Take it home with you: India
The 9 best Ayurvedic souvenirs to fill your suitcase with.
Some people fill up their suitcase with blockprint fabrics or intricately patterned rugs when they visit India. Me? I brought an extra duffel just to fill with herbs, teas, and Ayurvedic personal care products. (Okay, yeah, and maybe a vintage rug or two.)
Ayurveda is the mind-body holistic healing system developed in India 3,000 years ago—and still going strong all these years later. Its recent popularity boost in the US might have something to do with a growing body of evidence showing that the staple Ayurvedic ingredients (from turmeric to coconut oil) really, truly work—but you don’t need to see a peer-reviewed study to appreciate the fact that this multifaceted philosophy (which includes yoga and diet in addition to herbal remedies) addresses good health rather than fighting diseases. Read: It’s all about preventative medicine. In an era of pharma-everything, the power of plants has never been more alluring.
Kerala in Southern India is considered the birthplace of Ayurveda, but you can find products inspired by it all over the country—from corner pharmacies to fancy, organic beauty boutiques.
If you’ve got limited space—or are overwhelmed by the options—here are the nine products that you’ll want to make space for in your suitcase during your next trip to India.
Kairali Ayurvedic Body Cleansing Powder
In addition to its treatment center in Kerala, Kairali has been creating Ayurvedic-inspired beauty products since 1908. So: legit. We heart this powder-based exfoliator that’s gentle enough to use just about everywhere.
Apollo Pharmacy Chyawanprash
What vegemite is to Australians, chyawanprash is to Indians…but, like, times 100. Because this thick, jam-like tonic is packed with 40 herbs and plants—including amla (or gooseberry), which is ridiculously high in vitamin C. You can find some version of it at just about any pharmacy, or just order it on Amazon.
Kerala Ayurveda Imugest supplement
If you’re already an ashwagandha stan, you’ll be overwhelmed with the options in India. (It’s an Ayurvedic staple, after all.) For a next-level adaptogenic boost, we heart this immune-centric blend from Kerala Ayurveda, which also mixes in brahmi, guduchi, and other sacred herbs.
Biotique Bio Sandalwood Face Lotion
Saffron, wheat germ, and honey: This isn’t a breakfast recipe, but rather, some of the main ingredients in this ultra-moisturizing, water-resistant, SPF-packed face cream. But the real marquee name here is sandalwood, which soothes dry, inflammed, or itchy skin. (Bonus: It’s also available on Amazon.)
Neem Herbal Toothpaste
Neem is a type of evergreen tree native to India, and a major Ayurvedic player—thanks to the fact that it’s been used to address everything from acne to ulcers. Dental health, however, might be where it really shines (a handful of studies have shown promise in combatting plaque), which probably explains why there was a line of people at the Delhi airport pharmacy frantically stocking up on tubes of this before their flights took off. This one is a little herbal-y, in a good way.
Forest Essentials Ojas Face Mask
It’s not just K beauty that’s mastered the sheet mask—in Ayurveda, the process of applying a face mask is known as “lepana”, and the luxe Ayurvedic beauty brand puts their own herb-infused spin on it. The only downside? The packaging is so ridiculously beautiful that you might not want to actually use it.
Himalaya Wellness PartySmart Capsules
Himalaya Wellness is arguably the Ayurvedic personal care power player (you can find their products in stores throughout the US), and everything from their holy basil face cleansers to tulsi toothpaste have developed quite the cult following. But if you want to pick up something truly unique from the brand, it’s gotta be these PartySmart supplements, which support the liver for a “better morning after.” (If you can’t wait for your trip to get your hands on these, Amazon sells single packs.)
Organic India Tulsi Masala Chai Tea
Tulsi—AKA holy basil—is considered to be so powerful that it’s a sacred plant in India. There are many upsides to it, but our favorite is that it’s a big-time stress reliever. Organic India makes certified-organic tea from it, and though you can pick from a range of flavors our fave is the masala chai. (If you’ve spent even a day in India, you’ll know why.)
Kama Ayurveda Kumkumadi Brightening Ayurvedic Face Scrub
If Himalaya Wellness is the Gap of Ayurvedic personal care, then Kama Ayurveda is the Chanel: A high-end boutique for everything from rose water to jasmine incense—all underpinned by ancient healing principles. Kumkumadi oil is considered one of the most potent of Ayurvedic oils, while saffron helps brighten and ground almonds help exfoliate (and also: make it smell amazing). It all comes in topshelf-worthy packaging—and even better, you can order a jar of it online.