The ancient Asian secret of the goodness of rice water carries healing benefits for both your beauty and health.
The starch-filled white water you got after draining boiled rice was of no use, then think again. This kitchen reject is busy powering your good health, moonlighting as a beauty and digestive balm as well.
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Says Dr Jaishree Sharad, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist and international trainer for aesthetic procedures, “Instead of draining this magical elixir, keep it aside at room temperature for a day till it is ferments. Add few drops of essential oils and use it to wash your hair. Fermented rice water is rich in inositol which mends damaged hair that is exposed to frequent styling and colouring.”
The Geishas of Japan used to bathe in rice water to keep their skin supple and their tresses lustrous and volumnious. “Fermented rice water is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins E that turns damaged hair into soft, silky tresses, prevents dandruff and hair fall. Vitamin B lends strength and vitamin C helps produce sebum that moisturises the scalp,” explains Dr Sharad. “Fermented rice water is also a fungi fighter. Regular use restores pH levels, adding elasticity, strength and shine to your locks,” she says, suggesting you soak the rinsed rice for 24-48 hours till it ferments and then store in the refrigerator uptil a week for regular use.
Of course, fermentation takes place faster in warmer climes. “Rice water is used as part of face packs owing to its ability to tighten the skin pores. This lessens the depth of wrinkles, keeps blemishes at bay and even functions as a deterrent for fine lines from setting in,” says dermatologist Dr Sayli Maheshwari. “The result is a much more radiant complexion over a period of time.”
Rice water has curative properties and soothes away the irritants from the digestive tract. Says Chef Konark Sharma, “It functions effectively as a home remedy for diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, and even cholera. White rice is ideal as the fibre has been removed, leaving mostly starch suspended in the water.” According to Ayurvedic system of consumption, rice water is used as a home remedy for food poisoning as well. This remedy is called tandulodaka and is especially helpful for young children.
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If hard pressed for time in urban climes, the cold brew method works well too. Says Chef Manish Initial, “The cold brew method is the easiest. Rinse rice and soak it in water for half an hour. Gently press grains to release vitamins and minerals. Soak for another half an hour. Strain into a jar for consumption. This method ensures the retention of water soluble nutrients. Of course in the fermented version, there is an improved availability of nutrients. How to discern between the preparation for external and internal consumption of rice?
According to Chef Konark there are three traditional method to prepare the rice water “First method entails thoroughly rinsing uncooked rice, soaking in water for 30 minutes and then draining the water. This is for external use,” he explains, adding, “The second method entails rinsing the rice thoroughly, boiling for 15 minutes using twice the amount of cooking water (than usual). Then drain, cool to room temperature, dilute until slightly cloudy. Drink as an immediate home remedy for gastroenteritis. Third option: Rinse rice thoroughly. Soak for 8 hours in a pot in ratio 6:1 (water:rice). Drain, rinse again, simmer rice in 8:1 (water:rice) till the grains almost dissolve. This rice water is served as a non dairy drink.” A great vegan option, that also explains the genesis of ‘rice milk’ used to make smoothies and other beverages.
With the growing movement in food and beauty towards dipping into kitchen remedies, this might just be the boost your follicles need and skin craves. Go for it.