Arogya Jeewan

Arogya Jeewan

Five herbs for skin health

Ayurveda described Skin (twak) in seven layers (As per Acharya Susruta). The outermost layer is called Avabhasini, reflects the complexion and the quality of the Rasa Dhatu (nutrient fluid, the first of the seven tissues of the body). It also acts as a mirror as it indicates whether the physiology as a whole is balanced or imbalanced, and whether there is inner health or disorder; it also reflects the aura of the individual. Mamsadhara is the innermost layer is the platform for the skin’s stability and firmness. When this layer is in balance, the skin looks young and supple.[1],[2]

Ayurveda defines Vayasthapana (age sustaining/defying), Varnya (brighten skin glow), Kantivardhaka (luster-promoting),Sandhaniya (cell-regeneration), Vranaropana (healing), Tvachya (nurturing), Shothahara (anti-inflammatory), Tvachagnivardhani (strengthening skin metabolism) and Tvagrasayana (retarding aging) herbs that may be beneficial for skin health.

According to Ayurveda, many factors decide skin health – moisture balance in the skin, proper digestion and metabolism, hormonal balance and efficient circulation of blood and nutrients to the different skin layers.  These factors are controlled by Vata, Pitta, Kapha and three important body tissues that reflect our skin health– plasma (Rasa), blood Rakta and muscle (Mamsa). Plasma keeps the skin healthy, Blood helps in detoxification process along with the liver, while muscles provide firmness to the skin. An effective skin-care herbs should provide support to all these three areas.[3]

Five herbs that are known for their benefits in various skin conditions are as follows:

1. Aloe Vera

This succulent plant has proven to be very effective in treatment of sunburn, skin irritation, wrinkles, minor burns, insect bites, small cuts and scratches, and dry skin. The aloe gel can fasten the healing process by creating a protective coating on the affected area.[4] Aloe gel can stimulate circulation of the skin and slough off the dead skin cells and moisturize the skin optimally.[5] Aloe vera is known to be effective in combating dry and brittle hair too.3

2. Neem 

Neem has historically been used for various skin infections. Traditionally Neem has been used for skin and blood purifying conditions Neem is used in Acne, Eczema, Dermatitis and other skin diseases. Neem has shown antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties when studied experimentally. It helps support a strong immune system and is used in cases of inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis too. Neem produces certain anti-inflammatory compounds that can aid in the healing of cuts and burns as well.[6]

3. Yasti Madhu

Yashti madhu (Glycyrriza glabra) helps skin stay healthy, soft and supple. Acharaya Charaka explained Yashtimadhu in Kandugna Mahakashaya (Anti pruritis medicine) It prevents the outburst of acne by its anti-bacterial activity. It can help lighten scars and marks, and prevent blemishes.[7] Yashtimadhu is useful in dermatitis, psoriasis and other conditions with inflammation and pruritis (itching)[8]

4. Chamomile

Chamomile is one of the most commonly used age-old medicinal herbs for improving skin health. It is known to improve skin texture and elasticity, and reduces the pruritus signs of sun burn. It is a very effective emollient and often used for sensitive skin. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory conditions and thus effective in conditions like itchy skin, eczema, rashes etc.[9]

5. Turmeric

Acharaya Charaka explained Turmeric (Haldi) in Kushtagna Mahakashaya (Anti dermatosis medicine). Turmeric is best known spice and widely used in Asian kitchens. It is also used topically for wounds and burns in Indian communities. The paste of turmeric powder has been used as antiseptic and for skin nourishment since centuries.  Turmeric shows  significant wound healing activity.[10] Curcumin the active compound of turmeric, is a polyphenol used in skin care preparations.


  1. Hema Sharma Datta, S. K. Mitra, Rangesh Paramesh, and Bhushan Patwardhan, “Theories and Management of Aging: Modern and Ayurveda Perspectives,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2011, Article ID 528527, 6 pages, 2011. doi:10.1093/ecam/nep005
  2. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha. Vidhyotini Hindi Vyakhya- Sastry K & Chaturvedi G – Editors. Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi 221001. Reprint 2011.
  3. Barnes J, Anderson LA and Phillington JD Herbal Medicines: A guide for healthcare professionals Edition, Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2002.
  4. Choi SW, Son BW, Son YS, Park YI, Lee SK and Chung MH, The wound healing effect of a glycoprotein fraction isolated from Aloe vera Br J Dermatol, 2001; 145(4): 535-545.
  5. Olsen DL, Raub W, Bradley C, Johnson M Macias JL, Love V and Markoe A, 2001. The effect of Aloe vera gel/mild soap versus mild soap alone in preventing skin reactions in patients undergoing radiation therapy Oncol Nurs Forum, 2001; 28(3): 543-547
  6. Debjit Bhowmik et al, Herbal Remedies of Azadirachta indica and its Medicinal Application,  J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2010, 2(1): 62-72
  7. Ivana Binic, Viktor Lazarevic, Milanka Ljubenovic, Jelena Mojsa, and Dusan Sokolovic, “Skin Ageing: Natural Weapons and Strategies,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013,
  8. Ohuchi K, Kamada Y, Levine L, Tsurufuji S. Glycyrrhizin inhibits prostaglandin E2 production by activated peritoneal macrophages from rats. Prostaglandins Med 7(5):457-63
  9. O'Hara M, Kiefer D, Farrell K, Kemper K. A review of 12 commonly used medicinal herbs. Arch Fam Med. 1998; 7:523-536.
  10. Ammon HPT and Wahl MA, Pharmacology of Curcuma longa, Planta Med 1991; 51: 1-7