Medicinal Herbs as Cosmetics?

Ayurveda opinions ” Beauty” as the outcome of physical health, mental purity with clarity and external care.


Author: Dr Ranjeet Singh

The concept of beauty has prevailed since mankind’s earliest ages and but in today’s world also, beauty is one of the most valued and desirable attributes. The subjective nature of beauty vary from time to time with fashions and social norms. The African Zulus view of beauty differs dramatically from that of the Eskimo and the vision of human beauty 200 years ago deferred dramatically from today’s ideas. But the objective nature of human beauty is timeless and thus Ayurveda stands supreme as for as this concept is concerned.

Ancient Indians or Vedic people had made significant contribution to the field of cosmetics and cosmetology. Variety of herbs and natural minerals were used for personal adornment and beauty care by men and women like anjana ( cosmetics), tilaka (forehead sports), sindura (dye to colour hair), leaps etc.

In Vatsyana’s Kamasutra written 2000 years ago, it is mentioned that good health is the fundamental of a perfect beauty. Good health comes from remaining in contact with Sunshine, fresh air, sleep, water and food.

Ayurveda opinions ” Beauty” as the outcome of physical health, mental purity with clarity and external care.

Charaka in rasayan adhyay of chikitsa -sthan has given many kalpanas, which directly or indirectly enhance the beauty like Amalaki churna and Nagbala rasayan for healthy and long life, Brahma rasayan for physical as well as mental health and ultimately the beauty and Tejas, louhadi rasayana for healthy skin, Mandukparni juice for Prabha or Aura, and Triphala rasayan for healthy mind, body, skin and etc.

The medicinal herbs mentioned in Ayurveda by ancient sages state that the function of Ayurvedic herbs isnto purify and eliminate doshas ( vata, Pitta, and kapha) from the body, as they are mainly responsible for skin disorders and diseases. Among the documentation on Ayurveda the sage Charaka states numerous medicinal plants in Varnya Mahakashya. The herbs mentioned can be used to obtain glowing complexion. Various herbs for which description and uses can be found in Ayurvedic inscriptions are mentioned below:

  • Chandana
  • Nagakesara
  • Padmaka
  • Khus
  • Yashtimadhu
  • Manjishtha
  • Sariva
  • Payasya
  • Shweta Durva
  • Shyam Durva

There is also mention of various herbs from Kushthaghna Mahakashya that are effective curative for skin disorders. A few search herbs are:

  • Khadira
  • Abhaya
  • Amlaki
  • Haridra
  • Bhallataka
  • Saptaparna
  • Aragvadha
  • Karaveera
  • Vidanga
  • Jati

Like the notifications of Charaka and other sages, Sushutra said that Eladi Gana contains: Ela, Tagar, Kushtha, Jatamamsi, Dhyamaka, Tvak, Patra, Nagkeshar, Priyangu, Harenuka, Vyaghranakha, Shukti, Sthauneyaka, Choraka, Shriveshta, Khus, Gugglu, Sarjarasa, Turushka, Kundaru, Agaru, Ushira, Devdaru, Keshara, and Padmakeshara. All these herbs can eliminate toxins from the body, clear the complexion that leads to a glow on the skin and alleviate pruritus, Kushtha and boils.

Common Herbs used as Cosmetics

According to Ayurveda there are certain Herbs that had their uses in the old ages also such a

1.Indigo ( Neel)

Being blue in colour it is used as bindi/ Tika (dot) on the forehead and Chin. Also added the preparation of herbal hair oil to obtain mild black tinge.

2. Maddar root ( Ark)

Being available in colour that suits the lips this is utilised as to beautify lips and cheeks.

3. Hibiscus rosasinensis ( Jaswand or Shoe flawer)

With the dark colour of its own this is used to blacken and maintain hair colour.

4. Red Sandal ( Raktachandana)

this is another natural component available in attractive colour and hence is used as fresh, red bindi/ tika (dot) on the forehead.

5. Aloe vera ( Ghritkumari)

With the traits that prevent aging and regenerate growth of cells, this is used as essential component to keep oneself fit and young as well as to protect the skin prevent and heal skin irritations.

6. Chandan and Vetiver ( Usheer)

It is used as scrubs and face packs that are applied on the face and whole body to remove dead cells, regenerate growth of new cells and to give a young look.

7. Haldi ( Turmeric)

It is used as a face pack along with Ushir (Vetiver) and also as an antiseptic.