From the Ayurvedic point of view, hair growth is linked to your physical and mental health. When you are cheerful, your hair looks lively. But when you are depressed and pessimistic, your hair acquires a lifeless look.
What Causes Hair Loss And Graying?
Any problem with hair will always indicate a dosha imbalance as well as a disequilibrium in the activities of your mind.
According to Ayurveda, hair is a byproduct of bone formation, and the tissue responsible for building bones is also responsible for the growth of hair. Early hair loss is related to the body type and the balance of the mind-body constitution (doshas).
In Ayurveda, hair loss is referred to as khalitya and premature graying of hair is termed as Palitya. Both khalitya and Palitya are considered pure paitik disorders (those arising out your pitta dosha imbalances). So when you continuously disturb pitta (heat in your body), it can gray your hair.
According to Ayurveda, if you consume pitta-enhancing substances, your pitta aggravates and causes gray hair.
People who have excess pitta in their body are likely to lose hair early in life or have prematurely thin or gray hair. Excess pitta in the sebaceous gland, at the root of the hair, or folliculitis can also lead to hair loss.
What Are The Common Symptoms?
Apart from the obvious symptoms of loss of hair (when you comb) and graying hair at an early age, some systemic symptoms of pitta aggravation might also be present:
- Acid stomach
- Excessive sweating
- Intolerance to heat.
What Are The Common Causes?
Increased intake of fried, sour, spicy, salty, and fermented foods as well as tea and coffee aggravate the pitta dosha in the body. This pitta accumulates in the skin of the scalp, leading to hair falling out and graying prematurely.
Factors like excessive anger and stress are also responsible for unstable pitta. Excessive consumption of alcohol and meat also aggravate it.
Ayurvedic Remedies For Hair Loss And Gray Hair
Ayurveda recommends specialized home remedies to prevent as well as manage the gray hair all over the body. According to Ayurvedic physiology, the digestive essence (Rasa element) is responsible for healthy hair (both color and structure). Any pathology affecting this leads to white hair.
Here are some useful Ayurveda tips to control hair fall and gray hair:
1. Panchkarma Therapy
Panchkarma therapies like Virechana, Nasya, and Shirodhara are very useful for gray hair.
- Virechana helps balance the vitiated pitta dosha.
- The best oil for Nasya is shadbindu, neem, or yashtimadhu.
- Shirodhara with bhringaraaja oil or neeli oil can help to reduce hair fall and gray hair.
A regular hair massage with til oil (prepared with Amla—Indian gooseberry, neem, and yashtimadhu—liquorice) helps prevent hair loss. Applying ghee (made from cow milk) before sleep on bottom of the feet with a bronze vessel will help to convert gray hair into black.
- Avoid spicy, heavy, and oily foods as well as tea and coffee.
- Avoid refined foods, refined sugar, junk food, and alcoholic and carbonated drinks.
- Increase the intake of fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, and vegetable juice prepared from lettuce, carrot, capsicum, and alfalfa.
3. Daily Hair Care
Always keep in mind that hairs are an essential part of our body and need special attention and care. Handle your hair gently. Whenever possible, allow your hair to air-dry naturally. Avoid compulsively twisting, rubbing, or pulling your hair.
- To begin with, everything used for the hair should be clean. Brushes should be of good quality. The whalebone-bristle variety is perhaps the best, as it is not so stiff as to damage the hair; the bristles are long and stiff enough to brush the scalp apart from the hair.
- Remember, combs should always be blunt-toothed. Both combs and brushes should be washed twice a week, and kept in a bag, which should be washed frequently.
- Both the brain and scalp prefer to be kept cool, so whenever washing the hair, it is best to use lukewarm water and a cool water rinse. It helps in toning the scalp and refreshing the nervous system.
Massaging the scalp is perhaps the best method for keeping your hair healthy and preventing hair loss. Though a good massage can be given with blunt-toothed comb, the best way is to massage with hands.
- The thumbs should be placed at the back of the ears and the scalp rotated under the fingertips. Ensure that the scalp is also moved, apart from the fingers.
- Then, apply deep pressure with your palms pressed firmly against the scalp. This ensures good circulation and an increased blood supply to the hair roots.
A head massage helps relieve tension, improves circulation, and strengthens the hair roots.
