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Burmese Secret Cosmetic

Burmese Secret Beauty

What kind of gift it is for that a cosmetic and skin conditioner are not made from factory but from forest? Burmese people has been treasuring this
treasures for so long and it is quite guilty for not to share to others.

Thanaka, Burmese ancient cosmetic which is used until present day, is that gift. It is made from Sandalwood tree, when ground, the bark of Thanaka Tree acts as an astringent, sunscreen and antiseptic. [3] It is worn by ladies, old and young alike, and it is hard to find a woman who does not like Thanaka. [1] You can only find it on sell in Myanmar.

The scientific name of thanatkha plant is Limonia acidissima (Roxb). It belongs to the Rutaceae family together with the Thi or Linonium elephantum (corr), the Okshit or Aegle marmelos (L) and the pyindaw-thein or Micromelum hirsutum (Oliver) plants. The thanatkha grows in the southern and western parts of India, the northwestern part of the Himalayas, the Punjab State, the Assam State and in Myanmar, in the dry zone: from Shwebo district in the midlands to Pyay district further south. The thanatkha plants that grow on dry, rocky soil produce hard, thin barks, long-lasting and durable in use. The best thanatkha plants are naturally slow in growth and it takes three to ten years for the tree trunk to grow two inches in diameter. The barks obtained from these trees are so fragrant that the womenfolk here adore them very much. Accordingly, they fetch good prices in the market. Various kinds of thanatkha differs in quality but those produced from Shwebo district and the Shinma­taung thanatkha from Pakokku district are the best and the most famous in our country. [3]

Following the destruction of the Shwemadaw Pagoda in the earthquake of 1930, the clearing the ruins there led to the discovery of a circular stone slab used by Princess Razadatukalya, daughter of Hanthawaddy Sinbyshin Minn for grinding the Thanakha bark . Afterwards, the slab was donated to the Pagoda as a valuable antique. [2]

The thankatkha is a very useful plant and its plays a great part in the field of Myanmar indigenous medicine. The leaves are used as a remedy for epilepsy, in some regions. The berry-like fruit also is used as antidotes and tonics. The ripe fruits, plucked and cultivated within the same day is supposed to produce healthy plants. The blossoms are adorned by women and their smell is sweet and fragrant. The bark is rubbed with a little water to induce the liquid which is worn for self-beautification. The thanatkha liquid has the properties of making the skin cool and smooth, having a refreshing and cool fragrance, beautifying the users. It also cures pimples and acne. The hard, yellowish, sweet-smelling thanatkha wood is used to make handicrafts such as trinkets, combs, boxes and many others. The root possesses much medicinal value and is used in Myanmar indigenous laxatives. [3]

The cosmetic appears in many forms; in its raw - and highly prized - state it will be sold in markets in small 10-18cm long branches and logs. These are ground vertically, round and round, on a special flat circular whetstone with a few drops of water, producing a milky yellow liquid that ist hen immediately applied to the skin. While wet it is virtually translucent but in an hour, it dries to a rich yellow crust. [1]

Thanaka is a prized wood, in 1958, The former British colonial government has approved the Forest Act, which added Thanaka tress to its list of protected trees. It stated: "no person shall collect or remove for trade purposes… Thanaka wood and bark."

Thanaka is sure a good souvenir to be brought home when travelling to Myanmar. Its smell, its figure and its secret are sure to keep a good memory of this country.


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