Diet & Herbs Conducive To Skin Health

Skin diseases are haunting mankind since 1000 of years and still there is no permanent remedy for diseases like psoriasis, eczema, etc. These skin problems can be kept in dormant form with proper diet, because diet plays a major role as triggering factor. A healthy diet and lifestyle proper mind co ordination will help a person avoid skin problems and many diseased states.

Taking food at the correct time each day, eating food suited to the needs of your constitution, adjusting diet to seasonal changes and not taking more food than the body needs will keep the Agni (digestive fire) in order and when Agni is functioning properly the Dhatus (Tissues) are nourished, well formed and function properly which is very important for skin.

It is important to know, clinically, the basic types of skin, in normalcy according to the constitution of an individual.

Normal Skin in Vata type individuals – The skin is dry, rough, thin and flaky in patches in Vata type individuals. The skin is cold to touch and color of the skin is dark, grayish hue. There is very less sweating. Body hair is dry, sparse, harsh, curly, split and grey.

Normal Skin in Pitta type individuals – The skin is soft, smooth, and with many moles in Pitta type individual. The skin is warm to touch and fair, peachy, freckled, coppery blue color. There is profuse sweating and foul body odor due to excess sweating. Body hairs are smooth, oily and reddish brown.

Normal Skin in Kapha type individuals – Skin is oily, thick, and moist in Kapha type individuals. Skin is fair, pale with a glow, soft and cool to touch. Sweating is less. Body hairs are thick, black, unctuous and strong.

Effect of diet on the skin:

Acharya Charaka has explained the effect of food articles on the body. Sweet taste in general increases luster of skin, hence it is beneficial for skin and hair.

Sweet taste is good for Vata and Pitta constitution. Sour taste has no direct effect on skin but if taken in excess can increase process of pus formation in preventing injury or eruption on skin.

Sour taste is beneficial for Vata constitution. Saline taste if taken in excess creates cuts in preexisting skin diseases. It also accelerates wrinkle formation on the skin and graying of hair as well as alopecia.

Saline taste is beneficial for Vata constitution.

Pungent taste reduces oiliness as well as itching on skin but can create patches over skin. Pungent taste is beneficial for Kapha constitution.

Bitter in general is useful in all skin diseases. It pacifies almost all secretions in the body. Bitter taste is good for Pitta and Kapha constitution.

Astringent taste if taken in excess can produce tanning over skin. Astringent taste is beneficial for Pitta and Kapha constitution.

Food indicated and contraindicated in skin disorders:

Certain combinations like milk and fish when taken together, taking milk immediately after consuming radish, garlic or tulsi (basil) and daily usage of curd at night can cause skin disorders. Food indicated in skin disorders are Light to digest foods, Old grains, Green gram, Pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica), meat of Rabbit and Deer. Certain foods which are contraindicated in skin disorders are heavy to digest food, Sour food items, Curd, Milk, Buffalo meat, Pork, Jaggery and Sesame.

Useful herbs in skin disorders:

Numerous Rasayana herbs and umpteen formulations topical as well as systemic are mentioned in Ayurveda texts which impart excellent results in skin disorders. Herbs beneficial in various skin ailments are Nimba, Manjishta, Khadira, Jatamansi, Haridra, Sariva, Vidanga, Raktachandana and Bakuchi. Some of the Rasayana for skin (Skin rejuvenatives) are Priyangu, Triphgala, Bhringaraja, Daruharidra, Yashtimadhu and Guduchi. These herbs purify blood and are antimicrobial, antihistaminic, astringent and cooling.

Action Of Few Medicinal Herbs On Skin:

  • Cleansing herbs – Aloe vera, Papaya, Orange peel, Lemon and Amalaki
  • Antiseptic action – Neem, Tulsi (Basil), bakuchi, Licorice, Orange peel and Mango ginger
  • Nutritive – Licorice, Ashwagandha, Musta and Tulsi (Basil)
  • Anti inflammatory – Sandalwood, Ushira, Anantamool, Rose petals, Aloe vera and Lodhra
  • Bleaching – Aloe vera, Anantamool, Rakta chandan, Kachur sugandhi and Mango ginger
  • Anti wrinkle – Manjishta, Papaya, Aloe vera and Musta
  • Moisturizer – Aloe vera, Rose petals, Ushira and Neem
  • Astringent – Arjun, Haritaki, Triphala, Manjishta and Neem
  • To increase circulation – Kachur sugandhi, Musta, Bakuchi, Anantamool and Mango ginger.

Home Remedy For Stretch Marks

  • Mix ½ tsp each of fine powder of rose petals, papaya leaves, sandalwood, 2 tsp aloe vera gel 2 tsp, 10 drops Almond oil, 2 drops lavender oil and 2 tsp of milk cream to make a paste. This paste can be massaged slowly on abdomen and thighs 30 minutes before bath. This helps to fade away the stretch marks naturally.