PETAL POWER OF THE ROSE
The history of the Rose is steeped in love rituals and offerings. Keeping the heart open and connected, this magical and beautiful flower smells exquisite and is recognised worldwide as a symbol of love and passion. It has played a vital role in civilisations across the globe and is thought to have originated in old Persia.
Since that time the Rose has been cultivated by the Greeks, the Romans, the Germans and the French. In India, it is regarded as a symbol of grace and beauty, playing a major part in daily rituals and celebrations.
Rose water is sprinkled on guests as they enter the marriage pavilion as a gesture of respect, it is given to the elderly to wash and cleanse their hands, its petals are scattered on the marital bed, fragrant fresh roses decorate palaces, petals are used in the bath and fresh garlands adorn the body as a sign of love and respect.
The Cabbage Rose is used to produce the Indian attar (or essence) of rose used to scent soaps, oils and perfumes. Rosewater is used to relieve tired eyes. Its petals are used by Ayurvedic doctors to make a syrup and dried, it is used in teas and tonics to relieve dizziness and headaches. Cooling, calming and moisturising, it is a rich source of Vitamin C and can therefore be used on most skin types. It is recognised for its valuable and effective anti-ageing properties. Anti-bacterial, hydrating and balancing, it contains awesome emollient properties, is rich in anti-oxidants and can also act as an anti-inflammatory. It’s no surprise that the Rose plays an important role in beauty treatments for centuries.
We have harnessed the intoxicating and therapeutic powers of the Rose in many of our salon treatment products and also in our richly royal Rose Toner, Pure Rosewater and Silk Screen. Calming skin woes, the Rose Toner is an aromatic finishing rinse for the face. It is an enriching and soothing tonic that refreshes and removes all residues after cleansing or mask application. Blended with the goodness of rose petals, highly praised for their astringent and cooling properties, they are also an outstanding source of Vitamin C and provide relief to stressed skin conditions; the scent of rosa centifolia (100 leafed cabbage rose) and dates, recognised for their cooling, nourishing and moisturising properties. As vital, the Toner contains no alcohol or chemicals.
Our Silk Screen is a real scene stealer. It’s a light, frothy cream that forms an invisible film to seal in moisture. Light in texture but big on nourishment, without a greasy after feel, it leaves drier skin types with a soft silken sheen, making it the ideal under make up moisturiser. This natural beauty recipe combines Rose buds, which help to soften and are rich in vitamins and restorative properties. The OmVeda Silk Screen also contains the organic goodness of White Sandalwood, Indian Madder and Sandalwood. Formulated like a foundation, it takes on the natural colour of the skin and helps to protect from outside aggressions.
Balancing skin and the mind, our Pure Rose Water is an exotic mist for the face and body with a mesmerising scent. It is not a hydrosol but is made from ancient techniques steeped in tradition where thousands of rose petals are soaked in water. The rose petals are boiled in clay or copper pots under constant heat, and allowed to cool. Introduced to India by the moguls many centuries ago and is a speciality of small pockets of North India where the tradition has been down through generations.
Just a light spritz over the body helps to ease stress and anxiety, hydrates and revitalises the skin, keeping it moist and comfortable. It is also helpful in treating sensitive concerns such as dermatitis and eczema. Toning the skin and balancing its pH, it is rich in anti-oxidant properties to aid in strengthening cells and regenerating tissues.
100% pure, it is distilled from the petals of Damask Roses, highly prized for their soothing, hydrating, calming and anti-inflammatory benefits. The OmVeda Pure Rose Water can be misted over the face or body to cool and offer relief from over-heating or with your day or night cream.
Camphor, also known as OCIMMUM KILIMANDSCHARICUM, has been used for centuries to treat malaria and fevers. However, there is more to Camphor than repelling insects and keeping our favourite woollens free of moths and silver-fish.
It is an evergreen tree with a magnificent and beautiful wide-spanning canopy whose branches feature bunches of tiny yellow and white flowers that produce clusters of fruit that are berry like and black in colour. The fruit contains the Camphor seed.
It has been used topically as a pain remedy for inflammation, wounds, tired muscles, joints and relief of rheumatism. Interestingly, long, long ago it was also used in incense form as a treatment for asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. A study undertaken on extracts of Camphor leaves revealed that they were found to have anti-microbial qualities that could manage bacterial strains.
The leaves and seeds of the Camphor plant (which we use in our products) contain anti-inflammatory properties and have a marvellous cooling effect.
In addition to soothing aches and relieving joint pain, its list of therapeutic benefits extends further. It is also very helpful in treating break-outs and acne prone skin concerns. You can find it in our Cream Soap, Karporadhi Oil, Clove Acne Mask and Pimple Clear.
