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Ayurveda, one of the oldest forms of holistic medicine, is based on the tenet that the body, mind and spirit must all be kept in balance for excellent health. Here, two experts share the key ingredients to incorporate into your diet and beauty routine

1) Turmeric. “Turmeric has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to decrease inflammation and pain—it’s thought to balance all doshas [three dominant constitutions that make up our bodies],” says Urban Remedy founder and Chinese nutritionist Neka Pasquale. “It can be taken as a juice, tincture, powder, tea or used topically. You can warm milk (dairy or nut) and add turmeric powder and raw honey for a delicious treatment for a cold or flu. For topical use, make a paste of turmeric powder, citrus juice and salt and apply to sprains or areas of inflammation.”

2) Neem. “Neem leaf is famous in Ayurveda texts for having an almost magical effect on the skin,” says Dr. Lamees Hamdan, whose skin care line—Shiffa Dubai—incorporates the healing philosophies of the East and West. “The tree is said to be the protector of the village in India, due to its multitude of uses: It works as an antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent and is effective in the treatment of eczema and acne. Traditionally, Neem leaves were crushed into a paste and applied directly to the skin. Shiffa’s Healing Balm, Tamanu Moisturising Cream and Invigorating Hair Oil all contain it.”


3) Ginger. “Ginger has a warming action that supports healthy circulation, digestion and improves assimilation of nutrients. You can make a simple ginger tea by boiling water and pouring over fresh sliced ginger root and steeping for 10 minutes. Strain and enjoy 1-4 cups daily,” says Pasquale. Used as an essential oil, ginger’s warming quality helps to ease muscular aches and energize you mentally. “It’s considered an aphrodisiac,” says Hamdan.

4) Black pepper. “It’s mainly prescribed in Ayurveda in food, but I have found that this small black spice has an array of rich properties,” says Hamdan. “It’s a powerful antioxidant with antibacterial properties that contains essential nutrients such as manganese, potassium, Vitamin C and K. As a warming essential oil, it can help in the treatment of pain relief, rheumatism, blood circulation and exhaustion.”

5) Ghee, also known as clarified butter. “It supports the digestive fire that is important for overall health and wellness. It’s also used to increase the effectiveness of herbal preparations, calm the mind and nourish the eyes. Because of its oily nature, it helps to hydrate dryness and is best for balancing Vata (air) and Pitta (fire) doshas. For insomnia, try adding a tablespoon of Ghee to a large glass of warm organic milk with a dash of cinnamon and cardamom before bed,” says Pasquale.

From: Harper’s BAZAAR US