Let’s face it, we are in the business of providing treks, adventures and tours so we are no experts in skincare. But while we are not experts, we have friends in beautiful places and some humorous experiences as well. Here is a story of a cultural clash and some knowledge sharing on how to keep skin healthy using ancient, tried and tested method.
When I was growing up, there was one man that we never questioned. We called him Dr. Hajurbuwa (Doctor Grandpa). A very knowledgeable man who even in his early eighties had a glow in his skin that made people in their thirties envy. He had an energy that challenged mine when I was in my early teens. As a revolting teen who had just mastered the 3 primary chords of Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water and who sought to find my coolness by pretending I was like the breakdancing youths of the west, I really had no reason to go visit him, but my parents dragged me anyway every time they went to see him. Well, actually I had one reason to go along with my parents. He used to give us a candy that was kind of sweet and sour and also a drink that kind of soothe my tummy that had started to work overtime due to my increasing appetite and my growing fancy to eat cool (yet unhealthy) food in local restaurants with my cool friends.
Years later, my father called me and told me that Dr. Grandpa needed my help with something and that I was to call him. Remember: we never questioned him. Early nineties, I, a poor student in the US could not afford to call him for long, but I did. “Is there a city called California in America,” he asked.
“Well grandpa, there is a state called California here. It’s like our zones in Nepal”, I replied.
“Ok. Do you know there is a university there”?
“Well grandpa, there actually are many universities there” I corrected.
Then he proceeded to tell me that there are some “young men” that wanted to study Nepali medicine and gave me a number to call them.
Meet the Professors
I did as I was asked and it turned out that the “young men” were professors from a renowned university (I am not comfortable disclosing the name since I did not seek their permission) with a team that included men and women and that they wanted to study the effects of Ayurvedic products in combating skin. Doctor Grandpa knew Ayurveda was not a Nepali medicine, but he chose to classify it as one, but who’s going to have the nerve to question him? So my job in all this was of a translator. The professors sent me questions, I translated them in Nepali and sent them to grandpa. Grandpa sent answers, I translated them into English and sent them to Fred, the team leader. Jokers. What in the world were professors from an US university doing studying Ayurveda? Well, being a translator meant I had to read everything. By the time I was done with my part of the job, both the team that was studying Ayurveda and Grandpa didn’t seem to be jokers anymore. I had been evangelized. The proof was just too hard to ignore.
Ayurveda and Healthy Skin
Ayurveda comes from Vedas, one of the oldest Hindu texts and deals with the medicinal aspects of the ancient knowledge. Ayurveda further stems into eight different branches among which Rasayana is one of them. I forgot the exact definition Dr. Grandpa used, so I looked it up and found a similar definition by Prof. Bhushan Patwardhan. “Rasayana therapy improves longevity, memory, intelligence, health, youth, complexion, voice, motor, and sensory strength”.
There is a saying in Nepal that is used to mock the negligence of ancient healing practices and it goes like this, “there are more people who practice yoga in California than entire India. Sometimes I feel like there is some truth to that since in the last 25 years of me being here in the US, I have seen more people interested in Vedic healing here than there. In recent years, a great deal of scholars have taken interest in this field and the research that they have conducted has added verifiable evidence to the validity of Ayurvedic practices. Anyway, back to skin health.
In the following section, the National Institute of health provides a good narration of Anti-inflammatory (Shothahara) properties of skin that facilitates ageing skin.
Anti-inflammatory (Shothahara) – By protecting the skin against allergens, inflammatory substances, chemicals and even stress, this group of herbs provide the anti-inflammatory effect, essential to all anti-aging formulations. Many factors in the external environment can cause inflammation or breakouts. Inflammation is considered a prime cause of aging; an inflamed site forms a micro-scar that over time develops into a wrinkle or blemish. Inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes and prostaglandins, cytokines and growth factors target skin texture, integrity and tone. Containing inflammation at its root is therefore an effective anti-aging strategy. And while one can protect every other part of the skin by covering it with clothing, facial skin is always exposed. Rose petal, Silk Cotton Tree and Aloe Vera are Shothahara herbs with appropriate anti-inflammatory properties.
It has been quite a while since I helped out with the research so I had to retrace one particular combination that was talked about a great deal when I was the translator of the research. I thus talked to one of the experts that we know at Tranquility Spa in Kathmandu where we take our customers that want to explore the Ayurvedic techniques of skin health. Since the ingredients that we were given are not too readily available in the US, they will have to be bought online (Amazon is a good source). Here is the not so secret that we were provided that ought to enhance the glow of your beautiful skin and allow it with the ingredients to keep it healthy and looking young for a long time.
- 2 tablespoon of rose petal powder
- 2 tablespoon of aloe vera powder
- 1 teaspoon of organic turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoon of distilled water or raw milk
Mix all the ingredients (adjust water quantity to ensure that the paste has a texture of a facewash). Apply it on your skin after the skin has been washed with warm water. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Wash the face, apply some aloe vera and off you go.
Now if you have ever cooked with turmeric, you know that this is an herb that is quite strong. The color stain is quite vivid if you get in on your aprons. Please use our advice with optimism but caution. Applying a tiny bit on your wrist to ensure that you are not allergic to the paste is a prudent idea.
Now if you are one of our guests and would rather would let the experts do it, we’d be happy to take you there.
And here is what our expert friends tell us, meditating is another excellent way to keep the face looking young and relaxed. Here is to a beautiful skin. Relax, Restore and Rejuvenate.