The secret of the snake oil in Indian beauty products
India’s snake oil industry is a booming one with thousands of products being sold in India.
Many of these products are manufactured in the country by local companies but many more are made abroad and exported to the rest of the world.
The latest in the snake-oil business to be revealed is the secret of how the products are made.
Dr Ramesh Kumar, a molecular biologist and chemist at the Indian Institute of Technology, was studying the chemistry of a snake oil ingredient in his lab when he stumbled upon the secret.
“I had been researching this for two years, studying different substances in different countries, when I came across this article in the New Scientist about snake oil and saw that the ingredients were actually made in India,” he said.
I wondered if I should go and buy it for myself.
Dr Rameesh Kumar, molecular biologist.
“I started searching for a way to make it myself and found that it’s not that hard.
I wanted to know what these ingredients are and what they are used for.
After a bit of research I decided to give it a go.
It was a real adventure,” he told NDTV.
In the process of researching the ingredients in the products, he was able to find that the snake is a key ingredient in some of them.
Snake oil contains essential oils that give it its taste, smell and appearance.
One of the key ingredients is calcium oxalate, which is known as a preservative and is used to protect foods from being spoilage by fungi and bacteria.
A lot of other essential oils, including vanilla essential oil, citrus essential oil and black pepper essential oil are also used as preservatives.
Dr Kumar said he was surprised at how the ingredient was actually made by local manufacturers and that most of the ingredients used were sourced from abroad.
“When I went to the chemist, he gave me the ingredient list and asked me to check it out,” he added.
This made me wonder why Indian manufacturers would not only use foreign ingredients in their products but also the ingredients themselves, said Dr Kumar.
Indian snake oil is often marketed as a ‘natural alternative’ to other products.
But Dr Kumar said that many of the products in the Indian market were not actually snake oil at all.
The ingredient list of the product that he found in his laboratory, for instance, was a mixture of several essential oils and other ingredients, including plant oils and extracts.
He said he had never heard of a company that used the same ingredients used in Indian snake oil before.
“They are made in a different place in India and then exported to different countries like the US, UK and China,” he explained.
What is the science behind snake oil?
A key component in snake oil has long been known as the amino acid tryptophan.
However, the key to its healing properties was discovered in ancient times.
Ancient Chinese medicine, for example, used this amino acid as a stimulant to stimulate the nerves and blood vessels.
Dr Rama Kumar’s team from the Indian Chemical Institute has been studying the effects of the amino acids tryptofan and serine in snake- oil ingredients to determine if they have therapeutic effects on the body.
“We are now trying to identify how the amino-acid serine is involved in the healing process,” said Dr Rama.
Serine is the amino group that contains the amino hydroxyl group and has an important role in many cells, including the nervous system.
Serine also plays a role in the process by which the body makes insulin.
In the past, it was thought that tryptophyll was used as a natural preservative.
However, Dr Rameesh Kumar’s research has shown that trypsin, another enzyme found in the cells of the skin, can also be found in snake oils.
Researchers also found that the amino hydroxy-alanine, a naturally occurring amino acid, can act as a potent anti-inflammatory compound.
Dr Suresh, a chemist who is working on a research project in India, has been researching how the snake oils interact with the body and has discovered that they can act on the liver and muscle.
If these studies prove to be correct, it could have an impact on the development of the industry in India in the near future, he said.(Reporting by Akshay Kumar; Editing by Aravind Bhatia)