Men and women the world over seem inordinately concerned about their hair. I find this both in USA and India. Girls and boys are both complaining about hair fall. Young adults in their 20s seem very concerned about this issue. A young friend of mine was worried that if his hair fell out at the rate it did, no girl would marry him.
Ayurveda treats the issue of hair fall in a holistic manner. Oil application does help. One should use oil such as neeli bringadi, a curry leaf-based or amla-based oil.In Ayurveda, the body is said to be composed of seven dhatus or loosely translated seven tissue types. Of these asthi dhatu or bone tissue is related to the health of hair. This is because of hair or kesha, which is said to be amla or byproduct of asthi dhatu. So to have strong hair growth and less hair fall, your bones have to be strong. If you need good bones, you can’t nourish the bones alone, overall nourishment of all tissues is essential. In Ayurveda, overall nourishment is first started by a good panchakarma treatment and rasayana therapy. Chyawanprash is good for overall immunity enhancement and nourishment. So also narasimha rasayana. This is a gritham or ghee-based ayurvedic preparation and is highly effective for hair growth as the bone tissue is nourished by the fat. Similarly, gandha tailam and ksheerabala 101 tailam are also great for nourishing bones, keeping vayu under control and nourishing hair.
The calcium supplements available for prescription by modern western doctors don’t seem to be very effective. Ayurveda has natural calcium preparations, which are far more effective. These include Sankhabhasma prepared out of conch shells and Pavizha bhasma prepared from coral. Both these preparations are used among other things to strengthen bones. Since tissues will be healthy only if they are nourished well, a good digestive fire is absolutely essential not only for hair growth but also for overall health. So keep your digestive fire functioning optimally by following the rules regarding aharam.
Ashta churanam, trikatu churanam etc., can be taken to stoke the digestive fire, if you are not of the pitta type—you don’t have burning sensation in your stomach.
Iron supplements such as dhatri loha also ensure that the bones and hair are well nourished. Stress can also lead to hair fall. Menstrual issues can also cause hair fall and are treated depending on the problem with such preparations as Rajapravartini gutika, Kanchanara guggulu or Chandraprabha vati. So hair health depends on your overall good health. That said, Ashwagandha (Withania sominifera), Amla (Emblica officinalis), Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba), Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa) and Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) are all single herbs, which help hair growth. So pick one and try it out. But do keep in mind that the state of your hair reflects your general health status.
The writer is retired Additional Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu. She can be reached at sheelarani.