Ayurveda- The Indian traditional system of health care believes in a holistic approach to health care and hair care is one of the vital parts of it. Ayurveda believes that just external application and precautions are not sufficient to keep it full of life, strength, luster, sheen, color, vitality and healthy life long. This issue is discussed in almost every classical text in detail which shows that our Rishis (sages) were also aware of the importance of this field. Ayurvedic Ahara-Vihar (Diet and Lifestyle) concept are two major factors that influence whole body and the health of the hair as well. Irregular dietary habits, Poor diet, Illness and Deficiencies of any particular Vitamin and Mineral affects the quality of hair and problems like dandruff, thinning hair, early baldness, premature graying, spoil the hair quality. In an individual the condition of the hair is the reflection of the complete constitution of his physical state. If the person is not healthy then the bad health will reflect from the hair. Ayurvedic classical literatures thrust upon overall regulation for hair care. Basic guidelines one should follow in life for wellbeing of hair are as follows:
(I). Massage scalp regularly: Topical application of medicated hair oil improves nourishment to the scalp which helps to keep your hair long, lustrous, strong, shining and thick. The warm oil head and scalp massage, especially when done with oil infused with Keshya (hair-friendly) herbs, nourishes the hair and scalp, alleviates dry scalp, enhances circulation. Coconut oil or Sesame oil, infused with herbs like Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba) or Japa (Hibiscus), helps maintain the color and luster of hair. Ayurvedic herbal hair oils contain a blend of hair-friendly herbs. If you can massage two or three times a week preferably in morning (1-2 hours before bath) for nourishment. Apply Narikela (coconut) oil or Sarshapi(mustard) oil (depending upon availability and suitability) at least three times in a week. Use of Classical Ayurvedic Medicated Oils like: Bhringraja oil, Neelibhringadi oil, Mahabhringraja oil and Brahmi-Amla oil helps to control complaints related to the scalp and hair.
(II). Regular cleansing of scalp and hair: Always keep your hair and scalp clean to avoid clogged hair follicles and itching of scalp. Cleanse with a gentle herbal shampoo or baby soap or soft home made herbal based shampoo. Over or excessive shampooing, especially with a harsh shampoo can lead to dry out the scalp and damage hair. Use lukewarm or fresh water to wash your hair, and follow with a natural conditioner. Let the hair dry naturally rather than blow-drying it. Trim hair regularly to take care of split ends and natural wear and tear. Regularly cleaning and brushing the hair is very important. When the hairs are brushed, oil-producing glands in the scalp get stimulated. This natural oil makes the hair glossy and healthy. To give extra shine to the hair, after washing rinse the hair with some lemon juice mixed in a cup of warm water.
(III). Regulate dietary habits: Irregular or unhealthy eating habits affect over all performance of all of our systems. Healthy eating is just as important for effective digestion and absorption as the healthy diet itself. Food should be fresh and whole and prepared lovingly. Ayurveda advocates that every one should have food in properly ventilated, calm, quiet corner and should not do any other job at the time of having food like watching your favorite television show or talking and discussing any business issue. Eat with your attention on the food, in a calm and serene frame of mind, and one should chew food properly before swallowing. For a good digestion a healthy person should not drink too much water during meals, few sips of water in between bites is fine, otherwise proper watering time is half an hour after food. One should drink luke warm water if oily, spicy and non vegetarian food is consumed. Dinner should always be light. All of such restrictions are important if you wish to keep your body free of Ama (toxins). Toxins build up in the body obstructs nutrients from reaching the cells and tissues of the body. The food articles and bad habits which one should get rid off are discussed also. They are as follows: Excessive intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, meats and smoking should be avoided. Eating too much fried, oily, greasy, spicy, sour and acidic foods is always harmful. Chemical or synthetic medicines should be avoided. Low blood circulation, anemia, general weakness after disease, stress, anxiety and mental tension should be treated by improving dietary habits and routine. Diseases like typhoid fever, jaundice and hormonal imbalance cause excessive falling of hair and aggravate the incidence of dandruff.
