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Besan or gram flour has long been used in India for its many benefits for skin and hair care. In fact, it is a traditional home remedy used right from the time when one is a baby. Besan in the form of uptans or epilation formula for baby hair, during adulthood in a myriad number of packs and scrubs, to take care of beauty issues right from acne to tanning, cleansing, and exfoliating. Not surprisingly, the world is now waking up to this must-have beauty essential that is gram flour.
Dr. Geeta Grewal, Cosmetic Surgeon, and Wellness Expert, 9Muses Wellness Clinic, Gurugram takes you through the various ways to use gram flour and also gives you recipes for packs and treatments you can make and apply at home.
Natural Hair Remover
In India, gram flour has been used to remove fine facial hair. In fact, a gram flour scrub is used to remove hair from all over the body for babies. If you are tired of threading and waxing your face, you could try gram flour hair removal as well. Just keep a few things in mind before you start. For starters, steam your face so that the pores open and the hair is easier to remove from the roots; Don’t rub too harshly as that might cause your skin to become inflamed and irritated. Don’t forget to do a patch test first to check if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the home remedy and don’t be impatient because you will have to repeat the treatment a number of times before you get the results you want.
Step 1: Make a paste with gram flour and fenugreek powder and yogurt.
Step 2: Apply this over the areas where you want to remove hair.
Step 3: Allow it to dry. Wet your face with a little water and scrub away the paste.
Brings glow to the skin
Gram flour packs work wonders in absorbing the excess oil and cleansing your skin as well. Gram flour has alkalizing properties that keep the pH levels of your skin balanced. It is also very absorbent and soaks up all the extra oil. Gram flour has been used for brightening one’s skin tone for centuries and its super cleansing properties leave your face looking its best.
Add half a cup besan, a pinch of turmeric powder, and a quarter cup of fresh milk to create a smooth paste. Apply evenly on your face and neck area and leave it on for 20-25 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water to notice the glow.
Removes dark patch from the elbow
Tanning and darkening of elbows are one of the most difficult and stubborn areas to remove black spots. But there are certain home remedies to help you to get rid of dark and black elbows. Gram flour cleanses the area and also provides mild exfoliation. Lemon juice acts as a natural bleach that will help to reduce the darkness from your elbows.
Add a teaspoonful of lime juice to a teaspoon full of gram flour to make it a paste. You have to balance out the consistency of the paste by carefully adding or reducing the lemon juice to make it a little thicker. Apply the mixture and rub in a circular motion on your elbows. Allow it to dry and wash it off with cold water.
Cures Dry Skin
Are you wondering how we can make such contradictory statements, especially when we have just talked about how gram flour can help deal with oily skin? Well, that is the wonder of gram flour that helps control oiliness and also tackles dry, scaly skin. When besan is mixed with milk cream (malai), it acts as a wonderful moisturizer. You could also add some olive oil or almond oil and get the same results.
Step 1: Mix gram flour and milk cream to make a paste
Step 2: Apply this to your face and neck
Step 3: Wash it off before it dries completely
Best for exfoliation
Exfoliating should be an essential part of your beauty routine because if you do not scrub away all the dead skin cells, the debris starts to pile up leaving your skin looking dull and lifeless. While there are hundreds of scrubs available in the market, there’s nothing like a good, homemade gram flour scrub to get the glow back on your face. And it’s environment-friendly as well.
Step 1: Combine 3 teaspoons of gram flour with 1 teaspoon ground oats, 2 teaspoons of cornflour, and milk.
Step 2: Gently rub this on your damp face and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Wash off
Has your hair turned dull and lifeless because of all the commercially available shampoos and cleansers? Well, maybe it’s time to try a homemade hair cleanser.
Step 1: Make a simple thin paste of besan and water. Take as much gram flour and water as you think is necessary to cover your scalp.
Step 2: Apply the paste evenly all over your scalp.
Step 3: Leave on for 10 minutes and wash off.
If you want to go back to your natural coloring, ditch the harsh chemical tan lighteners and try gram flour instead for tan removal. With its multipurpose benefits, there is nothing quite like gram flour and the best part is that it is almost always available in your kitchen. Gram flour has been used for de-tanning and brightening one skin tone for centuries and its super cleansing properties leave your face looking its best ever. Try this kitchen remedy today.
ALSO READ: Here’s How You Restore Collagen In Your Skin
Step 1: Mix 4 teaspoons of gram flour with a pinch of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of curd, and the juice of a lemon. The vitamin C in lemon will reduce pigmentation, while dahi will moisturize your skin.
Step 2: Add a pinch of salt for exfoliating benefits
Step 3: Apply to your skin and face daily and you will see results after prolonged use. (IANS/JC)
(Besan, Besan face packs, Besan powder, Gram flour in Hindi, What is besan)
Diwali is arguably one of the most auspicious and celebrated holidays in South Asia. It is celebrated over the span of five days, where the third is considered most important and known as Diwali. During Diwali people come together to light, lamps, and diyas, savour sweet delicacies and pray to the lord. The day has various origin stories with the main them being the victory of good over evil. While the North celebrates the return of Lord Rama and Devi Sita to Ayodhya, the South rejoices in the victory of Lord Krishna and his consort Satyabhama over evil Narakasura.
Narakasura- The great mythical demon King
Naraka or Narakasur was the son of Bhudevi (Goddess Earth) and fathered either by the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu or Hiranyaksha. He grew to be a powerful demon king and became the legendary progenitor of all three dynasties of Pragjyotisha-Kamarupa, and the founding ruler of the legendary Bhauma dynasty of Pragjyotisha.
