Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

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Our skin and hair’s health depends on what we eat. Some foods can nourish and heal us. Other foods can throw us off balance and aggravate our doshas. This post will explore foods that aggravate and increase Pitta dosha. This will help you reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which aggravate Pitta dosha.

These food rules may seem slightly tough to follow in the beginning. But if followed, they can help balance imbalanced doshas, reduce pitta aggravation and improve health. Read on.

Premature greying is caused by Pitta aggravation

Premature greying is considered a condition of unchecked pitta aggravation in Ayurveda. When Pitta dosha in the body is sharply imbalanced, it increases heat and oiliness throughout the body.

In skin, unchecked Pitta dosha leads to skin oiliness, blackheads, whiteheads and skin clogging and breakouts.

Aggravated pitta dosha affects hair in a different way. It burns the hair and thins it down. This makes the scalp more visible and gives the impression of a receeding hair line. It also prematurely greys hair, stripping it of its natural colour.

So to reduce these hair and skin effects, we must control Pitta aggravation at source and influence it through a carefully chosen diet.

Ayurveda tells us that sour, spicy and salty foods increase Pitta dosha which in turn aggravates premature greying.  So we can reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods with these tastes.

Sweet, bitter and astringent foods reduce and balance Pitta dosha . Eating more of these foods can help us balance and reduce aggravated Pitta Dosha, thus slowing down premature greying.

Traditional Indian cuisine and cooking methods

Indian cuisine liberally uses souring agents in food. Traditionally this was done to preserve food in the absence of refrigeration. Sour foods were eaten carefully, at the right time. For example, sour foods were eaten on a long journey, when there was no access to fresh cooked food. In South India, Puliyodharai (tamarind rice) is a good example of this.

Tamarind rice traditionally used as a travel foodTamarind rice: traditional travel food

Traditionally, Puliyodharai was made before a long journey, where the food needed to last for atleast 3 – 4 days without refrigeration.

Similarly, India has a long tradition of pickling. Pickling was done from ancient times to preserve seasonal fruits and vegetables. Pickles were also used judiciously to improve appetite and digestion in cold months, and give the body access to vegetables that were out of season. Being salty , sour and spicy, Pickles stimulate Pitta Dosha which is useful in rainy or cold season where appetite can be dull.

Pickles: traditionally used to preserve seasonal fruits
& vegetables & stimulate appetite in WinterReduce premature greying by avoiding these foods: traditionally pickles were eaten in small quantities only and were home made

Traditional cooking always understood the idea of balance. We never overindulged in sour or salty tastes. Care was taken to provide a wide variety of tastes in each meal. Pickles and condiments were eaten in small quantities , in the right season, and were used as medicine. By staying in balance, our diet helped slow down aging and reduce premature greying and early wrinkles.

Food was always made at home. There was no concept of pre-packaged or outside food. so home picklers and papad makers used local, high quality spices to make these condiments. Potassium sorbate and synthetic preservatives were not used to flavour these condiments. Instead home makers used different kinds of salt and high quality cold pressed oils and clean hands to ensure long shelf life.

Modern changes to foods and cooking methods that upset dosha balance

The wise and holistic traditional methods of preservation and cooking have been completely overturned in today’s world. Pickling and condiment making is no longer a home made affair. Instead we buy mass manufactured, pre-packaged pickles, papad, from a  super market . These mass manufactured condiments come loaded with preservatives, E-numbers and excessive salt, severely aggravating Pitta dosha. We no longer use pickles, chutneys and condiments as medicines. Instead we over-indulge in them purely for taste.

Our perceived lack of time has us looking for quick foods. Breakfast for many today is a pre-packaged instant cereal, instant oats, instant upma etc. The shelf life of these “foods” is sometimes 3 years. This food is not just nutrient dead. It is also immensely upsetting to the delicate dosha balance in your body.

Eating dead food loaded with chemicals puts a huge strain on the body and increases our toxin load.

Is your breakfast live with prana? Or dead with synthetic
chemicals, additives and preservatives?Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods: instant breakfast cereal is low in Prana and high in salt

With globalisation, we suddenly have access to foods that were never a part of our cuisine. So we have enthusiastically added vinegar, tempeh, olives and aged cheeses to our cuisine. The introduction of these alien foods severely upsets the dosha balance in our body. Most pre-packaged, shelf ready foods are very high in sodium preservatives, aggravating Pitta dosha. This aggravates premature greying.

Reduce Premature greying by avoiding these 5 foods :

We have seen that “amla” (sour), “lavana” (salty) and “teekshna” (spicy) tastes aggravate Pitta dosha.  This in turn thins hair, rapidly changes its colour to a dull grey or white. So we can reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which stimulate Pitta dosha excessively.

  1. Sour foods – tomato and tamarind based food, fermented foods, curd, etc
  2. Salty Foods – pickles, papad
  3. Spicy Foods – red and green chillies
  4. Sour Foreign foods – sauces, soy sauces, vinegar, cheese, olives, greek yoghurt, hummus, pesto
  5. Salty Commercial packaged foods – instant cereal / oats / upma

Why do we include foods that are considered healthy like idlis and foreign foods like hummus and vinegar? We will see the reasons why below.

1. Avoid Sour foods

Indian cooking, especially south Indian cooking loves sourness. Tamarind is almost universally used in preparations like Sambhar and Rasam. Additionally sour curds and buttermilk is often eaten with rice everyday or in other dishes like Morkuzhambu.

The unchecked use of Tamarind is not a healthy practice. This also goes against traditional food rules.

An excess amount of sour taste in food aggravates Pitta dosha, leading to premature greying and hair thinning. So , sour taste needs to be balanced in your cuisine. Depending upon level of pitta imbalance, we advise severe restriction of sour agents or limiting its consumption to 2 – 3 days a week.

Fermented foods are very healthy for us. But as they age, they become very high in sourness. Traditionally foods like idli and dosa were consumed only few times a week / fortnight. But today, due to easy availability of ready made batter, many of us eat these foods nearly every day.

8.fermented foods high in pitta

Chaats are notoriously high in sour especially golgappas and dahi-based chaats.  Originally chaat was invented in North India as a medicinal item to cure constipation. This makes sense if your diet is very high in meat and protein leading to severe constipation. This is also okay in small, occasional doses in the right season.

However, today all of us eat hotel made chaat. The puris are made with pre commercial maida which is clogging to the system. Oil is re-used many times making it unhealthy. Plus we eat it in high frequency and un seasonally.  This much be kept in balance, again.