Especially after the age of forty, it is important to undergo periodic internal cleansing to flush away Ama (toxins). Triphala (mixture of equal quantity of fruits of Amalaki - Emblica officinalis, Vibhitaka - Terminalia belerica and Harad - Terminalia chebula) is a very popular, gentle, non- habit forming cleanser that can be taken frequently to regulate the digestive system.
(IV). Nutritious diet: Ayurvedic concept of way of life strongly is of the view, that healthy and nutritious food improves body of hair, so a balanced assortment of nutrients is necessary to prevent premature hair loss and early graying.
List of beneficial hair foods include white Sesame seeds, fresh Coconut, Green vegetables, whole Grains, Dates and Raisins, Dadhi (curd), Sprouted mixture of beans, Nuts and Seeds and healthy fats such as Ghee or Oil. Ayurvedic system of medicine advises to cook food with spices and aromatic herbs as they improve digestion and detoxify our body tissues. Ayurveda advocates for regular intake of Haridra (Turmeric), Maricha (Black pepper), Methi (Fenugreek), Dhania (Coriander) and Jeera (Cumin) are both flavoring and Agni (digestive fire) enhancing. Herbs like Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Hingu (Asafoetida), Bhringraja (Eclipta alba) and seasonal fruits especially citrus fruits help to improve digestion and immunity for all age groups and all Dosha types.
(V). Sleep Sufficiently: As per Ayurvedic concepts: Sleep is as important as nutritious food for well being of human body. Improper or irregular sleeping schedule causes disturbance to our body clock. Sleep is the phase when our body repairs tissues and reorganizes systems. One should retire to bed before 10 p.m. and should finish dinner two hours prior to sleep. Light dinner with less spice followed by a glass of milk (an hour after dinner) is always found to induce good quality sleep. Lack of sufficient sleep can lead to poor health of hair.
(VI). Stress management: Everybody faces high levels of mental and emotional stress due to fierce competition in day to day life of modern times. Living regularly in such state of stress can lead to excessive falling, premature graying, dry, dull-looking, lifeless appearance of hair. Herbal tea enriched with any one or more of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Mandookparni (Centella asiatica), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) supports natural ability to manage stress. Always spare time to rest and relax and practice relaxing yoga techniques and meditation to keep stress under control. Massaging scalp with medicated herbal oils is found to be helpful to mental relaxation and to control mood swings.
*Ayurvedic hair cleanser - Blend together coarsely grinded Amalaki (Embilica officinalis) - 50 Gms., Shikakai (Acacia concinna) - 30 Gms. and Arishtaka (Sapindus trifoliatus) - 20 Gms and Water - 1.5 Ltrs. make a decoction by boiling contents so that the water is reduced to 1 Ltr. and keep after straining it for washing the hair, but application of oil is always advisable prior to it. This should be made fresh.This a quantity of ingredients in this formulation is for reference only; quantities should be adjusted as per one's daily requirement. Use of freshly made hair wash solution is always advisable.
This article in nutshell:
- Shape or condition of your hair is reflection of your internal health.
- Good quality sleep relieves stress which is one of the causes of bad hair health.
- Following healthy food habits is always beneficial for wellbeing of hair.
- High protein diet improves condition of hair, controls excessive falling of hair.
- Crash dieting, hormonal imbalances, anemia and low blood circulation cause hair falling.
- Regular milk intake, sesame seeds, almonds and dry fruits help to make hair full of life.
- Application of Sesame oil or Coconut oil or Mustard oil is always good for healthy hair.
- Regular shampooing with undiluted shampoos should be avoided as it will damage hair.
- Hair oils enriched with Keshya (Hair friendly) herbs are always beneficial for hair.
- Regular maintaining of scalp hygiene is of prime importance to control hair disorders.
- Brushing naturally dried hair stimulates circulation to the scalp and hair follicles.
- Cleaning with hard water should be avoided, as it makes hair dry, rough, messy and dull.
- Always dilute shampoo by adding 100 times soft or mineral water to it.