Thanakha (Burmese: သနပ်ခါး; MLCTS: sa.nap hka:; pronounced [θənəkʰá]) is a paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of the culture of Myanmar, seen commonly applied to the face and sometimes the arms of women and girls, and is used to a lesser extent also by men and boys.
Thanakha is used by Burmese people since the mid-11th century. In a Bagan Pagoda, there is a Bagan era wall painting of a Bagan woman wearing thanakha. The earliest literary reference to thanakha is in a 14th-century poem written by King Razadarit's Mon-speaking consort. During King Bayinnaung, Alungpaya and Bodawpaya's military campaign in Thailand, thanakha was first introduced to Thai people. Mentions of thanaka also exist in the 15th-century literary works of Burmese monk-poet Shin Raṭṭhasāra (1486–1529).
Source and preparation Edit
The wood of several trees may be used to produce thanaka cream; these trees grow abundantly in central Myanmar. They include principally Murraya spp. (thanaka) but also Limonia acidissima (theethee or wood apple). The two most popular are Shwebo thanaka from Sagaing Region and Shinmadaung thanaka from Magway Region. A more recent contender sold as a paste is Taunggyi Maukme thanaka from southern Shan State. Thanaka trees are perennials, and a tree must be at least 35 years old before it is considered mature enough to yield good-quality cuttings. Thanaka in its natural state is sold as small logs individually or in bundles, but nowadays also available as a paste or in powder form.
Thanaka cream is made by grinding the bark, wood, or roots of a thanaka tree with a small amount of water on a circular slate slab called kyauk pyin, which has a channel around the rim for the water to drain into.
Application, style and properties Edit
Thanaka cream has been used by Burmese men, women, and children (especially women as make-up) for over 2,000 years. It has a fragrant scent somewhat similar to sandalwood. The creamy paste is applied to the face in attractive designs, the most common form being a circular patch on each cheek, nose, sometimes made stripey with the fingers known as thanaka bè gya, or patterned in the shape of a leaf, often also highlighting the bridge of the nose with it at the same time. It may be applied from head to toe (thanaka chi zoun gaung zoun). Apart from cosmetic beauty, thanaka also gives a cooling sensation and provides protection from sunburn. It is believed to help remove acne and promote smooth skin. It is also an anti-fungal. Marmesin has been proposed to be the principle UV blocking agent. A study was conducted in 2010 by the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and the University of London. Thanaka bark is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and absorbs UV rays. The research additionally revealed that Thanaka inhibits tyrosinase, the enzyme that triggers melanin synthesis and impacts pores and skin discolouration–therefore, even skin tone.
See also Edit
- Streissguth, Thomas (2007). Myanmar in Pictures. Twenty-First Century. pp. 44, 73. ISBN 978-0-8225-7146-9. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Mabberley, D J (1997). The Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of the Vascular Plants. Cambridge University Press. pp. 470. ISBN 0-521-41421-0. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Kemp, Charles & Lance Andrew Rasbridge (2004). Refugee and Immigrant Health: A Handbook for Health Professionals. Cambridge University Press. p. 98. ISBN 0-521-53560-3. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Yeni (5 August 2011). "Beauty That's More Than Skin Deep". The Irrawaddy. Archived from the original on 6 August 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- Köllner, Helmut & Axel Bruns (1998). Myanmar (Burma). Hunter Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 3-88618-415-3. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Moe, J. "Thanakha withstands the tests of time". Mizzima News, 17 September 2008. Archived from the original on 20 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
- Baker, William & Ira Bruce Nadel (2004). Redefining the Modern. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 24. ISBN 0-8386-4013-3. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Joo, Se-Hwan; Lee, Sang-Cheol; Kim, Seong-Ki (June 2004). "UV absorbent, marmesin, from the bark of Thanakha,Hesperethusa crenulata L.". Journal of Plant Biology. 47 (2): 163–165. doi:10.1007/BF03030648.
- Wangthong, Sakulna; Palaga, Tanapat; Rengpipat, Sirirat; Wanichwecharungruang, Supason P.; Chanchaisak, Panpilai; Heinrich, Michael (November 2010). "Biological activities and safety of Thanaka (Hesperethusa crenulata) stem bark". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 132 (2): 466–472. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2010.08.046. PMID 20804839.