9. chaat

Krya recommendation for Sour foods :

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in sour tastes by following these restrictions:

  • Restrict amchur, kokum and tamarind based dishes to twice a week. On the other days, have non-sour dishes like Dal, Kootu, etc.
  • Restrict the consumption of cooked curd based dishes. If making raita, do not eat more than once a week. Use diluted , churned, non sour curd for Raita.
  • Restrict Fermented foods to twice a week. Ensure the batter is home made, and fresh (do not eat if batter is more than 2 days old)
  • Avoid curd completely. You can have thin buttermilk (3 portions water: 1 curd) thrice a week, tempered with salt, roasted jeera and pepper ONLY if the curd is not sour. Avoid all sour buttermilk
  • Avoid tomatoes as much as possible. You many use fresh lime twice a week instead.

2. Salty food:

Pitta dosha increases with salty food which in turn increases premature greying. Pickles, papads, and other condiments are naturally high in salty taste. If these products are bought from shops, the salt content is even higher.

Restrict pickle consumption to small amounts. Eat only
home made, preservative free pickle.Reduce premature greying: Pickles, sauces and other condiments increase premature greying and hair thinning

Krya recommendation for salty foods :

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in salty taste by following these restrictions:

  • Avoid iodised , synthetic salt. Eat only rock salt or “Indhuppu”. Kala namak is to be had very very rarely as it aggravates Pitta dosha.
  • Completely avoid all store bought pickles, sauces, and other condiments
  • Fresh, non aged, home made pickles can be eaten occasionally in autumn, spring and more regularly in Winter. Avoid completely if possible in Summer.
  • Preserved home made, aged pickles can be eaten infrequently if the rest of the meal is low in sour and spicy. For eg: a traditional combination of mung dal kitchdi with a small amount of pickle is okay, infrequently.
  • Do not eat pickles with sour foods like idli, dosa, curd, buttermilk, sambhar, rasam, etc.
  • Restrict papads to occasional consumption.  Balance the rest of the meal to ensure overall low salt. Choose a well made, non commercial papad (organic, small scale), if possible.

3. Avoid Spicy food

Ayurveda says that the nature of pitta dosha is “Teekshana” or intense and sharp. Teekshana foods therefore aggravate pitta dosha because they are similar in nature to Pitta dosha. Many spices we eat are not only Teekshana but also foreign to India. Chillies for example, were introduced into India a scant 400 – 500 years ago.  However, they have been studied and described in Ayurveda with a detailed study of their effects on our body.

Red and green chillies are considered much more Teekshana in Ayurveda compared to indigenous varieties of pepper. So when we use chilli powder in our cuisine, pitta dosha aggravates, increasing premature greying.

11.chillies

To bring aggravated pitta dosha to balance, we advise cutting down red and green chillies and all varieties of capsicum and bell peppers.

Krya recommendation for spicy food:

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in spicy taste by following these restrictions:

  • Avoid red and green chillies, capsicum as much as possible. As they are nightshades, they also interfere with many of the body’s natural functions.
  • Learn to spice food instead with pepper, ginger, dhania and jeera.
  • Pitta aggravated people can liberally use coriander seeds, and roasted jeera in their cooking. Coriander seeds balance pitta. Jeera warms without aggravating Pitta dosha. A small amount of roasted fenugreek seeds can also be used to supplement cooking. Fenugreek also stimulates Pitta dosha , but it can be used as long as other Pitta aggravating spices are avoided, in small quantities.
  • Reduce mustard and mustard oil in your cooking. Yellow mustard is milder than black mustard and can be used infrequently.
  • This is not the time to eat jalapenos and bhut jalokia.

4. Avoid Sour Foreign foods – sauces, soy sauces, vinegar, cheese, olives, greek yoghurt, hummus, pesto

With rapid globalisation, we have been introduced to many new cuisines and tastes. While this is great to understand different cultures, it can play havoc with the balance of doshas in our body.

When we import foods, we do not import the other things that surround food. Food comes with local traditions, historical changes and unique geographical conditions that contribute to the development of this cuisine. All of this help the natives of a particular geography adapt and live well in that environment with the help of that food.

Food culture also comes with ingredient availability. In India, Rajasthani cuisine is famous for the use of many local shoots, roots, due to the non availability of other vegetables and fruits. So yak cheese evolved in a region where the climate was cold, and no other dairy animal was present. These region specific foods often make most sense in their area of origin and travel poorly. When those of us living in hot, tropical conditions consume this kind of food, we upset our dosha balance.

Indo chinese food notoriously aggravates premature greyingIndo-chinese food notoriously aggravates Pitta dosha

Krya recommendation for sour foreign foods :

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are foreign to our bodies and have a sharp, sour taste by following these restrictions:

  • Sharp aged cheeses aggravate pitta dosha. Avoid strongly.
  • Reduce consumption of pickled vegetables like olives, jalapenos as much as possible. Synthetic, commercial vinegar is used for this pickling which is harmful for health. If using, use very infrequently and ensure the vegetable is soaked and rinsed many times before eating.
  • Avoid indo-chinese food as much as possible. Among all cuisines , this upsets and aggravates Pitta dosha the most.
  • Avoid eating packaged tahini and hummus which are high in salt and sour taste. Make your own dips instead.
  • Avoid greek yoghurt: it is very high in fat, sourness and can also imbalance kapha dosha leading to breakouts and dandruff.
  • Experiment with other cuisines in a very restrictive and balanced manner. Follow up experimentation with atleast 1 / 2 weeks of regular home made food to ensure the toxins accumulated do not build up
  • If you have a choice, choose cuisines with tastes as close to Indian food as possible.

5. Avoid Salty commercial pre-packaged foods :

10. salty foods

All packaged , ready to eat food is high in salt. This comes in the form of synthetic sodium preservatives and emulsifiers. Packaged sweetened foods like breakfast cereal, instant oats, are also similarly high in salty taste.

When we habitually eat these foods, our taste buds get adapted to a much higher degree of salt. So we unconsciously start using much higher amounts of salt in our food as well.

Krya recommendation for salty, commercial, pre-packaged foods:

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in hidden salts by following these restrictions:

  • Avoid / Restrict the following completely: Instant noodles, oats, upma, ready to eat foods
  • Completely avoid powdered or ready to eat soups. They are NOT healthy and are NOT nutritious and are filled with toxic chemicals.
  • Slowly phase out dependence on breakfast cereals and plain oats.
  • Paneer is preferable over cheese . Home made Paneer is infinitely preferable over store bought Paneer. Eat within two days and do not eat sour, fermented Paneer.  You can flavour it at home if needed without aggravating Sodium or premature greying.

