Originating in India and other parts of South Asia, Ayurveda is one of the oldest medical systems established in the world, mainly focused on the human organism as a whole and encompasses a holistic approach to healing. This tradition is so rich and its study of treatments including skin diseases is so expensive, that it mentions more than 1700 plants in its lists of natural remedies.
Among the areas of focus in Ayurveda are skin beauty and health. Ayurvedic skincare lists more than 200 herbs, minerals, and oils that contribute to glowing skin and a healthy complexion.
With the renewed preference for natural and organic products manifest today, Ayurvedic ingredients have become popular once more. They are increasingly studied for effectiveness and used by skincare aficionados, especially since many of these herbs are household staples, which makes for a convenient home remedy for skin glow. Additionally, those careful with their skincare are drawn to these natural remedies because they have been used and well known for thousands of years with harmful side effects. Contrast this to artificial human-made ingredients that do not have millennia of use to back them up.
From the perspective and within the framework of Ayurveda, herbs purify the skin by removing vitiated humors from the body, since the latter is believed to be the main cause of skin ailments and other disorders, There are numerous herbs provided by nature, all of which are effective at taking out the bad “humor” (toxins in modern speak) and leaving only skin that is refreshed and a complexion that is bright.
Today, we have known from scientific analysis that such herbal remedies are indeed helpful for skin health due to certain phytochemical components present in them. These constituents in the herbs can help combat dandruff, the effects of aging on the skin, and even body odor.
The Ayurvedic skin care system of healing lists thousands of herbs and spices effective for a wide range of skin diseases and are beneficial in promoting healthy skin. The following are just some of those herbs, plants and substance renowned in the Ayurvedic skin care system:
It is widely known that shilajit (known also as mumijo, or mineral pitch) as an oral health supplement has plenty of uses for enhancing the effects of exercise,maintaining the body’s immunity and overall well being. Applied topically, however, mumijo also delivers in a significant way by treating chronic ailments such as osteoarthritis, osteochondrosis, and hematoma.
This dark extract sourced mainly from the high-altitude rocks in the Himalayan mountains is so powerful an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, so many rely on shilajit for glowing skin. Authenticity is important, here so make sure what you are using is genuine, high efficacy resin like Purblack’s Live Resin.
Mineral pitch can be mixed into turmeric milk to maximize its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties since turmeric also has those properties. Many people also prefer to dissolve pure resin under the tongue, as they find this delivers the benefits of shilajit optimally. This method is quite convenient because pure mineral pitch is soluble and easily dissolves. Ayurvedic literature recommends the early -morning intake with a blend of ghee, honey, hot milk, and sesame oil. These ingredients are all very healthy, even taken separately, so the combination of all can recharge and rejuvenate the body in a holistic manner.
Ayurvedic beauty treatments are exploding in popularity as more people are opting for natural products for skin beauty and skin allergies, as well as skin diseases as an alternative to chemical-based solutions. Concern about chemicals has increased as more consumers become more aware of the adverse effects many synthetic substances have to our bodies, not to mention the potential effects of these substances when they flow down the drain and into the soil.
Many companies, both large and small, have entered the segment utilizing time tested Ayurvedic skincare solutions. The market for botanical products is worth close to $1 billion and is steadily growing every day. As time goes by, more consumers will end up choosing natural, herbal skin care solutions for their daily needs.
Aloe Vera is a familiar home remedy to man, and can even be seen in many beauty aisles, advertised for its soothing effects on the skin, it is a tried and tested treatment for dry skin, acne, inflammation, and burns. Aloe vera’s healing properties come from the enzymes, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C that it contains.
Many anti-aging creams also feature aloe vera for its ability to prevent facial lines and wrinkles from forming. This is an offshoot of its soothing and moisturizing properties. Since dryness factors mainly in the formation of lines and wrinkles, aloe vera combats this by keeping skin moist and supple.
There are even some health drinks that contain aloe vera. It is believed that the oral intake of aloe vera optimizes the absorption of collagen into our skin. Collagen is a much needed natural material in the field of skincare since it maintains the elasticity and youthful look of the skin. There is not much research that supports the association of aloe vera with collagen, but that does not stop consumers from trying to take advantage of the healthful properties of the plant via these drinks.
