Creating an Ayurvedic Hair Regimen

by Susan Johnston via NaturallyCurly

According to Ayurvedic medicine, a form of alternative medicine that originated in India 5000 years ago, keeping the head cool can prevent hair woes like graying or balding. Ayurveda also suggests specific herbs to promote hair growth and prevent problems.

NaturallyCurly.com talked to Nicole Hinterstocker, an Ayurvedic practitioner and owner of Ajara Ayurvedic Beauty, for tips on creating an Ayurvedic hair regimen.

Five Elements Theory

Ayurveda offers an alternative model of biology where everything is made of five elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth.

“Everything you look at has some component of everything,” says Hinterstocker. “Hair would mainly be earth because it’s physical, but it’s going to have everything in it. Growth of the hair would be fire because anything that is being transformed from one thing to another would be the fire component.”

An Ayurvedic hair regimen uses cool, soothing herbs to calm the scalp and promote hair growth. The theory is that if someone is bald, it’s because they burned all their hair away, so Ayurvedic tradition encourages keeping the scalp cool.

Bone health is also believed to improve hair health.

“Anything that strengthens the bones will also cause the hair and nails to grow healthier, stronger and longer,” adds Hinterstocker. “So looking at bone health will help promote hair health. If you have osteoporosis you might also see porous hair.”

Ayurvedic Hair Regimen

In lieu of traditional shampoo, Ayurveda followers wash their hair with a tea made from a blend of herbs found in powder form. While the tea needs warm water to steep, Hinterstocker cautions that in keeping with Ayurvedic principles, you never want to use hot water on your head.

“Use the lowest temperature that’s still comfortable for you,” she says.

Next, the Ayurvedic hair regimen involves applying oils to the scalp and lightly through strands of hair. The choice of oil depends on the individual’s hair.

“If it’s falling out, oftentimes you would apply an oil made of coconut and Brahmi or Gota Kola, which is a little bit more common in the US,” says Hinterstocker. “People with curly, unruly, breaking hair would do really well with taking Brahmi.”

Another commonly used herb, Bhringaraj, which means “king of the hair” in Sanskrit, is believed to promote hair growth and reduce hair loss. Hinterstocker says she’s seen major hair growth while taking Banyan Botanical’s healthy hair tablet, which contains a proprietary blend of Bhringaraj, Brahmin and hibiscus, among other ingredients.

The ritual ends by scenting the hair with a cooling incense such as benzoin, which acts as an antibacterial agent, or amber, which promotes cell respiration and regeneration. “When you burn amber, some of the oils will land on the hair and scalp itself, therefore working its way into our systems through our skin,” adds Hinterstocker.


Ayurvedic Products

The Ayurvedic Breakdown


by Elle of Party Over Hair

I've recently been thinking about trying to incorporate Ayurvedic treatments into my regimen for the Fall, so I've been doing a lot of research on the subject. One of the first things that threw me off about Ayurvedic treatments was all the powders. If you had to ask me how to pronounce them, I doubt I'd say it correctly, so of course I had to find out what each of the powders do. After reading through the forums, I managed to compile a list of commonly used herb powders that naturals have incorporated into their routines. Check it out--

Amla Known for having the highest content of vitamin C, Amla is especially good for boosting the immune system. In hair care, Amla is used in oil infused tonics or in powder form to provide added strength to hair roots, to add shine, encourage hair growth and addresses premature greying. In skin care, face masks using amla paste provides nourishment and reduces dullness.

Bhringraj
Bhringraj is an ancient Ayurvedic herb widely known for its effectiveness against hair ailments. In Ayurveda, the herb is used for treating hair loss, improving hair texture, and to stop premature balding and graying and various skin allergies. Alopecia sufferers will also find bhringraj to be beneficial in promoting hair regrowth. Even without suffering any ailments, bhringraj aids in luxurious hair growth. Infusing bhringraj in an oil such as coconut or sesame oil to massage onto the scalp will help with baldness and can cause a regrowth of hair. Use as a paste in combination with amla, brahmi, shikakai, tulsi, and/or neem to see wonderful growth and hair conditioning benefits.

