Ayurveda in Hair Care

A Holistic approach

Image used for illustrative purposes only

Hair – crowning glory, helps define who we are. It symbolizes religion, political status, gender and race. In Indian culture, hair is considered as a most important aspect of beauty. It is the first noticeable part of beauty for both women as well as men. Whether curly, straight or natural, hair plays a fundamental role in enhancing the personality of a human being. Besides, healthy hair is also a mirror of a healthy state of the body. Thus, keeping hair healthy and vibrant is entirely important, as if hair looks good one automatically feels good. 

Modern lifestyle, dietary habits and increasing pollution has led to proliferate hair problems viz. hair fall, graying of hair and dandruff. Hair loss at any age can be upsetting, and with incidence of hair loss found more in adolescents or young adults, causes stress and inferiority complex. 

This has led to an upsurge as well as development of the Hair-care segment in cosmetic industry. Accordingly, there has been recent advancement in hair care technology which claims revolution and novel strategies for hair treatment as well as in cosmetic products. Primarily, shampoo is employed for the treatment of hair and scalp. It not only provides gentle cleansing, but is also responsible for maintaining the health and beauty of hair, gloss and also recuperating its manageability. 

However, with the herbal wave sweeping over the entire society, there has been a tremendous increase in the use of natural ingredients and additives, in cosmetic products, as a replacement of synthetic compounds, which has possible negative effects on health and environment.But, mere use of natural ingredients cannot serve the purpose, as a number of internal factors such as hormonal imbalance, genetic factors, clinical condition etc. also have an influence on hair growth. 

Hence, there arises a need to return back to our roots with Ayurveda – the ancient science of healing. The Hair-care in Ayurveda is an amalgamation of Nidana (diagnosis), Ahar (food as preventive medicine) and Chikitsa (supportive treatment). Hair in Ayurveda is closely related to Asthi dhatu (bone tissue) and it is also linked to the central nervous system and stomach. Thus, any imbalance in the unique constituency of Vata, Pitta and Kaphadosha has an impact on the bone marrow, nervous and digestive system, which in turn is reflected on the scalp and hair.

The Hair-care regimen of Ayurveda comprises of a unique blend of curative and preventive aspects. The curative and preventive measures comprises of:

Lepa (Hair Mask): Lepa is one of the most potential way which helps to provide vital nutrients essential for hair nourishment and root strengthening. In Ayurveda, elevated doshaspecific lepais applied to the hair scalp. In hair fall, lepain form of dry paste is rubbed on the scalp of skin to remove obstruction caused by Raktaand Kapha, this stimulates blood circulation which promotes growth of new hair follicles. While, in dandruff, dry massage or oily paste is applied to pacify Vataand Kaphaand which helps in prevention of dandruff on the scalp. 

Abhyanga or Moordhataila(Massage):Oil should be applied regularly on the scalp as it prevents hair fall, baldness as well as makes hair black, long and deep-rooted. It not only imparts nourishment to the hair follicles but also gives strength to the cortex and fibre of the hair. Medicated hair oil treated with various Ayurvedic herbs helps enhance the effect. 

Rasayana(Rejuvenation therapy): Rasayanaare preparations which delay ageing process by rejuvenating the Dhatu’s of the body. Rasayanadravyaslike Amalaki, MandukparniYashtimadhu, Guduchi, Bhringrajaetc. are widely used in Hair-care internal medicines in Ayurveda. 

Snana(Bath):Hair must be washed properly at least three times a week with not very warm or cold water. Shampoos or soaps used for hair wash must be mild and free from chemicals. Medicated shampoos prepared with Keshyadrugs can further aid in hair fall, dandruff as well as in maintaining the glow and lustre of healthy hair. 

Ushnishka (Turban or cap): Hair must be covered with a turban or cap in order to protect it from environmental factors. 

Keshyadrugs: Keshyain Ayurveda is defined as drugs which are beneficial for Kesha (hair). They are broadly classified as Kesha sanjanana(helps in origin of hair), Kesha vardhana(promotes hair growth)and Kesha ranjana(helps restore natural hair colour). The  

 Keshyadrugs commonly employed in Ayurveda for hair care are as follows:

S.No. Name Botanical Name Family Part Used
1 Yashtimadhu Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn. Fabaceae Root
2 Bhringaraj Eclipta alba Hassk. Compositae Whole Plant
3 Japa Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn. Malvaceae Flower
4 Amalaki Phyllanthus emblicaLinn. Phyllanthaceae Fruit
5 Nimba Azadirachta indica A. Juss. Meliaceae Leaves
6 Tila Sesamum indicum Linn. Pedaliaceae Oil
7 Neeli IndigoferatinctoriaLinn. Fabaceae Whole Plant
8 Jati Jasminum officinale Linn. Oleaceae Leaves
9 Gunja AbrusprecatoriusLinn. Fabaceae Seed
10 Karanj Pongamia pinnata (L.) Pierre Fabaceae Seed
11 Dhattura Datura metelLinn. Solanaceae Leaves
12 Vibhitaki Terminalia bellirica Roxb. Combretaceae Fruit
13 Bakuchi PsoraleacorylifoliaLinn. Fabaceae Fruit
14 Mandukparni CentellaasiaticaLinn. Apiaceae Whole Plant
15 Narikela Cocos nucifera Linn. Arecaceae Oil

Image used for illustrative purposes only

Unique Ideology in Ayurveda for Hair Oil preparations: 

Apart from the common oil manufacturing procedure, the traditional ayurvedic process having holistic approach is unique of its kind. The uniqueness is due to the ideology of ‘ksheerpaka-vidhi’ and ‘tailamurchana’. 

The process of ‘ksheerpaka-vidhi’ incorporates the benefits of milk to the final product. The milk aids in maximum extraction of fat-soluble essential nutrients from the keshyadravyas which are beneficial for hair growth. The matrix thus created helps in moisturizing and nourishing the dry scalp thereby strengthening the hair follicles and roots. While, the ‘tailamurchana’ – a pre-treatment procedure helps to improve the colour, aroma and overall qualities of the base oil used in the preparation of Hair oil. The process not only aids in enhancing the potency of theoil but also aids in increasing the stability of the base oil by decreasing the rancidity factors.

To put in a nutshell …

The Ayurvedic approach to Hair-care is natural and holistic in origin. Unlike the synthetic products which apart from containing harmful chemicals, treat the hair superficially and at times only temporarily which in turn leads to damaging the hair. Moreover, according to Ayurveda, the health of hair is based upon the food one eats, and also depends profoundly on the digestive system, life-style and hereditary vulnerabilities. And this is where Ayurveda’s whole-body approach beyond the shadow of a doubt can be more effective than superficial hair treatments alone. 

Author :  Dr. Hardik Soni, Sr. Manager – R&D, Vasu Healthcare Pvt. Ltd.