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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-25

Critical review of Ayurvedic Varṇya herbs and their tyrosinase inhibition effect

Department of Rasa Shastra and Bhaishjya Kalpana, Rishikul Govt. P. G. Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Khemchand Sharma
B-4, Dwarika Vihar, Near Bharat Gas Godam on NH-58, P.O. Gurukul Kangri University, Haridwar - 249 404, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: Nil., Conflict of Interest: There are no conflicts of interest.

DOI: 10.4103/0257-7941.165627

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Introduction: The aspiration for light skin (fair complexion) is becoming pronounced in a greater number of people in the present times with natural products being more in demand than their synthetic counterparts. Research in the area of skin-lightening agents is an expanding field with the knowledge being updated regularly. In Ayurveda, varṇya, raktaprasādana, tvacya are few terms specifying skin lightening with respect to its modern counterpart i.e., Tyrosinase inhibition, the most commonly reported method of skin lightening. Aim: The present review is undertaken for screening twenty herbs from Varṇya Mahākaṣāya, Lodhrādi varṇya gaṇa, Elādi varṇa prasādana gaṇa and few varṇya formulations to evaluate their probable modes of action through which the skin lightening is effected as per both Ayurveda and biomedical concepts. Materials and Methods: Critical review of herbs to show varṇya property is compiled from various Ayurvedic texts as well as from multiple articles on the internet to justify their skin lightening property on the basis of data collected. Result and Conclusion: All the twenty herbs reviewed are found to act as varṇya directly (citation as varṇya) or indirectly (alleviation of pitta and rakta) as per Ayurveda and to interfere in melanogenesis pathway through tyrosinase inhibition as per biomedicine. This shows their potential to act as good skin whitening agents. Śuṇṭhi being a part of many varṇya formulations, is the only herb among all reviewed in the present study found to exhibit tyrosinase inhibition without any Ayurvedic citation of varṇya property.

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