Anti-aging tips from the Orient

Anti-aging tips from the Orient

Body care has a very long tradition and history in the Orient and the use of (often expensive) rich oils and massages in hamman always was and still is quite the custom. Cleansing the body, relaxation and general body treatments all play a role in this tradition.

Pomegranate seeds and rich oils

The beauty rituals of oriental women of the past often involved ingredients that we would still use today. Honey and almond oil, almond milk and mineral-rich lava clay were used to clean the skin and as beauty products. Pomegranate seeds were used for their anti-aging properties for the skin. In those days it was of course not known that the pomegranate contained particularly large amounts of flavonoide and vitamins, anti oxidants and polyphenols in its seeds. However, it was known as having a positive effect as an anti-aging treatment. Argan oil from Morocco is said to be a fountain of youth for the skin. A small quantitiy would be dabbed on the skin and then water and lemon juice would be applied to get light, smooth skin. Warm argan oil is supposed to work wonders against cellulite and stretch marks.

Heavenly choice of food and drink

Oriental spice marketWith the lavish variety of food and drink in offer in the Orient, you would certainly be spoilt rotten. You could enjoy dates and raisins, pulses, nuts and various vegetables in all shapes and forms and prepared in upteen different ways. The fruits and vegetables contained everything you could wish for, for a fantastic anti-aging diet: many vitamins, trace elements, minerals and amino acids. Eating was seen as a wholly sensory experience. The best doctors in the ancient Orient were often of Greek origin and were highly regarded. As a part of their own hospitals, it was not uncommon for them to also have schools of medicine. Just like today the effects of old age, digestive problems and loss of libido were treated and even the richest leaders were not exempt from such ailments and annoyances. This meant that there was a lucrative market in this business even then. Medication, recipes and anti-aging treatments used in the Orient were the subject of important medical works, of which some are still used. Some of the beauty treatments used camel’s milk, nourishing skin oils, baths, nutrition and diet treatments. A sultan would always receive detailled instructions as to the kind of lifestyle which would most suit a person who longed to stay fit and healthy.

Oriental custom was lost with the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Christianity arrived and this brought the end of the body being seen as a place for pleasure and enjoyment. It in fact became the job of the clergy to look after the health and well being of the people!

My DIY oriental anti-aging program

Relaxing body oil

  • 50 ml neutral body oil
  • 10 drops of patchouli (essential oil)
  • 10 drops of vanilla (essential oil)

You could add other essential oils if you wish and should you wish to liven up the ingredients, you could try adding some fresh aromas.

Oriental hair mask

  • 500 ml rich argan or olive oil

Rub the oil in the hair to the ends and wrap the hair in a towel. Leave the oil to take effect for at least 30 minutes, then rinse it out with a mild shampoo.

Honey-almond mask to combat rough and dry hands

  • 100 ml warm almond oil
  • 2 teaspoons of honey

Mix the ingredients. If you wish to obtain the maximum effect, you could also allow the mask to work overnight. Simply wear light cotton gloves overnight and wake up to lovely smooth hands.