Botanic Materia Medica
Cacao Butter (inci: Theobroma cacao)
Sanskrit Name: Ananda
STORY: Ananda means Joy! We couldn’t think of a more apt word to describe chocolate or the cacao bean. The aroma of chocolate; its heady perfume wafting from the Mitti Face Masque is at once an olfactory and sensory delight!
Our raw cacao butter is made from the dried, partly fermented fatty seeds of the cacao bean, grown by family owned, single estate, organic farms in south India. Cold processed at source, our butter (and powder) is non-alkalized, unrefined and non de-odorized, retaining all the active enzymes inherent in the bean.
COMPOSITION: With a complex chemistry, the cacao bean contains almost 50% lipids, vital proteins, essential fatty acids like oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid. Whopping with more than 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries and polyphenols, making it the highest plant source of iron. Remember, the deeper and darker the colour of the fruit, the richer it is in antioxidants. Cacao also contains more calcium than cow’s milk and an abundance of magnesium.
BENEFIT: Shields the skin at a cellular level with its powerful antioxidants against free radical activity, a major cause of skin degeneration. The micronutrients and compounds strengthen the skin’s collagen structure and boost overall skin health. Our synergistic formulations with cacao promote clear skin, reducing fine lines, relieving dermatitis and help heal scarring, blemishes and marks. Cacao can be used to stimulate Kapha (earth energy).
Hemp (inci: Cannabis Sativa)
Sanskrit Name: bhaṅgā
As a child, I remember drinking “thadal” - a grassy, sweet milky almond drink prepared with freshly ground cannabis leaves, offered as an auspicious drink in honour of Lord Shiva during the festival of “holi” in India.
Hemp has a long religious and medicinal history of use in Ayurveda. One of the 5 sacred plants in the Vedas, Hemp has been used since around 2000 BCE in ancient times in India. It finds mention in ancient treatises like the Charaka, Sushruta, and Shargandhara Samhitas. The Ananda Kanda has a whole chapter dedicated to this herb, its toxicity, the procedure for purification, cultivation, preparation, and use.
It is important to note that CBD and Hemp oil come from the same plant but different parts. Hemp comes from the seeds (with less than 0.3% THC, the psychotropic substance in cannabis) while CBD comes from the rest of the plant. Most formulas traditionally calling for cannabis in Ayurveda are now usually omitted with all the legalities around usage.
Our Hemp oil is cold pressed and sourced directly from hemp growers in different parts of India.
COMPOSITION: Zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and fiber, 9 essential amino acids, omega-6 gamma linoleic acid (GLA).
BENEFITS: Hemp oil is truly unique in that with its perfect ratio Omega profile, it is excellent for acenic as well as mature, dry and sensitized red or blotchy skin. It nourishes and moisturizes skin, adjusting to its needs, promoting healthy cell turnover. Regular use will reveal a more toned, clear and radiant complexion. Hemp oil is known to relieve skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema, acne and dryness.
Hemp pacifies excess dryness and heat, which is associated with vata and pitta dosha imbalances.
Moringa (Inci: Moringa Oleifera)
Sanskrit Name: sigru,
THE STORY: The Green Goddess! Shevga, sehjan, soijna or moringa as we call it, is a seemingly common yet mighty plant for both skin and inner health. Moringa has long been used in herbalism and traditional medicine. When I was a little girl, my grandma would task me with collecting soinjna ja gul, delicate white flowers that fell off the Moringa tree in our courtyard to make raita, a salad of homemade fresh curd, cucumber, cumin seeds and moringa flowers. A superfood with 2 times the protein of yoghurt and 4 times that of eggs, the leaf of the moringa tree alone contains almost 70% protein with an unusually high content of essential amino acids! This, is a true superstar for skin health!
Our Moringa comes straight from our local farmer friends who run certified organic farms in villages neighbouring our studio. We use all parts of this beautiful plant; the soft fresh green leaves go into our in house macerations while the oil is cold pressed from the seeds.
