If you dream of lustrous, long hair, ayurveda sure has your back! Ancient ayurvedic texts explain in detail how hair is formed, processes that govern its growth, and what can help this delicate process along or throw it out of whack. According to ayurveda, hair is a by-product of the process of bone tissue formation. When the metabolism of this tissue, which is governed by your digestive fire (agni) is impaired, it can reflect poorly on the health of your hair. Pitta dosha, characterized by the elements of fire and water, is responsible for the digestive system and hormones that play a major role in hair health. Excess pitta can cause hair loss and premature graying. Overly sour, salty, and spicy foods can increase pitta, and so can hot weather or being short-tempered.
A balanced and healthy diet goes a long way in balancing pitta and keeping your hair thick and lustrous. So does a positive frame of mind.1 2 Ayurvedic texts also outline detailed regimens to nourish hair, from inside and out. Of these, scalp massage with medicated oils and herbal formulations play a vital part in ensuring that your hair is in top shape.3
Ayurvedic Hair Oils Nourish And Revitalize The Scalp
Ayurvedic hair oils are usually an intricate mixture of beneficial herbs and base oils that have a synergistic effect. The mixture is perfectly calibrated to make the most of each component. It is usually side-effect-free thanks to the natural ingredients and offers up a potent blend of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential oils that revitalizes the scalp.4
Many Herbs Are Integral To Ayurvedic Oils For Hair Growth
Ayurvedic oils are usually made with a base of sesame or coconut oil and use a combination of herbs for hair growth and to tackle common hair issues. Some common herbs used in ayurvedic hair oils include:
- Bhringraj (Eclipta alba): Literally meaning “king of hair,” bhringraj is ayurveda’s poster child when it comes to herbs that vitalize hair. This comes with scientific backing too. One animal study found that an extract of bhringraj helped regenerate new hair in half the time taken by a medicine used for hair growth. Not only did hair grow faster when bhringraj was applied but more hair follicles were found to be in the hair growing or anagen phase of the hair cycle rather than the hair shedding or telogen phase. A compound known as β-sitosterol, present in this herb, is thought to be responsible for this beneficial effect:5
- Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Another plant that’s valued in ayurveda, yashtimadhu or licorice finds pride of place in many ayurvedic oils that promote hair growth. One animal study found when a root extract was applied, subjects grew longer hair and in less time than others treated with a medicine used to promote hair growth. They also had more hair follicles in the hair growth phase.6
- Amla (Emblica officinalis): Amla or Indian gooseberry nourishes your hair and is widely used in traditional hair tonics. It is thought to act against excess pitta, promotes hair growth, and prevents premature graying. Oil obtained from the berries is also used to strengthen hair.7
- Neeli (Indigofera tinctoria): Neeli is another potent herb that enhances hair growth. As one animal study showed, hair growth was accelerated and a greater number of hair follicles found in the growth phase of the hair cycle in subjects who were treated with this herb compared with those treated with a medicine used for hair growth. The presence of β- sitosterol in this medicinal plant may account for its hair growth properties. The herb may even have potential to treat alopecia.8
- Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi): Ayurveda uses jatamansi rhizomes for preparing aromatic medicinal hair oils that boost hair growth and reduce graying. Animal studies confirm that topical application of jatamansi extracts does make hair grow faster – there was a 30% acceleration in the time taken to regrow hair in one study. Components such as nardin and jatamansic acid may be responsible for this effect.9
Other beneficial ingredients in hair oils include henna (Lawsonia inermis), aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis), hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), and neem (Azadirachta indica). These not only help with hair growth but also work as hair cleansers and coloring agents. They also tackle common hair issues like dandruff, premature graying, and dry or brittle hair. Coconut meat, coconut oil, and cow’s milk are also often added to the mixture.
7 Ayurvedic Hair Oils You Can Use To Grow Hair And Arrest Hair Fall
Now that you’ve seen the wide variety of herbs that can go into ayurvedic hair formulations, here are 7 oils used to promote hair growth and treat hair loss.