Brahmi
Brahmi is best known traditionally for its rejuvenating properties affecting brain cells and bringing improvements to memory functions. For hair care, Brahmi is best used in combination with amla, bhringraj, shikakai, tulsi &/or neem powders to provide not only stronger roots, but also thicker hair and relief from itchy scalps. Brahmi can be used in a paste, a tea spritz for hair or in an oil infusion.

Cassia Cassia, also known as neutral henna, is used by many who want the benefits of conditioning that comes from henna, but without dramatic color changes. Cassia will turn gray hairs a pale blondish color, but shows no color difference on darker hair.

Henna

Henna works to stop breakage by strengthening the hair shaft. Henna also works to seal and repair the cuticle which makes for more manageable hair, a plus when it comes to detangling. Although Henna is mainly known as a mega strengthener, Henna has conditioning properties as well, which leaves the hair shiny, soft and fully of body.

Hibiscus Petal
In Ayurveda, Hibiscus (Jaswand) is known as one of the best secrets to beautiful and healthy hair. Hibiscus promotes hair growth, stops hair fall, gives hair a healthy luster with bounce, and delays premature graying. Hibiscus has been a wonderful ingredient in hair treatments that combine other Ayurvedic herbs such as Amla and brahmi. For henna color treatments, hibiscus is used to achieve a burgundy to black cherry color on hair. It is also slightly acidic and helps to aid in a faster henna dye release. As a drinkable tea, hibiscus is a natural body coolant and makes a great refreshing drink. Even better is using hibiscus powders and in a tea rinse for hair!

Kapur Kachri
Kapur Kachri promotes growth by stimulating the roots. It also has antiseptic properties benefiting the scalp.

Kalpi Tone
Kalpi Tone works to strengthen hair at the root and hair shaft, as well as to promote hair growth. It leaves your hair noticeably stronger, softer and full of body.

Neem Powder
Neem is known in Ayurveda for its powerful effectiveness in fighting diseases. Its properties are naturally antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral.

In skin care, a paste made with neem will remove excess oils from the face and clear pimples. It will also aid with scars. When used in a soap or oil, neem can help to relieve dry skin as well as the itchiness and redness from eczema. In a salve or cream, neem's antiseptic properties aid in healing cuts and minor wounds. Using neem to make a tea or face mask will help to treat acne.

In hair care, neem promotes shiny, healthy hair, combats dryness of scalp, and fights scalp infections and dandruff. Undiluted neem oil will help treat head lice.

Orange Peel
The properties in orange peels are primarily antioxidant and astringent, making orange peel powder a natural in helping to prevent pimples and acne as well as prevent premature aging and wrinkling. Using orange peel powder in a face mask helps to reduce shine from excess oil and remove dead skin cells.

Reetha
Reetha, commonly known as soapnuts, is a natural cleanser. Soapnuts have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp.

Shikakai
Shikakai is an herb known in ayurveda for its cleansing properties and natural mild foaming properties. Literally meaning "fruit for hair", it has been traditionally used for beautiful and healthy hair as a mild shampoo. Shikakai has anti-dandruff properties and is known to aid with detangling of hair. Mixing shikakai with amla promotes hair strengthening and conditioning. This naturally astringent herb will also promote a healthy scalp and stronger roots.

Best for all hair types. However, for hair that is prone to dryness, shikakai is best used sparingly and mixed with an additional herb, such as amla.

Tulsi
Tulsi, or Holy Basil, is known to promote health and for having healing properties. It is a purifying herb and additionally has antiseptic properties. The powder form has a purifying action for the blood. It addresses all sorts of skin diseases when prepared properly, such as ringworm, skin eruptions, scabies, eczema, minor wounds, itching, and scalp irritations and infections. In beauty, tulsi is effective in removing blemishes, treating acne, and for removing dirt deep in pores. Now that I'm a little more familiar with what each does, I will begin experimenting with them as the months pass. I still have to do my Henna + Amla mix, so I guess that's a great place to start.

Do you use an Ayurvedic Regimen for your hair?