On a visit to India a few years back I focused on the tradition and authenticity of lineages of work in different fields.
At OmVeda, our passion as a company has been to maintain a traditional family of products and treatments as we believe that if these ancient artisans are not supported they will disappear in the plethora of modernity. While we value advances in methods, our modality is based on ancient texts which have been tried and tested over centuries – in fact over 5000 years. This arguably cannot be replaced.
One very unique stop on my journey was Baroda, where I had the pleasure to see first-hand, the making of Sankheda furniture, a classically Gujerati style of furniture. There is a whole village devoted to this art and I toured in awe absorbing the process from raw teak wood to the intricate painting to final product. The people in the village are all largely devoted and grow into this art, each one specialising in an aspect of the process.
I travelled from Cochin in the state of Kerala (promoted as God’s own country) to Periyar, a six hour drive, where the largest wildlife sanctuary in India is located. The journey went up a very windy road, quite often narrow and steep. The driver skillfully manoeuvered his way through people, grazing cows, the occasional monkey, lots of colourful buses with loud classical music and three wheel scooter taxis. There was no time to fall asleep in case something unique was missed.
Amidst the views of rivers, lush trees, agriculture and estates harvesting rubber, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, the Ayurvedic herbal farms was the focus my attention. I could not help thinking it truly is God’s own country – it seemed everything precious grew there.
On the way we stopped at an Ayurvedic equipment workshop where they crafted handmade dhronis, shirodhara stands, urulis, steam cabinets and more. The artisans worked in a shed thatched with leaves as they focused on their art in absolute harmony. This is the dedication and spirit that goes into the making of these specialized equipment traditionally used to do Ayurvedic treatments.
Eventually, I reached my destination where I stayed with a family of Ayurvedic doctors. Father, son, wife and children all groomed in this ancient knowledge. The compound was surrounded by plants and trees, most of them grown for use in herbal medicines and oils. I asked how the trees were protected from insects and bugs and was told that susceptible plants had a host which meant no pesticides were necessary. Plant defense against herbivory or host-plant resistance (HPR) describes a range of adaptations evolved by plants which improve their survival and reproduction by reducing the impact of herbivores.
Staying at the farm I was in awe of how our classic Ayurvedic oils are prepared, which is the focus of this article. The ingredients are handpicked, cleaned, cut or dried according to the texts. Each ingredient is freshly picked and prepared and used as a juice or powder as required in its unique preparation. The preparation of an oil takes many days/weeks until it is ready to be dispensed.
Method of Blending an Ayurveda Massage Oil
Ayurvedic massage oils are quite different from other massage oils available in the market, by virtue of its properties and preparations.
In order to prepare 1 litre ‘Thailam’ (Ayurveda Massage oil), 1 kilogram of dried herbs are boiled in 16 litres of water until it is reduced to just 4 litres of ‘Kasha yam’ (decoction). And then 120 gm. of medicines (powdered and ground) as ‘Kalkam’ (paste) and 1 litre juice of fresh herbs – ‘Swarasam’ are added to the base oil (generally black sesame or coconut) and mixed together, and boiled in low flame until the whole water of the mixture is vaporized. While boiling, the medicinal qualities of the herbals are absorbed by the oil, and the oil becomes medicated. Over a number of days the moisture evaporates and as the consistency of the paste changes, the characteristic features of different oil are seen eg
• 1st stage – sticky & wax like – used for nasya (nasal oil)
• 2nd stage – rolls into ball – used for internal medicine i.e. enema
• 3rd stage – fine sand like consistency – ayurveda massage oil
Therefore a traditional Ayurvedic oil goes through a very special process which means the healing properties remain intact.
In the preparation of oils and pastes special and traditional procedures are used to ensure strict quality control and the preparation of medicines in the traditional manner using special metal vessel- ‘panchaloha’ pathra (made of gold, silver, copper, iron, and brass).
• Only prescribed types of fire woods are used.
• Organic sesame is bought directly from the farmers, and the oil is extracted in wooden grinders – as it was in olden days.
• The herbs are collected fresh
• All these are to ensure high quality and purity.
• GMP certified
In Ayurvedic massage different kinds of oils are used for body massage and head massage. For instance ‘Brahmi’ oil is used for head massage and ‘Raksha’ oil for body massage.
It is advisable to take an Ayurveda oil massage once a week or at least once in fortnight. For example, any machine would run well if it is lubricated often. Similarly a human body becomes very supple when an Ayurveda oil massage in given.
