Varnya Gana: Complexion Enhancing Herbs: Review, Uses, Formulations

By Dr M S Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu)PhD.
It is the dream of every individual to be lustrous and attractive. Even though few are by nature lustrous some more want to be with some cosmetics or applications. Here appears the role of complexion enhancing drugs or Varnya drugs of Charaka Samhita text book. 

The mentioned drugs are having the above said properties when used internally as well as applied externally.
As most of these drugs are having the blood purifying and skin toning effect they significantly promote the Bhrajaka pitta in their site(beneath the skin) and hence enhance the complexion of the body parts especially the face and other exposed parts of the body.

Varnya Gana

Let us review the quality and action of these drugs one by one in brief –

1. Chandana – Santalum album – Heart wood
Coolant, soothing, complexion enhancing, odoratous, sweat reducing etc.

2. Tunga – Calophyllum inophyllumStem bark/Seeds
Skin intacting agent, soothener, anti inflammatory, unctuous etc.

3. Padmaka – Prunus cerasoidesHeart wood
Coolant, blood purifier, pacifier of the thirst and burning of the body, alkalizer etc.

4. Ushira – Vetiver – Vetiveria zizanioidesRoots
Coolant, diuretic, skin softener, blood purifier, rejuvinative, skin replenisher etc.

5. Madhuka – Licorice – Glycyrrhiza glabraRhizome
Expectorant, rejuvinative, cholegogue, complexion enhancer, antacid etc.

6. Manjistha – (Rubia cordifolia Linn). – Whole plant
Blood purifier, complexion enhancer, steptic, haemetenic etc.

7. Sariva – Indian Sarsaparilla – Hemidesmus indicusRoots
Diuretic, skin softener, alkalizer, complexion enhancer, coolant, antacid etc.

8. Payasya – Ipomoea paniculata – Tubers
Coolant, galactogogue, aphrodisiac, rejuvinative, body replenisher, nutritive etc.

9. Sita (Shweta durva) – white variety of Cynodon dactylon – Whole plant
Body detoxifier, steptic, coolant, hair tonic, anti oxidant etc.

10. Lata (black variety of Cynodon dactylon Pers.) – Whole plant
Skin toner, body detoxifier, steptic, diuretic, coolant, antacid, immune modulator, anti oxidant etc.

Qualities, action

Qualities in general and actions of Varnya gana drugs:
The drugs of this group are mostly bitter mixed astringent in taste and majority of the drugs undergo sweet kind of metabolic transformation (Madhura vipaka).The are cold in potency and maximum are unctuous, light, cold, fine, soft and clear in quality.

Due to the above said qualities they act as blood purifiers and coolants. That is the reason these are potent to reduce the blisters inn the body parts, burning sensation, itching etc. In cases like discoloration of the skin caused due to hyper pigmentation or irregular distribution of the pigments the combined formulations derived out of these drugs will effective in such conditions.

Therapeutic uses

Therapeutic uses of Varnya gana drugs:
Acne, black heads, melasma, scars, burn marks, post operative scars or discoloration, petechial hemorrhage, pemphigus, blisters and boils – in all these conditions these drugs are useful.

Ayurvedic formulations

Formulations containing Varnya drugs:
Chandanasava, Usheerasava, Mahamanjishthadi kashaya, Dashanga lepa, Varnya lepa, Sarivadyasava, Sarivadi avaleha, Yastimadhuka taila are the few important formulations containing the above drugs in various combinations.


Disadvantages of Varnya gana drugs:
As such specific contra indications are not found. However if anyone has allergic towards these ingredients it is better to avoid the preparations.

Simple formulations that can be made from the above drugs and their application in routine practice:
The drugs like Sariva, Chandana, Manjishtha, Yashtimadhu etc can be used as single drug application in case of discoloration of the skin. Fine powder of the mixed drugs can also be used as per the necessary. Those with repeated complaints of burning of the body, hot flushes, dislocation, heat related issues etc can take the cold or hot infusion of the drugs. Medicated milk is also equally beneficial.

Formulation development opportunities:
Good scope is found out of the drugs to modify into oils, external applications like gels, ointments etc. In acne, hyper pigmentation etc also such formulations can be used. Complexion enhancing face wash, hand wash (nourishing/skin softening) etc can also be thought of.
Medicated soaps and shampoos can also be prepared with proper rationality.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD.

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