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Narakasura was created, grew up to be strong and powerful but he was not satisfied with it, so he decided that he would worship Lord Brahma. He performed severe penance and was driven by the power of his penance; Lord Brahma appeared before him. Narakasura knew his mother loved him dearly so he asked Lord Brahma to grant him a boon that he would only die by the hands of his mother, Bhumidevi. Lord Brahma smile and ultimately granted him the boon.
Narakasura burst out laughing as Lord Brahma vanished. He thought no mother would kill their child so Lord Brahma had made him immortal. Drunk and maddened by his own power Narakasura brought all the kingdoms under his control and targeted Swargalok (Heaven). Even Indra (King of Gods) and demi-gods had to retreat in front of Narakasura. He kidnapped and took 16,000 women from the palaces as prisoners. Troubled by Naraksura's deeds the gods rushed to Lord Vishnu for a solution.
Lord Krishna and Devi Satyabhama were born to kill Narakasura
Lord Vishnu was born as Lord Krishna and Narakasura's mother Bhumidevi took the avatar of Krishna's wife Satyabhama. As Satyabhama, Bhumidevi was unaware of the knowledge of Naraksura being her son. Aditi the mother of all gods approached Satyabhama crying for help with bloodied ears as Narakasura had torn off the glowing earrings from the ears of Aditi.
Satyabhama was furious on gaining the knowledge of Narakasura's atrocities she asked Krishna to fight the demon king while she fights alongside him. Krishna agreed and they attacked the great fortress of Narakasura, riding his mount Garuda with his wife Satyabhama.
The furious battle unleashed. Krishna defeated Narakasura's general Mura and came to be known as Murari (the killer of Mura). Narakasura used several divine weapons against Krishna, but Krishna slew all those weapons effortlessly. The demon hurled a shakti towards Krishna, which mildly hurt Krishna and he fell unconscious. Upon this sight Satyabhama was enraged, she furiously pulled out a weapon of her own and hurled it at Narakasura's chest. Anxious Satyabhama turned to her fallen Lord, Krishna got up with a smile and he was completely fine. He was only playing his part. It was Satyabhama who was an incarnation of Bhoomidevi, whose hands were destined to slay Narakasura.
ALSO READ: Choosing Environment-Friendly Diwali
Lord Krishna and Goddess Satyabhama had put an end to the Narakasura's kingdom of evil. As Narakasura lay on his deathbed he realised that Satyabhama was no one but an avatar of his own mother. He requested a boon from his mother, for no one to mourn his death. Instead, he wished for people to celebrate it with light and colours. They freed the 16,000 women who later married Lord Krishna to restore them of their honour in society, retrieved Mother goddess's earrings. This day is celebrated as 'Naraka Chaturdashi' popularly known as Choti Diwali - the day before Diwali as the triumph of good over evil.
Keywords: Diwali festival, goddess Laxmi, demon king, Lord Krishna, Satyabhama, the festival of light, Naraksura, Narak Chaturdashi
For all the great inventions that we have at hand, it is amazing how we keep going back to the safety pin every single time to fix everything. Be it tears in our clothes, to fix our broken things, to clean our teeth and nails when toothpicks are unavailable, to accessorize our clothes, and of course, as an integral part of the Indian saree. Safety pins are a must-have in our homes. But how did they come about at all?
The safety pin was invented at a time when brooches existed. They were used by the Greeks and Romans quite extensively. A man named Walter Hunt picked up a piece of brass and coiled it into the safety pin we know today. He did it just to pay off his debt. He even sold the patent rights of this seemingly insignificant invention just so that his debtors would leave him alone.
Anyone wearing safety pins that were visible began to be associated with the rock movement in the 70s. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Later, he even invented the sewing needles and a couple of other important inventions but never kept any of the patent rights.
When the punk rock tradition took over in the seventies, safety pins became a fashion rage. They were used as piercings and to patch clothes together. Anyone wearing safety pins that were visible began to be associated with the rock movement. In some cultures, the safety pins have become symbols of good luck.
Keywords: Safety-pins, Punk Rock, Brass, Accessories, Walter Hunt
In South India, Deepavali marks the end of the monsoon and heralds the start of winter. The festival is usually observed in the weeks following heavy rain, and just before the first cold spell in the peninsula. The light and laughter that comes with the almost week-long celebration are certainly warm to the bones, but there is still a tradition that the South Indians follow to ease their transition from humidity to the cold.
Just before the main festival, the family bathes in sesame oil. This tradition is called 'yellu yennai snaana' in Kannada, or 'ennai kuliyal' in Tamil, which translates to 'sesame oil bath'. The eldest member of the family applies three drops of heated oil on each member's head. They must massage this oil into their hair and body. The oil is allowed to soak in for a while, anywhere between twenty minutes to an hour. After this, they must wash with warm water before sunrise.
Women applying oil to the heads of men Photo credit: Indians in Kuwait
In some parts of the peninsula, soap is not used to wash off the oil because it nullifies its effects. Some cultures who do not like the oil to remain in any way on their skin wash it off with shikakai and herbs, which is a paste that is traditionally used as a substitute for soap. Sometimes, the oil is heated with flowers and spices as well and is less sticky than in its pure form.
The purpose of this ritual is to cleanse the body, detoxify it, and produce heat in it. Sesame is a very heaty substance and tends to heat up the body. This heat, or 'usshna' in Kannada, prepares the body to face the sudden cold that comes to the peninsula immediately after Diwali. South India has no smooth transition weather-wise from monsoon to winter. There are a few days of stable, rainless weather, and suddenly the cold winds descend.
In many ways, the celebration of Diwali is centered around preparing for winter, considering the amount of heat and light the rituals consist of – lighting lamps, bursting crackers, and consuming warm treats. Those who practice these rituals earnestly find the shift in seasons and weather quite pleasant.
Keyboards: Sesame Oil Bath, Diwali Ritual, Traditional Sesame Oil Bath