The earliest hymns of human thought have been dedicated to learning and worshipping of the powers of nature. Mankind is aware of 98 natural elements that exist in the periodic table, and 118 in science, which invariably proves that nature knows best. Governed by the prevailing belief that human intervention to nature is indispensable, we depend on it for food and medicine, shelter and clothes, experience and memories.
History has been kind to us in reaffirming the fact of oneness of humanity, nature and natural beauty. The quintessential tale of the princess of Mughada and the even beautiful maid is suggestive of the same. The curious princess, encaptivated by the beauty and encapsulated by her envy, appointed a spy to check on her beauty secret and regime. She was informed that the maid did not follow a rigorous practice to maintain her charm and enhance her appeal, she rather relied on peculiar acts of staying connected to nature in her daily routine. She would never immediately wash her hands after handling oil, cutting fruits, kneading dough or even whipping eggs. Instead, the errands of the kitchen would loathe her with the residues that she would rub her hands over the face, arms and body before eventually washing it with water. The bathing ritual was made up of generously applying besan with the humble turmeric, offering a refreshing and therapeutic indulgence of selfcare. It was also noticed that the maid consumed simple meals for her diet, composed of fruit and vegetable peels, given that the fried delicacies and sweets were reserved for royalty. The source of her replenished energy in the middle of a long daunting day was gulping down of water every few hours.
With the ancient plant wisdom, the Indian science of life herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruits made it possible to embrace the simple and innate fact that the power belongs to the roots of nature, and we can achieve more with less by harnessing the potency of sustainable, wild-harvested organic and natural botanicals with its spells to protect, heal and gain wisdom. Let us revisit a few rituals that have stood the test of time and gracefully withstand the complexity of modern sciences:
- THE SUN: Putting trust back in nature is the primitive ideology behind the disruptive trend that is reigning the world of beauty and lifestyle. Taking the Going Green trend beyond the ideology and into actions and encompassing it in the way of life. As the cosmic symbol of enlightenment, the ”Gayatri Mantra” suggests that the sun. The beautiful practice of India, being strategically placed with a natural reception of sunshine all year round, the most delusional star for the earthlings was once used by yogis to heal all kinds of illness and bring about radiant health. As the most effective source of Vitamin D that no food can make up for the body. It penetrates deep into the skin and increases the oxygen content, every similar to the results of an exercise. Also, it helps strengthen the immune system and muscular development. Also, regulated exposure helps development of melatonin, as the sleep hormone and synchronizing the biological clock. The oldest salutation of yoga, which is a combination of 12 asanas, brings the body, breath and mind in a series of hath yoga techniques. It helps eliminate a sufficient amount of waste from the body and the sweat ensures detoxification, thus, leaving the skin clean and clear.
- ESSENTIAL OILS: The ancient text of Indian medicine, Charak Samhita, a 2000-year old treatise, in praise of oil as a holistic, traditional and medicinal treatment for the mind, body and soul. Essential Oils, or botanical extract of plants, are known to be gifts from nature, capture the essence of the being. The molecules are droplets of wonder, that have immediate effects. The inhalation, dilution or application on the skin appeals to the limbic system, that Inside many Indian herbs and plants, in the roots, seeds, flowers and bark, lie chemical compounds that are highly potential to help improve the physical, mental and emotional life. With the nurturing components, the olfactory system is triggered to release fear and anger passed patterns. On application to the skin, the permeable skin allows it to dissolve in the bloodstream and helps it heal from within. Historically the use was limited to cultural practices and tradition, though now, since the scope of ingredient consciousness has gained momentum, it has been deployed for a plethora of purposes to support lifestyle naturally. Ranging from its usage for good oral hygiene, improve skin texture and toning, promote digestion, maintaining a healthy respiratory system, aromatic indulgences and renewing an uplifting atmosphere, it is known to be a versatile beneficiary. Indian literature brims with examples of oils being used religiously and seeking reference form the “Ashtanghriday”, the six seasons of the year, the rituals keep changing form using coconut trees in summer to mustard and castor oil in winter.
- HEENA: With its basics in Ayurveda and Indian culture, Heena is regarded as a painting ritual for decoration of hands and feet, but it has medicinal properties also. With its effective dyeing properties, it is used for hair coloring and brightening, its combination with coffee, tea, lime juice and beetroot leads to various hues of naturally sourced coloring agents. it holds importance as the harbinger of prosperity and fertility, and the integral time-consuming ritual of staining continues to be followed by modern Indian brides as a reminder to slow down in the middle of chaos. Heralded as the evergreen plant, flowers are used as a coagulant for open wounds, and a poultice to soothe burns and eczema. With its cooling effects, it helps bring down fever and acts as a powerful detoxifier for improved liver health. It also is a doorway to opening up psychic abilities, reducing anger and is used for religious ceremonies for as a weapon against pitta.
- FULLER’S EARTH: Conforming to the belief that the beauty kit lies in every household’s kitchen, fuller earth definitely leads to fuller skin. Commonly known as Multani Mitti or Gopi Chandan, the sedimentary clay has been used for cleaning woolen cloth for thousands of years. The staple ingredient in the world of health and beauty helps to clean, purify, care, nourish and exfoliate impurities from all hair, skin and body types. By mixing it with different things, several concerns for health and wellness can be addressed. As an abundant source of minerals as alumina, silica, iron oxides and water, this best-kept secret of nature is also an antiseptic and helps in rejuvenation of body cells, thus reducing fatigue. The charm of soft, supple and youthful skin without signs of ageing, the Ubtan proves to be a therapy that brings immediate effects without the harmful chemicals as part of process for the procurement, usage, application and disposal of it positively, for us and for the environment.
“Beauty is skin deep, refreshing and vital as air; Graceful and tender as water, lustrous and consuming as fire; Generous and abundant as space, and deep as the earth.”
(Translation of a Sanskrit chant for the definition of beauty, drawing comparison from all the five elements).
For over a millennia, Indians believe that beauty is more than skin-deep. the skin is considered to be cosmic in itself, cleaned, nourished, moisturized and protected. They put great attention into what they’re putting on the largest organ of the body-the skin, and what they are eating. Think about the practice of watering a plant, you hydrate the spoil because that’s where the roots are to absorb the nutrients. You wouldn’t get the same effect if you just watered the leaves or flowers. Known as the “Updhatu of Rakhtadhatu’, the mirror that reflects the inner wellbeing and a holistic concept than looking at the body as a series of disconnected cause and effect.