In the West, pearls are typically associated with prized jewellery or gemstones, but never considered as a highly revered substance, and a superb longevity food possessing the power to increase life span, overall wellness, happiness and quality of life.
Pearl contains a broad range of rich bioavailable nutrition that provides immense powers to renew, regenerate, and restore human health. Best of all, much of its benefits have been validated by scientific research.
Pearls can actually be ground down into a fine powder for internal and topical use. They are harvested from fresh and salt waters, and have many medicinal powders. To make the powder, first the pearl is boiled to sterilise it; then the luminescent balls are ground up into a fine, light powder. This is what is used topically or taken orally like a supplement.
Truly, the span of cultures who use this powder is vast: Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, was known to use pearl in her beauty regimen. The royal children of the pre-colonial Philippines were fed pearl powder to keep their skin bright, clear, and firm. Similarly, pearl was used throughout European history among royal and wealthy families for its beauty and health benefits. But no cultures have used pearl in such a concerted way as the two largest schools in Eastern medicine: traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine.
For centuries, pearl has been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Wu Zetian, the only female empress in Chinese history and other royals used pearl for its revered beauty benefits. Skin health is very important in traditional Chinese culture, and pearl was supposedly the elite natural medicine to promote radiant youth.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), pearl is a heart and liver tonic. It is said to relieve a heavy heart by helping release and let go of old toxic energy and baggage. It soothes and cools “toxic heat” in the liver which results in brighter eyes, clear skin and enriched complexion, and an improved circulatory system that can feed the skin.
This luminescent powder was not only used directly for skin health but also as a balancing adaptogen. In Chinese medicine, pearl is seen as a potent mind (shen) stabiliser, calming the mood like any good adaptogen. If someone is struggling it has the ability to soothe and calm the nervous system, lower stress levels, promote relaxation, improve sleep, build strong bones and organs, increase longevity and even intelligence.
In traditional Indian medicine or Ayurveda, pearl powder is also used for its anti-aging and adaptogenic benefits. Known as Mukta Pishti, pearl powder is used in ayurveda to calm heat in the body and bring coolness in the digestive system and balance inflammation in the body. Pearl was also an ingredient used in ayurvedic love potions, touted as an aphrodisiac.
Since pearl dissolves easily and has such a mild flavour (you can't really taste it at all), it makes the perfect addition to your favourite recipes, in a smoothie or tea throughout the day etc. Another great way to incorporate it is in soups or in bone broth that you can sip on. The collagen present in bone broth also plays a role in keeping skin looking youthful, so by adding pearl powder, you are just elevating the whole package. There is no limit to what you can do with pearl powder, so experiment and find a recipe that you love.
Pearl powder is used in many beauty products. First, thanks to its luminescent properties, it's often added to foundations, setting powders, and various other makeup items like blush and shadow. This provides an alternative to plastic glitter or mica. It's also sometimes found in primers or face lotions for this same reason (adds a subtle sheen to the skin).
It's often also found in gentle face scrubs (versus having harsh nut powders or beads). If you want a DIY scrub or mask, simply sprinkle some pearl powder into rose water and mix until you create a paste.
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