Abhyangam (oil massage) can keep away fatigue, body pain, tissue damage, skin diseases, infections, obesity, hair falling and premature aging at bay. It can provide efficiency, physical care, bodily strength, sleep, memory power, skin softness, etc. It has been found that Abhyangam if taken on Monday improves beauty, on Wednesday it increases wealth, and on Saturdays it gives better erotic experiences.
Each oil has specific herbal combinations which work in synergy as active ingredients. Combinations of herbal powders can be used after oil massage to help increase circulation, remove dead epithelial cells and deep cleanse the skin.
It is our intention that in sharing this traditional and special journey in the making of an Ayurvedic oil, we imprint the knowledge that Ayurvedic massage oils are markedly different and have deep healing properties used in the correct way.
While it’s an essential part of our daily routine and personal hygiene, cleansing keeps the skin free of impurities, healthy, fresh and radiant. Instead of using soap, the Ayurvedic tradition is the Uptana, generally a combination of ground herbs and other spices that both cleanse and purify the skin. And, using this powder keeps the skin gently exfoliated and naturally rejuvenating and, afterwards your body moisturiser will absorb better so it can do its work.
We have the perfect solution in our Hibiscus Body Cleansing Powder, a real two in one product that is packed with skin stars of natural and pure finely ground herbs to keep the skin smooth and beautiful.
Our Powder contains crushed Hibiscus petals that are rich in anti-oxidants that help protect against free radical damage. The beautiful Hibiscus also has anti-inflammatory properties to aid in soothing inflamed skin, which makes it great for sensitive types too. In addition, the Hibiscus Body Cleansing Powder uses Amla (known as Indian Gooseberry) that is packed with anti-oxidants and Vitamin C to help maintain the skin’s youth and vitality. Amla is also helpful in tackling skin woes like breakouts (think shoulders and back) by combatting micro-organisms that are present on the skin and incredible Amla also helps to ease dusky marks and other dark spots (think legs and arms from exposure to the sun). It also contains another ingredient called Albizzia Lebeck, did you know this can also help to repel insects.
So next time you hop in the shower, take the OmVeda Uptana with you. Simply wet the skin and sprinkle on a little of the herbal powder onto the body and work in circular motions, then rinse away. Skin will be amazingly smooth and silken.
Bless that Neem Tree, it’s divine!
Good for so many things from soothing skin rashes and purifying the blood to keeping insects at bay, Neem’s uses are endless.
Considered the tree of life and pharmacy tree in India, the leaves and seed oil of the Neem tree have been used since ancient times to treat many issues, both internally and externally.
It has incredible medicinal benefits and plays a major role in Ayurveda for its amazing healing properties. Neem contains high anti-oxidant levels, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-septic properties, all of which makes it an ideal ingredient to support the health and beauty of the skin.
In times gone by, dried Neem leaves were used to store winter quilts and clothing. Indian women lined the bottom of chests with cushions of Neem leaves and then layered clothes and quilts on top to keep bugs and other insects at bay. The tradition is no doubt practiced today as well.
Many people are just now finding out about its awesome qualities that are both beautifying and therapeutic.
The Oil, with its unique colouring and quite strong smell, is derived from crushing the seeds or leaves and sometimes the fruit of the evergreen Neem. It is made by cold pressing, which is the best way of obtaining the highest quality oil. This process also keeps the active compounds in place, pure and unspoiled. Cold pressed Neem Oil does not contain toxins or chemicals which is often the case with some other extraction processes.
It is rich in essential fatty acids, emollients and Vitamin E and can be used from top to toe … heels to scalp, to soothe problematic skin that is acneic or suffers from eczema and psoriasis. It works to reduce harmful bacteria associated acne, breakouts and oily skin issues. Alleviating scalp irritation and itchiness, Neem Oil has also been traditionally used to treat conditions suchy as head lice, burns, athlete’s foot, rheumatism and cold sores.
So you see, the benefits of Neem are TRULY endless.
We have two specific Neem products: our Neem Facial Wash, a gel based cleanser with a soap-free lather that leaves the skin clean, radiant and refreshed without a tight or uncomfortable feel. It is specifically formulated for oily and acneic skin. Our other product is the Neem Oil which can be used on the skin or scalp to help skin that suffers from infection.
Nurturing special clients
For those clients who are suffering the effects from cancer treatments and for those in remission, the OmVeda individualised treatments help to safely soothe, nurture and comfort. We have a range of treatments for face, body and hair to help soul, spirit and wellness.
Mainstream cancer treatments have a tendency to dry the body internally and externally resulting in very dry skin. The effects of chemotherapy and other drugs can be hard-hitting on the skin resulting in dry, rough and flakey skin.