Try An Ayurvedic Scalp Massage For Healthy Hair


via NaturallyCurly.com;

Try a warm oil scalp massage two or three times a week to stimulate and moisturize the scalp. Use good-quality coconut, olive or almond oil, slightly warmed, and gently massage the oil into your scalp with the pads of your fingers. Leave on at least two hours, preferably overnight, then shampoo the oil from your hair. You can also use Ayurvedic hair oils containing Bhringaraj—also called “king of tresses”—and Brahmi.


CN Says;

This is something I plan to incorporate into my routine ASAP. I've heard good things, I just need to figure out a way to do it without tangling my hair at the roots. I'll most certainly be using my Argan/Castor oil mixture!

Do you do scalp massages? How often? Share your experiences below!

Burdock, Marshmallow and Hibiscus Leave-in & Detangler


by Kurlybella of K is for Kinky

If you’ve ever paid close attention to all of the natural and organic hair products you use, you may have noticed that they contain marshmallow – like the infamous knot today. The first time I saw this and before I was into hair product ingredients as much as I am now, I was surprised. I eat marshmallows like candy, so I was thinking, I know they are not talking about the puffy, sugary stuff!

And that is right, marshmallow root is a herb that is mucilage rich. It’s the root of the marshmallow plant that provides the slip like conditioner which helps to detangle hair. As an added bonus, marshmallow root is anti inflammatory which helps to alleviate dry scalp and dandruff.

Combined together with burdock root which can help to strengthen hair, hold in moisture and add sheen to your hair on top of it’s claimed hair growth promotion and scalp calming effects, you can have a very good homemade detangler on your hands. Burdock root is also a mucilage plant so combining it with marshmallow will make your detangling much easier. Lots of other curly and kinky haired women love this stuff, so it’s about time we got on it too!

In a pot water of just starting to simmer/low boil add:
  • 15- 20 dried organic hibiscus flowers
  • simmer the flowers for about 5 minutes making sure your water does not boil
  • remove from heat and remove flowers
  • add 3 tablespoons organic dried marshmallow root
  • and 3 tablespoons organic dried burdock root and stir them into the hot water
  • cover your conditioner with plastic wrap and let the herbs infuse for 15 minutes.
  • strain and pour the liquid into a squirt or squeeze bottle (i like to use an old water bottle with the pop out top)
Use this mixture on freshly washed and clean hair and do not rinse out. Comb through your hair and style as usual. (I like to add jojoba and extra virgin olive oil on top of my hair to seal)

Are you a fan of burdock, marshmallow or hibiscus? do you use these natural ingredients in your healthy hair routine?

Ayurvedic Hair Care: An Introduction


by Nicole of Hair Liberty

Henna, Indigo, Amla, Neem, Shikakai...those are just a few names you might read when seeking natural hair care advice on the Internet. They are herbs and plants that are usually included in a Ayurvedic hair care regimen. Many African American women who decide to go natural, explore Ayurvedic hair care as a way to promote healthy hair and use more natural remedies. An ayurvedic hair care regimen usually includes herbal mixtures and natural oils that are minimally processed, or in many cases, used whole. Although, Ayurveda is usually discussed with regard to natural black hair, anyone can benefit from its principles. To decide if Ayurvedic hair care is right for you, it's important to first understand "Ayurveda".

Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old system of preventive medicine and healthcare that originated in ancient India. Ayurveda means "knowledge of life span". The book, The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: The Most Complete Guide to Natural Healing & Health with Traditional Ayurvedic Herbalism, explains:
Ayurveda looks to create a balance between body, mind, emotion, spirit and environment, and places emphasis on the ability of the human body to heal itself, with the assistance and support of a variety of non-toxic therapies, including medicinal foods, dietary programs, and herbal medicines. Today, many of the health and medical "discoveries" being heralded as breakthroughs by scientists every day were long ago observed and documented by the Ayurvedists.
Basically, Ayurveda says that everything from a healthy head of hair to a healthy heart is determined by your emotional well-being. Ayurvedic medicine requires that you get in tune with your emotions and inner thoughts and then pursue a lifestyle that keeps you feeling balanced and stress free. That's a powerful concept, especially for today's women who are busy with work, school, bills, kids, etc. If you want to pursue an Ayurvedic hair care regimen, start by using some of the alone time that you get when you're doing your hair as an opportunity to relax.

