Thanakha – A Gift From Aphrodite

The botanical name of Thanakha is Rutaceac (family trees) and it has three species. Which are:

  • Limonia Acidissima
  • Muraya Peniculata
  • Muraya Exotica


The older age of the tree offer the better quality of thanakha experience.  Minimum age of Thanakha tree is needed at least five year of time to grown up. The mature enough good quality of Thanakha may be over 35 years or more.  The life span of Thanakha can be almost two hundred years’ time.

History says Thanakha tradition started since 14th century according to a historic poem written by some famous poet.  There are some different kinds of Thanakha available in Myanmar; among them “Shwebo Thankha” is quite famous and expensive also. Shwebo Thanakha is originallty from Sagaing Division and can be also found in Magway Division as well.


Thanakha & Kyauk Pyin can’t be apart as it’s the main collaborator to make Thanakha paste. Kyauk Pyin is made from the sand stone as rounded shape; top up design can be different according to the artist. The cream is made by stimulated crushing the wood of thanakha tree with some drops of water on Kyauk Pyin. After ten or eleven time of grinding, the paste is ready to trimming.

Thanakha has effect of being cool and smooth. The paste fragrant creates fresh feeling and dreamy mood. Burmese people believe thanakha can protect the sunburn, more smooth and freshly skin and prevent from the oily face and reduce black spot on the skin.

Every festival in Myanmar, you could find thanakha shop at least one or two. For some events, it’s the stroll to do thanakha shopping that can kill your time the whole evening. Thanakha can be bought a small log or bunch of wood, as the sticky paste, hard-pressed dry solid in different shape or even in powder form.


Even when a Burmese woman goes on a trip, they would bring thanakha along, any form of thanakha. Nowadays there is a brand who selling thanakha paste with a nice packaging. That would save a huge weigh of luggage instead of bringing Kyauk Pyin & Thanakha wood. The name called “Taung Gyi Mauk Mal”. Direction to use – put a small amount of Thanakha on your palm, then add some drops of water on it, mixed it well and wear it the yellow-ish mixture on your face.  Some ladies love to sleep with muddy thanakha paste as mask to enchant the cool overnight.

At the present time, Myanmar’s Thanakha is famous for its splendid natural effect and the tradition spread to the world. Some cosmetic company upgraded the form and produced the new forms as soap or cream. But as a typical Burmese woman, I only prefer the original the thanakha paste which made from the wood and the stone. If you see a woman with a yellow-ish make up on the face, you definitely know that’s a Burmese woman. Nothing in this world can keep the Burmese women apart from Thanakha because it’s the gift from Aphrodite.

TNK Travel Team


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