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Uses & Benefits of Kumkumadi Thailam/ Oil

Medical Reviewer: Dr Surabhi Rawat

Ayurveda has pleasantly blessed women in innumerable ways with beauty and skincare formulations since inception. Recently we introduced you to Nalangu Maavu and its significance in the skincare routine. Another gem in the series is Kumkumadi thailam or Oil.  This time tested Ayurvedic herbal blend with carrier base oil gets its name from Kumkum which means ‘saffron’ colour in Hindi. Saffron colour of the oil is derived from Saffron itself as it is one of the major ingredients apart from Sandalwood.

Women adore this oil for its immense benefits which include blemish-free skin, fairness, anti-ageing and illuminated facial skin. It is used only on the face in an adequate dosage and moderation. Let’s introduce you all to its uses, side effects, price and availability.


Kumkumadi Thailam Ingredients – How it is prepared?

Kwath Dravya: Kwath means decoction made out of boiling herbs in it. Dravya means solute (that which is dissolved in the solvent/ solving agent). These 22 herbs are as below, 10 of which are dashmoolas.

  • Lal Chandan /Red Sandalwood/ Pterocarpus santalinus-48 gms
  • Kesar /Saffron pollen/ crocus Sativus- 48 gms
  • Yashtimadhu/ Mulethi/Licorice/ Glycyrrhiza glabra – 48 gms
  • Vat-vriksha/ Indian banyan/ Ficus benghalensis- 48gms
  • Pakar/Java fig/Ficus Lacor- 48 gms
  • Nilkandh/ Neelkamal/Blue Lotus- 48 gms
  • Ushira/ Vetiver /Khus/Vetiveria zizanioides- 48 gms
  • Manjishtha/ Rubia Cordifolia- 48 gms
  • Padmaka/ Prunus cerasoides- 48 gms
  • Laksha / Lac/ Laccifer lacca- 48 gms
  • Daruhaldi / Berberis aristata- 48 gms
  • Kamal Kesar /Indian Lotus/Nelumbo nucifera- 48 gms
  • Dash-moolas: meaning 10 roots are all taken equally 48 gms each- 5 roots from trees and 5 from shrubs which are:
  1. Bael / Aegle Mermelos
  2. Gokshura / Tribulus Terrestris
  3. Patala/ Stereospermum suaveolens
  4. Shyonaka/ Oroxylum Indicum
  5. Brihati / Solanum Indicum
  6. Kantakari/ Solanum xanthocarpum
  7. Agnimantha/ Premna mucronata
  8. Gambhari/ Gmelina arborea
  9. Shalaparni/ Desmodium gangeticum
  10. Prishnaparni/ Uraria Picta
  • Kalka Dravya: means drugs used as a fine paste, all taken 12 gms each, that are:
  1. Mahua/ Madhuca longifolia
  2. Pattanga/ Caesalpinia sappan/ Indian Redwood
  3. Laksha/ Lac/ Laccifer lacca
  4. Manjistha/ Rubia cordifolia
  5. Yashtimadhu/ Licorice/Glycyrrhiza glabra
  • Sesame oil (base oil)- 192ml
  • Goat Milk -384ml
  • Rose Water
  • Water as needed to make Kwath or decoction

Above blend of herbs are very beneficial in balancing Vata and Pitta doshas. Vata and Pitta imbalances account for all skin issues and that is the basis of developing this formula. This recipe is mentioned in Kshudhraroga Chikitsa chapter of Bhaishajya Ratnavali.

