Use of Kohl Prevents Eye Diseases

The medical benefits of kohl are numerous; it prevents common infections, protects eyes from sunrays, strengthens eyesight and acts as a good coolant

What is the first thing that strikes you about Cleopatra? Her bewitching black kohl lined eyes. In an article for Analytical Chemistry, French researchers say the kohl Cleopatra wore may have had medical as well as aesthetic benefits. “We knew ancient Greeks and Romans too had noted the make-up had medicinal properties, but wanted to determine exactly how,” the report says. “One may argue that these lead compounds were deliberately manufactured and used in ancient Egyptian formulations to prevent and treat eye illnesses by promoting the action of immune cells.”

The health benefits of kohl have been widely documented over the years.  It is believed to protect the eyes from obtrusive and harmful rays of sun and also from various eye infections. In Afghanistan, kohl is widely used by women, children, who put it around their eyelids to look attractive and to prevent eyes diseases. It is made from a mixture of crushed antimony and almond oil, which is believed to strengthen eyes. In some other countries, it is being made from almond and hazelnut after completely burning them.

Among the most cited benefits associated with kohl is that it is an extremely good coolant for the eyes. It prevents most common infections. It protects eyes from harmful rays of sun. It is also applied on children as, according to legend, it enlarges the eyes and makes eyesight stronger. However, doctors 

Zarmina, a young girl in Kabul, says these days many new products have flooded the market as an alternative to traditional kohl. “When you put those products on eyelids, they turn the face black when they come out with tears,” she says.  

Some 3,500 year ago, the Egyptian girls would use kohl to beautify their eyes and eyebrows. Now the study by French researchers indicates that it has immense medical benefits too. They say using kohl prevents inflammation of eyes, makes eyelashes larger and shiny as well as prevents flowing of tears.

The kohl is extensively found in northern Afghanistan where numerous kohl mines exist, but the sector has not been exploited well.  Rafiullah Seddiqi, the Spokesman for Ministry of Mines, says kohl is found together with plumbum and zinc.

“A survey, conducted by the Ministry of Mines in 2009, shows there are 900 areas in Afghanistan where zinc, plumbum and kohl are available; Badakhshan is one such province,” says Mr. Seddeqi. 

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