COMPOSITION: A superb source of rich protein, more than any other known plant source, and vitamins A, B, C, K, phytochemicals like copper, iron, zinc, manganese and all essential amino acids including those containing sulphur (cystein & methionine).
BENEFITS: This is a nutrient rich skinfood that we adore using in both our formulations and our cooking! Abundant in bio actives that restore elasticity, build collagen, reduce fine line, tone and lift sagging skin while effectively nourishing it from the inside out. Rejuvenates lackluster, dull, tired skin at a deeper cellular level.
Madder Root (inci: Rubia Cordifolia)
Sanskrit Name: Manjishtha
STORY: A fiery brick red herb, Manjishtha or madder root holds an important place in classic Ayurvedic scriptures for its kustha or skin transformative effects. A proven blood purifier, Sage Charaka classified it as ‘varnya’; with complexion transforming and detoxifying effects while Sage Sushruta referred to Manjishtha as ‘rasayana’, or possessing skin rejuvenating powers. The Vanraj tribes in Kumaon Himalayas use the pulp of the whole plant with honey as a complexion treatment and ritual.
The root and stem are well known sources of anthraquinone and proven for their antiseptic and galacto-purifier activity on skin with significant inhibitory activity against acne. Research papers report anti-androgen action and the presence of vital antioxidant phenolic constituents in Manjishtha. It exhibits maximum free radical scavenging activity due to anthraquinones and glycosides present in it. Notable nitric oxide scavenging activity has also been exhibited in in vitro studies.
We source our Manjishtha from certified organic growers in our home state of Maharashtra and prepare fresh decoctions and macerations in house that go into our formulations.
COMPOSITION: Purpurin, munjistin, xanthopurpurin and pseudopurpurin.
A wide variety of antioxidants like alizarin, hydroxyl anthraquinones and rubiadin.
Vanraji tribes of Kumaun Himalaya use the
whole plant pulp rubbed with honey as a cure for acne
and dark spots on face
BENEFITS: A powerhouse purifying herb that effectively treats skin disorders, severe acne, hyperpigmentation and pigmentation anomalies of skin. Manjishtha heals skin tissue, relieves skin inflammation, balances the sebum and shields skin cells against free radical damage. Renowned in Ayurveda for pacifying fiery pitta dosha imbalances.
Frankincense Oil (inci: Boswellia sacra)
Sanskrit Name: lohban
STORY: While I call seabuckthorn oil the liquid gold, the Three Wise Men certainly thought Frankincense was the real gold. Revered and sacred, lohban has been used since ancient times in spiritual ceremonies, meditation and we burn it daily as a fire agnihotra or homa (purification) ceremony in our studio to purify the environment and vibrational energy field and calm our beings.
COMPOSITION: An aromatic resin constituting boswellic acid, linalool, a-pinene, actanol, octyl acetate, bornyl acetate, incensole and incensyl acetate.
BENEFITS: Lohban holds a very important place in Ayurveda, TCM, Siddha and Unani medicine systems. Especially beneficial in skincare, this oil promotes regeneration of healthy cell and tissue. Frankincense oil is my favourite for the face: to help soften and fade fine lines, nourish dry skin and is known to reduce scars and acne marks. Its aroma calms the mind, soothing frayed anxious nerves and lowering stress
Turmeric (inci: Curcuma longa)
Sanskrit Name: haridra, haldi
STORY: Vedic. Biodynamic. Certified organic. Rare is the blessing when you can work with farmers who respect lunar cycles; sowing, watering and harvesting to the sacred chanting of Vedic mantras; creating a symbiotic relationship between man, nature and the very food that sustains life. I feel an immense sense of gratitude to be able to source and formulate with Turmeric that comes from a lovely family owned farm in the Himalayan foothills, sustaining the ancient practice of Vedic, biodynamic agriculture to this day.
Turmeric is a household herb in India and one that I have naturally grown up consuming and using daily, be it in our cuisine or for sore throats, coughs and colds. I remember hot Turmeric poultices applied on my ankles to reduce bruising and swelling, for wound healing, and of course as an “ubtan” or masque in our skincare and bathing rituals.