Kumkumadi Thailam Oil
Kumkumadi Thailam Oil

Recipe of Kumkumadi Tailam

No matter how enticing it may seem to make this on your own, it is certainly not an easy task as the process is lengthy and needs great precision and care. However, if you are careful enough and interested, here’s the exact method to make this luxurious potion-

  • All the above herbs are sun-dried first and then coarsely powdered.
  • The powdered form of first 22 herbs in the list of Kwath Dravya is first soaked in 9.126 Ltrs of water for a few hours. This is then simmered slowly and water allowed to evaporate till the quantity is reduced to ¼th the volume.
  • This infused water is Kwath which is filtered and kept aside.
  • Nextly, next 5 herbs in the Kalka Dravya category are ground with the help of little water to achieve a paste-like consistency. This paste is called Kalka.
  • Now both Kwath and Kalka are mixed in goat milk and sesame oil and boiled till all the water content is evaporated and clear oil separates.
  • Filter out this oil and keep aside.
  • Now form a fragrant paste of saffron and add it to the oil above.
  • Cool it down and take clean and sterile glass containers to preserve it. This is the resultant Kumkumadi oil.


Did You Know?

  • As a Rule of Thumb, usually, the amount of Kumkumadi oil yielded by this recipe is around 90% by the volume of the base oil used i.e. sesame oil.
  • If Sesame oil is used as the base oil in the last step, oil is called Kumkumadi Thailam but if Coconut oil is used, it is referred to as Kumkumadi Kairam. Effectiveness remains the same for the formula though. Both the base oils are very widely used in this recipe.



How to Apply / Use Kumkumadi Thailam:

This Oil is meant to be applied topically i.e on facial skin (or even all over the body if needed for skin eruptions) externally.

Firstly clean any makeup residue or dirt build-up during the day with a gentle makeup-remover and a mild face-wash.

Take 2-3 drops of oil in your palm and apply a very light coating on the face. Gently massage with fingers on face, neck and under-eyes (for dark circles) till it is absorbed. It is best to apply once a day before bedtime and let the oil sit overnight on the face.

Dry skinned people should leave it overnight to combat all dryness and related problems like scaling and itching of the skin resulting from dryness.

For very oily skinned people, it can be washed off after 1.5 hours of application with lukewarm water. It should be allowed to seep into the skin for producing good results. If this still causes problems with oily skin, its use should be discontinued. For these people, it is better to use Face pack of Kumkumadi Lepam which should be mixed with a few drops of rose water and washed off after 20 mins.

With severe skin problems, one may use it up to twice a day for a week initially. Thereafter, one time night application should be continued.

Not to be injected.


Other Roots Of Administration Of Kumkumadi Thailam:

  • This oil can be mixed with other oils to make a tincture and then applied.
  • Kumkumadi oil can also be mixed in creams and other oils for facial application still retaining all the goodness.

Mix 2-3 drops of Kumkumadi with 3-4 drops of Almond oil and apply on face to leave overnight. This minimizes pores, blemishes, hyperpigmentation, scar marks and improves complexion.

  • Face packs and masks can also be prepared to harvest its awesomeness.

Just mix 3-4 drops of Kumkumadi Oil in 2 tsp of Fuller’s earth/ Multani Mitti and 1-2 tsp of Rosewater to make a paste and apply this pack to rest for 15 mins. Then wash off with cold water. Do this every alternate day. This pack helps tighten the pores and while keeping the necessary moisture in and imparts a lovely glow.

  • As mentioned in the Ashtanga Hridaya scriptures of Ayurveda, Kumkumadi Tailam has also been used in Nasya (means administration through nostrils) to increase its efficacy and benefits for certain skin issues. 2-3 drops of oil are instilled in each nostril and inhaled in the process of Nasya. Always start this method of treatment after an expert Ayurvedic practitioner’s advice and under supervision. Nasya is usually prescribed for severe cases of hyperpigmentation, dark circles, premature greyed hair and wrinkles in combination with the local application of Kumkumadi oil.
  • 2-3 drops of Kumkumadi oil mixed with 1 tsp of Shankha bhasma can be applied to affected parts as a pack regularly for treating Acne problem.
  • It is also sometimes prescribed by the Ayurvedic physicians for oral intake, in morning 15 mins before breakfast with warm water or milk. The administration is however avoided at night or with cold water as it can cause indigestion or gastric upset.


