November marks Native American Heritage Month, and at Avari Beauty, we're committed to not just acknowledging but actively celebrating the rich culture, wisdom, and history of Indigenous peoples. As an indigenous-owned business, Avari Beauty stands as a testament to the traditions of the indigenous inhabitants of this land. In the same spirit that elders transmit native values and practices through rituals and tales, our founder and CEO, Kari Tribble, seeks to amplify her Native American lineage by highlighting the profound bond between the indigenous community and the natural world.
For thousands of years, the land has provided a rich pharmacy of plants, herbs, and flowers that indigenous communities understood deeply. This understanding, passed down through generations, is rooted in a respect for the holistic balance of the body, spirit, and earth. Centuries before the global beauty industry discovered terms like 'organic' or 'all-natural,' Native American tribes were sourcing plants like sage, cedar, sweetgrass, and juniper not only for their medicinal benefits but for their beauty properties too. In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, we're delving into indigenous beauty traditions that have paved the way for today's skincare and hair care innovations.
Aloe vera, renowned for its versatility, has been harnessed by indigenous communities in many ways, from alleviating sunburns to crafting soaps and even treating insect bites. The healing and restorative benefits of Aloe Vera have been recognized for thousands of years as a powerful shield against harsh weather conditions, particularly in arid desert climates. Today, in contemporary skincare, aloe vera is celebrated for its skin-comforting attributes and is a favored ingredient in sunblock and aftersun products.
Wild rose hips are rich in vitamins A and B, once making them a vital nutritional source for indigenous communities during the colder months. Native Americans, in their vast wisdom, employed rose hips for various purposes. Notably, the Pueblo Native Americans fashioned a salve from rose hips to address mouth sores. Modern beauty enthusiasts praise rose hip's ability to diminish redness, combat premature aging, soothe acne, and moisturize the skin. Avari Beauty's founder, Kari, recommends rosehip seed oil to even out skin tone and repair the skin's natural moisture barrier.
Juniper is one of the most widely distributed conifers in the United States and has been used by indigenous communities for thousands of years. Given their rich antioxidant content, Native Americans would brew Juniper berries into tea to use as a remedy for various skin ailments. This juniper was used to repair damaged skin and bolster its resilience against environmental stressors. Indigenous tribes also infused Juniper roots in water to bathe and condition their horse's coats. In today's world, many shampoos and treatments use juniper root to enhance the hair's shine and purify the scalp.
Indigenous communities turned to this perennial bush as a trusted remedy for scalp discomfort. They crafted a poultice using the infused leaves of the Bearberry shrub, which served as a balm for skin irritations and wounds and was also employed as a gentle wash for infants' heads. The ancestral knowledge of Native peoples has undeniably paved the way for modern cosmetics companies to incorporate Bearberry into contemporary hair care solutions.
Saw palmetto is found mainly in Florida and some other southeastern states. The Seminole tribe in Florida used Saw Palmetto berries for various reasons, including as a food source, to treat urinary tract infections, and to remedy reproductive problems. In another example of pioneering indigenous wisdom, native American women used Saw Palmetto to regulate facial hair growth. Modern studies show that Saw Palmetto can suppress DHT production in the body — a hormone produced by testosterone that causes hair growth and hair loss.
Many indigenous communities utilized the yucca plant to increase hair growth and combat hair thinning. The Navajo harnessed the healing properties of the yucca plant's roots to formulate a natural shampoo that reduced dandruff and hair loss. Other indigenous communities also use yucca as a salve, applied directly to the skin to help heal wounds and alleviate joint discomfort.
The deep-rooted knowledge of Native Americans about plants' healing properties has given the modern world an invaluable gift. It serves as a testament to the deep understanding indigenous peoples have of nature and underscores the importance of preserving and learning from their wisdom.
If you would like to learn more about the historical, cultural, and economic contributions of Native Americans, head to https://www.ncai.org