The word Herbal is ruling the globe like ever before.
A sales man in a huge consumer care product exhibition insisting me to take a look at a skin care cream.He stressed twice or thrice saying the product is a pure herbal one.The herbal word stopped me.I took the cream and scanned it for the ingredients.I read out loud “Glyceryl Stearate,Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Emulsifying Wax,Isopropyl Palmitate.etc. “Is the list herbal? i asked him.”But it contains some parts of jojoba oil, sandal wood oil, wheat germ too “He answered.I left the stall saying,”That doesn’t make it a herbal or Ayurveda cream dear.”
Consumer mentality all over the world regardless of sex,race,country,culture and education is more or less the same.There is a picture created in society that the rich era of Ayurveda and herbs is coming back and that too in a very easy to use form and wrapped in glamour and commercial opportunities to all the vectors associated with it.
Indeed Ayurveda is the most needed element in the field of diet, lifestyle, health and medicine. The proper research and bringing the Ayurveda basics, principles and formulations or preparations in their highest authentic form in personal care products is the next big thing.Investing money and brains in above genuine cause should be a most sought after policy.
The consumer end is ready with open arms to welcome the herbal era ,but do giant manufactures care about the herbal role? Are we getting the authentic in the name of Herbal?
Dear readers,Ayurveda and herbal are poles apart things. Ayurveda is a science of life and health. Herbal means ‘Derived from plant’.Herbal is a small part of endless knowledge in Ayurveda Science.
The billion, trillion dollar giant global market hardly cares for the Ayurveda,herbs and unfortunately consumer.
Lets have a look in Herbal market
We can get any and everything in the name of herbal nowadays.Shaving cream, toothpaste,fairness cream, soap, oil, hair dyes/color, Heena,shampoo,face wash, dish wash,detergent powder,hair gel,beauty products and cosmetics.The list goes on.
So whats wrong if some companies are moving to the herbs while preparing cosmetics?
If we look above items ,almost everything in list needs chemical formulation to prepare it.The base,the medium,the active ingredient,the formulation it self is chemical oriented.Chemicals are must to prepare the basic product.
Take an example.At least few of following chemicals are must while preparing detergent.
- Alcohol Ethoxylate (AE) Non-ionic surfactant
- Alkyl (or Alcohol) Ethoxy Sulphate (AES) and Alkyl Sulphate (AS) Anionic surfactant.
- Amine Oxide. …
- Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC)
- Citric Acid
- Diethyl Ester Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride (DEEDMAC) …
Adding sandal wood oil or fresh lime doesn’t make that product herbal or Ayurvedic.
Take an example of hair dyes:
Someday just for fun, go out and have a look in market for various hair dyes, herbal hair color, herbal Heena. Even if you google some of those prestigious brands,the information will be loaded with magical positive feedback.Some of so called brands take us to the lane where the herbal word is stressed and allergy free product is promised. But in reality those are loaded with harmful chemicals and yes most of the time severe allergy causing ones! Some of the local brands don’t even care to mention the ingredients and allergy caution on their packages.These products still got sold like anything.
Allergy cases? Yes they do exist, but don’t reach to you and me. Why? Consumer mentality !! Consumer doesn’t bother to go for allergy test before applying it because he or she is under the influence of the word herbal ! The consumer even doesn’t bother further to register his or her experience on relevant platform or to the relevant brand.What reach to us are the attractive models and magical promises of young looks through the endless advertisements.
Almost all hair colors , yes herbal too,have at least some of the following ingredients:
- Ammonia / Ammonium Hydroxide
- PPD (para-phenylenediamine)
- Ethanol Alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
Some claim our product is ammonia free,other claims ours is PPD free
But no hair dye can be free from all chemicals is the truth.
The allergy consequences are literally horrible and leave consumer with some serious health issues.Apart from allergy the long term adverse effects on health are serious.Some of them are mentioned as carcinogens (cancer causing).
Now if the Jasmine oil, Amla or other natural conditioner is added , does the product become herbal or Ayurvedic?
Let me explain in more simpler way. I took a large pan of tomato soup and added a pinch of coriander in it . Does tomato soup now become coriander soup? Not at all, is the answer. The same way a product cannot be termed as Ayurvedic or herbal if the herbs are used as toppings and in a very less quantity compared to the other key ingredients.
Adding Ashwagandha or any other herb to the antibiotic cannot make that Antibiotic an Ayurvedic Antibiotic.Apart from the wit, seriously many people don’t know this logical fact.
The same thing with other Herbal products. Be it skin care or personal care. I will not make the blog longer by explaining the every product detail. The concept is delivered.
The Ayurvedic or Herbal Cosmetics is a myth !
A very few brands do follow the Ayurveda principles and way of formulation.Some Ayurveda doctors and pharmacists runs their small set ups which manufactures some of the personal care products authentically.But they cannot reach the mass and form brands all the time.
Eliminating as much as possible chemicals and using Ayurveda for personal care is an interesting topic.I will write soon on it.
As a consumer what should we do?
- Do not take advertisement seriously. Blind faith and Brand influence sometimes is dangerous
- Make an habit to check the ingredients of any product.
- Take help of the available resources to know more about the ingredients.
- Always go for allergy test before using any new personal care or other product.
- Always take an advise of your family physician if needed.
- If your herbal product doesn’t contain chemicals or comparatively safe ingredients you can use them without worry.
- Developing a conscious sense and choosing after knowing about the product is the right thing.
- To use or not is different thing. Using the product believing that it is chemical free and safe because it says it is herbal is wrong.
Girls literally take hours to choose the matching duppata or accessories.Men take months to research before they buy their wished gadget.Why play with health then?
A fun exercise for you! All family members gather on dining table tonight. Get along one Herbal cosmetic and other non herbal product too. Compare the ingredients. Read and google every ingredient and their effects on health. And let me know the reactions and opinion of you all.
1 thought on “The scandal around the word,’Herbal’!”
Eye open article doctor. As you said, every so called herbal product in the market is not actually herbal. This awarenesses outreach is more important by the means of social media as well as by publishing in various newspapers. If possible please make it happen.