Kumkumadi Oil / Thailam Uses & Benefits

Skin health and Radiance

In Kumkumadi formulation, Saffron along with the support of other herbs enhance complexion and bring healthy radiance reflecting a healthy skin condition underneath. Saffron is known for its high anti-oxidant and vitamins content, is an anti-inflammatory agent, anti-fungal, non-comedogenic agent and soothes skin. Sandalwood fights acne-causing bacteria, sun tanning and effectively exfoliates. Likewise, Vetiver is also an exfoliant and a coolant. All ingredients in the recipe serve a beneficial purpose to achieve and maintain optimal skin health. Thus Kumkumadi gives youthful radiance and fairness.


Wound Healer

Kumkumadi oil possesses anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties too. Lac is produced from a resin-like secretion of Lac insects and is has anti-fungal properties. It is useful in healing wounds effectively. Rashes and itching are also relieved.


Hyperpigmentation And Blemishes

Kumkumadi formulation microscopically increases the production of Prostaglandins and Leukotrienes in the epidermis of skin tissue which in turn, alters the production of melanin in melanocytes which are responsible for pigmentation.  Java fig, liquorice and Mahua help reduce dark spots, discolouration and dullness of skin and pigmentation.


Acne And Pimples

Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial profile of Kumkumadi helps relieve Pimples and acne. However, it is not the best use of Kumkumadi. There are better formulations in Ayurveda for Acne. Shankh Bhasma and Kutki are also used to treat acne effectively via the oral route. Sandalwood, bael and vetiver are potent cooling agents and help acne and pimples by reducing body heat. The cleansing effect of this oil removes the excess build-up of dead cells on the skin, thus lessening chances of Acne formation and even clear up old acne scars.


Scars Treatment

Kumkumadi oil, infused with the power of Turmeric and Saffron, when used regularly cleans old Acne scars and blemishes formed by the result of bad environment, hormonal imbalance, sun damage or other reasons. Yashtimadhu oral intake and Kumkumadi local application done concurrently for 3-6 months cure most of the blemishes. Yashtimadhu balances Vata and Pitta doshas along with the oil.



Kumkumadi is infused with rejuvenating herbs which are rich in anti-oxidants and fight free-radical damage. This imparts youthful glow in all ages and skin types. Moreover, clearing property helps to combat whiteheads and blackheads formation.


Combats Dryness

Blue lotus/ Neelkamal present in the recipe is a natural moisturizer while balancing excessive oiliness which benefits in itchy, scaly and dry skin issues. Also, problems of chapped lips and dry patches on the skin are ameliorated. This also contributes to anti-ageing property.


Pharmacological Actions

  • Anti-oxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Demulcent
  • Mild anti-pruritic
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizer
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-hyperpigmentation


Buying Availability : Kumkumadi Thailam Best Brands

Beauty gurus rave about lot many products but formulae are essentially the same with very minor variation if any. Below are some best & reputed brands with a varying price range. One may choose as per the budget.

  1. Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala

2. Khadi Global

3. Auravedic

4. Inatur

5. Kama Ayurveda

6. Soulflower

7. Kerala Ayurveda


Side Effects/ Precautions:

  • No side effects of this oil are noted on the external application on skin / topical application. Pregnant women and lactating mothers can safely use it. However, patch testing should always be performed to rule out an allergy to one or more of its ingredients.
  • Please avoid using on babies and neonates.
  • But one should always consult an expert for Nasya treatment for accurate dosage and indication.
  • Oily skinned people must remember to wash the oil off face after 1.5 hours with a gentle cleanser. Still, a very few individuals will be there whom it may not suit. In that case, use Kumkumadi Lepam with Rosewater.
  • It is preferable to use your favourite night cream and Kumkumadi oil on alternate nights and not mix both of them together.
  • Please refrain from using it in broad daylight sunny environment as this contains Saffron which may lead to tanning under the sun in some individuals.
  • How long will it take to show results?: Use it regularly for at least 3 weeks to see results.



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Uses & Benefits of Kumkumadi Thailam/ Oil
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