Medical Reviewer: Dr Surabhi Rawat
Nalangu Maavu is a traditional mix of herbs being used for decades in Southern part of India as a Bath powder or for application even as a face pack. Ingredients used in the recipe are herbs and flowers possessing specific beneficial Ayurvedic properties which benefit us by using it regularly by topical (on skin) route. This mix of herbs has been used in Ayurveda to treat various skin-related issues including eczema.
The same mixture is widely known as Nalangu maavu in Tamil Nadu state of India and Kuliyal Podi in nearby states. Another bath powder by the name of Sunni Pindi is quiet famous, again originating from South India and has a similar ingredients list but it is not the same as Nalangu Maavu and may have other benefits.
Recently its benefits are attracting people all over the world by offering an all-in-one great skincare solution thereby eliminating the need for any harsh chemical-based products. Also, it is gentle enough to suit sensitive skin types and the skin of babies. Used as a natural skin cleanser, it is also a potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial.
Other properties include reducing inflammation, exfoliation, toning and anti-oxidant nature of Nalangu Maavu. Here is a detailed article to introduce you all to its uses, side effects, price and availability. First of all,
How Is Nalangu Maavu Prepared?
Ingredients And Recipe:
- Whole Green gram powder– 75 g
- Chickpea flour (besan)-75g
- Poolan Kizhangu/ White Turmeric powder- 100 g for women only
- Kasthuri Manjal Thool/ Wild turmeric powder– 150 g for Women (50g for males or avoid altogether)
- Avaram poo-100g
- Dried Rosepetals- 100g
- Hibiscus flower/ Sembaruthi poo- 100g
- Samanthi flower- 100g
- Dry Amla/ Amalki- 100g
- Orange peel-100g
- Korai Kizhangu/ Cyperus Rotundus- 100g
- Cucumber seeds- 100g
- Thulasi Powder- 25g
- Neem leaf powder- 25 g
- Vasumbu powder-25g
- Adhimadhuram powder-25g
- Vetiver/Khus powder-25g
- Kaarboga Arisi-50g
- Almonds powder- 50g
Above 19 ingredients are mixed and sundried well for 3-4 days, till moisture content is evaporated. These are then ground in a mill and preserved. Some people sundry for a lesser duration but sun-drying for a longer period helps to ensure a longer shelf life of the final product.
Solids and powders are also available individually in the Ayurvedic pharmacy shops and thus this bath powder can be made at home. Homemade preparation must be kept in an air-tight container. You may even refrigerate it for a lengthened shelf life of up to 1 year.
While making this recipe at home, you may choose to make a large batch in one go. For storing such large amounts, choose glass containers with airtight lids to retain the rich aroma of herbs for a longer time. Take out small sections for use each time and close the lids tightly after use to avoid any moisture settling in.
According to Ayurveda, all the above ingredients impart great benefits as mentioned below:
- Green gram: Natural body cleanser, removes dead skin cells, improves skin texture, removes tanning of the skin, facial hair, controls acne and provides softness by retaining the moisture of the skin. It is also rich in Vit A and C that nourishes and lightens skin.
- Chickpea flour: Removes skin tanning, facial hair and improves complexion.
- Vetiver or Khus: Imparts coolness and soothes sores, eczemas and acnes. It stops the formation of blackheads by acting as a body scrub or exfoliant. Khus shrubs have been used routinely as a natural bath Loofah since ages.
- Rose petals: This help maintains proper moisture content and particularly benefits people with dry skin. Also, petals are a rich source of Vit C which is an excellent sunblock. Apart from saving the skin from sun damage and rashes, it smoothens skin and also gives a beautiful natural aroma to the powder.
- Hibiscus Powder: has great exfoliating properties giving a chance for fresh cells to regenerate regularly. In addition, anti-inflammatory nature and its levels of Vit C help overall skin health. Moreover, it maintains elasticity and healthy flexibility of skin tissues. For this reason, it is also named as ‘Botox flower’.
- Amla powder: is a rich source of Vit C and antioxidants which delays the ageing process of the skin, eliminates fine lines and maintains tightness and elasticity of the skin.
- Neem Leaf powder: is a potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal thus useful in various skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema of various kinds. Also contains Vit E and balances hydration.