To Conclude:

“Ahaara” (food) has a very important role to play in health, and our external appearance. Hair and skin systems react very quickly to a badly planned diet and show up symptoms of dosha imbalance. In this post, we saw the connection between salt, spice and sour tastes and Pitta dosha. we also looked at 5 common types of foods that we all consume everyday, which are high in these tastes.

If you have the typical signs of aggravated pitta dosha like rapid premature greying, hair thinning, early stage female / male pattern baldness, your diet could be at fault. Making these simple changes to your diet can help bring your doshas back to balance, restore health and help you reduce premature greying.

If you have any questions on the above, please write to us.

Krya hair and scalp products to reduce premature greying and hair thinning:

Krya classic hair mask: an authentic ayurvedic hair treatment mask to reduce premature greying and hair thinning

Krya classic hair nourishing system: Ayurevdic hair rpoducts to reduce premature greying and hair thinning

Krya’s safe , all natural hair colours to colour prematurely grey hair:

Krya All natural hair colour is made with nourishing ayurvedic herbs that colour hair safely and help strengthen and nourish it deeply.

 

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How extreme exercise is linked to hair loss: Insights from Ayurveda

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Is there a thing as too much exercising? , you may ask. This is an age of obesity, of food walks, of people describing themselves as foodies, of people wanting to quit their corporate jobs and start a restaurant, of the rise of several food networks, celebrity chefs, reality shows around food, and travel destinations centred on food.

Yes our addiction with food is not healthy. And is certainly causing an epidemic in weight gain.

However, there is also an exercise epidemic. Hand in hand with the addiction to food there is a growing addiction to working out. Almost every week, the newspaper I subscribe to, carries an interview of a corporate CEO, and 7 out of 10 of them describe their new found hobby of long distance running. Many of them describe running as a catharsis, and say they have seen good benefits in health and well being after embarking on their new exercise regimen.

1.extreme exercise

 

Ayurveda: and its goal of promoting health and well being

Ayurveda is described as the 5th Veda and a divine science and its goal is the promotion of Ayu and Ayush. Ayurveda attempts to reach its twin goals of Ayu and Ayush through balancing the 3 doshas in our body, and harmonising our interaction with our environment by controlling our regimes and our food.

2. ayurveda twin goals

It is important to note that Ayurveda is not rigid. The skilled Vaidya always tailors his / her recommendations to suit your individual constitution, nature of work, and the place where you live. Your goals and dreams are always to be taken into account when designing the right regimen for you.

 

Krya case study: hair loss due to weight loss and extreme exercise

One of the consumers we interact regularly with is a young aspiring actor who lives in Mumbai. He is in his twenties, and due to the demands of his profession, he maintains a very gruelling and rigorous exercise schedule. For his career, he needs to maintain a certain body aesthetic, muscle tone and appearance which is he is extremely dedicated and religious towards.

For a general grihasta (householder), Ayurveda maintains that the daily exercise should stop at “Ardha Shakti” or at half your capacity. This is reached when your forehead and axillae begin to sweat and you are no longer able to comfortably breathe through your nostrils and start breathing air through your mouth instead.

3. exercise - when to stop

In the case of a grihasta, the exercise is to ensure that the body is kept in good health through gentle regular exercise – the goal always is that exercise should aid him / her to conduct his day with energy, cheerfulness and the mental faculties remaining sharp. This is not possible if we have tired ourselves out by reaching our full capacity as we literally have no gas in the tank.

In the case of our young aspiring actor, his life goals are very different. In order to maintain his desired aesthetic, he need to exercise much more than the average grihasta – one could argue that the exercise itself forms a part of his goal. Also, given the changing nature of his movie roles, he may need to put on more muscles (bulkier look) or get much leaner.

In this case, Ayurvedic advice should be tailored to ensure that his dreams and aspirations are kept in mind – we cannot be rigid and insist he lead the life of a grihasta and stop at ardha Shakti alone.

 

Why hair loss follows high exercise and weight loss: insights from Ayurveda

But in his case, the extreme exercising was leading to a high level of hair loss. Ayurveda teaches us that many forms of exercise like running and weightlifting sharply lifts the Agni in the body.

 

Repetitive exercising uses the control and focus of pitta dosha – so the very form of exercise and its physical effect on the body raises the Agni in the body. This raised Agni manifests in hair loss – this is the classic male pattern baldness hair thinning we see. Here the excess Agni literally burns its way through your hair.

4. agni increase

 

Adequate kapha dosha levels important for good health:

Ayurveda also says that a basic level of good fats need to be present in the diet to provide adequate “kapha dosha”. This kapha dosha, at the right level, helps promote hair growth. This is validated by modern scientific research.

Good fats, in adequate quantity are essential in the body to help repair wear and tear, promote growth, improve connective tissue and ensure adequate collagen is present in the skin.

5.good fats

When the fat levels are high, as in lifestyle obesity, PCOD and PCOS, the excess kapha brings down the capacity of hair follicles to sprout new hair.

When the fat levels are low, as seen in extreme exercising and a conscious no fat diet, we see that skin starts to sag, darken, there is greater muscle wear and tear, joints are affected ad hair becomes dry and there is poor hair growth.

Pure unprocessed fats which are madhura and growth promoting are therefore recommended in Ayurveda as a part of a healthy diet. These include pure cow’s milk which is drunk warm without any additives like sugar or health drink powders.  It also includes small quantities of good fats like A2 cows ghee.

When physical wear and tear is high (for example during extreme exercising, or high physical stress), we are advised to adequately supplement our diet further with good fats to ensure good cell repair.

 6. right kapha level

 

Insights from traditional Indian wrestling – how to balance high vata and pitta while exercising:

To suggest the right balance for our young actor consumer, we had to turn to the texts to see how professional sportsmen conducted their day. We found some answers in the akhadas which trained professional wrestlers.

Professional wrestlers of yore would typically train for 4 – 5 hours intensively. Their regime included running, skipping, working the upper body using a very heavy type of “gada” or mace followed by one on one contact wrestling. If you recall the Mahabharata, Duryodhona and Bheema would come to mind as examples of this.

7. akhada

There were 2 ways in which the Akhadas balanced the heat generated by this exercising. The Agni would be balanced by kapha – so badam milk was given to the wrestlers as a part of their diet. Badam added kapha and the heaviness of earth, and milk was both cooling and kapha promoting – so it would balance the Agni produced during the exercising and give the fat required to ground vayu and Agni.

