Vaasanai podi (herbal body wash)

This website is not just about food recipes. It is also an attempt to bring back time honoured, traditional products that were commonly in use in our homes during our grandmothers’ time, and which have gradually disappeared after commercial availability and so-called convenience of mass produced cosmetic products.

A whiff of the traditional south Indian face/body wash powder or வாசனைப்பொடி will take many of us down memory lane. For me, it brings back fond memories of summers spent at my maternal grandmother’s house in Srirangam. Bathing in the Kaveri river, eating malgova mangos whole from the mango orchard, playing (read arguing) with our cousins.. these are some of the joys that many kids sadly miss out on these days. These are the ingredients my grandmother used for herbal face/body wash powder or வாசனைப்பொடி. This summer, my newest grandchild gets an oil massage and a bath with this powder every day.

Many of these ingredients are available at the traditional herb (நாட்டு மருந்து) store, and in the powder form online.

Green moong whole
வெட்டிவேர் (khus khus grass)
ஆவாரம் பூ (tanner’s cassia)
பூலாங்கிழங்கு (white turmeric)
கோரை கிழங்கு (coco grass or nutgrass) 

கார்போக அரிசி (babchi seeds)
மகிழம்பூ (Spanish cherry)
மரிக்கொழுந்து (dhavanam)
lemon peels
rose petals
கஸ்தூரி மஞ்சள் (wild turmeric) 
வசம்பு (sweet flag)
செம்பருத்திப் பூ (hibiscus)

The proportion of the different ingredients and indeed some of the ingredients also vary from family to family with each one claiming to have the most authentic of all recipes. The method is very simple. Just clean all ingredients, dry well in the sun, grind to a fine powder and store. Mix a little powder with water to form a paste and use as a body wash everyday. There are some who also mix the powder with some yogurt to make into a paste.

It is usually recommended that if this powder is used by men/boys, the கஸ்தூரி மஞ்சள் (wild turmeric) is to be omitted, as it is said to prevent excessive hair growth.

ingredients ready for grinding
vaasanai podi

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