HAIR CARE AND AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

- Dr. Murali Manohar Chirumamilla, M.D. (Ayurveda)

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Ayurvedic herbs have long been associated with hair care. Very often, various herbs are used in making conditioners, shampoos and rinses. If you were to consider your skin as a rolling landscape, the hair is tall grassland needing moisture, nourishment, and a firm root system to flourish. Therefore, the beauty of hair is largely dependent on your health.

Hair fall is the biggest and the most agonising problem of the youth today. Ayurvedic remedies to counter the problem are fast gaining popularity among the masses. In ayurveda, hair fall is termed as Indralupta. At times, it is also referred to as khaalitya.

Ayurveda runs on Tridosha theory; vaata, pitta and kapha are the tridoshas. These govern the physio-chemical and physiological activities of the body. Coming to the problem of the hair, the vitiation of pitta and kapha leads to graying and falling of the hair. A dry and rough appearance to the hair is usually caused by vaata vitiation. Just as drought and blazing heat quickly destroy a lawn, heat is most detrimental for the hair. Too much temperature dries the hair and heats the head, weakening the scalp and hair roots.

Guidelines

Cleanliness: To begin with, everything used for the hair should be spotlessly 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, but 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.

Massage: Daily hair care is necessary. Massage of 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, deep pressure should be applied with 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.

Oil application: Massage should be done using either oils or lotions, both of which are useful in different ways. They act as antiseptics or lubricants during massage. There are a variety of medicated oils available in the market with good results like the Neelikaadya taila, Neelibhrungaadi taila, Bhringa raaja taila, to mention a few.

You can also prepare good hair oil at home. Take pure coconut oil and fresh Brahmi (Centella asiatica) leaf juice, 16 parts each. To this, add cloves and cardamom, one part each. Heat the ingredients until all the water evaporates and preserve in clean bottle. If you add fresh amla (Emblica officinalis) juice equal to brahmi leaf juice, the medicinal value of the oil will increase. Regular use of the oil has a cooling effect on the eyes, helps you to sleep well and protects your hair from early fall and premature greying. It also keeps the hair silky soft. These oils enhance the effect of the massage by nourishing and strengthening the hair roots and promoting hair growth. Warm the oil before the massage as it is more relaxing and penetrates better.

Brushing: Hair should be brushed well for five minutes at night and in the morning, preferably in front of an open window, as air is necessary for healthy air. 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.

Shampooing: No hard and fast rule can be laid down about the frequency of washing hair. Traditionally, powdered herbs are used to cleanse the hair, which remove dirt without disturbing the natural functioning of the scalp. You can also prepare your own wet shampoo. Take one tablespoonful of grated or powdered ritha and shikakai. Add a handful of herbs (according to the need) and boil in half pint of water. Alternately, you can pour the boiling water over the mixture also. Allow cooling. 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.

Conditioning: Artificial conditioners do little more than provide an oily film that traps dirt and makes the hair look dull. If one feels the use of conditioners that are essential, one can always 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 decoction of yasthimadhu (Liquorice/Glyccyrrhiza glabra) roots. After washing the hair, apply this decoction all over the scalp, rubbing and massaging with the fingers. Leave it on for two-three minutes and then rinse once again with water.

Hair Ailments

Hair ailments, such as dandruff and scurff, brittle and falling hair, grease or dryness, should never be neglected. Cases, which do not yield to simple treatment, always indicate an unhealthy condition, and should be treated by a competent ayuvedic medical practitioner.

Hair loss

Different causes are attributed to hair fall. Apart from a poor diet, hair can be severely damaged by many other factors. It could be due to stress and tension, thyroid imbalance, medications—especially diet pills, hormonal changes in pregnancy and menopause, allergies, shock or long-term worry, over-processed food with colours and dyes, and genetic tendencies.

Baldness in men is a frequently occurring problem. One can act appropriately to prevent it. These precautions should be taken when one feels the acute loss of hair and when the loss is not proportionate to the new growth. Actually, hair loss is a normal phenomenon as new hair growth replaces the old. However, when this balance is disturbed and the lost hair is not replaced, one is heading toward baldness. The loss and growth of hair is variable during different seasons.

From ayurvedic point of view, good hair growth is linked to one’s physical and mental health. When one is cheerful, the hair looks lively too and when one is feeling depressed and pessimistic, the hair acquires a fallen and ‘lifeless’ look. Problem with hair always indicates dosha imbalance as well as a disequilibrium of the activities of your mind. Following are some of the suggestions for hair care and prevention of hair loss:

bulletDo not let kapha accumulate in your head. There are people who suffer perpetually from cold. These people get grey hair at an early age. Do not take a persisting common cold lightly. Get rid of it.
bulletDo not neglect sinusitis. It has adverse effect on hair.
bulletPractise jaladhauti and yoga asanas (especially inverted positions).
bulletMake sure that the digestive system functions well, that your liver is healthy and that you do not suffer from other gastric troubles. A sluggish liver and other digestive problems promote hair loss and turn the hair grey.
bulletRegular care and an ayurvedic massage of the head is essential to revitalise the scalp.
bulletBhringaraaja is referred to as keshraja or ‘king of the hair’ as it promotes the growth of hair on the head and makes it black and lustrous.
bulletIt is the best known herb 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 used externally as Bhringraj oil. It is an excellent rejuvenator.

Grey hair

As middle age comes on, the natural pigment of the hair tends to disappear, and the hair turns grey, and finally, completely white. Sometimes, the hair begins to turn grey at an early age, which could be due to heredity, nervous shock, or diseases. When premature greying occurs, it is always advisable to go for a thorough examination. However, here are certain preventive measures for premature greying of hair.

Take aamla and almond oil, one tablespoon each, mix with few drops of limejuice, and apply externally. Besides this, a tablespoon of the curry leaves juice with a cup of buttermilk or lassi is the time-tested medicine used for premature greying of hair. Among the vegetable hair dyes, henna is the most widely used one.

Superfluous hair or unwanted hair

This term refers to hair growth at wrong places, like underarms, on the legs and forearms, and especially on the face of women. Superfluous hair results from the development of the long hairs into hairs of ordinary size.

Preparations for the removal of unwanted hair have been known for thousands of years. A mixture of quicklime and arsenical pyrites in a ratio of 1:2 was said to be used by the dancing girls and male artistes in ancient times. Sarangadhara samhita, a treatise on Ayurveda, describes few formulae that act as depilatories. For example, a paste made up of conch-shell-lime (sankuvu soaked in the juice of plantain tree) and of yellow-orpiment (Haritaala; Arsenic trisulphide or Harataala) in equal parts can be used externally.

Note

As we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually formulated. This article is intended only for information. It is not a substitute to the standard medical diagnosis, personalized Ayurvedic treatment or qualified Ayurvedic physician. For specific treatment, always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.

 

Address

Dr. Ch. Murali Manohar, M.D. (Ayurveda)

Ayurvedic Specialist

Raksha Ayurvedic Centre,

Opp. Directorate of Women Development,

Yousufguda Main Road (Sarathi Studio Road),

Ameerpet, Hyderabad - 500073.,

Andhra Pradesh, INDIA

Phones: Land: +91 (040) 23742146; Mobile: 09246575510

Consultation Hours  (by phone appointment)

Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Sundays: 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.

 E-mail: muralimanoharch@hotmail.com

 

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