Description Of Hair And Its Importance As Per Ayurveda

Article by Vd.A.Rangaprasad Bhat.
Pattern of Normal Hair growth cycle:-
Hair follicle growth occurs in a specific pattern of  cycles. Each growth cycle starts with a long growing phase (Anagen – Keshodbhava avasthA) a short transitional phase (catagen – kshaNika avasthA) and a short resting phase  

(telogen  – pratiSHTA avasthA). At the end of cycle, the hair falls out (exogen – patana avasthA) and a new hair starts growing in the follicle beginning the cycle (i.e. anagen- catagen – telogen – exogen) again.

Research studies suggest the finding that normally on average 40 hairs reach the resting phase aka pratiSHTA avastha and fall out, each day. In men the number of hairs falling vary from 0—70.

When about 100 or more of the hairs fallout per day the clinical hair loss of  kesha patana (telogen effluvium) occurs. While, the growing phase (keshodbhava avastha) gets pathologically disrupted abnormal loss of hair like indralupta or khalityam (anagen effluvium) occurs). The pathological disruption caused may be due to kehsAda, lomAda etc krmis, or due to the tejoanilAdaya doshas.

As per Ayurveda, hair originates from the paitruka – paternal influence.  Hair or body hair is considered as a

1. Mala of asthidhatu by Charaka  – waste product of bone tissue
2. As an upadhatu of majja by Sarangadhara. – Sub tissue of marrow
(Reference:-   देहेऽस्मिन् किं मातृजम् ? किं पितृजम् ? इत्याह —- मृद्वत्र मातृजं रक्तमांसमज्जगुदादिकम्||४|| पैतृकं तु स्थिरं शुक्रधमन्यस्थिकचादिकम्|  चैतनं चित्तमक्षाणि नानायोनिषु जन्म च||५)   

Characteristics of hairs:
The prashastha kesha lakshanas are, susnigdhata (unctuous), mruduta(soft),
Sookshmata(slender), naika moolatwa(not with a single root) and sthiratwa(attached strongly to the follicle).

Features of hair as per body types: 
Vata prakruti:
Alpa kesha(scarcely distributed hairs),
Rooksha kesha (dry hairs),
Sphutita kasha (split hairs),
Parusha kasha (rough hairs) and
Dushara varna (gray coloured).
(Reference:-   तत्र वातप्रकृतिः प्रजागरूकः शीतद्वेषी दुर्भगः स्तेनो मत्सर्यनार्यो गन्धर्वचित्तः स्फुटितकरचरणोऽल्परूक्षश्मश्रुनखकेशः || सुश्रुतसंहिता||शारीरस्थानम् – ४. गर्भव्याकरणशारीरम् /६४||)

Pitta prakruti:
Tanu (thin / slender),
Mrudu (soft), alpa(less),
Pinga varna (tawny coloured) and
Kapila varna (brownish red coloured).

Kapha prakruti:
Stira(stable/firmly attached to the follicle),
kutila(curly),
Ghana (compact or thick) and neela varna (black/ blackish blue tinged).

SAra and its interpretation through clinical examination of Kesha:
During the examination of the patient the quantum of  sAra too gets adjucated for selecting remedial measures. Acharya Charak mentions  eight types of sAra in humans which helps to assess the quantum of strength are related to the following structures and entities namely – sAra of twak, rakta, mamsa, medas, asthi, majja, sukra and sattwa.

(Reference:-   सारतश्चेति साराण्यष्टौ पुरुषाणां बलमानविशेषज्ञानार्थमुपदिश्यन्ते; तद्यथा- त्वग्रक्तमांसमेदोऽस्थिमज्जशुक्रसत्त्वानीति|| चरकसंहिता- विमानस्थानम् – ८. रोगभिषग्जितीयविमानम् /१०२||)

Acharya Charaka describes the nature of kesha according to sAra also.

Features of Kesha in Twak sAra humans: –
Snigdha, slakshana, mrudu, prasanna, sookshma, alpa, gambheera and sukumara kesha.
(Reference:-   तत्र स्निग्धश्लक्ष्णमृदुप्रसन्नसूक्ष्माल्पगम्भीरसुकुमारलोमा सप्रभेव च त्वक् त्वक्साराणाम्|
सा सारता सुखसौभाग्यैश्वर्योपभोगबुद्धिविद्यारोग्यप्रहर्षणान्यायुष्यत्वं चाचष्टे||
चरकसंहिता- विमानस्थानम् – ८. रोगभिषग्जितीयविमानम् /१०३||)

Features of hair in  Meda sara humans:-
Snigdha kesha – oily, shining unctuous hair
(Reference:-   वर्णस्वरनेत्रकेशलोमनखदन्तौष्ठमूत्रपुरीषेषु विशेषतः स्नेहो मेदःसाराणाम्| सा सारता वित्तैश्वर्यसुखोपभोगप्रदानान्यार्जवं सुकुमारोपचारतां चा चष्टे|| चरकसंहिता- विमानस्थानम् – ८. रोगभिषग्जितीयविमानम् /१०६||)

Vd.A.Rangaprasad Bhat,
Chief Physician,
PADMANILAYAM, 49/46, K.M.N St,
Mandavelipakkam,  Chennai-600028
Email: drrangaprasadbhat@gmail.com

 


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