COMPOSITION: Turmeric contains various curcuminoids including curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, desmethoxycurcumin.
BENEFITS: Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial, making it an excellent remedy for blemished, acneic skin and helping to reduce excess oil secretion by the sebaceous glands. Turmeric is renowned for its ability to reduce scarring, counter the effects of sun damage, hyperpigmentation and balance an uneven skin tone. We love how Turmeric imparts a luminous glow and radiance to any skin tone.
Indian Senna (inci: Cassia Angustifolia)
Sanskrit Name: Sonamukha, Swarna Patri
STORY: Senna is the richest known source of vegan, cruelty free, botanical hyaluronic acid, mimicking its fantastic effects on skin. We are discovering its exciting possibilities for skin health as more scientific backed research comes to light. Lining the avenue to our studio + lab, Indian senna trees, entwined with neem, moringa and flame of the forest offer much needed shade; their pretty yellow flowers a visual delight!
A common plant in India, Senna boasts a phenomenal phytoprofile for skincare. Ours comes from a local Ayurvedic botanica close to our studio and my childhood home that has prescribing healing remedies to our family and the local community for over 5 decades. Senna seeds are macerated for weeks in- house to prepare the small batch oil infusions that we use in our proprietary formulations. It’s bio availability is enhanced when used with triglycerides, helping absorption into the dermal layers.
composition: Rich in sennosides A, B, C, D, rhein, chrysophanol, aloe-emodin, kaempferol, myricyl alcohol, salicylic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid
benefits: Senna offers incredible plumping and skin conditioning properties. It can attract and hold moisture up to 1000 times its weight in water. As a humectant, Senna effectively provides long-lasting hydration, locking in moisture, softening and smoothing the effects of fine lines and wrinkles. It also soothes skin by reducing inflammation and supports the repair and regeneration of skin cells. Skin feels fresh, dewy and moist.
We love it so much that almost all our formulated line features Senna as a decoction or macerated preparation.
Neem (inci: Azadirachta Indica)
Sanskrit Name: Nimba
STORY: As a child, morning rituals in our household started with neem infused baths. I would wake up to large pots of hot water gurgling and bubbling away in our courtyard, strewn with neem leaves plucked fresh off the giant tree next to our cottage. Anywhere you turn, you can spot a neem tree in India, the serrated-edged leaves creating a canopy, fanning out against the sky like a formation of birds in flight.
‘Arista’ in Sanskrit- Neem means ‘perfect, complete and imperishable’. Known as ‘Pinchumada’ or the healer of skin infections, Neem is the sacred healing tree in Ayurveda. The earliest authentic record of its curative properties in indigenous medicine is found in Kautilya’s “Arthashastra" around 4th century BC. Records show that non-edible Neem oil is perhaps the oldest known medicinal oil!
Our Neem comes from fair trade organic farmer co ops in Maharashtra, India, eliminating concerns of chemical toxicity like residual arsenic and lead. We freshly macerate the leaves and seeds in-house to prepare our small batch oil infusions that go into our formulations.
COMPOSITION: Neem contains all essential amino acids, high levels of triglycerides, vitamin C, quercetin, essential fatty acids including linoleic acid, oleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.
BENEFITS: Neem has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce acne, congestion and clogged pores. Excellent in reducing redness, for rosacea prone and blemished skin. The quercetin in Neem encourages collagen production, vital for firm, toned and supple skin.
Seabuckthorn Berry (inci: Hippophae Rhamnoides)
Sanskrit Name: Tset Lulu, Dhurchuk
STORY: How does one describe the wonders of this miracle oil on one page? My quest to source and harvest the finest quality seabuckthorn takes me to the wild, uncontaminated, glacier fed terrains of the Ladakh Himalayas at altitudes of some 14000 feet. Bordering Tibet and Kashmir, this remote region is where I work with fair trade co ops and women self- help groups.
