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By Alakananda Ma
Your hair and your health
Your hair concern may indicate issues with your general health. For example, changes in thyroid function can lead to hair loss, or digestive issues may lead to poor nutrition of your hair roots. To best care for your hair, it is important to follow your practitioner's advice regarding herbs and lifestyle changes as well as pursuing any referrals your practitioner may suggest.
Diet and your hair
Because your hair is nourished and grows from its roots, your diet is an important key to hair health. To support the thickness and appearance of your hair, avoid junk foods such as white sugar, refined flour, trans fats, fast food and bagged snacks. Healthy, attractive hair requires a diet rich in whole grains vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds as well as those legumes and dairy products that are suitable for your constitution. Taking the time to relax, sit down and eat helps maximize the nutritional benefit from your food. Proper digestion is aided by using spices such as turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, coriander and fennel and by drinking spice teas made from cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Your practitioner will guide you as to the specific nutritional guidelines for your body type.
Herbs and your hair
Your hair will be helped not only by external applications but also by herbs taken orally to support your hair roots. Both Healthy Hair and Triphala contain herbs which, according to the Ayurvedic texts, help support the colour and thickness of your hair.
Although male pattern baldness is a natural process, hair damage can speed the loss of your hair. Tight hard hats or helmets used at work or for recreational activities may damage your hair shafts, as may wearing a hat. Unless your religion obliges you to wear a hat, yarmulke or turban, leave your head uncovered whenever feasible.
Excess shampooing, combing and brushing may be counterproductive and damaging your hair. It is better not to wash your hair daily as the natural oils produced by your scalp nourish your hair. So unless you are being exposed to pollution that collects in your hair, twice a week is a good shampooing routine. Be very gentle with wet hair. Blow dryers, and rough towels as well as brushing or combing while wet may damage your hair shafts. It is best to pat wet hair gently and wrap it in an absorbent towel. After it begins to dry, comb it out gently with a wide toothed comb.
Oiling your hair: According to the Ayurvedic tcxts, "One who moistens his head with oily substances daily does not suffer from headache, hair loss, greying of the hair or baldness." Given the importance of a youthful look in today's job market, oiling your hair daily could be a prudent move. Of course, showing up at work with oil in your hair might not be perceived as good grooming! However, try to oil your hair at least once a week, using coconut oil in summer and sesame oil in winter. For best results, you can massage your scalp with Bhringaraj oil in winter and Brahmi coconut oil in summer.
Herbal hair rinse
As baldness has been an issue since ancient times, the Ayurvedic text take care to mention herbs that help improve the thickness and growth of hair. A herbal hair rinse with hair tonic remedies can benefit your hair.
Hair rinse for thinning or greying hair: : 1 tsp Amlaki
1 cup water
Place in screw top glass jar. Shake vigorously with the lid on and leave overnight. In the morning, use as a hair rinse. (Vata--warm it before pouring over your head!)
Diet: Take great care to avoid white sugar and junk foods
Hair oil: Massage head with neem oil
Dandruff rinse: 2 tsp Triphala
1 tsp neem powder
Place in screw top glass jar and add 2 cups water. Shake vigorously with the lid on and leave overnight. In the morning, use as a hair rinse to improve sheen and body. (Vata--warm it before pouring over your head!)
Care of the bald scalp
Despite the best of hair care, a combination of genetic and hormonal factors may still leave you with a bald patch. Remember to protect this area from sunlight as it is vulnerable to skin cancer. Traditionally in India this area is protected and cooled in summer with application of Brahmi oil in a coconut base and is gently covered when going out in sunlight.