven in clinical studies, and are now being used in Western skincare.”

Any particular ingredients you’d recommend for each skin type?

“Traditional Oriental Medicine rarely uses single ingredients. The secret of its success is the centuries-old knowledge of how to combine natural extracts to maximize their potential and results. That’s why Six Gldn is so special – the formulas are really potent synergistic blends.”

How did you come to specialize in Traditional Oriental Medicine?

“I was born to do it! I come from a very long lineage of doctors and herbologists going back over 400 years. They all dedicated their lives to helping people be as healthy as possible. I’m the first female in our line to hold the rare formulas that have been passed down in my family for centuries. It is my wish to share these formulas with the world so that people can enjoy their benefits, and have skin that’s glowing with health, no matter how young or old you are.”

Are there any wellness rules you live by?

With a Korean father and American mom, I was always taught to understand the link between mind and body. I believe so strongly in the wisdom of East Asian practices and philosophy. Simple things like meditation and acupuncture help deal with the stresses of day-to-day life, and keep us healthy. Even as a very young child I saw the power behind the centuries-old remedies and principles passed down by my mentors. It’s driven me to live a life of meaning, purpose, gratitude and giving.”

Tell us your beauty routine...

I have a simple routine I follow every day, even when I’m travelling. At night, I always wash away the day’s makeup and dirt with Botanical Cleansing Gel, but in the mornings I sometimes skip cleanser and simply wipe my face with purifying Botanical Toner. Then I use the nutrient and active-packed Daily Vitamin C Radiance Serum to help increase collagen production and leave my skin looking brighter, smoother and firmer. I follow with Essential Moisturizer, and sometimes a few drops of Nourishing Face Oil to combat the dry air we can get here in Southern California.”

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