The seabuckthorn here has the richest source of known Vitamin C with an ascorbic acid content of up to 2500 mg%! The content of carotenoids with an effect of vitamin A is also astonishingly high. Our local ladies sustainably handpick the berries, with no mechanized harvesting, denuding or depleting of this precious medicinal plant species. We only pick ripe berries at their peak potency, high in phytonutrients and sun dried on natural jute, not plastic so that no phthalates leach into the berries.
Ancient Indian and Chinese healing modalities have used Seabuckthorn for thousands of years and the latest scientific studies confirm the magnificent phytoprofile of nutrients and bio actives in seabuckthorn for skin, health and medicinal use.
The graded, cleaned, dried whole berries make their way by road thousands of miles across India to a remote bio hotspot in the Western ghats, home to a supercritical extraction unit located only an hour away from our studio. Supercritical extraction is the greenest, cleanest method of extracting almost 80-85% of the phyto nutrients from plants and is safe for both people and the planet, unlike solvent and high heat extraction methods which destroy the vital nutrients.
Our oils are stored in Miron violetglass to preserve and protect some 190 bio actives present in this berry, ensuring your bottle of this superstar oil reaches you at its freshest.
COMPOSITION: Super-rich in Vitamins A, C, E, F, P and B complex: flavonoids (with an effect of vitamin P), polyphenols and polysaccharides. tocopherols, catechins and procyanidins, cyclitols, phospholipids, tannins, sugars: galactose, fructose, xylose, organic acids (maleic acid, oxalic acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, phenolic acids, e.g. ferulic acid. High content of beta-carotene and other carotenoids such as lycopene, cryptoxanthin, physalien, zeaxanthin.
The richest known plant source of rare omega-7 (nearly 30-35% in our oil and rich in saturated fatty acids (above 30 wt.%) with a uniquely high content of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Studies show high levels of superoxide dismutase, a powerful antioxidant that combats free radicals.
BENEFITS: A stellar oil that can revitalize skin in every way. Repairs and aids biological synthesis of cell membranes, protecting against harmful UVA and UVB induced sun damage and environmental pollutants, fading pigmentation and marks. Seabuckthorn oil is anti-inflammatory, with an excellent ability to treat acne, irritated and rosacea prone, congested skin.
Whilst supporting skin cell function, our oil creates an occlusive film on the skin to reduce trans epidermal water loss, providing optimal hydration of the epidermis. Essential fatty acids and natural glycerides protect, regenerate and soften the skin, significantly aiding transport of vital nutrients deeper into the epidermis.
The super rich source of Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is vital for skin health as it plays the role of binding and building the components of intercellular cement and epidermis cells. It improves blood circulation and supply of fresh oxygen to skin, eliminating toxins which results in repairing skin structure, texture, appearance, tone and elasticity. The GLA penetrates to the deeper skin layers where it is converted to prostaglandins, effectively protecting skin against infections, allergies and slowing down the skin degeneration process while regulating the function of the sebaceous glands.
Our 100% pure Seabuckthorn oil is safe to enough for pregnant and breastfeeding women and can be ingested for strengthening the inner system.
Rosa Damascena Flower (inci: Rosa Damascene)
Sanskrit Name: Ruh Gulab
STORY: Tucked away in the verdant valley of the Kullu Himalayas overlooking the majestic Dhauladhar range, our small batch distiller produces the most exquisite (and expensive) Himalayan Rosa Damascena essential oil and hydrosol. Steam distilled into a pure essence in their traditional wood fired workshop. No harsh solvents, no absolutes nor concretes (typically used in perfume making) which could dissolve away the medicinal, therapeutic properties of this oil and hydrosol.
The Rosa Damascena truly deserves her status as the ‘Queen of flowers’; to produce a kilo of essential oil, our ladies gather around 4000 kilos of rose petals before dawn, when the fragrance within the flower is at its peak potency.
COMPOSITION: Vitamin C, geraniol, citronellol, nonadecane, phenyl ethyl alcohol, henicosane, 9-nonadecen, eicosane, linalool, citronellyl acetate and super high in flavonoids.