A scalp massage with essential oils (instructions), relaxes your mind while stimulating your hair follicles and encouraging growth. Take Deepak Chopra's Dosha Quiz to find your Ayurvedic "mind-body" type. Then, incorporate these suggested essential oils into a daily scalp massage.
Vata dosha: Creative, tendency to worry, energetic
Best essential oils: Patchouli, Basil, Lavender, Sage

Pitta dosha
: Likes challenges, tendency toward anger, cannot skip meals
Best essential oils: Ylang-ylang, Lavender, Rose, Sandalwood

Kapha dosha: Detail oriented, thoughtful, resistant to change
Best essential oils: Eucalyptus, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary

Add 2 or 3 drops of the recommended essential oils to a base like Almond, Oilve, Coconut, or Jojoba Oil. The essential oils are included for their aromatherapy benefit, so remember to breathe deeply and take in each scent. You can also use herb-infused oils that are known to promote hair growth or stop hair loss, examples include Brahmi (also known as Mandukaparni), Amla, and Bhringraj oil. It's important to buy herb-infused oils from a trustworthy retailer to be sure you're getting an authentic product.

Healthy hair comes from a healthy body, so, in that sense, everyone can benefit from Ayurveda. However, keep in mind that Ayurvedic principles do not suggest that you get rid of commercial products and make everything at home...especially if that requires time that you don't have or causes you more stress. When it comes to your hair, doing what makes you feel good (inside and out) is always most important.

Ayurvedic Curls: Marshmallow Root


SuperCoils of It's a Crazy Coily Life writes articles on Ayurvedic herbs. First one up, Marshmallow Root! It is extremely useful and beneficial to the overall health of one’s hair.

Marshmallow root is a white herb that is often used to treat both skin and hair ailments, such as eczema, psoriasis, and dry scalp, in addition to treating sore muscles (my current ailment, due to extensive physical training). The way it does this is with it’s “mucilage”, or complex glutenous carbohydrate secretion (sounds pretty gross). This mucilage is not only rich in proteins and vitamins ( A and C, to be exact), but, when applied to the hair in the form of a rinse, gives the hair incredible slip, as well as conditioning it. As a matter of fact, a marshmallow rinse can be used as a conditioner for your hair! This explains why Kinky Curly’s Knot Today is such an effective detangler and conditioner: it contains marshmallow root as it’s third ingredient!

Marshmallow Rinse Recipe:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 4 teaspoons shredded marshmallow root

Put the marshmallow root in a cup, then add the hot water and allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes, as if you were making tea. Strain the marshmallow out, and use the “tea” as a rinse for your hair.

Peace, Love, and Marshmallow,

SuperCoils

Ayurvedic Natural Hair Care

by Laquita Thomas-Banks of Coco & Creme

Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health that is designed to help people live long, healthy, and well-balanced lives. The term Ayurveda is taken from the Sanskrit words ayus, meaning life or lifespan, and veda, meaning knowledge. It has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years. The basic principle of Ayurveda is to prevent and treat illness with natural herbal remedies and, first and foremost, by maintaining balance in the body, mind, and consciousness through proper diet, and lifestyle.

We all know that poor diet, illness, lack of proper hygiene, and nutritional deficiencies can all affect the hair and cause various problems. Many are taking an Ayurvedic approach to maintaining healthy hair.

A Quick lesson in Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, doshas are the functional intelligences within the body mind complex, they are the energies that make things happen within an organism. There are three dosha predominant constitutions; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, where two doshas are equally, or nearly equally, predominant ( Vata-Pitta, Pitta-Kapha and Vata-Kapha; and one tridoshic Prakruti with all three doshas equally prominent Vata-Pitta-Kapha)

Everyone has Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, but usually one or two are dominant in a particular person. Stress and an unhealthy diet are among the things that can disturb the doshas balance.

Vata is the energy of movement. It is the energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and heartbeat. When it is balanced, creativity and vitality are present. When Vata is not balanced, this produces fear and anxiety.

Pitta is the energy of digestion and metabolism. It is the energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and temperature. When Pitta is balanced, contentment and intelligence are present. When it is not balanced, anger and even ulcers arise.