This kapha in the form of milk would also help quickly repair minor injuries and muscle tears that usually arise as a result of intensive training. Apart from this internal consumption, professional wrestlers would usually devote the last hour of their practice to an abhyanga. If the exercising was this intensive, they would do an abhyanga EVERY SINGLE DAY. The abhyanga is so much a part of this routine that it was sometimes added to the exercise regime itself as an additional challenge – so the Puranas and our ancient tales describe the sport of oiled wrestling – where the wrestlers would wrestle after applying copious amounts of oil to their body – this made the whole thing extremely challenging and promoted dexterity and skill in the game.

8. abhyanga

 

Krya’s recommendation to the consumer:

The above was the source of our recommendation to the consumer who exercised professionally. He had to add kapha promoting foods to his diet – and this had to be foods that would not imbalance another dosha. So cashew nuts are not suggested, but almonds are as cashew nuts are slightly higher in pitta compared to almonds. Ayurveda says that the almond’s skin is high in pitta and can irritate the stomach, so it must be soaked overnight in water and the skin removed before consuming in the morning.

9.soaked almonds

To balance the digestive capacity of the body which could be thrown out of gear due to excessive heat, we suggested the addition of cooling vegetables like pumpkin, lauki, okra, parwal and other pitta balancing native vegetables. Coconut water (nariyal paani) was also suggested as a good natural electrolyte replenishing drink which also helped bring down pitta. We also advised the consumption of cow ghee from a native cow which is tridoshic. He had long forgotten the use of ghee and was living on highly processed artificial protein substitutes.

 

We also suggested shifting the timing of the exercise – he was currently doing this around midday which is the time when the world carries the highest Agni due to the movement of the sun. Moving this exercising to a cool part of the day, preferably early morning, would help balance Agni.

And to add to his regimen, we suggested a daily abhyanga if possible and a proper cool down after the exercise preferably using cooling yogic poses.

Along with this, frequent hair oiling in small amounts was suggested to ensure excess pitta accumulated in the upper region of the body is also removed, cooling the scalp, brain and eyes.

9. krya hair system

 

Krya note on protein supplements :

No matter what your views may be on supplementing protein while sculpting your body, here are some insights from Ayurveda. Ayurveda classifies proteins as vata aggravating or not, depending upon their source. This classification further changes depending on how exactly they have been processed.

So in general, plant based proteins are considered vata aggravating. But if they have been isolated, and freeze dried, they would become highly vata aggravating. Similarly, animal proteins like dairy or meat are less vata aggravating. But if you are having dairy isolates, then the properties again change to vata aggravating.

10.supplementing

High amount of vata dosha in the body promotes hair loss, and joint pains. So you need to balance vata by eating madhura (sweet), growth promoting foods in a warm state – like warm milk, supplementation of ghee, and addition of wind reducing spices like cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, etc.

So golden milk (turmeric flavoured warm cow’s milk) is a good addition to your diet if you’re supplementing for lean mass, for example.

 

To conclude:

If you are a heavy exerciser, do long distance running or cycling, or follow any form of rigorous sport, you may notice fatigue, dull looking skin and hair loss over time. To control the excess vata and pitta generated as a result of this exercise and to balance depleted kapha dosha, here is what we suggest:

  • Regular abhyanga on the days you exercise much more than Ardha Shakti
    • This abhyanga will remove the fatigue of excess vata which comes after exercising and cool down the excess Agni generated after intensive exercising.

1.abhyanga

 

  • Monitoring and ensuring that you compensate for kapha loss due to exercise by adding adequate good fat to your diet
    • This is critical especially if you are supplementing with protein supplements as fats are needed to balance the high vata of protein supplements
    • This helps promote kapha dosha to help muscle repair, regeneration and internal lubrication of your bones, joints and organ systems.

Krya’s abhyanga range can be explored here. Our hair care range can be explored here.

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Does onion juice really stimulate hair growth? Ayurvedic insights from Krya

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

We are often asked about 2 Internet miracle cure remedies for hairfall: the application of Onion juice on scalp and the use of castor oil on hair for boosting hair growth and to treat alopecia and balding. Even when we suggest Krya products, a change in diet and lifestyle practices like Abhyanga and Yoga, we are asked if these home remedies can be continued along with our products and suggestions.

 

What is the cause of intense hairfall according to Ayurveda? Is there any scientific basis to some of these miracle cures? Why might they work / might not work according to Ayurveda? This post will explore whether there is a scientific basis behind onion juice for the scalp and what Ayurveda has to say about it.

1. hairfall

Onion juice application on the scalp

Onion juice is a very popular hair growth remedy on the Internet. It is considered a miraculous hair growth boosting treatment supposed to boost micro circulation on the scalp, “rejuvenate follicles” and improve hair growth.

2. onion juice therapy

There is only one scientific study which has attempted to study the effects of onion juice on the scalp, and this study was performed on a very tiny sample of people in 2002. The study was published in the Journal of Dermatology in 2002.

 

Study design and sample size used:

Patients were divided into 2 groups. The control group had to apply plain tap water on their scalp. The second group had to apply onion juice onto the scalp. The control group had 15 patients (8 men and 7 women) and the second group had 23 patients (16 men and 7 women).  After 4 weeks, hair growth was seen in 17 out of 23 patients and at 6 weeks among 20 out of 23 patients.

 

Scientific loopholes in the study :

The sample size is small and statistically insignificant and does not have a meaningful number of patients spanning ages. The average median age of both groups was between 18 – 22 years of age. The groups did not follow any fair patterns of selection like the same number, same composition of men and women and age groups.

The control group was treated with plain tap water. What is significant that even when the scalp was massaged with plain tap water, 2 out of the 15 patients experienced hair growth.

If we assume tap water to be a neutral hair growth ingredient, anything in comparison should give us good hair results, like a vegetable oil or any other herb. This study therefore does not do justice to the hype around onion juice as a miraculous hair growth ingredient, and does not form any kind of basis for the hundreds of websites now out there promoting onion juice.

 

Is there a chance it could work? What does Ayurveda say?

Onion juice is considered high in pitta as per Ayurveda. It is a natural anti bacterial and high sulphur containing herb. It is advised to be used in small quantities in the diet whenever pitta is required to be stimulated.

3. onon and garlic pitta herbs

 

We typically need the properties of Pitta when we are trying to digest a heavy meal. Therefore onion and garlic are usually used when we cook meat to help us digest the meat better. Similarly we find the use of onions in making hard to digest lentils like rajma, chickpeas, etc.  Additionally, if we are eating heavy meals or at odd times when pitta is naturally low, onion and garlic can be used. Onion and garlic is also used in very cold seasons where pitta is naturally low. This helps stimulate the digestive fire.

4. rajma and onion

In cases where Pitta is already high, like in the case of hair thinning and premature greying brought on by excess Pitta, Ayurveda advises that we cut down on pitta stimulating foods like onion and garlic.