BENEFITS: A natural, gentle yet powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial oil, renowned for relieving redness and inflammation of the skin. Helps prevent acne and pimples while it calms and soothes. High in antioxidants, Rose oil helps balance moisture levels.
As a fragrance, the mood lifting effects of Rose Oil are increasingly being used by psychologists and therapists to help with anxiety, stress and depression.
Our 100% pure hydrosol with its ph neutral, mildly astringent properties makes the finest toner, protecting the acid mantle barrier of our skin while effectively drawing out excess oil, dirt and congestion from skin.
There seems to be some debate and insufficient scientific research, but it is claimed that certain components of rose oil can cause rare allergic reactions in some skin types, if used in quantities that breach dermal limits. As a registered and notified EU CNPC brand, we adhere to their guidelines while formulating with this oil, but recommend you do a patch test or avoid it if you have a known reaction to it.
Licorice root (inci: Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Sanskrit Name: Yashtimadhu, Mulethi
STORY: The rare occasion when modern science agrees with Ayurveda, Unani, TCM and herbalism on the skin brightening properties of Licorice. Until I started formulating with Yashtimadhu, I only knew it as a delicious digestive, its shaven roots tossed with slivered almonds, dates and coconut. Yumm!
COMPOSITION: The flavonoids licoricidin, glabridin, the saponin glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhetinic acid, the prenyl flavanoid glycycoumarin, liquiritin, isoliquiritin, isoliquiritin apioside, licuraside, liquiritigenin, isoliquiritigenin, licochalcone A, and p-hydroxybenzylmalonic acid.
BENEFITS: The glabridin part of the Licorice plant inhibits pigmentation of skin. Licorice extract helps lighten and even out discoloration, skin spots and under-eye dark circles. Also let’s not forget Licorice root is extremely helpful for redness, rosacea prone and skin sensitised with use of retinols and acids, or for any other reason. Scientific studies have shown Licorice is an effective agent for the treatment of eczema and atopic dermatitis and may help with melasma.
Bitter Apricot Kernels (inci: Prunus Armeniaca)
Sanskrit Name: Khubani
STORY: Ours is extracted at source in a wooden “kohlu” or cold press in the Himalayas, and stars in most of our creations! Apricot oil mimics and resembles the natural sebum produced by the human skin and is so quickly absorbed into the skin. It is said that Dong Feng, a Chinese physician of the ‘Three Kingdoms Period,’ believed Apricots had healing properties and would use it to treat tumors and malignant growths. He would invite his patients to plant Apricot trees in his orchard once they had healed. In fact, a physician in China is referred to as “The Expert of the Apricot Grove” such is the importance of Apricot oil.
With a zero waste approach, our women groups dry the left over oil cakes in solar dehydrators which are pounded into a fine powder and go into our face masks.
COMPOSITION: Rich in vitamins A, B17, amygdalin and E, essential fatty acids 3, 6 and 9.
BENEFITS: For an oil so rich in fatty acids and tocopherol (vitamin E) Apricot oil absorbs so readily into skin without any greasiness or heavy oily feel. Himalayan folk use the oil to nourish their skin as it is highly emollient for the dry harsh weather.. An effective antibacterial oil loaded with vitamin A, it is helpful in the treatment of acne. Its high concentration of vitamin E can counter the ill effects of sun damage on skin. Rich in vitamin E, Apricot oil can strengthen the hair follicles, and lends shine and gloss when used as a hair serum. Himalayan folk too swear by the benefits of Apricot oil for hair to prevent hair loss, arrest premature greying and balding. The antioxidant potential of vitamin E, ALA, GLA, certain fatty acids and actives can neutralize free radicals before they can attack skin cells and induce premature skin-ageing and age spots.
The nutty, marzipan aroma makes this a firm favourite with all our clients, especially men!
Nearly every formulation in our line will feature this favourite staple; we macerate our herbal infusions in Bitter Apricot Oil!