Carton for Nargisi surma by Hamdard Dawakhana (Waqf), 1970-1981
Can an eye cosmetic prevent eye disease and vision defects, as well as eliminate the need for glasses? This Ayurvedic eye cosmetic claims so. It was imported into the United Kingdom from Pakistan during the 1970s. The product is made of a substance called Nargisi Surma. It is still available today. In the 1970s, some surma products became associated with dangerous levels of lead found in the blood of women and children who used them. High lead levels can lead to serious brain damage.
This product was manufactured by Hamdard (Waqf) Laboratories in Pakistan. The company specialises in Unani Tibb medicines and also makes Ayurvedic products.
Ayurveda is a medical tradition. Its roots are in the Indian subcontinent. However, its influence has spread to other parts of the world.