 

Sudden excessive hairfall in Ayurveda: Indralupta

Indralupta is the condition described in Ayurveda which is closest to alopecia. Here the texts describe that hair fall is both sudden and intense where the hair becomes weak rooted and falls on the slightest pressure. Indralupta is usually seen as a tridosha disorder where 2 things happen:

Aggravated Pitta and Vata enters into the hair follicle. The effect of these 2 doshas is twofold: Pitta heats the hair follicle, dries out moisture and thins it down and greys it. Vata sucks out oil and moisture and dries out the hair. It also weakens the root making it fall very easily. Kapha which produces Sleshma (oily and fatty layer giving strength) oozes below the scalp, blocking the follicles from sprouting new hair. Therefore you have 2 doshas weakening existing hair and making them fall and the third dosha preventing the growth of new hair.

 

Indralupta therefore sees symptoms attributed to derangement of all 3 doshas: deranged vata will cause dryness, whitish discoloration of scalp, and rough frizzy hair that breaks and falls. Deranged Pitta will cause premature greying and thinning and ring pattern balding. Deranged kapha will cause prevention of hair growth. Depending upon the dosha imbalance in the specific person, we could have Vataja Indralupta where the deranged Vata is very high, Kaphaja Indralupta, where Kapha derangement is highest and Pittaja Indralupta where Pitta derangement is highest.

5. indralupta tridosha

 

Ayurvedic treatment for different kinds of intense hair loss (Indralupta)

Treatment given for each kind of Indralupta varies slightly. In Pittaja Indralupta, emphasis is given on cooling the whole body. So Milk and butter is prescribed and application of the paste of cooling and Madhura herbs like Mulethi and Amla is suggested.

6.pittaja

 

In Vataja Indralupta, herbs like Sugarcane are added to nourish the body and citrus fruits are used in combination with wound healing herbs like Tulsi to reducing the itching and dryness associated with Vataja Indralupta.

7.vataja indralupta

 

Since many times there is a combination of doshas leading to imbalance, the texts advice using a combination of heating herbs to dissolve kleshma, sweet and astringent herbs to nourish and reduce Pitta and unctuous, healing and nourishing herbs to bring down Vata.

 

How Krya treats intense hairfall: varies as per dosha imbalance

At Krya, whenever we receive complaints of excessive hairfall, we try and analyse the dosha imbalance behind this hairfall. Based on this, we suggest either using the Krya Intense hair system alone or the intense hair oil with a combination of our other hair oils.

10. krya intense hair system

 

So for a Pittaja Indralupta, we may suggest Krya classic hair oil + Krya Intense hair Oil. For Kaphaja Indralupta, we may go along with Krya Intense hair Oil alone for the hair + body abhyanga to bring down Kapha as a whole. For Vataja Indralupta, we may suggest supplementation of milk and ghee along with combination of Krya conditioning hair oil + Krya Intense hair oil.

 

For mental stress based Vataja Indralupta, we have successfully tried a combination of Krya harmony hair oil + Krya Intense hair oil.17.frequent oiling

 

Ayurvedic approach: identify dosha imbalance behind hairloss and treat accordingly

The point being made here is that Ayurveda treats balding and hair loss as a combination of several factors. Depending upon the reason behind the hair loss, we have to use herbs in the right combination to treat the disorder.

Onion juice application may help in Kaphaja Indralupta as Onion juice can irritate the scalp, produce heat and help dissolve Kleshma. However, it cannot add nourishing substances or astringent factors and these are also required to support hair growth. It is also worth noting that the texts have not used onion juice application for the scalp at all, despite suggesting a very wide array of herbs of both plants, mineral and animal origin.

 

Krya verdict: to continue with onion juice or not?

As we have said above, unless we have identified the dosha imbalance behind the hairloss, we cannot adopt or suggest any single herb remedy. So if you have pitta or vata imbalanced Indralupta, onion juice will worsen the problem and not cure it.

When in doubt and facing a serious hair loss, it is far better to consult an Ayurvedic Vaidya and determine the cause behind hairfall then try out an internet remedy.

It is also important in the case of severe hair loss to seriously adopt health giving habits like the abhyanga, correct your diet, reduce stress and eat well. Ayurveda tells us always to choose the holistic, long term solution and choose good health. When we follow health giving habits and a diet, our imbalances are gently but steadily corrected.

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5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair growth & health

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

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We often are asked for recipes and food suggestions to give better hair growth.  Hair vitamins are a major trend and every lifestyle magazine worth its salt , often lists 10 super foods or herbs you should be consuming for good health, skin, hair and nails. Here is a post listing 5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair growth, that help hair and overall health.

Ayurveda & a healthy diet: some principles

Ayurveda is holistic and not reductionist in its approach. The dravyaguna texts do analyse herbs, fruits, flowers, grains and herbs according to their rasas and gunas. But, the final analysis of what to eat is not based on a simple calorific or protein-carbohydrate-vitamin formula. Instead, a meal plan is devised based on a few first principles:

  • What grows naturally in your surroundings in this season ?
  • How strong is your body’s capacity to digest and assimilate food ?
  • Inclusion of easy to digest strength giving food
  • Following the right food combinations
  • Avoiding hard, tough to digest foods and improper food combinations

Choosing the right food to eat is the first part of eating well. Ayurveda also tells us to eat this food the right way which we will see below.

Principles of healthy eating:

  • Eating as per the movement of the sun
  • Timing the largest meal at peak noon
  • Eating only when hungry
  • Eating slightly less than our peak capacity leaving room for the food to move and expand as it is digested
  • Following our daily Dinacharya to ensure food is assimilated quickly

These principles illustrate the importance Ayurveda places on both what is eaten and how it is eaten. Even if you are eating the best quality meal, if your body is imbalanced, sluggish and full of un-eliminated foods and toxins, even the best food becomes “visha” (poison) in the body.

Ayurveda mentions many rasayana herbs  that give both vitality and good health. These rasayana herbs are also used in external hair products to promote good hair growth, hair strength, and youthfulness .

When these rasayana herbs are eaten as well as applied on hair, we are able to see excellent health benefits. So here is our list of 5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair that we also add to Krya‘s hair care formulations . We suggest eating these foods regularly to boost hair health and well being.

5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair growth and health:

1. Amla (Phyllanthus emblica / Nellikkai / Indian gooseberry:

The Vamana Purana states that if we had absolutely nothing but the Amla to eat, we can survive by just drinking the fruit juice of Amla. The Amla is a special fruit in Ayurveda. It is revered as a rasayana (youth promoting) fruit that contains all 6 tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent). Because it contains all 6 tastes, the Amla can be used by any prakriti (any type of constitution) to balance the doshas in their body.