1. Bhringraja Tailam
“Nasya is a therapeutic procedure used in ayurveda which involves the nasal administration of medicinal formulations. Typically, ayurvedic oils with the capacity to promote hair growth and balance pitta dosha may be nasally administered for treating hair loss. Do keep in mind that nasya should only be performed under the supervision of an ayurvedic doctor.”
Bhringraja tailam is prepared by adding bhringraj juice and bolus of yashtimadhu powder to sesame oil. Coconut oil may also be used and other medicinal ingredients like fenugreek may be added. This oil when applied to the scalp and massaged in promotes healthy growth of hair. Research also indicates that instilling this medicinal oil in the nose through the therapeutic ayurvedic process “nasya” can help curtail hair fall and hair breakage. A specific technique used for the nasal administration of bhringraja tailam known as “Charakokta nasya vidhi” has been found to be particularly effective.10 11
2. Malatyadi Tailam
Malatyadi tailam is another ayurvedic oil that is used to tackle various hair problems. Research indicates that malatyati tailam can help tackle hair fall, dry hair, and dandruff. It can also improve the texture of your hair.12 Alopecia can also be treated with malatyadi tailam. To prepare this oil, medicinal plants such as malati (Jasminum grandiflorum), naktamala (Pongamia pinnata), karaveera (Nerium indicum), and agni (Plumbago zeylanica) are processed in a coconut oil base.
A scalp massage can improve circulation and supply more nutrients to the roots of hair, thereby enhancing hair growth.13
3. Neelibhringadi Tailam
This powerful medley of beneficial herbs is a popular ayurvedic oil. It not only nourishes your hair and promotes healthy hair growth but also helps prevent dandruff, hair fall, and premature graying. It contains extracts of neeli (Indigofera tinctorea) and bhringaraj (Eclipta alba), as well as shatakratulata (Cardiospermum helicacabum), yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), amla (Emblica officinalis), and gunjamoola (Abrus precatorius) in a base of coconut oil and milk.
4. Chandanadhya Tailam
Chandanadhya tailam contains beneficial ingredients such as chandana (Santalum album), yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), murva (Marsdenia tenacissima), haritaki (Terminalia chebula), amla (Emblica officinalis), bhringaraj (Eclipta elba), jatamansi (Nordostachys jatamansi) in a base of sesame oil. This ayurvedic oil can be applied on the scalp as well as administered nasally. In fact, one study found that nasya with this medicinal oil along with the adoption of healthy dietary and lifestyle habits was quite effective at managing hair fall. 14
5. Yashtimadhu Tailam
This ayurvedic oil contains yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), amla (Emblica officinalis), and cow’s milk in sesame oil. It is valued for its ability to promote hair growth and treat hair fall as well as premature graying. It can be applied to your scalp as well as administered nasally to arrest hair fall.
The medicinal oil is thought to have rasayana or rejuvenating properties and acts against vitiated pitta dosha. Yashtimadhu tailam can also clear any obstruction of hair roots and boost nourishment of hair.15 16
6. Shadbindu Tailam
Bhringaj (Eclipta alba), eranda (Ricinus communis), tagara (Valeriana wallichi), yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), ginger, cinnamon, rock salt, and milk are combined in this ayurvedic preparation which has sesame oil for its base. It is also used in nasya to tackle hair loss.17
7. Kayyunyadi Tailam
Kayyunyadi keratailam is used for treating hair fall, split ends, and premature graying of hair. It contains kayyonni or bhringaraj (Eclipta alba), guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), amla (Emblia officinalis), yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), anjana (Berberis aristate), and milk in a base of coconut oil.18
Oil And Massage Your Scalp Regularly To Make The Most of These Oils
According to ayurveda, the practice of kesya abhyanga (hair oiling and massage) improves circulation and revitalizes blood vessels in the scalp. It also cools the scalp and thus sets the stage for hair growth. Apply the oil you choose to your scalp and hair strands. Gently massage the oil into your scalp and leave in for 20–30 minutes. Wash off with a mild herbal cleanser or shampoo and let the hair air dry. Regular abhyanga or massage of the scalp and the body 2–3 times a week can help balance all doshas and recalibrate your overall health and wellness.