Cancer clients and those in remission require nourishing facial treatments to help the skin’s vitality and also help build healthy tissues. Rasayanas are herbs and minerals that aid in rejuvenating and nourishing.
OmVeda recommends their Mango Vegetable Facial to replenish and nourish dry skin and boost hydration levels. This Facial also addresses pigmentation. It includes the Skin Rejuvenator Mask rich in proteins, the deeply moisturising Mango Mask, the OmVeda Signature Marma Point Facial massage and a soothing and relaxing hand and foot massage.
The specialised Mango Mask contains Sacred Lotus Seeds, Honey and Indian Barberry. The Mask is mixed with freshly grated Cucumber to calm, Carrot to help soothe dry and sensitive skins and Potato which helps to firm.
The client can continue at home with the OmVeda products such as Aloe Cleanser, Rose Toner, Honey Sandalwood Moisturiser, Honey Body Lotion to name a few.
At the salon or spa OmVeda recommends regular Hair Spa Treatments to help address Alopecia, loss or partial loss or thinning of the hair. The OmVeda Hair Spa treatment helps to alleviate a dry, sensitive and irritated scalp while at the same time the treatment encourages hair growth and supports the health of the hair and the scalp.
All OmVeda products and treatments can be safely used throughout the client’s cancer treatment and during remission. OmVeda products are formulated from the bases of the Vedic Scriptures and traditional health and beauty recipes that have been used for over 5,000 years. The products are formulated from pure Ayurvedic herbs that are free of chemicals and contain no microbeads.
OmVeda’s Hair Spa Treatment combines a warm oil scalp massage using a customised herbal oil (such as the OmVeda Brahmi Oil or Neelini Oil) and the Neelini Hair Mask. Following the hair mask, the head is wrapped cosily in muslin and kept warm which allows the goodness of the herbs to be readily absorbed. After 15 minutes the hair and scalp is cleansed with the Amla Shampoo and spritzed with the OmVeda Hair Tonic.
OmVeda Brahmi Oil is formulated with Brahmi, Gota Kola and Valerian and helps to reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia. Brahmi’s anti-oxidant properties help provide nourishment to the scalp and the hair follicle in turn encouraging growth and supporting hair health.
The Neelini Hair Oil is specifically formulated to encourage hair growth and is formulated with herbs like Psoralea Coryfolia which is an excellent hair tonic and used in the treatment of hair loss and baldness.
A gentle hair cleanser, the OmVeda Amla Shampoo blends Indian Gooseberry and Arnica to aid in eliminating scalp irritations and dryness while helping to strengthen the hair.
The OmVeda Neelini Hair Mask is a blend of Ayurvedic herbal powders that are specifically formulated for hair loss, itching and irritated scalps and dandruff. While soothing irritations and inflammations it also helps to stimulate hair growth and support strong and thick hair.
The OmVeda Hair Tonic is a special tonic for scalp and hair. Made with Triphala, Mint and Musk Mallow, it is particularly cooling and nourishing to the scalp. It encourages hair growth and aids in thickening the hair.
The client should continue at home (in between OmVeda Hair Spa sessions) with the OmVeda Hair Oil, Amla Shampoo and Hair Tonic.
If anyone is having problems with their pumps, plse see video of how to open the pump.
Replenish and cleanse
Start the day by drinking at least one glass (if not two) of warm water with a squeeze of half a lemon and some thinly sliced ginger. The lemon will alkalize your gut and the ginger will stimulate the agni or fire we sometimes need to help our digestion on cold winter mornings.
We lose water content and fluidity in our bodies with age. In Ayurveda this is known as shukhra and a regular oil massage (or Abhyanga) keeps us juicy and supple inside out. After a morning shower, take some almond oil in the palm of the hands and using long, gentle strokes, massage the oil into the body, moving from the extremities toward the heart.
Breathe and move
Do five sun salutations or a longer yoga practice.
Meditate to help calm the mind and focus.
The granular powder called “besan” is used to slough off dead skin and relieve oiliness. Besan can also be used in place of soap to wash/cleanse the face or mixed with milk and turmeric powder and applied as a mask to the face. After the mixture dries, it is removed with warm water and a washcloth. While the besan scrubs skin, turmeric (an anti-bacterial) cleanses and milk adds moisture.
Natural fragrances can calm, energize or relax, depending on the scent. Sandalwood, called chandanam, is offered as a stick, powder or paste. With natural cooling properties, as well as a woody, sweet aroma. When applied to the skin, it also can moisturize or alleviate stretch marks and scarring.
