Ayurveda and Food for Skin

Monday, June 30, 2008

Posted by Dee

This Ancient science is not only a preventive health and healing but also a philosophy of living .It is present in India's most cherished scriptures , the vedas an dates back to 1500 B.C. "Ayur" means life and "veda" means knowledge. The rough transalation of Ayurveda means Knowledge of life. Ayurveda rarely treats the current symptoms instead cures by removing the cause of the disease. According to Ayurveda we are comprised of three elements , the body , mind and soul.One of the most important organs of the body is the skin which we either tend to completely ignore or overload it with chemical food.

According to ancient ayurveda there are 5 elements space, air, fire, water and earth. These themselves are inanimate but in combination, they give rise to three biological forces or principles called Doshas where the literal meaning is impurity.The combination of doshas with their attributes is below

Space + Air = Vata Dosha, meaning "that which moves things" It exists as a movement in the body and is the flow of life. If blocked , decay begins, if the activity is frenetic , one becomes fatigued and spaced-out. Vata controls the movements of the doshas where the other 2 doshas are known to be immobile. Vata gives us inspiration, positvity and freshness as well as fear, nervousness, gas , spasms, tremors and pains. Skin type is Dry

Fire + Water = Pitta Dosha , meaning "That which digests things" It exists as metabolism in the body. Good health depends upon pitta's capacity to fully metabolize nutritional, emotional as well as sensory information we ingest. If the fires become too hot or cold, normal digestion is disrupted, toxins are produced and eyes and skin lose their glow. Pitta gives us warmth, intelligence, perception and understanding . It also gives us jealousy, anger, hate, frustration, burning sensations, rashes and allergies,ulcers and heart diseases. skin type is sensitive

Water+Earth = kapha dosha meaning "that which holds things together". Kapha is the force of cohesiveness. It cements together all the elements to make the material structure of the body,A source of bodily fluids like phlegm, plasma etc, it provides energy to heart and lungs and natural resistance to disease, If there is a depletion of the waters of life, water being the main chemical constituent of the body, or the cement too thick (earth) then heaviness and blockage. Kapha gives us the ability to love, forgive,calmness and wisdom as well as creates greed, envy, attachment , laziness , depression, bloating and obesity. Skin type is Oily.

The doshas are the key to your psychophysiological nature and skin type. Note that all the doshas are present in every individual. But what makes each life unique is the particular balance of these doshas at the time of one's birth.

Also the above types of doshas may further combine and give seven more combinations. For eg, my skin type is Vata-Pitta , meaning I have dry and sensitive skin, where the leading dosha is Vata ie dryness so Dryness is more a distinct charecter than sensitivity. Some also have a tridosha skin type where all the doshas ie Vata-pitta-kapha are imbalanced which is rare.

Skin Food

If you where given a plateful of chemicals that are present in the so called " it works wonders" cosmetic creams would you eat it ? Say for example a platterful of cetyl alcohol, red dye , sorbitol and a few phthalates( commonly used in nail polish)? Im sure if you know what harm they do to us , you wouldnt. I am not saying we should stop using our daily make up, be one needs to be aware of whats going onto our skin, just like our food where we try and use organic and fresh food as much as we can.

Treat your cosmetics like your food. Do not feed your skin with what you wouldn't eat. Start reading the labels on the products which boast about natural ingredients , more often than not , the chemical part is left out for us to know. Making Ayurvedic products for skin and storing is much easier as they are normally made with a base oil, essential oil and herbs and have a longer shelf life. Some things to keep in mind while buying ayurvedic cosmetic products in case you choose to buy them instead of making them .

It should contain exclusively pure plant extracts- no preservatives ,no dyes, no mineral oils,no chemical additives, no dyes, no preservatives, no chemical fragrances, no known carcinogens.

The product should heal and soothe the skin , not irritate or dry it.

It should contain the ingredients appropriate for your skin type.

Coming to the Ingredients suitable to one's skin type , let me introduce you to a few base oils, essential oils and herbal extracts. when you use a combination of these suited to your skin types, you will see an immediate improvement because these are alive, nutritive , healing ,soothing all at once.

For Vata( Dry Skin)

Essential Oils
: Nutmeg, Cardamom,ginger,saffron, Jasmine , geranium , redrose, red sandalwood , lemon , vanilla

Base Oils
: Black Sesame , Sesame , Avocado , Olive , almond , walnut , peanut , castor , ghee

Herbal extracts : Shatavari , Ashwagandha, basil or ginger

For Pitta(Sensitive Skin)

Essential Oils : Rosewhite, sandalwood , vetiver, coriander , cumin , mint , ylang-ylang , camphor

Base Oils : Almond, Coconut, sunflower, apricot,kernel, Olive, ghee

Herbal Extracts
: Neem , Shatavari, licorice , fennel , cardamom , mint, saffron , burdock

For Kapha(Oily Skin):

Essential Oils
: Eucalyptus, Camphor , Clove, Lavendar, Bergamot

Base Oils
: Canola, corn, safflower, mustard, grapeseed , almond, apricot kernel

Herbal Extracts
: Sage ,neem, rosemary

Do Cleanse, nourish and moisturize your skin daily

To Cleanse

Take 1 Oz of the base oil suited for your skin , take almond meal( ground blanched almonds) if you have Vata or Pitta skin types or barley meal if you have Kapha skin types add some milk or water and rub on your skin in one direction , wait for a minute and cleanse.

To Nourish

Take 1oZ of base Oil of your liking which is suitable to you , 10 drops of your favourite essential Oil , 5 drops of herbal extract and a little water and massage in one direction on damp skin.

To moisturize

Use cocoa butter melted in a broiler , add any essential oil if you want to and moisturize for healthy and glowing skin. Do not rub in too hard

Ex foliate weekly by using :

Avocado or Banana for Vata Types

banana or pineapple for Pitta types

Berry pulp or papaya for Kapha types.

* Shatavari and ashwagandha are found either in Indian stores or Health food stores or can be obtained from a naturopath.

Please note I am no naturopath , this article is only reference some gained by reading and some notes from my father.

References : Wiki , A life of Balance by Maya Tiwari , A collection of Indian newspaper articles from my father.

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This Post was written by Dee from Ammalu's Kitchen


Very informative article Dee. Looking forward for more.

Beyond Curries said...
June 30, 2008 at 6:56:00 PM GMT+2  

wow..this is an excellent post. Thanks for the insightful info

Anonymous said...
July 1, 2008 at 9:09:00 PM GMT+2  

nice info Dee! ppl who don't know about Ayurveda miss so much...thanks for bringing it to notice:)

Mansi said...
July 3, 2008 at 8:45:00 PM GMT+2  

Thank you for your warm comments.

Dee said...
July 3, 2008 at 9:27:00 PM GMT+2  

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