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For many of us leaves of a plant or tree are unimportant. However, the truth is leaves have been used as a treatment and cure since ancient times. Different types of leaves are used for health and remedial purposes. A little known fact is leaves of certain plants and trees can be used to give skin a healthy glow and also promote hair growth. In many cultures leaves are eaten raw, cooked or formed into a paste to be consumed or applied on skin. Spices and herbs are blended with a paste of leaves and used for a variety of medicinal applications.
How to Make a Paste of Leaves?
The best way to get a desired consistency of leaf paste is with a mortar and pestle set. While there are different ways to crush, grind, or powder herbs and spices, the traditional way of grinding manually is best. This method of grinding ensures that all your ingredients bring out their entire aroma and flavor. When you are crushing leaves to form a paste, you can use a little rosewater in accordance with the consistency and texture you desire. Although there are a wide-variety of mortar and pestle sets available online, one that is exceptionally good is ChefSoft Mortar and Pestle set. I use this 6-inch 2-cup unpolished granite tool regularly to crush or grind leaves, seeds, nuts, garlic, ginger root and other cooking ingredients. If you like to make pastes, chutney’s, condiments and more, you definitely need to have this kitchen tool.
Are Leaves Good for Skin?
Not all leaves of plants and trees are safe for consumption or external use on skin. However, certain leaves such as mango, basil, guava, neem, papaya, soursop, and moringa can be used in different ways to promote healthy skin. A variety of herbal ingredients are often used along with these leaves by practitioners of ayurveda for varied skin conditions. Treatment and cure with leaves is one of the oldest medicines known to man. While numerous health benefits are associated with leaves, the lines below will discuss in detail the benefits of leaves for skin and hair.
1. Mango Leaves for Skin and Hair
Leaves of mango have Vitamin A and are a good source of beta-carotene which acts as a photoprotective agent against ultraviolet rays. Furthermore, the presence of vitamin A is known to reduce production of excess oil on skin thereby giving skin a healthy glow and preventing acne breakouts. Carotenoids present in mango promote healthy growth of skin. Consumption of mango leaves also gradually repairs damaged skin and reduces fine lines. Mango leaves are also a source of vitamin C that aids collagen production that aids in healthy growth of hair. The presence of beta-carotene present in these leaves provide hair nourishment making it strong and shiny.
How to Use Mango Leaves for Skin and Hair
- Make a paste of mango leaves by blending with mint leaves. Add 3 tablespoons of this paste to 4 tablespoons of cream. Mix well and apply on skin. You can use this paste as a facial mask or as a body mask. The leaves of mango and mint have a cooling effect on skin. Fresh cream soothes and moisturizes skin making it supple. This facial/body mask rejuvenates skin and gives it a healthy natural glow.
- In the blender put a handful of tender mango leaves. Add few cumin seeds, few sprigs of mint leaves, and a small piece of jaggery to blend with water. You can adjust the consistency by adding water. This drink removes body heat and acts as a natural blood purifier. As you consume this regularly, you will notice you skin has a natural glow.
- Make a paste of tender mango leaves. Take 2 tablespoons of this paste and mix with a tablespoon of curds and two tablespoons of papaya pulp. Apply this face mask/body mask on clean skin. This facial mask revitalizes skin and tightens pores giving skin a firm smooth tone. This paste can also be applied on hair and scalp. It strengthens hair and promotes healthy hair growth and by enhancing blood circulation on the scalp and also prevents dandruff flakes from surfacing.
2. Tulsi Leaves for Skin and Hair
Tulsi leaves are known to promote longevity. Popularly known as Holy Basil, these leaves are popular in Ayurveda because of its medicinal properties. Beneficial antioxidants and compounds that promote antiviral, adaptogenic, immune enhancing and antibacterial properties are present in holy basil leaves. The juice of these leaves is known to purify blood by eliminating toxins and thereby promote healthy skin growth. The antibacterial and antifungal properties present in tulsi leaves prevent acne and pimple outbreaks. Skin tone is improved greatly with consumption of these leaves.
How to Use Tulsi Leaves for Skin and Hair
- You can mix two tablespoons of holy basil paste with one tablespoon each of sandalwood paste and neem paste along with a little rosewater and apply this facial mask on the face, hands and legs for healthy glow and radiance.
- You can also mix two tablespoons of tulsi paste with 1 tablespoon of gram flour and rosewater and apply on face to reduce dark spots, fine lines and scar marks.
- Add three tablespoons of coconut oil to a tablespoon of tulsi leaf paste. Also add a tablespoon of curd. Mix well and massage scalp with the mixture. Holy basil strengthens the hair shaft and thereby reduces hairfall and hair thinning. Tulsi paste also keeps the scalp dry and clean eliminating itchy scalp and dandruff. Holy basil paste and coconut oil strengthen hair from the roots thereby preventing hair breakage.
3. Neem Leaves for Skin and Hair
Neem leaves are known for their diverse range of health benefits. The presence of nimbidol and gedunin are known for their antifungal properties that destroy nail fungus. Beneficial compounds such as nimbolide, ninbinene, nimbin, nimandial, and nimbolide have anti- bacterial and anti inflammatory properties that boost immunity and prevent spread of infections. These leaves are excellent for skin. For soft and supple skin with an even skin tone you should use neem applications regularly. Neem face packs are exceedingly popular with women with oily skin. Paste of neem moisturizes skin and makes it supple.
How to Use Neem Leaves for Skin and Hair
- Boil neem leaves in water. Use the boiled neem water with a ball of cotton and gently wipe your face before you go to sleep every day for 2 weeks. Doing this reduces pigmentation, and clears fine lines and scars. Make a neem face pack by blending neem leaves with rosewater and turmeric. Apply this facial mask on the face to prevent acne and give skin a natural healthy glow.