Kapha is the energy of lubrication and structure. It is the energy that controls growth in the body. This energy supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system. When Kapha is balanced, love and forgiveness are present. When it is not balanced, it results in insecurity and envy.

Ayurveda Holistic Hair Care

When it comes to hair care, the Ayurvedic practice of keeping the doshas balanced plays a key role in maintaining healthy hair. Along with the obvious things such as moisturizing, conditioning, protecting your ends, minimizing the use of heat, etc, incorporate the following Ayurvedic steps to ensure healthy hair.

1. Start with a nutritious diet. Eat lots of leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits and nuts—avoid caffeinated drinks, spicy, fried and greasy food. Foods such as good-for-your-hair white sesame seeds, whole grains, dates and raisins, fresh yogurt, bean sprouts, and healthy fats such as olive oil, are great for overall hair health.

Cook with spices that enhance digestion and purify body tissues: turmeric, black pepper, fenugreek, coriander, and cumin are digestion-enhancing (balancing Pitta). Also, add vitamins and supplements to your diet.

2. Make a weekly hair and scalp massages part of your hair care routine in order to nourish your hair and scalp and enhance circulation (balancing Vata)—olive oil will do the trick—and you can also infuse your oil with herbs by steeping a tea bag filled with chamomile, hibiscus etc, in hot oil for a few hours then using the cooled mixture to massage scalp and/or as a hot-oil treatment.

3. Follow a regular cleansing routine (balancing Kapha). Whether you do this daily, weekly, or bi-weekly, a clean, build-up free scalp is one of the major keys to healthy hair. Remember, wash your scalp with the pads of your fingers, not your nails, and do a final rinse with cool water. Also, remember to clean your hair tools as well. Soaking brushes and combs in boiled water and/or shampoo regularly helps to get rid of dead skin cells, oils and dirt.

4. Balance all three doshas—Pitta, Vata, and Kapha—by managing stress, and getting plenty of sleep. Stress can lead to hair loss and sleep deprivation is a form of stress. Emotional or physical stress related to a death in the family, pregnancy, severe weight loss, or surgery, pushes large numbers of growing hairs into a resting phase called resulting in hair loss called telogen effluvium. Although it can take months, this type of hair loss grows back when the emotional or physical stress is resolved.

For some, intense stress may trigger a type of hair loss called alopecia areata. With this type of hair loss, white blood cells attack the hair follicle which stops hair growth and, within weeks, the affected hair falls out. This type of hair loss usually starts as a small round patch, but may eventually spread to the whole scalp, and sometimes to body hair as well. The hair generally grows back, but the cycle may repeat itself.

Keeping a journal, making time for hobbies, going for walks, and taking long baths, are just a few of the ways to manage and/or reduce stress. Try practicing Yoga and meditation, which are the primary Ayurvedic treatments for stress. By making these things a part of your lifestyle, you will see a great improvement in the health of your hair and overall health.

More Info:

Ayurvedic Approach to Beauty
Ayurveda Info
Ayurveda Resources
Ayurvedic Hair Recipes
Ayurvedic Clarifying Rinse

Republished with permission from Coco & Creme


Do you practice Ayurvedic hair care? Share your experiences below!

Soap Nuts- A Cleansing and Thickening Agent?


A comment was left in the Herbal Hair Rinse article about the use of soap nuts as a natural cleansing agent. The reader stated that women on LongHairCommunity are using it to cleanse and thicken, and you know when I read the latter, I had to do a bit of research ;)

What is a soap nut? ('cause I had no earthly idea): Soap Nuts are the fruit of the sapindus mukorossi tree. They grow in countries with warmer, tropical climates such as India and Nepal. They were the laundry cleaning agent of choice prior to the chemical ones we use today.

Where can you buy them?
http://www.organicsoapnuts.net/order.html
http://www.buysoapnuts.com/store.html#anchor_116

How do I use it?: The instructions found in the link below were the best I came across.
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/vbjournal.php?do=article&articleid=95

Benefits of use:

  • Body
  • Shine
  • Gentle, effective cleansing
  • Did I mention, BODY!

So what do you think, is it worth a shot?

Later Gators,
Nik

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