Modern science and marketing have made beauty and anti-aging products a multi-billion dollar industry. But eons before “cosmeceuticals” and medi-spas came into fashion, the ancient world had its share of ancient beauties with their own natural and effective beauty secrets.
Egyptian Queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra were known to use aloe vera as an important part of their beauty regimen. Medical scrolls found in burial tombs from the 16th century BC contained detailed recipes for concoctions to remove wrinkles, blemishes and other signs of age.
One such remedy called for the gum of Frankincense, wax, Moringa Oil, cypress grass and fermented plant juices, which was applied daily.
During the Tang Dynasty in Tibet in 618-907 AD, sea buckhorn was known to be used on the skin and face. We know now that the berries of this plant are a source of major antioxidants Vitamin A, C, E, and other important minerals.
The Beauty Secrets of Ancient China
The ancient Chinese had a “Cleopatra” of their own, though she was far from a Queen. Quite the opposite in fact.
Her name was Yang Guifei, and she was an Imperil Concubine from 719 –756. Yang is generally considered to be the most beautiful woman in Chinese history, and it has been said that she used tremella mushroom for her facial and body maintenance.
Today Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes the tremella mushroom as a method to enhance Qi. It is rich in Vitamin E and is used to treat many specific conditions in TCM as well as an overall anti-aging tonic.
TCM treats beauty as it does all things of mind, body, and spirit. Outer beauty is a reflection of inner balance and adequate Qi. So in the TCM tradition, the surest way to look beautiful and remain youthful is to use the practices of TCM to enhance Qi and stay healthy. However, there are some specific TCM “beauty secrets.”
- Dark circles under the eyes – The best Chinese herb for the eyes is Lycium fruit (gou qi zi). Other herbs are black sesame seeds (hei Zhi ma), and privet fruit (nu zhen zi). Good foods for the eyes include shepherd’s purse and sun-dried raspberry (fu pen zi).
- Bags under the eyes – In the TCM tradition, any kind of swelling is linked to a “blood stagnation” or poor kidney function. If your kidney Qi is limited, try to practice moderation, eat better, and take supplemental herbs and foods like black cohosh, Chinese chive, mutton, walnut, oysters, pork, dried rehmannia (sheng di), Chinese yam (shan yao), and horny goat weed (yin yang huo). If stagnation is the problem try celery, rose, yellow soybean, seaweed, mung bean, corn, eggplant, cucumber, and hemlock parsley (chuan xiong).
- Dry skin – Moistening herbs and foods are soy, spinach, asparagus, millet, barley, salt, seaweed, apple, tangerine, pinenut, persimmon, peanut, pear, honey, oysters, and clams. Try a seaweed facial wrap too.
- Premature gray hair –According to TCM premature gray is caused by either a look timeless or you have what is called ‘hot blood.’ The second one happens with bleeding, nosebleed, skin ulcers, and urinary difficulties. For hot blood, take black soybean, processed dried persimmons, processed rehmannia (shu di huang), and dried Rehmannia (Shu di Huang). If it is the former, follow the same practices as indicated for baggy eyes.
Although the science knowledge of the ancients may have been limited, they had a greater understanding of the natural world and how to pull strength, healing and even beauty from it. They may be gone, but there are some time-tested ancient beauty tricks we can steal from our ancestors, that can make you look timeless!