What is Pearl Powder?
The Chinese have been using pearl powder for both its medicinal and cosmetic properties since approximately 320 AD. It is thought that the Empress Wu Ze Xian (625 AD – 705 AD), famed for her beautiful and youthful complexion, used pearl powder both externally and internally. During the Ming dynasty, pearl powder was being used to treat age spots and sun damage, to stimulate new skin growth and to release toxins from the body.
The ancient Chinese were not the only people to have faith in the curative properties of pearl powder. Narahari, a Kashmiri physician, claimed that the powder was used in the treatment of eye conditions and tuberculosis. He also stated that the powder could be used as an antidote for various poisons.
As the western world came increasingly into contact with eastern trade routes, eastern medications and cosmetics became more and more popular. Pearl powder was used, particularly by elite members of society, for its perceived therapeutic properties throughout much of medieval Europe. By the 19th century, European women were using pearl powder as a beauty product to create a pale and smooth complexion.
Although pearl powder fell largely out of use in the West, it continued to be used as a health supplement and beauty treatment throughout Asia. Pearl powder is created by collecting either freshwater or saltwater pearls, sterilising them and then milling them down to make a fine powder which can be easily absorbed by the body. Pearl powder contains a wide variety of minerals and other nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, strontium, copper, selenium, silicon, titanium, calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, calcium phosphate, ferric oxide and silica. Pearl powder also contains 17 amino acids, eight of which are considered to be essential therefore, necessary for health, but cannot be produced naturally by the body.
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Pearl Powder Benefits and Uses
As a medicinal product, pearl powder is believed to be an effective treatment for a variety of skin disorders. It can be particularly helpful in treating acne with some claims being made that even severe cases can be cleared up in as little as one treatment. ½ a teaspoon of powder should be mixed with a small amount of water to create a thick paste, applied directly to the face and left for 15 minutes before being rinsed off. This treatment should be repeated once or twice a week in order to prevent further outbreaks. The treatment is believed to be very effective because pearl powder is considered to detoxify, cleanse and control oil production in the skin and it is helpful in restoring damaged tissue.
In China, it is believed that pearl powder helps with children’s bones and teeth and is beneficial for their intellectual development. According to Chinese tradition, the powder is an excellent shen stabilizer. Shen represents the spirit or consciousness. It is therefore seen as helpful in reducing anxiety, tension and nervousness as well as providing an overall improvement to a person’s mood.
Pearl powder is widely considered to be good for energy levels. It is also thought that the powder can provide swift relief in cases of constipation and indigestion. Additionally, it can be is used in the treatment of mild insomnia and it has been suggested that it may be useful in providing pain relief for stomach ulcers and sores. Because of the high quantity of calcium found in pearl powder, it can also be used in the treatment of osteoporosis. The treatment for this is best done in the form of a tea to be taken twice weekly.
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Pearl powder is valued as a cosmetic product, as it is thought to regulate the body’s melanin production, resulting in a reduction in the amount of moles and blemishes, including age-spots. Pearl powder also reduces skin sagging and wrinkling making it an effective anti-aging treatment. If the powder is bought loose, it can be combined with any face creams or added as an ingredient to homemade facemasks, which will help to improve skin vitality and radiance. Pearl powder can be added to mineral foundations to help with balancing skin tone and reducing oil production. In order to treat particular trouble spots on the skin, the powder can be applied directly to the affected area and left overnight to be absorbed.
Lately, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of pearl powder in the West and it can be found as a component in various products from several high-end designer beauty brands. Those looking to find pure, natural pearl powder will be able to find it in either capsule or powder form, although care should be taken to ensure that the product does not contain mother of pearl as this is from the surrounding oyster shell and not the pearl itself.
When deciding whether or not pearl powder should be taken internally or applied externally, it is important to consider what benefits an individual is hoping to acheive. When looking to treat internal or psychological concerns, such as osteoporosis or anxiety, an internal dose, either in the form of a capsule or tea, would be recommended. If the concern is external, as in the case of acne, or the product is being used as a beauty product, then an external application would be more beneficial.
Pearl Powder Dosage
If the pearl powder is being used externally, either to treat a skin condition or as a beauty product, then it can be used as required.
If taken internally as a capsule, then the quantity of pearl powder should be limited to 1x 500mg capsule 1-2x per day (unless otherwise advised by a healthcare professional).
In the form of a tea, 1g of pearl powder should be dissolved in water and taken twice a week.
Pearl Powder Side Effects and Warnings
There are no known incompatibility issues between pearl powder and any other drugs.
Care should be taken with dosage as excessive consumption of pearl powder can lead to calcium toxicity.
Pregnant or nursing women should always consult with their doctor before undertaking a course of pearl powder.
Those suffering from hypercalcemia (elevated calcium levels in the blood) should consult with their doctor before taking pearl powder.
If any side effects do occur, then the use of pearl powder should be ceased and professional healthcare advice should be sought out immediately.