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Ayurveda: Ancient Ideas, Modern Implementations

By: Shilpi Jain
Posted: April 7, 2011, from the April 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

A lasting legacy of 5,000 years, ayurveda (ayu meaning “life” and veda meaning “knowledge”) can be translated to “knowledge of life” or the “science of longevity.” Based on the idea that disease is due to an imbalance or stress in an individual’s consciousness, ayurveda encourages certain lifestyle interventions and natural therapies to regain a balance between the body, mind and the environment.

According to ayurvedic medicine, each person has a particular pattern of energy—a unique combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics—that comprises their own constitution. This constitution is determined at conception by a number of factors and remains the same throughout one’s life. Ayurveda identifies three basic types of energy or functional principles that are present in everyone by the original Sanskrit words: vata, pitta and kapha. Balance and health are the natural order; imbalance and disease are disorder. There is a constant interaction between order and disorder within the body, but by understanding the nature and structure of disorder, one can re-establish order and health.

There is an ongoing and global movement of beauty consumers gravitating to products with natural ingredients, but women in India have long been utilizing several potent ayurvedic herbs to beautify themselves—in addition to using them to spice up food and as preventives for ailments and disease. In fact, ayurveda and beauty go hand in hand—it’s “beauty inside out.”

Ayurveda Herbs in Beauty

Before delving into these richly colored, earthy, fragrant herbs and the role they may play in your product line, it is important to understand their benefits. It is usually a synergy of two or more herbs that creates a powerful effect in treating acne, age spots, wrinkles and rosacea.

A few of my favorite herbs that can treat a multitude of skin problems and be readily incorporated in cosmetic products: turmeric (Curcumin longa), neem (Azaradicta indica), ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), amla fruit extract (Emblica officinalis) and tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum). Turmeric: A highly regarded spice in India that has been used for more than a century in beauty creams.