10 Herbs For BEAUTIFUL Hair

Nishita Suratkal explains how amla, methi and bhringaraj can help arrest hairfall and improve overall hair health.

Hair problems are pretty common in the monsoon and the contributing factors include changes in diet and lifestyle along with environmental factors.

While modern shampoos and oils claim to have answers to all your hair problems, there are potential side effects and damages due to overuse of certain chemicals and varying skin conditions.

Traditional ingredients and ayurvedic herbs mostly found in Indian kitchens and home gardens do not have adverse side effects on overall health, and hence, safe for use.

When used in moderate amounts and with necessary dietary and environmental modifications, these Indian herbs can arrest some of the common hair problems and improve your hair health in the long run.

1. Bhringaraj

Known as False Daisy, the scientific name for bhringaraj is Eclipta alba.

Bhringraj oil is known for a variety of hair and health benefits.

Regular use of bhringaraj helps maintain scalp health by improving blood circulation.

It also maintains hair colour and prevents premature hair greying. The black dye colour derived from its leaves gives a natural black colour to the hair.

How to use bhringraj for hair:

  • Take a handful or bhringraj leaves or 3 tsp of bhringraj leaves powder, 1 cup of coconut oil and 1 tsp methi seeds.
  • Heat coconut oil and add the chopped leaves or bhringraj powder.
  • Heat the mixture for 5 minutes and then add 1 tsp of methi seeds.
  • Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
  • Strain and regularly use this bhringaraj oil by massaging on the scalp for controlling hair fall.

Bhringaraj is best avoided by pregnant, breastfeeding women and children and people on anticoagulant and diuretic medications.

 

2. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)

Amla is known for its anti-inflammatory properties due to its high content of Vitamin C.

Regular use of amla helps in improving dry scalp and inflammation.

It also helps in the synthesis of collagen (protein) which is the building block of hair.

How to use amla for hair:

Amla can be consumed in the form of raw juices or it can also be used in the form of topical oil to be applied on hair.

However, be warned that excessive intake can give rise to dehydration, stomach problems and diarrhoea.

People on antidiabetic medications, pregnant or lactating women, those with aggravated kapha or coughing problems should avoid consuming amla.

Do not consume amla if you have to undergo a surgery anytime soon.

 

3. Neem

An excellent antiseptic which prevents lice on the scalp, neem also protects your hair from hair thinning, split ends and hair breakage.

Neem contains hair-enriching properties which increases hair density and volume.

How to use neem for hair:

  • Wash 10-12 neem leaves well and make a smooth paste by grinding them with little water.
  • Transfer this paste to a container which is placed in boiling water.
  • Add 2 tbsp organic coconut oil to this paste and keep stirring till it turns darker in colour.
  • Strain this paste and apply this mask on the scalp.
  • Keep for 30 minutes and wash off.

Neem should be avoided by pregnant and lactating women.

Consuming neem seeds or oil by children may cause vomiting, diarrhoea and drowsiness.

People taking antidiabetic medications, immunosuppressants must also avoid neem owing to drug reactions.

 

4. Shikakai

Shikakai is fruit for the hair.

It is a natural hair cleanser and imparts a silky, smooth and lustrous appearance.

How to use shikakai for hair:

  • Take 2 tbsp of shikakai powder, 1 tbsp of green gram powder and ½ tbsp of fenugreek seeds powder.
  • Add 1 egg white to this mixture, mix well and use this as a shampoo.

Except the seeds, shikakai leaves, bark, and pods can be used for consumption as a laxative in moderate amounts as prescribed by an Ayurvedic physician.

For checking its tolerance against allergic reactions on skin or scalp, use a small portion initially prior to introducing it in daily use.

 

5. Aloe Vera

Many of you might relate Aloe Vera to skin damage or wound healing. But due to a large nutrient content like vitamins A, C and E, it is used to stimulate hair growth too.

It deeply cleanses oily hair off excess sebum and repairs hair strands.

How to use Aloe Vera for hair:

Aloe Vera can be consumed in juice or can be applied in gel form.

Gel is also used in various skin, hair masks and beauty oils.

Topical application is generally safe but high oral consumption can lead to haemorrhoids or intestinal issues.

 

6. Jatamansi

Typically found in the Himalayas, this herb provides a calming effect to the mind besides doing wonders for your locks.

Essential oil is made from the roots and rhizomes of the herb.

Jatamansi oil helps in enlarging the size of hair follicles and elongating the hair growth cycle.

How to use jatamansi for hair:

  • Mix 2-5 drops of jatamansi oil with 1-2 tsp of pure coconut oil.
  • Massage this mixture well on the scalp for controlling hair fall.

Over consumption of jatamansi powder can lead to diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and frequent urination.

 

7. Brahmi

Apart from being an efficient herb for internal health, it also heals split ends and prevents them from recurring.

Brahmi is a natural conditioner and protects hair from free radical damage.

How to use brahmi for hair:

  • Take 5 tsp brahmi powder and 7 tsp of warm mustard oil.
  • Make a paste and apply on the scalp and hair.
  • Rinse with water after an hour.

Please remember that over intake of brahmi can cause appetite loss, severe headaches, dizziness and skin rashes.

 

8. Methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds)

This popular ingredient found in almost every Indian household is very useful for hair fall control and hair regrowth.

The seeds contain lecithin, which naturally conditions and moisturises the hair shafts and strengthens hair follicles.

How to use methi seeds for hair:

  • Grind together 25 gm soaked methi seeds, 25 gm curd, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp lemon juice.
  • Apply this pack and wash after 45 mins for glossy, lustrous hair.

Best to be avoided during pregnancy. Over intake can cause nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting.

 

9. Guduchi

Also known as Giloy, it is rich in antioxidants, controls scalp itchiness and improves scalp health.

Giloy can be consumed in the form of juice or in powder state. It is also used for preparing hair masks.

Consuming excess giloy can cause constipation, very low blood sugar levels and severe gut allergies. It is not recommended for pregnant women.

 

10. Shatavari

A member of the asparagus family, shatavari strengthens the hair roots, provides lustre to the locks and is soothing to the scalp.

It is an adaptogenic herb which helps improve mental, physical and sexual health.

How to use shatavari for hair:

Shatavari can be taken in the form of churna, tablets, juice, gulam (jam).

Safe dosage is 1 tsp a day or 500 mg of tablets twice a day.

Overconsumption of shatavari can lower blood sugar as it has a diuretic effect. It can also trigger allergies.

 

Nishita Suratkal, clinical dietician, Spectrum Healthcare, has a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from SNDT University, Mumbai. She is an expert in dietary management of lifestyle and clinical conditions including obesity, diabetes and gut disorders.

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If you believe you may have a medical or mental health emergency, please call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital, or call emergency services or emergency helplines immediately. If you choose to rely on any information provided herein, you do so solely at your own risk.

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