In the ancient Indic civilisation our seers explored multiple ways of living. These included traditions to improve life, concoctions to gain better health and natural ingredients that can get us there. While the concentration of our way tilted more towards holistic health that included wellness of the mind, body and soul, our sages research a lot of certain Indic Ingredients, that have been used in our culture for a long time. Brilliant and totally conducive to our biology, these easily available ingredients contain several vitamins and nutrients that guaranteed to make one’s skin and hair all cleaning and radiant.
Indigenous to our land, these ingredients are deeply connected with our type of climate, environment and gene pool. Aloe Vera, Jasmine, Turmeric, Sandalwood and other such ingredients have a certain response to the immunity system of our bodies. Widely used spices like Bayleaf, Cinnamon, Clove and Cardamom are complimentary to the biosphere of our areas.
In today’s times, with insane amounts of slimming, toning and anti-ageing products inundating the market, it is time for us to move away from the artificial and stick to the natural. Also, using these ingredients in copper, iron and clay utensils will enhance the properties of these multi-fold times.
Apart from known and widely used ingredients like Tulsi (holy basil), Turmeric and Besan (gram flour), here are 8 other notable natural ingredients that each one of us must use to better our health: physically, mentally and emotionally.
Sandalwood: The fragrant and soothing Sandalwood or Chandan is filled with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is known to soften skin, aid blood circulation, eradicate blemishes and fight against allergens. Regular use of Sandalwood in the temples of India symbolises it’s richness, beauty and capacity to uplift energies.
Saffron: One of the most expensive of all spices, saffron has qualities that more than justify its value. An excellent exfoliating agent, Saffron or Kesar has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties that cure acne, tone skin and eradicate pigmentation. It works as an aphrodisiac and has the ability to reduce stress when ingested. It’s unique properties reduce appetite and aid inch and weight loss. It’s a sure shot solution for healing wounds and reducing tan.
Honey: The Vedic culture describes honey as the food of the Gods. The Sataphata Brahmana says that honey is made of the supreme essence of life, and so eating honey is like absorbing the essence of the Vedas. Hindu marriage ceremonies use honey to ward away evil spirits and ensure a happy married life for the couple. Loaded with healthy antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins, honey is an inexpensive and nutritious ingredient. Mix it with saffron and milk for a face pack or with olive oil to make a hair conditioner. It s especially beneficial for healing sore throat and wounds and acting against several internal and external infections.
Shikakai: Apart from being a magical remedy for hair, the humble Shikakai is useful in treating a host of ailments including swelling, abdominal distension, jaundice, fever, skin problems, piles, ascites, herpes and intestinal worm infestation. From ancient times, these soap pods have been used to promote hair growth, reduce hair fall, controlling dandruff and relieving all kinds of skin ailments. Being a natural surfactant, this ingredient strengthens the scalp and removes itching, dryness, greasiness and scaling of the scalp. Regular use will retain the moisture in the hair and will not strip the hair of natural oils.
Amla (Gooseberry): Famous for its unusual taste that contains a mixture of different flavours ranging from bitter, pungent, sweet to astringent and sour, the Indian gooseberry or Amla is a powerhouse of nutrients. A rich source of Vitamin C, this versatile fruit has been used for ages- from treating hair and scalp issues to curing diseases like pneumonia and cancer. The unbeaten “chyawanprash” is made out of Amlas and most Indian homes will have stored this fruit in one form or another.
Clay (Multani Mitti)- known more popularly in the West as Fuller’s Earth, the modest “Multani” is a natural cleanser and scrub. It is a fabulous exfoliating agent that quickly absorbs grease and makes way for radiant glowing skin. This ingredient can be used with honey, milk, lime juice or tomato juice to make a face pack. One can also mix it with jaggery and curd as a hair pack, to be used before shampooing- especially helpful for those with dandruff.
Vetiver: With an earthy, woody scent, Vetiver or Khus-Khus roots and oil are often used for aromatherapy, perfumes, creams, and soaps. Endowed with a large percentage of antiseptic and anti-microbial properties that help in getting rid of acne and pimples, Vetiver is cool and soothing to the body. This traditional Indic ingredient is known to eradicate scars and heal wounds by replacing the damaged skin cells with new, healthy cells.
Aloe Vera: Indic medicines hail Aloe Vera as a golden remedy for skin, hair and digestive disorders. Both the juice and gel of this plant have fabulous medicinal properties. According to Ayurveda, this plant is said to have a long-lasting cooling effect that balances aggravations of the pitta Dosha in the body. When applied topically, aloe vera also has a moisturizing, emollient effect on the skin. It heals wounds and burns and is known to reduce stretch marks substantially.
These are some of the reasons why these ingredients are a must-have in your homes. They work wonders for the skin, hair and overall health. Our ancient recipes have always been awe-inspiring and holistic at the same time. It’s time we revived these formulas and showed some love, not only us to culture and traditions but also to the Indic roots from where we stem together.
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