Guest Author - Preena Deepak
Indians are renowned for passing down traditional practices from one generation to the other and home remedies are no exception to this. Whether it is a cure for common ailments or a formula to a glowing complexion, Indians have an easy home remedy at hand. Almost every Indian can recount ‘grandma’s’ home cures and quick fixes for better living.
For several ages Indians have relied on nature and naturally occurring elements to find solutions in handling physical problems. Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine which is now getting recognition worldwide emphasizes the use of herbs and elements available in the environment which are devoid of any negative side effects.
Almost all Indian women have their own unique home remedies to achieve a beautiful appearance. These remedies use common substances easily available in the environment and give best results in a green way.
Here below are a few easily available items that are effectively used in Indian beauty treatments.
Every Indian kitchen will have a stock of turmeric, either powdered or as whole roots. Turmeric is a must have spice in Indian cooking and has an array of health benefits tagged to it. Its antiseptic, anti inflammatory properties make turmeric a healthy addition to food. Indian women use turmeric to enhance their appearance as well. With its healthy attributes, turmeric when used regularly keeps skin clean, clear and spotless. Turmeric is often combined with other ingredients to make face packs at home. Turmeric mixed with yogurt when used regularly helps reduce stretch marks.
Lentils like green gram dhal (mung bean) , masoor dhal (red lentils) and besan (chickpea flour) are all used to make face packs and body scrubs.
A cup of green gram dhal sun dried and powdered with ¼ cup rice and turmeric roots is mixed with yogurt/milk/rosewater and used as a face pack to help reduce acne and remove spots. This mix can also be used as a body scrub. Green gram dhal remedies have the added benefit of aiding natural hair removal and this mix is often used to bathe babies and remove unwanted facial hair. Regular use of this mix helps reduce pimples and ensure glowing skin.
Sandalwood powder has been used in India for ages to enhance skin appearance and leave a soft glow. An essential ingredient in homemade face packs and scrubs, sandalwood is an effective cure for skin rashes and prickly heat as well. Sandalwood powder can be combined with milk or rose water and used as a face pack to remove spots.
Tulsi / Holy Basil
Tulsi or Holy Basil is a wonder herb used extensively in Ayurvedic remedies. Tulsi is honored and worshipped by Hindus and almost all Indians have a Tulsi plant at home. Tulsi has several health benefits and treats skin disorders effectively. A powder made with Tulsi leaves when applied on the skin leaves a refreshing glow and helps remove unwanted spots and blemishes. Tulsi when combined with lemon or ginger juice and applied on the skin as a face pack keeps the skin soft and glowing.
For several ages Indian women have been using a natural shampoo, Shikakai to clean their hair. Known as ‘fruit for hair’, Shikakai cleans hair and acts as a natural conditioner. It does not strip hair of essential oils but nourishes the scalp and keeps it free from dandruff and lice. The hair is thoroughly oiled and left as such for atleast 2 hours following which Shikakai powder mixed with water is applied to remove the oil and clean the hair. Using Shikakai is however tedious and does require a lot of time.
Mehndi / Henna
Mehndi designs are used by Indian women to adorn their hands and feet in lieu of nail polishes. This is again an age old custom where Henna leaves were ground together with tamarind and applied in elaborate patterns on hands and feet and let to dry overnight. The next morning, the dried henna leaves are washed with water and oil is applied to the hands and feet. This leaves a bright red pattern on the fingers, palms, toes and feet. Mehndi cones are now available for this skin decoration. These are chemical preparations and do not last long. Applying Mehndi designs for festivals, weddings and special occasions is still popular in India. Mehndi dyes are used to colour hair instead of chemical substitutes.
Here are a few interesting books on the topic.
Buy Indian Beauty Secrets from Flipkart.com
Buy Natural Beauty Secrets from India from Amazon.com