The Secrets of Traditional Asian Beauty

We take a look at ancient natural beauty remedies that Asian women have been using for centuries.


Korean cosmetics might be all the rage today, but a concern for beauty goes far back into the history of the country.

According to the Dongui Bogam, a book of traditional Korean medicine published in 1613, a mixture of ground mung beans, azuki beans and soybeans called jodu makes for an excellent facial cleanser, softening skin and providing a whitening effect. Mung beans contain high amounts of saponin, a chemical compound that produces a soap-like foam when shaken in water.

In 2013, a study led by scientists from Korea University showed that mung bean saponin indirectly slows inflammation by preventing the multiplication of immune cells known as T helper cells. Saponins from other plants are currently being developed for applications ranging from surfactants to cancer treatments.

Photo: Shutterstock.
Photo: Shutterstock.

Rebecca did her PhD at the National University of Singapore where she studied how macrophages integrate multiple signals from the toll-like receptor system. She was formerly the editor-in-chief of Asian Scientist Magazine.

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