Facial Rejuvenation DIY: Shatavari Mask
Using the TCM and Ayurvedic asparagus tuber for skin rejuvenation
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) introduced facial rejuvenation treatments during the Zhou dynasty (1121-770 B.C.). The earliest Chinese herbal book to include facial rejuvenation is the Divine Farmer’s Classics of Material Medica, which is estimated to have been compiled and written around 200 A.D.
At the time, TCM documented over 300 herbs with anti-aging properties. These herbs were combined into formulas for internal and external use. Today, we have many herbal formulas for facial rejuvenation that can be tailored to each individual’s TCM and/or Ayurvedic constitution. For instance:
- Blood flow: Poor blood flow cannot nourish the face and leads to puffy skin, wrinkles, and a pale, lusterless complexion. In Ayurveda, this is due to a vata imbalance.
- Respiration: In TCM, weak lungs lead to undernourishment of the skin, causing dryness, wrinkles, and a withered complexion. In Ayurveda, this is also due to a vata imbalance.
- Flow of Qi: In TCM, a weak liver leads to Qi (energy flow) stagnation with the formation of dark spots (liver spots) and skin discoloration. In Ayurveda, this is due to a pitta imbalance.
- Vital nutrients: In TCM, a deficiency in converting food into vital nutrients results in a saggy face and puffy eye bags. In Ayurveda, this is due to a pitta imbalance with poorly functioning agni (digestive fire), which leads to the buildup of ama (toxins in the body).
- Fluids: In TCM, dysfunction in the kidneys leads to fluid deficiency, fluid retention, or undernourishment. Fluid deficiency shows up as dark eye circles and age spots, while fluid retention shows up as puffy eyes. Undernourishment shows up as accelerated aging with deep wrinkles and thinning hair. In Ayurveda, this same dysfunction is caused by an imbalance in pitta and deficiency in agni, which leads to the buildup of ama.
Overall, in both TCM and Ayurveda, an abundance of heat (TCM) or vata and pitta (Ayurveda) leads to dry, wrinkled skin, dark spots and discolorations.
One herb commonly used for facial rejuvenation is asparagus racemosus, also known as the asparagus tuber, shatavari in Sanskrit, or tian men dong in Mandarin. This tuber is not the same as the edible vegetable asparagus. The asparagus tuber is known as an “all purpose beauty herb” as it clears heat and moistens the skin. In Ayurvedic medicine, shatavari is known as a rasayana (rejuvenating herb) that is cooling and reduces vata and pitta imbalances. The cooling and moistening nature of this herb has been adapted for use as a female tonic for ailments such as post-menopausal hot flashes. Asparagus racemosus also has shown antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in laboratory testing.
Asparagus racemosus is available as a tincture, as granules, and as a raw herb. Here is an easy way to give your face a renewed boost with Shatavari:
Shatavari Face Mask
- 2 tablespoons Shatavari granules
- 1 tablespoons rose hydrosol
- 1 teaspoon organic cream from grass-fed cows
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon slippery elm
Mix ingredients and let them gel for 15 minutes. Apply to face for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse off with warm water. Glow on!
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