The Amla is referred to as the “Dhatri” in Ayurveda because it acts like a wet nurse . It is next only to our own Mother in nourishing us and giving us life and health. In its action it rejuvenates the body, tones up all the tissues and strengthens the organs. It is believed to increase Prana Shakti (life energy) in the body and has a calming and soothing effect on the brain. It also acts as a kaya kalpa for the body both when consumed and applied externally.

Amla tones skin , delays aging, delays premature greying , imparts youthful vigour, balances all 3 doshas and acts as a blood purifier.

The Amla is an excellent source of Vitamin C, as it is only the only heat resistant source of Vitamin C. This means that it can be boiled and added to many Indian cooking preparations for its anti oxidant and cell rejuvenative effects.

The nutritional importance of the Amla is no less than its cultural and spiritual significance. The tree is considered auspicious and brings good luck and prosperity. It is associated with Lord Kubera, the mythological Lord of Wealth. The Puranas called it the adiroha (first tree) due to the belief that it is  the first tree to have manifested on Earth. The tree itself is said to represent Lord Vishnu.

Because of the prominence of Amla as a healing and nutritive herb in Ayurveda, it is a part of our list of 5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair.

How to use Amla in your daily diet:

Amla should be a part of everyone’s diet. It is an excellent cell repairing and rejuvenative herb and imparts all 6 tastes to the body balancing all 3 doshas. It is best ground and added to liquid preparations or eaten in the form of a chutney or with rice. We do not recommend non-traditional preparations like amla tea, etc.

When Pitta is imbalanced, we recommend completely substituting Tamarind, Amchur and Tomato in the diet with Amla. This helps quickly control imbalanced Pitta and improves health as well. 

5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair: Amla is a deeply nourishing, anti aging, rasayana herb that is considered the pre-eminent superfood in Ayurveda.

2. Moringa (Moringa oleifera / murungai keerai)

Time Magazine called Moringa a “future superfood” in 2014 . Since then fashionable publications speak about the nutritious benefits of eating Moringa leaf. It is a hot selling Indian export . Moringa is available as a herbal tea, vitamin supplement and freeze dried extract. Unfortunately in India, Moringa is still only fed to cattle. Only South Indian cuisine uses Moringa extensively in its pod form (drumstick).

Virtually every part of the Moringa tree is rich in nutrients and has high medicinal value. A small serving of Moringa leaves have 7 times the Vitamin C content of an orange, 4 times the calcium content of a glass of Milk, and 4 times the beta carotene of a carrot!

Externally, the Moringa leaf is excellent to bring down the occurrence of pimples and clear blackheads. It is a very good skin healer, and can help treat psoriasis and scabies on skin. Moringa is a very good hair growth promoter and is a natural hair conditioner.

Because of its high nutrient value, Moringa is a part of our list of 5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair.

How to use moringa in your daily diet :

All greens are considered slightly hard to digest in Ayurveda. So they need to be cooked in oily and moist condition to ensure their bio availability is high.

Please moist-saute greens in ghee with warming spices like hing, jeera and black pepper, with a dash of water . This is to ensure they are moist cooked with a vata reducing fat.

Ayurveda does not recommend eating greens raw or as a smoothie added to other fruits, vegetables or dairy products.

5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair: moringa is extremely nutritive and is an excellent hair nourishing herb

Kushmanda (Ash gourd / Benincasa hispada):

Kushmanda is a native gourd which is documented from ancient times as a Pitta balancing, sweet, cooling and detoxifying vegetable. Kushmanda is a rasayana herb, improving both physical and mental functioning of the body. It is useful in many ailments like asthma, diabetes, heart ailments, piles and other respiratory problems.

Externally Kushmanda is used by us in Krya for treating dandruff, scalp dryness and hair loss. It brings down body heat and balances pitta and delays greying. It also reduces vata based dryness of scalp and is very useful in bringing down scalp itching and irritation.

Because of its cooling, nourishing,  pitta reducing and rasayana property, Kushmanda is a part of our list of 5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair.

How to use Kushmanda in your daily diet :

Ash gourd is an excellent vegetable to be added into soups, dals and Sambhar. It helps balance Pitta in the Summer and also balances sourness in meals. This is why it is traditionally added to Sambhar and to “mor kuzhambu” in south India.

5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair : Kushmanda is sweet, nourishing and a rasayana herb

Methika (Methi / Fenugreek / Venthayam / Trigonella foenum-graecum :

Originally from Eastern Europe, Methi found its way into Ayurveda for its high medicinal and nutritive properties. Bhavaprakasa wrote that Methi is very useful to balance vata dosha and as a jwara hara (reducer of fever).

Methi seeds soothe many vata based disorders like a persistent cough or a sore throat when used as a decoction. The seeds are extremely rich in iron and can be used to combat iron deficient anaemia. They help soothe inflammations especially of the gastrointestinal tract.

Methi also shrinks abscesses and external inflammations when applied as a poultice. Both leaves and seeds help balance excess pitta. The bitter taste also helps cut down kapha, so it is very useful in lifestyle related diabetes.

Because of its strong inflammation reducing and kapha balancing property, Methi is a part of our list of 5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair.

Methi seeds are an excellent hair herb. They naturally soften and condition hair and increase hair strength. Krya uses Methi seeds in good quantity across our range of hairwashes and in many of Krya’s hair oils.  Methi seeds also relieve eye strain and eye burning which is relieved through frequent oil application. Krya also uses Methi in many of the Krya hair masks. Methi seeds are very useful in cases of high hairfall and to stimulate hair growth.

How to use Methi in your daily diet :

Add methi seeds in the form of dry roasted powder into all dal and Sambhar preparations to impart the bitter pitta reducing effect. Add the seeds at a roughly 10% level to idly and dosa batter to improve its bioavailability and reduce pitta properties slightly. Methi leaf can be cooked like any green and eaten regularly in the case of iron deficiency anaemia.

Warning: Pregnant women are advised to avoid Methi in their diet in traditional and folk medicine as it may lead to vaginal bleeding in certain cases.

5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair : Methi helps balance aggravated kapha and reduces aggravated Pitta dosha

Curry Leaf (Murraya koenigii / Karevepillai / Kari patta)

In Ayurveda, Curry leaves strengthen the body, improve appetite, and reduce body heat and fever. Because of the pitta reducing property, curry leaves are useful to delay premature greying and also bring lustre and brightness to the eyes.

