4 Ayurvedic Methods for Healthier Hair
From an Ayurvedic perspective, the state of our external bodies (including our hair) can give us valuable information about our internal health. Moreover, our general health and our digestion, diet, etc. can affect the state of our hair. Ayurveda’s approach to hair health is one that is natural and systemic, which helps to address the root cause of the issue, whether it is dryness, breakage, hair loss, lack of luster, etc.
Below are four natural methods to help improve not only your hair’s appearance, but its health as well. It is important to know that natural methods are not a quick fix. Just as hair damage does not occur overnight, the solution will also take some time. Keep in mind that a whole-body approach can be much more effective than superficial hair treatments alone, but you do have to give it some time to work!
1. Hair Oiling
Hair oiling is an ancient technique used to promote healthy hair. Massaging the scalp and hair with oil once a week rejuvenates dry hair and stimulates circulation in the scalp.
To practice hair oiling, simply place an oil of your choice (coconut or jojoba are my favorites) in a small bowl and scoop some out with your hands, warming it between your palms. Apply evenly to your scalp, parting your hair in different locations to help get the oil to the roots. Spend a few minutes massaging the scalp with circular motions. After this, let the oil sit for 30 minutes or longer. If you choose to leave it on overnight like a hair mask, make sure to protect your pillowcase. If you are looking for an extra boost for improved hair growth, consider adding castor oil to the coconut or jojoba oil. Castor oil is proven to effectively stimulate hair growth.
A trick for removing the oil when you are ready to wash your hair is to apply conditioner to your roots and scalp first, prior to showering. The conditioner helps to break down the oil and allow it to wash out easier. Then, shampoo as normal during your shower.
2. Eat Your Greens!
What we put in our bodies impacts our hair health to no small extent. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard and collard greens are loaded with nutrients that promote hair health such as iron, folate, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. Not only do these nutrients promote healthy hair growth, but they also help prevent breakage. Leafy greens also contain lots of antioxidants, which protect against the aging effects of free radicals, and help reduce inflammation in the body which can affect the state of your hair.
3. Herbal Formulas
One of the most popular and effective Ayurvedic herbs for healthy hair is amalaki, or Indian gooseberry. Amalaki is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and can help make hair stronger, healthier and less prone to damage or breakage. Amalaki oil can be found in health food stores like Whole Foods for a hair mask, or you can take it internally in powder or supplement form. Always make sure that you are purchasing from a high quality, organic source like Banyan Botanicals.
If you want to take the herbal approach to the next level, consider trying a formulation that combines several herbs known to optimize hair health. Healthy Hair tablets from Banyan Botanicals include four of the most potent Ayurvedic herbs for optimizing hair health: bhringaraj, amalaki, brahmi, and hibiscus flower. Bhringraj is a cooling herb that is known to promote healthy circulation, which is beneficial for hair follicles and brahmi is great for stress relief (stress can cause hair loss) as well as for supporting liver function. By supporting the natural cleansing action of the liver, encouraging circulation of the blood, and providing antioxidants and vital nutrients, a combination herbal supplement will provide a multifaceted internal approach to healthy hair from the root.
Other beneficial herbs for hair include:
He Shou Wu - This is one of the primary herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for hair loss and early graying.
Astragalus root - This helps protect the body from the effects of stress and aging and has beneficial effects on the hematological systems of the body, which is important for hair health.
Rehmannia root - This herb helps to target brittle or shedding hair brought on by stress. In contemporary herbalism, Rehmannia is known as a “trophorestorative” for the adrenals and is recommended for recovery from nervous system burnout.
3. Relax and Recharge
The fact that hair loss can be related to stress is well documented. According to MayoClinic.org, while hair loss can be related to stress, the damage is not necessarily irreversible. By addressing the root cause and taking measures to stress less, hair loss due to stress can grow back.
Meditation, yoga, working out, going for a walk, even watching Netflix for a moderate amount of time are all great ways to unwind and relax. In our culture where “busy-ness” is praised and where it seems like we are all in a competition to do more, taking time out for ourselves to truly decompress is not only recommended, but critical for our overall health and wellbeing.