Another Ayurvedic herb that is a common ingredient found in our kitchens today is cumin. For centuries, civilizations in India and in the Middle East have recognized the black and cumin seed for its power in treating a diverse list of ailments that run the gamut from arthritis and skin disorders to respiratory diseases like bronchitis and asthma.
The primary potent substance behind cumin’s healing properties is thymoquinone. It is a polyphenol antioxidant that is preserved in the oil of black cumin seed. Thymoquinone is believed to be the main mediator of cumin’s anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory characteristics that soothe the skin and prevent irritation. The seeds also have a high vitamin E and beta-sitosterol content. These components further boost the anti-inflammatory powers of cumin.
This tiny seed packs a punch in the health arena, as studies have shown that, aside from its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory characteristics, it is also an excellent antioxidant due to its thymoquinone content. Since antioxidants fight cancer-causing free radicals, this could mean that cumin may help prevent cancer.
Because of its high concentration of linoleic acid (an omega-6 essential fatty acid), cumin creates a skin barrier that protects the skin from harsh outside elements.
In Taiwanese folk medicine and Ayurvedic treatment, sesame oil is known to soothe the pain of inflamed joints and wounds. A study done on patients with limb trauma showed that sesame oil applied topically significantly lowered the intensity of pain felt. Meanwhile, the oil, administered orally, has also been shown to reduce inflammation in subject rats of another study.
Sesame oil also acts as a sunscreen when applied onto the skin, as it blocks out UV radiation, sesamol, a component of sesame oil, has been shown to contribute to chemoprevention. In fact, lab analysis has established how sesame oil has chemopreventive effects on skin cancer.
The components of sesame oil that give it its healing properties are sesaminol, sesamolin, and sesamin. They are strong antioxidants that fight cancer-causing free radicals. Even just a topical application of the oil on rats has lessened oxidative stress, thereby lowering the risks of cancer.
Sandalwood album oil, originating in East India, has a rich history of use in folk medicine as a topical healing agent. Many cosmetic products contain this oil because it bolsters the anti-proliferative, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory effects of products. Even applied on its own, sandalwood album oil treats skin problems like psoriasis, acne, regular warts, and eczema.
While the chemical composition of sandalwood oil is dependent on the tree’s age, species, the region where found, and the extraction process, the oil invariably has a high level of sesquiterpenes alcohols. The bioactive constituents of sandalwood album oil all come together to target impurities on the dermal and epidermal layers of the skin, thus providing deep treatment for clean and clear skin.
Native to India and cultivated across Southeast Asia, Tulsi is also known as “Holy Basil.” This aromatic plant extract is turned into a lukewarm drink that is taken to fight against skin disease. It detoxifies, cleanses, and purifies skin, both externally and internally.
Tulsi topical solutions for skin health are prepared by finely meshing the fresh green leaves and turning them into a slurry. The leaves can also be boiled to make tea or powdered and turned into a paste to be taken as a health supplement.
Tulsi combats infection in skin because it has antibacterial and antibiotic properties. Given that it is also a strong antioxidant, tulsi has even been shown to be anti-carcinogenic. Skin allergy and itching are soothed by tulsi extracts. Tulsi is yet effective against deep-skin disorders like ringworm.
Neem is recognized in Ayurveda for its strength in treating problems of the skin. While clinical trials on human subjects are as yet lacking, its topical application on hairless mice exposed to UVB light showed overwhelmingly positive results against erythema, water loss, skin thickening, and wrinkles.
Neem oil was also found to combat acne microbes. This antibacterial activity was shown to have been brought about by the solid lipid nanoparticles in the oil that contained lecithin, a known antibacterial substance. It is common nowadays for various long term treatments for acne to contain neem oil.
A study also supports the use of neem for psoriasis. Building on knowledge already existent in folk medicine, the study compared, contrasted, and combined the effects of neem, heena, and tulsi against psoriasis. Results showed that neem-tulsi combinations were quite effective when taken orally, and the combination of all three, did well when applied externally and directly onto the skin. On the whole, all three herbs were found to be effective for the management of psoriasis when used separately but even more so when taken together. Their synergistic effect significantly mitigated the symptoms of chronic skin disorder.