Because of its strong pitta reducing and anti-aging property, Curry leaf is a part of our list of 5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair.

How to use Curry Leaves in your daily diet :

Curry leaf is a very good addition to all preparations to reduce Pitta in them. This is especially useful in dishes that use a lot of red chillies or souring agents.

We recommend buying only organic curry leaf and storing them after shade drying them so that they retain their green colour. Add this crumbled to your dishes so that they are not discarded. 

5 Ayurvedic superfoods for hair : Curry leaf improves appetite, stimulates digestion and ensures nutrient assimilation

To conclude:

There you have it. We listed and described 5 Ayurvedic super foods for hair health that are fabulous at imparting strength.  Eating right, eating the right quantity and at the right time forms the core of health in Ayurveda .

Every single disorder can be traced back to a weak, impaired digestive system or the introduction of faulty foods, faulty combination of foods into the body.

Ayurveda says that foods which benefit us internally, also benefit us externally.  The 5 ayurvedic superfoods for hair which we described are also used in very generous quantities across our hair care formulations.

To us, this is the true vindication of following Ayurveda to formulate our products. By using these wonderfully nutrient and potent herbs in our external applications, we not only ensure safety, but we also ensure our products are truly effective.

If the herbs we use are this effective when applied externally, just imagine the effect they could have if eaten regularly ! Happy thoughtful, ayurvedic eating to you from us at Krya. 

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3 hair oiling myths we want to shatter (and why hair oiling is great for you)

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

I just read this piece on Seth Godin’s blog and it resonated greatly with me. In this piece, Seth says that when we want to bring in a positive change, we often forget that this brings in discomfort. And acknowledging this discomfort helps everyone get on board with the positive change we are trying to bring in.

 

Discomfort or atleast an initial sense of un-ease goes hand in hand with a truly natural beauty routine. For example, the idea of a truly natural, synthetics free shampoo is exciting to almost everyone. But, when people see the Krya range of hairwashes (which are truly natural), they are disconcerted by the idea of using a powder based hairwash. And as we have said before, it DOES take some initial getting used to.

 

However, to make a truly natural shampoo which is genuinely free from synthetic surfactants, TEA, DEA, silicones, fragrances, and preservatives, we can only make a powder hairwash. Only this format ensures the product is stable, has a reasonable shelf life and does not spoil easily.

1.powder hairwash

 

Similarly, EVERONE is now disconcerted by our assertion that hair oiling is essential not just for a healthy scalp and hair but for the entire body.  Unfortunately, when it comes to hair oils, this unease is driven by 2 reasons: a) the feeling that our hair will be sticky and not look fashionable AND  b) because we have now become convinced that hair oiling is unnecessary and can cause harm to our hair and scalp.

 

So today’s blog post will examine a few of these hair oiling myths, and we will provide both Ayurvedic and personal experiences to tell you just why hair oiling can be your biggest growth hair weapon.  Read on.

 

Myth 1: Regular oiling attracts dirt and clogs the scalp

There is an optimum level of oiling for every scalp and this varies depending upon season, humidity levels, how frequently you are shampooing your hair, how drying and stripping your shampoo is, your diet and the time of the month (for women). With such a sensitive, changing variation in sebum levels, it is no wonder that sometimes we could get it wrong.

 

Also, given the level of dust, pollution and our tendency to commute a lot, it is also no secret that a lot of this dust and pollution will find its way into every exposed part of our body including our skin and hair.

 

But here’s another interesting fact: our face will attract the same amount of dirt, and in fact far more than our scalp will as it is not covered by hair. Yet, we are consistently told by the beauty industry to moisturise, use serums and also use thick greasy sun blocks and sunscreens. Surely a simple, natural hair oil is not going to be greasier or more dirt attracting compared to all these products, correct?

2. dirt magnet

 

Plus, when we apply thick leave on hair serums or silicone based leave in conditioners, they are equally sticky and can attract dirt.

 

So it seems that the beauty industry and allied beauty service experts (salon stylists, dermatologists, and trichologists) are being extremely selective when it comes to dismissing oil because of its “special dirt attracting property”.

 

Here is what Ayurveda says about the Keshya abhyanga (practice of hair oiling):

At a superficial level, Keshya abhyanga helps in 2 aspects: improves circulation of the scalp and re-energizes the small blood vessels that supply nutrients to the scalp. It also helps to physically lift dirt away from the scalp and ensure it is washed away during bath, leaving the scalp clean and free from bacteria and insects.

3.hair oiling

 

At a more profound level, Keshya abhyanga helps to cool the scalp, channel excess heat out of the scalp through the numerous minute orifices present in the scalp. And we will explore more about this below.

 

BUT: all the above information is contingent on 2 things:

  1. The choice of the right hair oil for your scalp and hair type and external surroundings
  2. Usage of the correct amount of hair oil for your scalp

If the right choices are not made in these 2 things, then hair oiling will not work well for you.

 

Myth 2: Hair Oiling increases dandruff in the hair

We have written extensively about dandruff before. As we have said, there are 2 types of dandruff:

Dry dandruff:

The first kind is what is most common today and about 75% of those who believe they have dandruff, suffer from this kind. This dandruff is called “dry dandruff” and presents itself as a constantly shedding scalp with dry, small, white, powdery flakes.

This dandruff occurs exclusively due to 3 reasons: excessive shampooing, lack of hair oiling or because of scalp irritation due to SLS and SLeS in your shampoo.

4. dry dandruff

The cure for this dandruff is to oil MORE, shampoo LESS and ELIMINATE the use of SLS and SLeS based shampoos.

 

Oily Dandruff:

The second kind of dandruff, which is less common, is the oily dandruff which is caused by fungal organisms like Malassezia furfur which feeds on and metabolises the sebum on the scalp. This dandruff is creamy – yellow in colour with large visible flakes that are oily in nature.

Here the hair products used need to 3 things: bring down the conditions of growth for the fungal micro organism, regularise sebum production and cut down the thickening of the scalp.

As these fungal organisms thrive in the presence of sweet, nourishing food mediums, the scalp should not be oiled with regular oils like coconut oil, almond oil, etc. These oils provide a bountiful growth medium for fungal micro organisms and will increase their growth.

5. coconut oil for oily dandruff

 

Ayurveda recommends the use of specific bitter herbs to cut down fungal growth and balance sebum levels for this kind of dandruff. Typically the hair oil should contain bitters like Neeli (Indigofera tinctoria), Nimba (Azadarichta indica), Indravalli (Cardiospermum halicacapum), etc. When these herbs are used in the right base oil, they have the property of completely eliminating the fungal organism and treating the dandruff within 2 – 3 months.