- Orange peel: is known to have more Vit C than the fruit itself. This helps to reduce premature sagging of skin and maintains firmness and elasticity. Also, it contains antioxidants in abundance. The peel helps in effective turnover of new skin tissues, eliminates suntan to impart an illuminating glow.
- Avarampoo: It is helpful in preventing skin infections, improves complexion, fades dark spots and uneven skin tone, treats sunburns and maintains healthy glow of the skin. It also reduces body temperature and hence acts as a ‘coolant’.
- Adhimadhuram powder: helps in eliminating blemishes, blackheads and uneven tones while lightening and whitening the skin. It is known to be rich in antioxidants and delays ageing apart from being an anti-bacterial and a great moisturizer.
- Almonds: have a great moisturizing property.
- Kasthuri Manjal /Wild turmeric: is a strong anti-bacterial and anti-septic by nature. Plus it whitens and brightens, removes facial hair and suppresses blemishes. This is used in recipe because it doesn’t give yellow colour to the skin. An added benefit is its lovely aroma that combats body odour.
- Poolan Kizhangu /White Turmeric: has a healing touch and repairs any damage to the skin. Also prevents skin infections and gives a pleasant aroma.
- Kora kizhangu: combats various infections and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It also reduces pain and heals small cuts and wounds. Growth of unwanted body hair is also halted to some extent and is very relaxing to the body.
- Vasumbu powder– combats allergies, infections and rashes. Also, it has been widely used in scrubs and face masks.
- Cucumber– is rich in Antioxidants and has moisturizing benefits. This revitalizes the skin and hinders the formation of premature wrinkles.
How to Apply/ Use Nalangu Maavu:
Nalangu Maavu is meant to be applied topically i.e on the skin externally and not in any other way. Mix 3 tbsps of powder with water and make a paste. Apply this all over the body, let it dry a little and then scrub it off like an exfoliator. Then rinse off with adequate water. Use of any other soaps or conditioners with or after using this powder is not required.
Caution: Always use a dry spoon to scoop out the powder for longer shelf life.
But if you are very dry-skinned, adding 1-2tsp of malai or fresh cream is advisable as it is very moisturizing in nature. Or water can be entirely replaced by adding milk or coconut milk to make the paste.
In winters, another beneficial method for very dry skinned people is to massage the body with favourite body oil for 5 mins (or one can use coconut oil, mustard oil, sesame oil or almond oil) and let it soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. This should be followed by a bath with this powder as told above. Usually, almond and mustard oil are recommended for winters as they have a warming effect while sesame oil is best for summers as it has a cooling property. There is no need to heat the oil for massage, better use at room temperature.
For oily skin, add honey to the paste made of water with the powder.
As Face Pack
When using it as a face powder, you may use it simply with water or may add or even substitute water with rose water, curd, honey or lemon juice.
For Dry skin- suggested additions are honey, curd, coconut milk or fresh cream fat.
For normal skin- simply add rose water or milk.
For oily skin- it is best to avoid adding fresh cream and coconut milk. One should add lemon juice or low-fat curd instead.
For New-Borns And Babies
In the case of new-borns, it is better to use only chana dal power (avoid if the skin is very dry) or green gram powder (for all skin types). Mix these with water or milk and make a paste for bath. Gradually, ingredients can be added one by one once the baby is about 6 months of age to check for any allergies. By about 3 years of age, the baby will be able to use full formulation safely. This procedure can be done only if the powder is made at home as commercially available brands will have the full formula and may not be safe for babies below 3 years of age (but better to follow instructions on the package that differs for different companies due to slightly differing formulae). Also, remember to avoid adding any variety of Turmeric in the recipe for the male child as it depresses the growth of body hair.
Caution: Not intended to be taken orally.
Nalangu Maavu Uses
- Reduces tanning, sunburn, wrinkles
- Body cleanser
- Removes unwanted facial hair
- Helps reduce body hair due to the presence of Haldi
- Fights acne
- Reduces skin dryness and gives youthful radiance and glow- wrinkles, revitalizes skin
- Absorbs excess oil from the skin without drying it. Controls oiliness on skin and hence controls acne and pimples.
- Cooling property soothes skin
- Good in various skin disease
- Reduces uneven skin tone and blemishes
- Benefits for sensitive skin
- Regular use may help reduce excessive sweating and body odour.
