Indians are famous all over the world for many things, One of them happens to be their long, black beautiful hair. All thanks to Ayurveda, the traditional system of Indian medicine. It was originated in India, perhaps as much as 3000 years ago. Our ancestors used natural herbs and ingredients to take care not only of their health and skin but hair too. Much later, we were introduced to ready-made shampoos, oils and many other hair care products which hardly did any good for our hair. The chemicals in those products might help us look gorgeous for a while but eventually, the overall health of our hair is damaged.
Nowadays people are looking for healthier options to treat their hair. Because let’s admit we love our hair! Don’t we? But there are so many products, so many promises and so many opinions that we often get confused which one to use and which one to not. I was one of those confused souls while growing up as I had curly, rough and unmanageable hair. It took me a while to figure out what is good for my hair and I am willing to share them with you.
But before I start it is important to mention the few basics like getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet and drinking enough water is important for good hair. Apart from that massaging your hair with oils like olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, castor oil (you can use them together or you can use either) on a regular interval is essential. Here are 7 of my favourite herbs, ingredients and packs that will give you healthy, shiny and beautiful hair which you’ve been craving for all this while!
In Ayurveda, Hibiscus is one of the most widely used herbs for hair related problems. Hibiscus promotes hair growth, reduces hair fall, treats dandruff and itchy scalp, conditions hair, prevents baldness and the list goes on. The amino acids in hibiscus produce a structural protein called keratin, which binds the hair and makes them less prone to breakage. It promotes the overall thickness of hair as well. Hibiscus nourishes hair and seal its natural moisture that our regular shampoos take away from us making our hair dry and rough. Many research papers suggest that hibiscus extract is very effective and safe to treat baldness and for the re-growth of hair. Hibiscus also helps in reducing oil secretion from the gland which causes dandruff. Hibiscus leaves maintain the pH balance of hair and provide an overall soothing or cooling effect.
How to use: Take 6-8 hibiscus flower and leaves, and make a fine paste. Take a cup of coconut oil and heat it. Then add the paste in it and heat it together. Once it cools down, massage for 10 minutes and leave it on for at least 30 minutes. Use a mild shampoo to wash it off. The remaining oil can be stored for future use.
Onions not only promotes hair growth, but also has substances that fight fungus and bacteria and keep hair free of infection. Onions contain Sulphur, that is essential for the regeneration of hair follicles. Onion pulp improves blood circulation that helps reducing hair breakage and thinning of hair. Onion has powerful antioxidants that battle premature greying. Onion paste or juice used on regular intervals, will also create a natural shine for the hair. Over some time, this shine can become permanent.
How to use: Take an onion and extract its juice. Then use a cotton bud and dip it in the juice and dab gently all over the scalp. Leave for 15-30 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm or cold water. Apply twice or thrice a week.
Aloe Vera is known all over the world for its unbelievable healing properties. The translucent gel in aloe vera is made up of around 96% water, some organic and inorganic compounds, a type of protein which contains 18 of the 20 amino acids found in the body and lastly, vitamin A, B, C and E. Aloe vera has a proteolytic enzyme that repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It is a great natural conditioner, makes hair smooth and shiny. Aloe vera also prevents itching on the scalp and removes dandruff.
How to use: Take 4 tablespoon of aloe vera gel or as per your need. Add 2-3 spoons of castor oil in it and apply it onto your scalp and hair. Keep for at least 30 minutes then wash it off.
AMLA (Indian Gooseberry)
Amla is a rich source of antioxidants and also contains kaempferol, flavonoids, and gallic acid, all of which help enhance hair texture. The vitamin C in amla helps in nourishing hair from root to tip. Amla strengthens hair roots and provides nourishment to the scalp. It also prevents greying and adds lustre to the hair.
How to use: You can extract juice from the fruit and apply onto your scalp directly or you can heat coconut and olive oil and add amla powder to it and apply. Keep for at least 30 minutes for best result.
Yes! You heard it right. Bananas can prevent hair related problems and give you shiny and thick hair. They are rich in potassium, natural oils, carbohydrates and vitamins, which help soften the hair and protect the natural elasticity. It also prevents split ends and breakage.
How to use: Take 1 or 2 ripe bananas (as ripe as possible) according to your hair length. Blend or mash the banana until it’s super smooth and lump-free. You can put just the banana. But the combination (banana+ curd+honey + any oil) works wonder for hair. Mix 2 tablespoon of curd, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon oil with the banana. Apply evenly on your hair. Leave for 20-30 minutes and rinse it off with mild shampoo.
REETHA (Indian Soapberry) & SHIKAKAI
These two ingredients are in use for centuries. Modern shampoo was introduced much later around 1930, before that Reetha and Shikakai were widely used to cleanse hair, especially in India. Reetha is basically natural shampoo for your hair. It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal in nature and keeps your scalp infection and dandruff free. Though it roughens hair a little bit. That’s why Shikakai is used along with Reetha, because shikakai conditions the hair and makes it manageable. It has excellent cleansing properties and is also rich in antioxidants and vitamins like A, C, K, and D, which help nourish the hair and keep it healthy.
How to use: Add 1.5 litres of water to 20gm of dried shikakai, 20 gm of dried Reetha and 20gm of dried amla and let it soak for at least 10 hours. Take this mixture and heat it. After it starts boiling let it boil for 5 minutes and then let it simmer for 20-30 minutes. After it cools down crush them well and strain before you apply to your hair. It will give you a freeze-free shiny hair.
EGG, HONEY & YOGHURT
This combination is like nectar for hair which makes it my favourite pack for hair. Eggs are an excellent source of omega-3s and it also contains biotin which is very good for hair to grow. Honey is also a great hair moisturizer and Emollients in honey-smooth the hair follicles, adding shine to dull hair. Honey can help to restore the natural lustre of your hair by moisturizing and locking in the shine. Natural yoghurt is full of protein that is excellent for hair growth. The lactic acid in yoghurt helps to cleanse the scalp and removes dead cells.
How to use: Take an egg and beat it. If you have normal hair use the whole egg; just the egg white if you have oily hair, and use the egg yolk for dry hair. Add 3-4 tablespoon(or as per your hair length) of beaten yoghurt and 2 tablespoons of honey to the egg and mix it well. Apply it all over your hair and wash it off with mild shampoo after 20-30 minutes.
These are my favourite natural herbs and ingredients to treat hair problems. These ingredients won’t harm as all of them are natural. Do try them at home and Enjoy those gorgeous looks without worrying about hair fall!