- The purpose of shampooing is to remove any dirt or impurities from the hair, making them clean and tidy. Harsh shampoos will just cause the sebaceous gland to overcompensate by producing more oil than necessary.
- It is advisable to wash your hair daily or on alternate days using herbal shampoos or any baby shampoos diluted with water. Traditionally, powdered herbs are used to cleanse the hair, which remove dirt without disturbing the natural functioning of the scalp.
DIY Shampoo: You can also prepare your own wet shampoo.
- Take one tablespoonful of grated or powdered ritha and shikakai.
- Add a handful of herbs (as needed) and boil in half pint of water.
- Alternately, you can pour the boiling water over the mixture also.
- Allow it to cool. Strain and use as you would use your regular shampoo.
The foam of the chemical shampoos has little to do with the cleaning effect. They are simple and harsh chemicals, which strip the outer protein layer of the hair and dry the scalp, making the use of conditioners necessary.
Artificial conditioners do little more than provide an oily film that traps dirt and makes the hair look dull. It is always preferable to prepare an effective conditioner at home:
- Mix sugar or honey, lemon juice, and water in the ratio of 2:1:5. Prepare the needed quantity depending upon the length of your hair.
- After washing the hair, rub this mixture over the entire scalp and the hair thoroughly.
- Rinse it after about a minute.
- If you have dry scalp or if the skin keeps peeling off, use a mixture of yasthimadhu (Liquorice/Glyccyrrhiza glabra) roots.
- After washing the hair, apply this mixture all over the scalp, rubbing and massaging with the fingers.
- Leave it on for 2–3 minutes and then rinse once again with water.
You should comb your hair every day with careful gentle 15-20 strokes. Combing the scalp helps keep your hair healthy and can also promote hair growth. It also an effective way to relax. It also prevents and fights avoidable hair loss and re-establishes the natural development of healthy hair.
Brush your hair for five minutes at night and in the morning, preferably in front of an open window, as air is necessary for healthy hair. Brushing should not be so vigorous as to stretch the hair, as it will weaken the hair. Brushing the hair from back to front ventilates the scalp.
4. Take Treatment For Cold
Don’t let kapha accumulate in your head. People who suffer perpetually from cold are more susceptible to get gray hair at an early age. Do not take a persisting common cold lightly. Seek treatment.
5. Take Treatment For Sinusitis
Do not neglect sinusitis. It has an adverse effect on hair.
6. Good Digestion
Make sure that your digestive system functions well, your liver is healthy, and you do not suffer from other gastric troubles. A sluggish liver and other digestive problems promote hair loss and turn the hair gray.
7. Head Massage
Regular care and an Ayurvedic massage of the head is essential to revitalize the scalp.
8. Apply Essential Oils
Bhringaraaja referred to as keshraja or “king of the hair” is an excellent rejuvenator. It also promotes hair growth and makes it black and lustrous. It is known to effectively stop and reverse balding and premature graying. It cools the brain and helps calm the mind from excessive activity, thus promoting sound sleep.
Bhringaraaja is taken internally and also used externally as an oil.
9. Eat Copper-Rich Foods
Sometimes gray hair begins to appear due to lack of copper in your diet. Take a multi-vitamin daily as most of them contain copper:
- Foods that are rich in copper are turnip greens, lima beans, yams, spinach, and most meats.
- Copper is also found in blackberries, pineapple, pomegranates, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
Yoga To Prevent Hair Loss And Gray Hair
According to yoga, the nerve endings below the fingernails are directly connected to the roots of a person’s hair. Rubbing the nails against one another improves the blood circulation in the scalp, which in turn reduces gray hair. Yoga asanas and kapalabhati are also said to help in arresting the graying process.
1. Prasanna Mudra
Keep hand near the chest. Rub the nails of the eight fingers against each other for 5 to 10 minutes for 30 days. The thumbs should be straight. This slows down hair loss, with reduction of gray hair and split ends. It makes your hair lustrous and strong.
Mandukasana is very good for premature graying hair and help to stop further graying of hair. It is also useful for some other illness like constipation, diabetes and digestive disorders, effectively reduce weight of thighs, hips and the abdomen. This asana strengthens the lower parts of the loins.