Rooted in an ancestral practice that spans three generations, the ethos of Sadhev – founded by Jayadevi Cholayil and her son, Lasakan Cholayil – was embedded  in the treatments and recipes of their forefather, Brahmasree Cholayil Kunju Maami Vaidyar, a renowned Ayurvedic healer and physician. So, for Lasakan and Jayadevi, Sadhev is where the science of wellness seamlessly comes together with the art of Ayurveda.

The brand’s signature potions date as far back as the early 19th century and are concocted using ingredients chosen and carefully sourced through sustainable practices from Sadhevana – their organic sanctuary spread across 80 acres in Tamil Nadu. And when they require ingredients that aren’t indigenous to the country, such as such as argan oil from Morocco, saffron petals from the valleys of Afghanistan, butters from Switzerland and rose absolute from Bulgaria, Sadhev always procures them from organic estates in those regions.

The mother-son duo believes that “since the skin is the largest organ in the body, it is extremely important to feed it with the right kind of nourishment. Hence, we strive to grow and source the best ingredients the earth has to offer while creating our products. To make sure we have total control of the purity of the ingredients we use, we try to grow whatever we can at our farm and source the rest only from the most reliable sources out there.”

In addition to partnering with, an organisation that plants a tree for every purchase that is made at Sadhev, the co-founders have also adopted two villages and schools near their farm in South India. They continue to offer special education to the kids in the nearby villages and have tied up with an NGO to ensure that the children are fed nutritious breakfasts daily. They also plant 1,000 trees every month and ensure that the soil is taken care of by allowing their cattle to roam and graze on their farm freely.

Excerpts from the conversation with Jayadevi Cholayil and Lasakan Cholayil about the genesis, ethos and sustainable and organic practices of Sadhev….

Agnihotra is one of the organic farming processes that we practise at our farm. We place the cow’s dried dung cakes in a pyramid fort and burn them at sunrise and sunset with a few grains of rice and a little bit of cow’s ghee. Ash is a by-product, and when even a small portion of this ash is sprayed on the farm, it fertilises, protects and energises the land.”

Jeevamrutham is one of the other two fertilisers that we make. Our fertilisers are all prepared with one hundred per cent natural ingredients like tender coconut water, cow dung, cow urine, ghee, jaggery and fish. We put all of them together and allow the mixture to ferment for four to five days. The water that is released is supposed to make a very good fertiliser. So, in this way, we don’t use any chemical fertilisers, and the entire farm is fertilised by a product which is derived from the farm itself.”

Agni astra is a pest repellent – “astra” means repellent. This is made with neem cakes and neem oil that are mixed with other kinds of oils. We use panchagavya, which is made with five things from the cow – including cow urine, cow’s milk, ghee, cow dung – and jaggery and a little bit of banana. So, the neem oil is mixed with panchagavya, and this is sprayed onto the plants to repel pests.”

“We also engage in biodynamic farming. We procure empty cow horns from the butcher, fill them with cow dung and bury them in the soil in such a way that only their tips are visible. We keep the horns under the soil for six months. We do this only twice a year, once in September and once in March. When you take even just five grams of the mixture from the cow horn and mix it with one litre of water, it works wonders for the soil.”

“Out of the many brands that exist in this space, ours is amongst the elite few that have a 200-year-old lineage. For us, it’s not about making world-class products, but more about passing on our traditions and knowledge from one generation to the next. Ayurveda has been a part of our lifestyle for years. We have just decided to share it openly with the rest of the world.”

“I [Lasakan] think it is a common misconception that if you use good/expensive skincare products, you will automatically be rewarded with good skin; we all know that’s not essentially true because skincare is about more than the products you use. It is also about the lifestyle that you lead, the way you feed your body and mind, and the exercise that you do. On social media, we essentially wanted to talk about the importance of self-care – it is what is ultimately going to guide you towards great skin…. We wanted the consumer to enter the Sadhev universe via Instagram.”

“We hope people start understanding that good skin is a result of a holistic ritual that involves nourishing and training the mind, body and soul. Starting these practices early can help one age with grace. And lastly, we hope people learn to love themselves a little more.”

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