How to make yourself beautiful by use of Chinese herbs

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You don't need to be an expert to know that Chinese women today are highly conscious of their looks and take great pains to maintain themselves.

I am amazed at the women I see in malls and the metro who are all impeccably groomed and look as fresh as daisies at any time of the day.

Before I came to live here, I remember reading advice for expatriate women in China, about how to dress in Shanghai. Click to learn Chinese herb Flos Genkwa (Yuanhua)">Flos Genkwa (Yuanhua).

It said, "Wear whatever you find comfortable because you can't compete with the local women who look like fashion plates all the time!"

After going around the city for the past few weeks I realize it was not a frivolous remark made in jest, but a statement of fact. Chinese women are, indeed, determined to look good and put their best face forward, as the world begins to peek beyond the Great Wall.

In my first few days in Shanghai, I was curious to see several shops with zigzag patterned poles on either side of the door.

I was even more surprised when I discovered there were the tell tale signs of a hairdressing shop. Going by the numbers I have seen, there seems to be one for every person in town.

The China Beauty and Hairdressing Industry Survey Report puts the numbers for China at 1.54 million salons, 3,750 cosmetics enterprises and 673 related professional training institutes.

There is a strong inclination towards the use of natural products and healthy options in all areas food, drink, cosmetics, medicines and even household products.

Just the other day while browsing through the neighbourhood market, I came upon a kitchen cleanser with ginger. That's a new one, I thought, since in India we use ginger quite liberally, from pepping up our curries to curing the common cold to zipping up our cup of tea and preventing carsickness. Click to learn Chinese herb Duhuo (Radix Angelicae Pubescentis).

But with my penchant for trying out all local products, I could not resist the ginger cleanser.

The widespread use of natural and herbal products that seem to be gaining popularity here is a trend that is also evident in India.

Many haircare products and cosmetics are made at home from simple ingredients from the kitchen and garden in an unbroken tradition for generations in many parts of rural India. This is a part of the continuity of culture that is common in countries like China and India that have inherited a wealth of wisdom.

Yet these simple, herbal, harmless, healthy, home-grown mixtures are attracting new admirers in the urban markets of both the West and the East.

So it surprises me not a bit when I find pearl powder being used on the face as well as in pills in China, for in India many a granny has her cache of powdered pearl (called moti in Hindi) that she pops to keep her bones strong and her skin taut. Click to learn Chinese herb Poria (Fuling).

The smallest store in China offers a selection of healthy brews, be it in jasmine, chrysanthemum or slimming tea, which you can drink all day without fear of infusing your system with too much caffeine.

Likewise, many Indian kitchens brew concoctions based on family recipes to cure a variety of ills.

While ginseng and green tea have crossed over and made themselves quite at home in India, it is quite likely that the great variety of grandma's therapies, (called nanima ke nuskhe in Hindi) would find easy acceptance in China.

Actually these remedies have been passed on from one generation to the next, based on the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda or "knowledge of life."

This holistic system of healthcare that emanates from the ancient Indian books of knowledge or Vedas, would find many parallels in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). They both are geared to healthy lifestyles and the balancing of energies in the body instead of focusing merely on curing the disease. Click to learn Chinese herb Radix Aconiti (Chuanwu).

Great comeback 
Many of these herbal products are now making a great comeback as safe, non-reactive, non-allergic, healthy personal care products especially by those who have been singed (and some literally so) by modern day products, based on synthetic chemicals, not only in urban India but by women all over the world.

So while mascara moves off to make way for kohl, fruit and cucumber packs promise a softer skin with no scars of chemical reactions and pure flower fragrances win over contrived ones.

Not all the products that have been perfected by practitioners of Ayurveda come out of a jar or bottle. You may still be able to do it yourself and make a face pack to pamper your skin from the very same combination of cream, spices and almond paste that you plan to put in the curry. Click to learn Chinese herb Radix Gentianae Macrophyllae (Qinjiao)">Radix Gentianae Macrophyllae (Qinjiao).

With the stage now set for China to allow consumer goods from all over the world, it may be only a matter of time before herbal cosmetics from India make a presence here.

Shahnaz Husain, the entrepreneur who has put her brand of cosmetics across the world from Harrods in London to Sebu in Japan in her list of 140 countries, is waiting in the wings too.

But she also is studying the special needs of Chinese women and plans to hone her products to suit the fine straight tresses and high cheek-boned faces of the locals.

After all, as the old Chinese adage goes, liang ti cai yi she certainly plans to cut the garment after the figure and has understood what will help create space for Indian herbal cosmetics on dressing tables where TCM natural products already jostle for space with international brands.

The details of that remain secret but Husain is keen to discover the secret of youth that keeps Chinese women looking young much longer than their counterparts in other countries.

Article source: chinadaily

 Key words:  Chinese herbsherbs

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