Dried sambraani, a tree resin, is toasted over an open flame and the smoke is used to scent the hair. The rich, woody smell helps the hair dry faster and may discourage colds and sinus congestion. Other common Indian fragrances include jasmine, hibiscus, coconut and lily.
There are various useful effects apart from the fragrance it imparts to hair. It aids in drying the hair faster. Also, it tends to draw the excess water in the head & face, being a good treatment for those with a heavy head from cold and sinusitis.
Sambraani smoke is also applied to new born babies, after each bath, to assure that the child does not catch a cold.
Special holders in various patterns are available for burning the coal. When sambraani powder is sprinkled on the burning coal, the smoke drifts out through the nozzles on the cover of the holder. Thus it is safe to hold it near head and face.
Ayurvedic Beauty Treatments
Ayurveda is the Indian system of philosophy developed over thousands of years. Ayurveda uses herbs and botanical ingredients to balance the skin, hair and body.
The all natural ingredients used in traditional Ayurvedic beauty care maintains health and keeps the skin vibrant and beautiful.
Found in the hilly areas of India, Indian Madder (or Manjishta, its Sanskrit name) is a herb whose roots, leaves and seeds are widely used in traditional medicine for a variety of ailments including detoxification and to boost circulation. It helps to relieve arthritis and to get rid of build up around the joints and to maintain overall health. It is used in many of our herbal oils and creams to help reduce joint aches, skin disorders such as uneven pigmentation, irritation, freckles, acne and eczema. This amazing herb imparts a colour, dyeing cloth red as well as shades of pink, orange and brown. OmVeda products made using herbs which means that products take on these colours eg Honey Sandalwood Moisturiser, Raksha oil, Pinda Tailum.
Shining hair and sparkling eyes: Indian women are associated with beauty traits beloved worldwide and the Ayurvedic beauty formulations and rituals are a time-tested and totally natural solution.
Beautification became and is a daily ritual, Dinacharya – for cleansing, healing skin problems, covering up imperfections and oral hygiene.
There is a traditional ritual for every stage and age of life which has become a family tradition, passed down from generation to generation.
As a child I was influenced by stories my mother told me of her grandmother and mother instructing the kitchen to brew specific oils for hair and body, herbal applications and brews for congested chests, pastes for pimples and lotions to keep the skin soft and subtle.
As babies we received a massage using the cream of milk and or ghee as it is believed to soften the skin, strengthen the muscles and help build strong bones. A weekly head massage with herbal oils encouraged healthy long shiny hair andhelped to prevent dandruff and dryness.
As a teenager I was encouraged to use turmeric for pimples.
Mothers receive regular massage pre and post pregnancy using specific herbs that alleviate back pain, prevent stretch marks and cleanse. In fact, Abhyanga (self massage) should be a daily part of everyone’s daily routine. It helps to stimulate circulation, ease muscular aches and pains, soften the skin, maintain good bone strength, reduce skin problems and prevent many common skin ailments. There are specific herbal oils for the type of body and skin condition an individual has.
Every bride goes through a purification process (commonly known as detox) before her wedding day. This comprises a herbal body mask of finely ground herbal powders of neem, sandalwood, turmeric and rose made into paste with yoghurt. This leaves the skin feeling soft, smooth and flawless. The bride’s hands and feet are adorned with intricate henna patterns which tell a tale of the bride going to her groom. There is folklore that is attached to the significance of the depth of colour, so the hands and feet are warmed over a charcoal grill as it is said the warmth makes the colour deeper.
Superfluous hair was considered to be a stigma and a large number of depilatory agents have been used for centuries. Special ingredients were used for hair washes. Many herbal formulations have been successfully used for hair growth, prevention of falling hair and premature graying. Hair dyes, fragrant hair rinses and fumigants were also in use. Fragrant bath powders and body deodorants also find frequent mention. Oral hygiene in the form of care of teeth, mouth deodorants and colouring of lips were daily chores to be religiously pursued. It appears that the whole range of modern cosmetic usage was conceived by the ancient Indians and was practiced with the help of natural herbs still used today. Arguably time tested over 5000 years.
As soap can be drying, traditionally specific combinations of herbal powders were used on the body and face which helped to deep cleanse, exfoliate and keep the skin in good condition. These powders were rinsed away with water, just as with soap, but did not have the same drying affect.
Exercise is another important part of the daily routine, and it was recommended that one does at least 5 salutes to the sun on waking and a brisk walk after meals was encouraged to help digest food quickly,
Diet is a vital aspect of self care. It is not uncommon to hear seasonally – one eat this or that because it is cooling or heating and, there are foods to avoid during menstruation as heating foods can imbalance the flow.