Ayurvedic Eye Cosmetic

1970-1981 in Pakistan
Hamdard (Waqf) Laboratories
Box for Binger surma by Hamdard Dawakhana (Waqf), 1970-1981

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Box for Binger surma by Hamdard Dawakhana (Waqf), 1970-1981
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Carton for Binger surma by Hamdard Dawakhana (Waqf), 1970-1981

Claiming to ‘maintain the starry radiance of the eyes and protect sight’ this Ayurvedic eye cosmetic was imported into the United Kingdom from Pakistan during the 1970s. The instructions state it should be placed in the eyes every night to improve sight. However, it can be administered as required to enhance beauty.

This product is made of a lead-based substance called Binger Surma. In the 1970s, such products became associated with dangerous levels of lead found in the blood of women and children who used them. Lead can cause severe brain damage.

Ayurveda is a medical tradition. Its roots are in the Indian subcontinent. However, its influence has spread to other parts of the world.


Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Object Number:
1981-1581 Pt1
box, cardboard and surma, lead
overall: 125 cm x 50 mm x 30 mm, .01kg
Gift of Nottingham University (Pharmacy Dept.)