In Ayurveda, a world renowned Indian traditional system of holistic health care, the condition of an individual’s hair is a reflection of the complete constitution of his/her physical state.
Diet and lifestyle are two major factors that influence our body and the health of our hair. Irregular dietary habits, poor diet, illness, and deficiencies of any vitamin and mineral affects the quality of the hair and scalp, giving rise to problems like dandruff, early baldness, and premature graying.
Ayurveda provides some basic guidelines that one can follow for well-being of one’s hair. Try these simple tips for long and lustrous healthy hair:
1. Massage scalp regularly.
Regular cleansing of scalp and hair: Always keep your hair and scalp clean to avoid clogged hair follicles and itching of scalp.
Cleanse with a gentle herbal shampoo. Excessive use of shampoo, especially a harsh one, can lead to drying of scalp and damaged hair. Use lukewarm or fresh water to wash your hair, and follow with a natural conditioner. Let hair dry naturally rather than blow-drying.
Trim hair regularly to take care of split-ends and natural wear and tear. Regularly cleaning and brushing hair is important. Brushing helps stimulate oil-producing glands in scalp. This natural oil makes hair healthy and glossy.
2. Regulate dietary habits.
Food must be eaten in properly ventilated, quiet corner and one should not do any other job while eating. For good digestion, avoid drinking too much water during meals. Proper time to drink water is half an hour after food. Drink lukewarm water if oily, spicy, and non-vegetarian food is consumed.
By following these rules, you can keep your body free of ama (toxins). Toxins obstruct nutrients from reaching cells and tissues and so, bad food habits like excessive intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, meats and smoking should be stopped. Eating fried, oily, greasy, spicy, sour and acidic foods in excess is harmful. Chemical or synthetic medicines should be avoided.
Hence, our diet needs attention for a perfect hair care.
3. Nutritious diet.
A balanced assortment of nutrients is necessary to prevent premature hair loss and early greying. Follow a whole-grain rich diet and include some of the beneficial healthy hair foods: white sesame seeds, fresh coconut, green vegetables, dates and raisins, dahi (curd), sprouted mixture of beans, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats such as ghee or oil.
Ayurveda advises that we cook food with spices and aromatic herbs as they improve digestion and detoxify our body tissues. It advocates for regular intake of haridra (turmeric), maricha (black pepper), methi (fenugreek), dhania (coriander) and jeera (cumin) are both flavoring and agni (digestive fire) enhancing. Herbs like amalaki (emblica officinalis), haritaki (terminalia chebula), hingu (asafoetida), bhringraja (eclipta alba) and seasonal fruits especially citrus fruits help to improve digestion and immunity for all age groups and dosha types.
4. Get sufficient sleep.
Sleep is important for well-being of our body. Improper or irregular sleeping schedules cause disturbances to our body clock which can affect the health of our hair. Sleep is a phase when our body repairs tissues and reorganizes systems. Finish dinner two hours prior to sleep. Light dinner with less spice followed by a glass of milk (an hour after dinner) is always found to induce good quality sleep. You should be in bed by 10:00 pm.
5. Manage stress.
Living regularly in a state of stress can lead to excessive falling, premature graying, dry, dull-looking, and the lifeless appearance of hair. Herbal tea enriched with any one or more of brahmi (bacopa monnieri), mandookparni (centella asiatica), ashwagandha (withania somnifera) and jatamansi (nardostachys jatamansi) supports natural ability to manage stress.
Always take time to rest and relax—practice relaxing yoga techniques and meditation to keep stress under control. Massaging scalp with medicated herbal oils is found to be helpful to mental relaxation and to control mood swings.
So let your hair loose!