The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Drink health beer, minus alcohol plus herbs

Lucknow, Aug. 27: After herbal medicines, it’s now herbal beer and herbal lipstick.

Scientists at Lucknow’s National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) have come out with a drink which is “anti-stress, anti-oxidant and really a health drink” and a lipstick which is purely natural.

The beer, in its present form, is “purely natural, non-toxic with no alcohol, cocoa or cola nuts”. However, for a little punch and for added fizz, about two to four per cent alcohol content can be added to this herbal drink.

“It contains a combination of five or six indigenous medicinal plants and is fortified with other health protective and promotive attributes,” Dr A.K. Rawat of NBRI told The Telegraph.“We have found that it strengthens muscles and can prevent many diseases like renal and nephritic syndrome.”

The scientists have tested its “product acceptability” and more than 100 volunteers have tasted the drink and liked it.

The technology will be available soon for demonstration-cum-training up to “pilot plant scale”. It requires little investment for its commercial exploitation, including machinery and equipment like bottle-sealing machines and grinder.

The total investment for the minimum economic unit with a capacity of 25 litres per day is just Rs 2 lakh. The cost arrived at NBRI under laboratory condition is just Rs 19 per litre. “Bulk production would bring down the cost and could make it a common man’s drink,” Rawat felt.

NBRI has made first forays into commercial exploitation of its technology during this Holi, when it sold its formula to a corporate house in Mumbai. “The company was able to sell tonnes of the drink in Mumbai where demand was maximum from the film stars,” Rawat said.

“No herbal drink presently available in the market was truly herbal in nature as only some herbal essence is added and marketed as herbal drinks,” Rawat said. The new drink would meet a long-felt need as non-drinkers could now hold a glass of NBRI herbal beer at social gatherings and feel a part of that milieu like their Epicurean friends, the scientist hoped. Alongside the beer, NBRI has developed a purely natural herbal lipstick — Luvstick. The colours are developed from various medicinal herbs and the perfumed Luvstick could also be used as a medium for aroma therapy.

“Different mood-enhancing odours could be added and would be suitable for chapped lips. Interestingly, the plants used for lipstick colours show anti-microbial activity,” Dr Shanta Mehrotra of NBRI said.

The NBRI scientists have also found a special lipstick for men, which would be “without colours and of a moisturising transparent type”. The Luvstick for men would have “mood altering functions and would achieve altered mental perceptions”.

Stating that the lipsticks available in the market mostly use “animal fat and synthetic colours”, Mehrotra said “Luvstick is safe, eco-friendly and health protective and could be helpful to camouflage leucodermic stains particularly on the lips”. The colours developed could be used “as eyeliners, rouges, eye shadows and glow glitters”.

She pointed out that there was a revival of interest in natural colours, especially in cosmetics, as the synthetic colours tend to cause undesirable side effects.

“The new technology is based on the isolation of purely natural herbal colorants and aroma for cosmetics and so far, 15 colour shades have been developed,” the scientist claimed.

“These colours were capable of altering the mood and mental perception of the person who applied these as the aroma serves as an anti-depressant, anti-stress, anxiety-reducing agent, a stimulant that induces creative thinking and provides sensual pleasures,” she added.

The raw material for Luvstick is available in plenty and as for the machinery, only a grinder, extractor and rotavapor oven is needed. The minimum investment needed is only Rs 3 lakh, but the technology is yet to be commercialised. Under laboratory conditions, each lipstick costs less than Rs 10. The costs would come down many times once bulk manufacture begins.

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