The Reality of "Herbal" Products that are Made in India!

One of the most unexpected and a pleasant spill overs from the recent happenings in Chennai is the collective and a mass outrage against foreign products. Patriotism seems to be at it's peak and people are trying to switch to local companies making sodas and carbonated drinks and ditching Pepsi and Coke. Oh well, that doesn't seem good either.

How good are our very own home grown brands? I am just trying to put together a list of the few famous Indian brands that are no different than the MNCs in misleading the customers. Of course I will never be able to complete this post if I ever to scrutinize each and every product that is made in India, but this post is just to give an idea of about how to be careful in choosing what you consume:

1. Patanjali- From misleading advertisements to using false patriotism to boost it's growth, Patanjali has always been on the headlines for everything that is wrong. Thankfully, I have never even touched the products, alhamdhulillah. The most recent article that I saw about this company's lungi clad founder giving Brazilian Bull Power to Indian cows so that the number of cows ending up in slaughterhouses would reduce is the heights of all dirt this company is manufacturing. I don't have to prove my case that the products only deserve a place in the bin.

2. Dabur- I used to have a soft corner for this brand for reasons I really don't know, but it is yet another company which positions itself as a natural product supplier but has all nasties in it's products in the form of preservatives or flavour enhancers. Have a look at the ingredients list of it's famous Dabur Miswak paste. A lot of us buy this paste just by seeing the name "Miswak" in it, but that just have a look at the list of ingredients- the so called Meswak extract is hiding somewhere in the chemical cocktail of sorbitol, SLS, sodium benzoate and son. Meswak, really?

3. Himalaya- I used to be a fan of Himalaya products and especially the baby products. As I was totally against using Johnson's baby products for apparent reasons, I thought Himalaya would be a better option. Well, it disappointed me as usual and it is nothing but a few drops of herbal essences here and there while the basic product itself is totally similar to the conventional, chemical filled product. Just have a look at the ingredients of the baby shampoo here- Benzyl Alcohol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone (It is an allergen and can cause severe skin reactions in some people. Since 2013 the use of the product particularly in cosmetics has received increased media coverage in the UK. In 2013 GP doctors asked cosmetics companies to remove it from products-Source wikipedia), Methylisothiazolinone ( is allergenic and cytotoxic, and this has led to some concern over its use-Source wikipedia), Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate. How on earth would a person even imagine using this on a tiny, tender baby's body? Gives me shudders. 

4. KP Namboodhiri:

This one is a real heart breaker. Seriously one. I used to think the lesser known brands will be better and won't cheat us with dangerous chemicals. I was delighted to see the key ingredients in the UAE version of the toothpaste but only when I went to India did I see the full list of ingredients which had every nasty you would ever imagine-from sodium benzoate to triclosan. IT was truly a heart breaker.

As I said earlier, the list is never going to end if we go about and scrutinize every single product that is proudly "Made in India". From Sunfeast to Britannia biscuits, Aata noodles to Corn oils, there are chemicals and unethical practices everywhere. The key is not about abandoning foreign products, but to choose a lifestyle that is closer to nature and that which will support and benefit small and local businesses. There are plenty of options in terms of food, personal care and home care products that are produced by small businesses who stick to their words when it comes to following ethics.

Go to your local organic store or a farmers market and look for genuine products. Buy your ghee from the "ghee-man", your milk from the "milk-man" and not from misleading big brands whose cows might be caged for producing milk forever. Get your honey from Kuralagam or Khadi kraft instead of branded, processed sugar syrup stacked in the supermarket shelves. Eat locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables. Buy products that are from the cottage industry. Buy handloom sarees. Buy handicrafts from artisans instead of flashy Chinese ornaments. Consume more millets and traditional rice. Buy oils that are cold pressed. Or at least from small companies. I sincerely hope they don't fail us. Never be afraid to give your children that gooseberry from a street vendor (I am drooling as I type this. Missing home). Go back to the basics. Buy your clay pots from the local vendors. Support them. Don't bargain with them.

Remember, it makes no difference whether it is local or foreign when it comes to a big, profit making Limited Liability company. They are here to make profits and not give your great health. The only way to show the love to our people is by supporting them. Start showing your love today!


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