• Allure of Nature

Sacred Sandalwood: 5000 yrs old Beauty Secret -Works Even Today

Mis à jour : 17 oct. 2019

Do you like taking long walk in the park during summers? Are you an outdoor person? If yes, join the club. And while you do, allow me to tell something about myself.

This might help put things into perspective before I divulge the 5000-year-old secret. Moreover, that is how the Ancient secrets were handed down - through conversations.

Like you, I have been an outdoor person with an equally wild spirit.

Dark-skinned for playing in the sun too long and yet without a care in the world.

Agreeably, the time has brought in some wisdom but failed to tire the indomitable spirit.

I remain that wild and carefree child at heart and thank Mother Nature for that.

To find happiness in the simplest of things can be so assuring, so fulfilling, it is hard to express in words.

And as they say, everything comes with a price, mine was a sun-damaged skin.

It was only in my early teens, I understood that the world at large has an unfair preference for the fair.

Did that dent my spirit? Oh, not me! I was still out in the sun, with the boys of course. The girls were wiser than me, they stayed indoors.

Romancing the Sun - Take Natural Care

Mother was already worried about the reckless romance with the sun.

As time passed by, the skin became flaky and itchy coupled with a burning sensation every time I was out in the sun.

So, it was no hard work for mom to convince me to visit the dermatologist. Well, the reports were predictably serious.

Unprotected and excessive Sun exposure had caused serious damage to the skin and by a divine stroke of luck, it had not culminated into skin cancer. No more playing in the Sun! And that was it!

With tubes of ointment and creams, I was commanded to pursue other 'indoor' hobbies or habits as she wanted me to understand.

Mom must have regretted it later, for staying indoors had made me experiment and finally get hooked with darker habits. The result was earlier my skin was ruined and now it was the health.

It was by a total coincidence, that we had met an Ayurvedic doctor and who turned out to be nothing but a blessing for the family.

It was he who advised mother to add natural skincare routine along with the ones the dermatologist had recommended.

The irony of it all was, that Natural care worked far better than the creams and lotions.

But it did need some persuasion from the doctor, teenagers were never known to be easy to deal with.

It was in one of such tête-à-tête, the Ayurvedic doctor introduced me to Sandalwood.

The benign doctor asked me to hold the sandalwood and smell the aroma deeply for a few minutes. Oh! it is one of the mesmerizing aromas of Nature.

Somehow, it had a calming effect and helped me focus on his words.

It was after so very many years later I came to know that the aroma of Sandalwood not only distresses but helps to stay alert and focused. (NCBI)

And that there is a whole new system of healing called Aromatherapy of which Sandalwood holds an important place.

Back then, I had only inquired what this strange wood was. And he had said, "If you let me apply a paste on your face and hands, I would tell you all about it".

The paste that was applied on the face was cool and fragrant like the sandalwood.

And then he said, "The paste I apply on your face is a mixture of finely hand-grounded sandalwood powder, mixed with cucumber juice, aloe vera and a little fresh cream."

It is a fact that the best and the most potent of Sandalwood is found in India. They are wood from the Santalum Album (Indian Sandalwood) trees.

Culturally, sandalwood is considered sacred and hence, they are found amply applied on the priests or people who are engaged in activities requiring high concentration.

Interestingly, I did notice in pictures and articles all ancient Indian sages, teachers and learned people have white marks on their forehead. (NCBI)

The Ayurvedic doctor revealed that in Ancient India which was quite larger than the present geographical area, women adorned themselves with sandalwood paste during festivals and ceremonies. And he quoted an ancient poem dedicated to their beauty ritual :

Women bathed in sandalwood scents,

Flashing antelope eyes,

Arbours of fountains, flowers and moonlight,

A terrace swept with breeze of flowering jasmine

In summer they stimulate

Love and love-god himself.

- Bhartrihari (570 C.E - 650 C.E, India)

Sandalwood has qualities that enhanced skin cell rejuvenation, i.e, dead skin cells are replaced with new ones which destroy the free radical cells or cancerous cells. (NCBI)

As I write this article, modern science has already discovered the ancient secret a-santalol as the component responsible for the cell rejuvenation. (NCBI)

Sandalwood - Fragrant and Protective!

All those centuries ago, ancient Indians practically applied a coat of fragrant protective layer of sandalwood paste not only to smell and look pretty but also fortify against some seriously nasty bacterias.

No doubt they made beautiful sandalwood tattoo on the expecting mothers during baby showers, protecting them from any diseases that the visiting outsider may carry.

Evidently, sandalwood paste can be used on a pregnant woman for all that the aromatic wood has to offer.

He informed that sandalwood is used in varying quantities in Ayurvedic medicine to treat urinary tract infection, gall bladder issues, digestive problems, scabies, eczema and the common cold too. (Ref)

And all the while he was talking I was gently drifting off to sleep. Sandalwood also has sleep-inducing effects. (NCBI)

The paste that he had applied was so cool, calm and soothing, that the burning sensation on the skin almost vanished in no time. It was only when the mask was dry, a certain tightness of the facial skin and hands made me open my eyes. The doctor advised me to wash off the paste with lukewarm water.

He instructed to wash the mask off while scrubbing away the dead skin a little. Once the pack was washed off the face, he applied a mixture of rose water and fresh cream on my face and hands. It smelled delicious and I did lick a little off my upper lip. After about 15 minutes, he wiped away the excess mixture and held a mirror to me - literally.

He said something wonderful and today I share those very words with you dear readers :

He had said "If Nature could take a form, it would be that of a woman. She can heal, nurture, destroy and recreate. She is unaffected by society's rules and preferences, for she is without prejudice or judgement. Your spirit need not be tamed for the rules of society because Nature herself empowers you to be You"

PS : I have divulged the secret in the conversation, could you see it?

Well, in case you missed. here you go again :

For sun damaged skin, or better still, for bi-weekly, skin pampering especially during summers, if you are an outdoor person.

And this is for people with slightly normal-dry skin types :

  • 1 teaspoon of finely hand-grounded sandalwood powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of Aloe vera extracts or juice

  • A dash of fresh cream

Mix into a thick paste, add more sandalwood powder if needed to make the consistency right enough to apply on your face and hands

Keep it for 15-20 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water. Scrub off while you do so. This works as a mask-cum-scrub-cum-cleaner-cum-restorer-cum-healer! Yes! That's Ayurveda!

Then apply a mixture of

  • 1 teaspoon of pure rose water

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh cream

On your face and hands, the skin should absorb this natural lotion in 5-10 minutes. Wipe off the excess with a damp cloth. And don't step out in the Sun again for another 4-5 hours.

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