Ayurvedic hair care concepts cover all the aspects of hair health – growth promotion, natural colour management and prevention of hair fall. Ayurvedic classical literature emphasizes the utility of various herbal compounds in hair care. This interesting factor is dealt in very subtle way but with deepest classical back ground.
Hair in Ayurveda:
Hair is the sub tissue (Upa Dhatu) of Asthi (bone tissue) ; some consider it as the mala (by product/waste derivative) of Shukra dhatu (reproductive system).
Basic elements of hair – In the origin and development of Kesha i.e. hair, there is significant need of Prithvi (earth element) and Akasha (space/ether) Mahabhoota. During the process of formation and development of hair, the successive role of other tissues can also be estimated; because, though its origin begins at the earliest for its appearance it takes much time. So the role of later dhatus like asthi and shukra can be well judged by this.
As far as the matter of hair and its growth is concerned, once again we can deduce the need of nutrition and essential body requirements as it is formed/derived from the later tissues.This is explained with the broad heading of Keshya concept. The word ‘keshya’ is suggestive of ‘keshaaya hitam yat tat’.It means that which is good for hair. So the goodness of hair can be understood by three perspectives like-
1. Kesha sanjanana-that which helps in the origin of hair
2. Kehsha vardhana-that which promotes hair growth or which makes hair dense and thick
3. Kesha ranjana – that which gives dark black color to the hair.
For the purpose of kasha sanjanana ie origin of hair, there is a need of the substances which help to promote the asthi and shukra dhatus as the hair is directly linked with these tissues as explained earlier. For the enrichment of asthi (bone tissue), prithvi (earth element) and akasha (ether) mahabhootas are very essential.
In this regard, the food and beverages which are Madhura(sweet) and Lavana(salt), Kashaya (astringent taste) are very essential. Likewise,to strengthen the Shukra Dhatu, Madhura(sweet) and Katu (pungent) rasa substances are indeed needed. Thus for the origin of hair, much nutrition is essential and there is need of a balanced diet too. These are the Ayurvedic herbs for hair growth
a. Vatama- Badam
b. Kajutaki- Cashew nut
c. Bhallataka beejamajja-Marking nut seed pulp
d. Narikela -Coconut pulp/milk
e. Jyotishmati – Celastrus paniculata
f. Godhuma (Sprouted wheat or wheat germ oil) etc
Following preparations are helpful for the origin of hair (Kesha sanjanana)-
1.Vatama taila/Badam tail
3.Hastidanta masi (application) along with Rasanjana
4.Godhuma taila/Wheat germ oil
5. Chemparutyadi keram
Above formulations are helpful in case of baldness, hair fall, itching of the scalp etc too.
Kesha vardhana – Hair growth promoters
For the promotion of growth of hair,the medicaments rich in snigdha (unctuousness), guru(heaviness), manda(slowness), sheeta(cold) and sthira(stable) qualities are essential.
Madhura(sweet), amla(sour) and slight kashaya (astringent) dominant substances contribute this benefit.If any drug with other taste and quality are to be included for added benefits,it is taken care that it is compensated well by the other herbal ingredients. Usually, the sesame oil or coconut oil which are used as the bases serve this purpose well.
Following herbs promote hair growth –
a. Methika (Fenugreek)
b. Vatankur (tender buts /aerial roots of vata-Ficus bengalensis)
c. Malati (Jasminum grandiflorum)
d. Kumari (Aloe vera)
e. Narikela (Coconut pulp/milk)
f. Japa (Hibiscus)
g. Amalaki (Amla/gooseberry)
h. Kamala (lotus)
i. Bhumyamalaki -Phyllanthus indica etc
Following preparations are helpful for the promotion of hair growth (Kesha sanjanana)-
1. Chemparutyadi keram/taila
2. Amalaki taila/keram
3. Malatyadi taila/keram
4. Kayyunyadi taila/keram
5. Utpaladi tailam
The above formulations are helpful in arresting the thinning of hair, splitting of the hair, burning of the scalp, premature graying of hair, hair fall etc
Kesha ranjana – restoring natural hair colour
Dark, long and black hair is the dream of every individual. Imparting good colour ie Kesha ranjana is possible by the substances which promote the Ranjaka Pitta and Bhrajaka pitta (pigmenting units derived from the Pitta -as per Ayurveda).Usually the herbal drugs (even mineral substances too) possessing unctuousness (snigdhaguna), teekshna (penetrative), ushna (warm/hot), laghu (light), Sara(motile) properties are beneficial in this respect.
Astringent(Kashaya) and bitter (tikta) herbal ingredients contribute this health benefit.
Few of the herbal drugs possessing this nature are-
a. Bhringaraja-Eclipta alba
b. Madayantika-Lawsonia inermis
c. Neeli-Indigofera trinctoria
d. Sharapunkha-Tephrosia purpuria
Following medicines serve as Ayurvedic cure for giving dark black color to the hair (Kesha ranjana)-
1. Neelibhringadi taila
2. Bhringaraja taila
3. Amalakyadi taila
4. Chemparutyadi taila
5. Neelinyadi taila
6.Manjishthadi taila etc
These kind of medicaments are helpful in preventing the premature graying of hair, curling of hair, reddening of hair etc.
So it is very essential to look into the actual problem behind the hair and simple usage of hair care tonics, lotions, shampoo or oil may not fulfill the need. Your Ayurvedic physician will do this job in judicial way.
Article by Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD (Ayu) and Dr Hebbar.