- Mix 1 table spoon mint paste with two tablespoons of neem paste. To this mix add a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Mix the contents well and apply on skin to treat any kind of skin infection and skin itch.
- Add 1 and half cup of neem leaves to boiling water. Use the neem water to rinse hair after shampooing your hair. Neem has anti bacterial properties that help keep the scalp clean, reduce dry skin flakes, and dandruff. Neem nourishes hair roots thereby preventing hair fall and hair breakage.
4. Guava Leaves for Skin and Hair
While guava fruit is relished for its unique taste and health benefits, not many of us are aware that guava leaves too have a diverse range of medicinal properties. Leaves of guava are used in many herbal cures and treatments for skin and hair. The combination of chemicals such as carotenoids, tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids present in guava leaves promote a range of health benefits. These leaves are loaded with antioxidants that prevent free radicals. The leaves of guava are used in various skin and hair treatments.
How to Use Guava Leaves for Skin and Hair
- Make a paste with guava leaves and basil leaves adding rosewater, milk and turmeric. You can apply this facial mask on the face, hands or legs. As you use this guava leaf facial mask regularly your skin with have a firmer texture and skin tone. This facial mask is excellent for skin tightening, removal of fine lines and reducing spots of aging.
- Blend 2 cups of tender guava leaves with 1 cup of neem leaves using rosewater. You can use this paste application as a scrub for treatment and removal of blackheads on the nose. With this application use a decoction of guava leaves and neem leaves as a toner. This natural toner gives clear skin adding glow and radiance.
- For removal of dark spots blend guava leaves with jamun leaves. Apply the paste on you face and neck daily until you see reduction in dark spots.
5. Papaya Leaves for Skin and Hair
While Papaya fruit is associated with a number of health benefits, the leaves of papaya too offer a range of diverse medicinal benefits. Juice of papaya leaves is used as a herbal medicine for various treatments. Karpain compounds present in papaya leaves are known to promote healthy skin growth. Over 50 active ingredients that include vitamins A, C and E help boost immunity and fight infections. The papain enzyme present in papaya fruit and leaves aids in cleansing blood naturally and digestion.
How to Use Papaya Leaves for Skin and Hair
- Aside from papaya fruit, leaf extracts are used in several homemade face masks. Papaya leaves have vitamins and nutrients that are essential for healthy glowing skin. Make a paste of papaya leaves (2 tablespoons) with1 tablespoon of neem paste. Mix the two and apply this facial mask on the face and neck. This facial mask acts as a natural cleansing agent and removes blemishes.
- Papaya leaf juice or papaya paste can be used to cure eczema. Take one table spoon of papaya leaf paste and mix with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and apply on infected area. Different types of skin infections and skin irritations can be cured with papaya leaf paste.
- Mix 2 tablespoons papaya paste in 2 tablespoons cream. To this add a teaspoon of sandalwood powder. You can apply this facial mask to face, neck, hands and legs. The presence of karpain compounds give skin a fair glow. This facial is excellent for getting fair skin and skin whitening.
6. Soursop Leaves for Skin and Hair
Soursop also known as graviola in some parts of the world is a fruit that is sought for its cancer-fighting properties. Aside from the fruit having a range of health benefits, it’s also the leaves of this fruit that have medicinal benefits. Leaves of Soursop are a rich source of compounds that include fructose, protein, vitamins A and B, and calcium. Extract of soursop leaves are used in making different herbal medicines and health products.
How to Use Soursop Leaves for Skin and Hair
- Mash tender leaves of soursop to form a paste. Apply this paste on your face. Soursop leaves are a good source of Vitamin C and absorbic acid which enhance antioxidant activity preventing spread of free radicals. The paste of these leaves minimize indicators associated with aging… wrinkles and sagging skin in particular.
- You can make a paste of soursop leaves and apply on the scalp of you head. Keep it on for a while and wash clean. Soursop leaves have anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties that help eliminate dandruff and make hair texture stronger.
- Individuals that have skin irritation or skin conditions such as eczema should apply paste of soursop leaves. Soursop paste not only heals skin conditions, it also makes skin soft and smooth.
7. Moringa Leaves for Skin and Hair
Moringa leaves (drumstick tree leaves) are associated with numerous health benefits. These leaves are a rich source of nutrients. Moringa leaves have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. These leaves can be cooked as a vegetable in different ways. Also the juice of these leaves can be extracted and consumed for medicinal purposes. Moringa juice is used as a natural blood cleanser and also as a cure for diabetes. In Ayurveda, moringa leaves along with a mixture of herbs are used for various skin treatments.
How to Use Moringa leaves for Skin and Hair
- Make a paste of moringa leaves and massage gently on hair and scalp. The paste of these leaves cleans the scalp and prevents hair damage. Moring paste enhances blood circulation at the scalp this in turn boosts hair growth.
- Make a decoction of moringa leaves. Take a handful of moringa leaves boil in water (3 cups). Let it simmer until the stew reduces to 1 cup. Strain the pulp and have the decoction. Moringa has a combination of antioxidants that promote healthy skin. The decoction purifies blood and rejuvenates skin.
- You can make a paste of moringa leaves (2 tablespoons paste) mixed with sandalwood powder (2 tablespoon) and apply on hands and legs. Keep the body mask for 10 minutes and wash clean with water. This body facial makes the skin soft and supple and gives a natural glow. This is an excellent body mask for soon to be brides.
Leave Facial Masks and Body Masks on skin 10-15 minutes before washing clean with gentle splashes of warm or cold water. For best results apply the aforementioned face masks and body masks twice of thrice a week.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Ansel Pereira
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on March 16, 2020:
This is an excellent article. Well researched and well presented.