Ayurvedic Herbs for Hair

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Ayurvedic Hair Care

According to Ayurveda, the state of our hair has to do with what we put in our body than what sort of hair care products we use. Our hair can also alert us to changes in our health. Because hair is considered a waste product of asthi dhatu or the bone tissue system, when our hair is healthy, we have healthy asthi dhatu. If ashti dhatu is increased, it can lead to excessive hair growth, or if asthi dhatu is decreased, it can lead to hair loss. Read more about Ayurvedic Hair Care in our previous week’s post.

Ayurvedic Herbs for Hair

In an Ayurveda, leaves, roots and flowers of herbs can be used externally to benefit the skin, hair and other parts of the body. Because our skin is a digestive organ, these herbs are absorbed into the body and have an effect on the dhatu (tissue systems) and srotamsi (tissue channels) of the body. Thusly, all the Ayurvedic herbs listed below should not be self-administered and Ayurvedic herbs should only be used under-advisement of your Ayurvedic Counselor/Practitioner/Doctor and approved by your Primary Care Physician. This list of Ayurvedic herbs is only meant to educate you on the various herbs traditionally used in Ayurvedic hair care.

Amalaki

  • Taste (Rasa): bitter, astringent, pungent, sweet, predominantly sour

  • Energetics (Virya): cooling

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): sweet

  • Quality (Guna): light, dry

  • Dosha: VP- K+ (in excess)

  • Tissues (Dhatu): all plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), muscle (mamsa), fat/adipose tissue (meda), bone (asthi), nerve/bone marrow (majja), reproductive tissue (shukra [male]/artava [female])

  • Systems (Srotamsi): circulatory (rakta vaha srotas), digestive (anna vaha srotas), excretory (purisha vaha srotas)

  • Indications: digestion, heart, metabolic disorders

  • Precautions: acute diarrhea, dysentery, high Kapha and Ama

  • Hair Care: premature greying or hair loss, tonic for the hair (kesya)

Bhringaraj

  • Taste (Rasa): bitter, pungent, sweet

  • Energetics (Virya): cooling

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): pungent

  • Quality (Guna): light, dry

  • Dosha: VPK=, mainly VP-, pitta rasayana (rejuvenative)

  • Tissues (Dhatu): plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), bone (asthi), nerve/bone marrow (majja), reproductive tissue (shukra [male]/artava [female])

  • Systems (Srotamsi): circulatory (rakta vaha srotas), nervous (majja vaha srotas), digestive (anna vaha srotas), respiratory (prana vaha srotas), urinary (mutra vaha srotas), reproductive (shukra/artava vaha srotas)

  • Indications: head, nerves, skin, lungs, reproduction, gynecology

  • Precautions: any sign or cold in the digestive system, severe chills

  • Hair Care: premature greying, balding, alopecia, tonic for the hair (kesya)

Bibhitaki

  • Taste (Rasa): astringent, sweet

  • Energetics (Virya): heating

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): sweet

  • Quality (Guna): light, dry

  • Dosha: VPK= V+ (in excess)

  • Tissues (Dhatu): plasma (rasa), muscle (mamsa), bone (asthi), nerve (majja)

  • Systems (Srotamsi): nervous (majja vaha srotas), digestive (anna vaha srotas), respiratory (prana vaha srotas), excretory (purisha vaha srotas)

  • Indications: lungs, head, digestion, urine, nerves, heart

  • Precautions: high Vata, dry symptoms in the lungs, skin, bowels

  • Hair Care: promotes hair growth (romasanjanana), tonic for the hair (kesya)

Brahmi

  • Taste (Rasa): bitter, sweet, astringent

  • Energetics (Virya): cooling

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): sweet

  • Quality (Guna): light, flowing

  • Dosha: VPK=, V+ in excess

  • Tissues (Dhatu): plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), nerve/bone marrow (majja)

  • Systems (Srotamsi): circulatory (rakta vaha srotas), nervous (majja vaha srotas), muscular (mamsa vaha srotas), reproductive (shukra/artava vaha srotas), digestive (anna vaha srotas), excretory (purisha vaha srotas)

  • Indications: brain, nerves, urinary, external

  • Precautions: may aggravate itching; in large doses may cause headaches or temporary loss of consciousness, caution during pregnancy

  • Hair Care: promotes hair growth (romasanjanana)

Fenugreek

  • Taste (Rasa): bitter, pungent, sweet, astringent

  • Energetics (Virya): heating

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): pungent

  • Quality (Guna): light, unctuous

  • Dosha: VK-, P+

  • Tissues (Dhatu): plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), fat/adipose tissue (meda), bone (asthi), nerve/bone marrow (majja), reproductive tissue (shukra [male]/artava [female])

  • Systems (Srotamsi): digestive (anna vaha srotas), excretory (purisha vaha srotas), respiratory (prana vaha srotas), water (udaka vaha srotas), sweat (sveda vaha srotas), reproductive (shukra/artava vaha srotas), lactation (stanya vaha srotas)

  • Indications: diabetes, cholesterol, digestion, gynecology, reproduction, pain, external

  • Precautions: high pitta, as a known hypoglycaemic there may be a positive interaction, and it is advisable to monitor people on diabetic medication

  • Hair Care: promotes hair growth (romasanjanana)

Gokshura

  • Taste (Rasa): sweet, bitter

  • Energetics (Virya): cooling

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): sweet

  • Quality (Guna): heavy, unctuous

  • Dosha: VPK=, primarily V-

  • Tissues (Dhatu): plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), bone (asthi), nerve/bone marrow (majja), reproductive tissue (shukra [male]/artava [female])

  • Systems (Srotamsi): respiratory (prana vaha srotas), urinary (mutra vaha srotas), reproductive (shukra/artava vaha srotas), nervous (majja vaha srotas)

