Kohl Ithmid – An Ancient Eye Cosmetic & Medicine


Kohl Ithmid is an ancient eye cosmetic & medicine traditionally made from grinding natural stone. It is known by different names in cultures all over the world, including Ithmid, Asmad, Surma, Kajal & Sormeh. Despite the numerous benefits of Kohl, its application is often poorly understood.

The ancient Egyptians were masters of the art of applying kohl. They considered it sacred and placed jars of it in their Pharaoh tombs for use in the afterlife. They used it for a combination of purposes: to beautify their eyes, as part of a daily ritual stemming from both cultural and religious backgrounds, and to ‘cure’ various ailments and diseases.

It cleanses the eyes of harmful substances such as dust, dirt, germs & chemicals. It strengthens the eyes, thereby increasing their ability to focus. It grows eye lashes and makes them thicker. It also protects the eyes from excessive exposure to sunlight. It purportedly cures eye ailments such as redness and conjunctivitis. It helps to purify the tears and reduces headaches. It also relieves eye strain and relaxes the skin flap on the eyelids, and helps with sleeplessness.

The best Kohl is the one which has been prepared using a kohl stone (Asmad). It contains little or no lead, and its colour is dark grey rather than black. Pure ithmid is easily distinguishable from other products by its texture which is more like wet sand than a normal powder, and the way it sticks to an applicator wand when moistened.

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