- Minimizes pores of the skin and acts as a toner
- Antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial
- Restores natural pH of the skin
- Promotes growth of body’s natural anti-oxidants and slows down the ageing process.
- Haldi helps to reduce skin inflammation.
Benefits of Nalangu Maavu
Gets rid of Dead Skin Cells
Green gram flour and Chickpea flour are great natural exfoliating agents. They help to slough of the unwanted build-up of dead skin cells, dirt, and grime and also absorb excess secretions.
Remove Excess Of Sebum
As mentioned above, Green gram and chickpea are effective enough to soak up excess sweat and sebum produced by various sebaceous glands all over the skin, and yet they are gentle enough to retain the right amount of moisture to keep the skin looking rejuvenated, lively and youthful.
Almonds present in the recipe are very effective in nurturing skin with their high Vit E content. This maintains adequate hydration in the layers of the skin avoiding moisture to dry off. Everyone must be aware that almond oil and even isolated Vit E oils have been used cosmetically from a long time for their nourish skin benefits.
Lightens Scars And Dark Spots
Orange peel, rose petals and turmeric helps to clear the complexion by lightening scars and dark spots gradually over time. Regular usage of Nalangu Maavu produces noticeably radiant skin and glowing complexion.
Treats Skin Diseases
Regular use of Nalangu Maavu helps in treating skin diseases by-
- Maintaining the optimal pH of the skin.
- Reducing inflammation anywhere on the skin with the help of turmeric.
- Antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
- Reducing heat with the help of cooling herbs like vetiver.
- Exfoliating and minimizing pores by its toning action.
- Relieves itching. But it is important to understand that those people who are allergic to external application of turmeric would not be benefitted in itching and must avoid such preparations altogether.
It has also been found beneficial in conditions having scaling of skin like psoriasis.
Combats Body Odour
People who face excessive sweating and body odour benefit a lot by this powder. Pores of skin are reduced and regular exfoliation decreases the chance of micro-organisms build-up in sweat and sebum that eventually lead to body odour.
Ageing of the skin is a ‘damage process’ of that starts with dryness and oxidation on the cellular level in response to the environmental factors. Nalangu slows ageing as it promotes the growth of natural anti-oxidants in the skin. It also combats wrinkles and sun-tanning which are contributing factors to the aging of the skin.
Acne and Pimples
Nalangu bath helps people with acne and pimples by a reduction in oil secretion. Thus much beneficial for adolescents too in their growing age when they face this problem the most. Chances of Cystic acne formation are also reduced due to appropriate exfoliation and optimal pH restoration.
Softens And Smoothens
An added advantage is visibly soft skin and smoothened complexion that everyone longs for. This is the sign of healthy and balanced skin flora.
Home Recipe (An easy alternative with a few ingredients)
One can try making an easy home recipe with the help of a handful of ingredients easily available at Ayurvedic pharmacies.
(Easy version) Nalangu Maavu Ingredients :
- Green gram flour- 1cup
- Chickpea flour-1 cup
- Orange peel- 1 cup
- Rose petals- 1 cup
- Vetiver or Khus-1 cup
- Almonds-1/2 cup
- Avaram poo or Avaram flower – 1 cup
- Kasthuri manjal/ white turmeric(optional, use only for women)- 1 tsp
Avoid adding turmeric when making it for males as it depresses the growth of body hair.
Dry the ingredients above in dry sun heat for 3-4 days or till they are fully dried and no moisture is left.
Then grind it to form a fine smooth powder and sieve it.
Store this powder in an air-tight container for long shelf life.
The shelf life of this powder is 6 months to 1 year in an air-tight container. Avoid contact from moisture for longer life.
Side Effects & Precautions
- Always check the powder for allergies by applying the paste on a small inconspicuous part of skin first. Any allergies to any of the ingredients in the formulation should be ruled out before use.
- Some people may be allergic to the external/ topical application of turmeric even though they are not allergic to turmeric in the edible form. Always test a small amount on the skin to rule out any allergy. Don’t use Nalangu if you have any topical allergy to turmeric.
Also, note that different companies may have a few ingredients more or less in its recipe but that doesn’t make it any less effective. So always rule out allergies for any new brand or company that you haven’t used before.
Commercially available powders are best used after the age of 3 years.
It’s gentle enough to be used in the everyday bath, suits all skin types and yet is very effective.
Always consult a qualified therapist if any signs of an allergy are seen.