by Alice Luker
Ayurveda, translating in Sanskrit as ‘life-knowledge’ travelled across the seas from India to Sri Lanka thousands of years ago. Within local communities of the island today it’s considered an essential daily lifestyle practise- from the body via food to the mind and spirit through meditation.
As well as an alternate form of plant based (herbal) medicine, following an Ayurvedic lifestyle is believed to prevent future inbalances of the body which are considered equally as important in discouraging disease.
I’m no expert in the practise but over the past few years I’ve familiarised myself with the essential Ayurvedic household items as well as what would be considered luxury products inspired or influenced by the ancient practise.
The ideas below are all bought from local supermarkets found across the country from Cargills Food City, Keehls Super to Arpico. The most generously stocked branches (with a wider selection) can be found in major cities and towns.
1 &2. Nature’s Secrets aloera moisturising cream & sandlewood scrub.
One of Sri Lanka’s most popular affordable skincare brands is Nature’s Secrets which are sourced/produced locally. They have a premium range called herbal heritage with ingredients including turmeric and tamarind too.
3. Siddhalepa herbal ayurvedic balm
One of the essential staples in a Sri Lankan household is Siddhelepa, an ayurvedic pain relief balm with a powerful scent of eucalyptus and cinnamon oil- a similar concept to Tiger balm. Founded in 1934, it’s a fantastic product which works.
4 & 5. King coconut hair oil and virgin coconut oil.
Commonly used in Sri Lankan cooking and an ever increasing list of natural health and beauty remedies worldwide including hair conditioning and teeth whitening, virgin coconut oil is a truly multifunctional ingredient.
The king coconut oil, formulated specifically for hair conditioning is best used lightly in the daytime, or more generously as an intensive overnight mask (wash off first thing in the morning) for an intensive repair. Massaging into the scalp will help to eliminate dandruff and promote healthy growth.
NB both products solidify in cooler temperatures and require heating to return to their liquid state. Keep the king coconut oil in the shower and apply on towl dried damp hair.
The Kohomba plant is indiginous to Sri Lanka and can be found even in the driest of regions. The leaves have been used in natural ayurvedic remedies for thousands of years.
Another well loved Sri Lankan brand found in many Lankan households is Khomba, a mild herbal soap with a distinctive soothing scent of Margosa oil combined with the magical essence of Kohomba. Its basic but very affordable at under $1.
7. Dilmah ginger tea
Made with two local products of Sri Lanka, Dilmah is one of the most established heritage tea brands in the country, with a growing international presence. Ginger makes the tea invigorating, detoxifying and good for the digestive system.
8. Pas panguwa tea
Dressed in slightly more exotic packaging than Dilmah’s with an intriguing concuction of 100% natural ayurvedic ingredients, pas panguwa is found in many shapes and sizes across Sri Lanka as a remedy for colds and headaches.
9. Cinnamon Toothpicks
As one of Sri Lanka’s largest exports, cinnamon is available in a range of forms; from its natural state, as an essential oil, tea to flavoured toothpicks. From my experience cinnamon toothpicks make great unconventional (and practical!) souvenirs.
And last but not least, Samahan! Another supermarket ayurvedic remedy which can be bought in multipacks or individually behind a pharmacy counter, a sachet (or two if your feeling brave!) helps to clear your sinuses and feel energised.
Thank you to my blogger pal Pratserie for helping with this article.