|↑1||Preedy, Victor R. Handbook of hair in health and disease. No. 1. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.|
|↑2||Russo, Ruthann. The Raw Food Diet Myth: What You Need to Know about the Raw and Living Food Lifestyle to Improve Your Health, Fitness, and Life. DJ Iber Publishing, 2008.|
|↑3, ↑11||Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies: Based on the Timeless Wisdom of India’s 5,000-Year-Old Medical System. Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale, 2012.|
|↑4||Joshi, Amol A. “Formulation and evaluation of polyherbal hair oil.” International Journal of Green Pharmacy (IJGP) 11, no. 01 (2017).|
|↑5||Roy, R. K., Mayank Thakur, and V. K. Dixit. “Hair growth promoting activity of Eclipta alba in male albino rats.” Archives of dermatological research 300, no. 7 (2008): 357-364.|
|↑6||Upadhyay, Sukirti, Ashoke K. Ghosh, and Vijender Singh. “Hair growth promotant activity of petroleum ether root extract of Glycyrrhiza glabra L (Fabaceae) in female rats.” Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 11, no. 5 (2012): 753-758.|
|↑7||Kumar, Anil, Anup Singh, and Jyotsna Dora. “Essentials perspectives for Emblica officinalis.” International journal of pharmaceutical and chemical sciences 1, no. 1 (2012): 11-18.|
|↑8||Lad, Vishal, Chandrakant Suryawanshi, Amit Sinhal, Tushar Salunkhe, Vinod Wagh, and Gopichand Bhoi. “EVALUATION OF HAIR GROWTH PROMOTING ACTIVITY OF INDIGOFERA TINCTORIA LINN. IN MALE WISTAR RATS.” (2017).|
|↑9||Gottumukkala, Venkateswara Rao, Tiruganasambandham Annamalai, and Triptikumar Mukhopadhyay. “Phytochemical investigation and hair growth studies on the rhizomes of Nardostachys jatamansi DC.” Pharmacognosy magazine 7, no. 26 (2011): 146.|
|↑10||Tankan, Rajani, Vasant Patil, and Prasanna Aithal. “Clinical study on different procedures of nasya with bhringaraja taila in khalitya (alopecia).” Journal of Ayurveda and Holistic Medicine (JAHM) 2, no. 4 (2014): 1-11.|
|↑12||Bodkhe, Vijay Ganpatrao. ” To Study the Effect of Malatyadi Tailam and Til Tailam in Patients with Khalitya”. Int J Ayu Pharm Chem.|
|↑13||Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies: Based on the Timeless Wisdom of India’s 5,000-Year-Old Medical System. Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale, 2012.|
|↑14||Ruparel, Sweety, Akanksha Sharma, and Sonam Dan. “A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON NASYA KAR TAILA AND CHANDANADYAM TAILA IN (HAIRFALL).” (2017).|
|↑15||Deepak, Pawar and Kundal Pankaj. “CLINICAL STUDY TO EVALUATE THE EFFICACY OF RASAYANA AND NASYA IN THE MANAGEMENT OF KHALITYA (HAIR FALLING)”. Anveshana Ayurveda Medical Journal.|
|↑16||YMT, Yashtimadhuka Taila, and Smasru Patana. “Quality assessment of a traditional oil based ayurvedic formulation: Yashtimadhuka Taila.” Journal of Pharmacy Research Vol 5, no. 2 (2012): 1112-1115.|
|↑17||Shailajan, Sunita, Sasikumar N. Menon, Bhavesh R. Tiwari, and Ashish S. Singh. “Standardization of Shadbindu Taila: An Ayurvedic oil based medicine.” Ayu 34, no. 1 (2013): 103.|
|↑18||Neeraja, P. V., and Elizabeth Margaret. “Eclipta alba (L.) Hassk: a valuable medicinal herb.” International Journal of Current Pharmaceutical Review and Research 2, no. 4 (2012): 188-197.|