  • Indications: urinary, reproductive, nerves, skin

  • Precautions: dehydration, dryness, caution during pregnancy, caution with antipsychotic drugs especially MAO inhibitor medications as its harmala alkaloid content may speed up the breaking down of the medication in the digestive system, thus reducing the effectiveness of the drug

  • Hair Care: promotes hair growth (romasanjanana)

Gotu Kola

  • Taste (Rasa): sweet, bitter, astringent

  • Energetics (Virya): cooling

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): sweet

  • Quality (Guna): light, dry

  • Dosha: VPK=, primarily KP-

  • Tissues (Dhatu): plasma (rasa), mainly blood (rakta), muscle (mamsa), fat/adipose (meda), bone (asthi), mainly nerve/bone marrow (majja)

  • Systems (Srotamsi): nervous (majja vaha srotas), circulatory (rakta vaha srotas), digestive (anna vaha srotas)

  • Indications: nerves, mind, skin, joints

  • Precautions: large doses can be narcotic and cause a Vata headache or dizziness, caution during pregnancy

  • Hair Care: hair loss

Hibiscus Flowers

  • Taste (Rasa): sweet, astringent

  • Energetics (Virya): cooling

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): sweet

  • Quality (Guna): light, unctuous

  • Dosha: PK-, V+ (in excess)

  • Tissues (Dhatu): plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), fmuscle (mamsa), nerve/bone marrow (majja), reproductive tissue (shukra [male]/artava [female])

  • Systems (Srotamsi): circulatory (rakta vaha srotas), nervous (majja vaha srotas), female reproductive (artava vaha srotas)

  • Indications: dysmennorhea, menorrhagia, painful urination, cough, fever, toxins in the blood

  • Precautions: severe chills, high Vata

  • Hair Care: promotes hair growth (romasanjanana)

Jatamamsi

  • Taste (Rasa): bitter, astringent, sweet

  • Energetics (Virya): cooling

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): sweet

  • Quality (Guna): light, unctuous, penetrating

  • Dosha: VPK=

  • Tissues (Dhatu): blood (rakta), fmuscle (mamsa), nerve/bone marrow (majja)

  • Systems (Srotamsi): circulatory (rakta vaha srotas), nervous (majja vaha srotas), reproductive (shukra/artava vaha srotas), digestive (anna vaha srotas), respiratory (prana vaha srotas)

  • Indications: nerves, heart, digestion, gynecology, lungs, hair, skin

  • Precautions: use with caution during pregnancy; high doses will cause nausea, colic and urinary problems; use caution with sedative, antihypertensive and antidepressive medication

  • Hair Care: promotes hair growth (romasanjanana), premature greying, hair loss

Licorice

  • Taste (Rasa): sweet, bitter

  • Energetics (Virya): cooling

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): sweet

  • Quality (Guna): heavy, moist

  • Dosha: VPK-, K+ (in excess)

  • Tissues (Dhatu): all plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), muscle (mamsa), fat/adipose tissue (meda), bone (asthi), nerve/bone marrow (majja), reproductive tissue (shukra [male]/artava [female])

  • Systems (Srotamsi): nervous (majja vaha srotas), reproductive (shukra/artava vaha srotas), digestive (anna vaha srotas), respiratory (prana vaha srotas), excretory (purisha vaha srotas)

  • Indications: lungs, digestion, liver, kidneys, nerves, urine, skin

  • Precautions: care in osteoporosis as it inhibits its calcium and potassium absorption; it can exacerbate potassium loss when used with potassium-depleting drugs (thiazide diuretics, laxatives) and this can increase sensitivity to cardioactive glycosides; it extends the activity of cortisone in the blood by decreasing plasma clearance and so caution is advised with corticosteroids, especially prednisolone; hypokalameia can occur over extended periods (4-6 weeks) and so diligence is advised when blood pressure increases in any person taking licorice, or with elderly people or those with hypertension or cardiac, renal or hepatic disease; it can exacerbate the effects of a high salt diet; it may counteract the contraceptive pill; it has a positive interaction with NSAIDs by reducing the gastric irritation and ulceration they can cause

  • Contraindications: high Kapha; choleostatic liver disorders, hypertension, congestive heart failure, oedema, during pregnancy and breast-feeding

  • Hair Care: tonic for the hair (kesya)

Rose Petals

  • Taste (Rasa): bitter, pungent, astringent, sweet

  • Energetics (Virya): cooling

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): sweet

  • Quality (Guna): light, unctuous

  • Dosha: VPK=

  • Tissues (Dhatu): plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), fmuscle (mamsa), nerve/bone marrow (majja), reproductive tissue (shukra [male]/artava [female])

  • Systems (Srotamsi): circulatory (rakta vaha srotas), nervous (majja vaha srotas), female reproductive (artava vaha srotas)

  • Indications: gynecology, nerves, digestion, reproduction

  • Precautions: caution during pregnancy, high Kapha

  • Hair Care: tonic for the hair (kesya)

Tila

  • Taste (Rasa): sweet, pungent, astringent, bitter

  • Energetics (Virya): heating

  • Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): pungent

  • Quality (Guna): heavy, unctuous

  • Dosha: V-, PK+, ama+

  • Tissues (Dhatu): all plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), muscle (mamsa), fat/adipose tissue (meda), bone (asthi), nerve/bone marrow (majja), reproductive tissue (shukra [male]/artava [female])

  • Systems (Srotamsi): digestive (anna vaha srotas), bone (asthi vaha srotas), excretory (purisha vaha srotas), respiratory (prana vaha srotas)

  • Indications: digestion, lungs, bones, skin, rejuvenation, gynecology

  • Precautions: high ama and congestion; skin eruptions from heat

  • Hair Care: tonic for the hair (kesya)