6. Oily dandruff

At Krya, we have seen the most stubborn of dandruff respond very well to the bitters and herbs used in the Krya anti dandruff system.

 

Myth 3: Hair Oiling has no inherent purpose. It is unnecessary and useless.

We have spoken earlier in this piece about the benefits of hair oiling.  Hair responds to the stimuli given to us and by our environment and is reactive in its growth. Similarly, our hair also acts as a barometer of our dosha balance and inner health. It is the quickest organ system to respond and show changes in its structure and appearance to indicate when pitta is out of balance (hair greying and thinning), when vata is out of balance (dryness of hair and scalp, split ends, breakage and tangling) or when kapha is out of balance (high hair fall, dandruff, poor hair growth, etc).

7. oiling treats imbalances

 

In Ayurveda, specific herbs are prescribed for each of these conditions. Herbs like Amla and Bhringaraj are usually indicated for pitta increased conditions. Herbs like Yashtimadhu (Indian liquorice) and Brahmi (Indian pennywort) are indicated for high vata conditions. Herbs like Neem, Indravalli are indicated when Kapha is high.

 

Besides illnesses, certain modern chemical treatments can also damage hair. Excessive shampooing dries out the scalp creating a high vata like imbalance. Frequent hair colouring and alkali based treatments increase the pitta in hair and vata in hair causing hair thinning, severe hair greying and loose, weak hair with high hair fall.

8.chemical damage

 

In each of these conditions as well, using the right hair oil with the right herbs can greatly benefit hair, treat the imbalance locally and reverse hair weakness. When the underlying dosha imbalance is corrected in the body as well, by following Dinacharya routines like the Abhyanga and by adopting the right diet and lifestyle corrections, we can see a complete reversal of the hair symptoms.

 

To conclude:

Any practice or product when taken out of its underlying system or context makes no apparent sense. Hair oiling makes sense when viewed in the Ayurvedic lens as a practice adopted to heal the entire body and aid hair growth.

In this context, Ayurveda recommends that hair oiling be done using specific herbs, specific base oils and applied in a particular way for each condition to be treated. When followed this way, hair oiling works precisely and specifically helping treat your hair and health condition.

hair oil benefits

 

When hair oiling is taken out of context and non permitted substances like Mineral oil are used without any understanding of the base oils or herbs to be sued, then obviously the hair oil does not work well for you.

But it is important to understand here that improper hair oiling or hair products did not work for you. The system of Ayurveda or the hoary practice of hair oiling is not to blame. When used well, as we have seen consistently at Krya, hair oiling works wonders in many kinds of hair issues from premature greying to hairfall related to illnesses.

We hope this post gave you a glimpse into just how powerful a practice hair oiling is and how Ayurveda helps us formulate different kinds of hair oils for different hair problems.


Krya’s extensive range of ayurvedic hair oils can be explored here:

 

 

 

 

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3 Hair Oil Hacks to prevent Bad Hair Days

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Oiling of the skin and scalp is a uniquely Ayurvedic practice that has been suggested for thousands of years in India to balance vata dosha in the body, to remove excess Pitta in the hair, calm and soothe the brain, improve and aid the working of the eyes, and keep both hair and skin in good working condition. Oiling for Keshya (hair) and Oiling and Massage of body (Abhyanga) form 2 very important Ayurvedic daily health routines (Dinacharya) to help the body stay in a state of balance.

1. hair oiling in ayurveda

You may be surprised at the use of the word “Dina” or daily when it comes to hair oiling. Many of us have now completely stopped hair oiling and can only remember daily oiling as a much hated childhood practice. However, daily hair oiling is considered a must in Ayurveda to maintain not just the strength and colour of the hair, but also aid the working of the brain and the eyes.

 

The Charaka Samhita 5th Sutrasthana deals with matters of diet, digestion, Dinacharya (daily routine), hair oiling, abhyanga, oral hygiene, etc.  As we have discussed before, the speciality of Ayurveda is its emphasis not just on disease management, but also on preventive health care. The various Acharyas have emphasised that by following the right diet (pathya) and the right daily routine (Dinacharya), we can avoid or treat almost 85% of all diseases in the early stage itself. Only the balance 15% diseases require the intervention of a specialised doctor or medicines.

 

The shloka on hair oiling in this chapter describes the benefits of hair oiling thus:

“One who applies taila on his head everyday does not suffer from a headache, balding, greying of hair, or hair fall. Regular hair oiling strengthens the skull, hair becomes firm and deep rooted, and grows long and black. The sense organs are in good health, there is sound sleep and the face radiates with tejas”.

 

It is interesting to note the use of the phrase “one does suffer from hair greying”. This means that the hair stays black well past an acceptable age with hair oiling. This is observed anecdotally by most of us who remember our grandparents or great grandparents greying much later than what we have experienced. (In our family, we have seen portraits of our ancestors with mildly grey hair well into their seventies, without the use of any hair dyes.)

 

A very important reason to oil your hair is to improve your eye sight and vision according to Ayurveda.  Of all the 5 Pancha Mahabutha (5 great elements), the element of Fire provides vision in the eye. This element of Fire is cushioned in a layer of fat present in the eye. Similarly the brain is fired by the workings of the neurons which generate electricity and heat in the brain. The brain is also made up largely of fat.

2.protects vision

The key to maintain the workings of both the Eyes and the Brain is to cool the organs so that the layer of the fat remains stable and is not liquefied due to high heat. This is why the practice of hair oiling helps channelize excess heat generated out of the body so that brain and eye are maintained at the right temperature.

 

How do we incorporate oiling to protect our hair in 3 common situations? This post will give you suggestions on this.

 

Step 1: Understand your hair.

Our hair is unique to our prakriti (constitution) which is itself born out of the combination of the 3 doshas in our body. So our hair colour, length, thickness, etc, is all special to us.

 

Fine hair:

Some of us have fine hair which is silky and the strand thickness is low. This kind of hair tends to get oily very quickly , and look “flat” when a lot of oil is applied. This kind of hair usually goes with a normal – oily scalp.

If nourished well, this hair usually tends to grow long, is silky and glossy. If this hair is left un-oiled, and washed frequently, it tends to need very frequent washing, starts to thin, and becomes finer in texture , tangling and breaking easily.

3. fine oily hair

This kind of hair needs regular oiling with a small amount of oil, and the use of a mild cleansing hairwash that does not aggravate the sebaceous glands and increase sebum production.

Krya product recommendation: Krya Classic hair nourishing system

 4. krya classic hair products

 

Thick hair:

Some of us have very thick hair that tends to be curly or wavy. This kind of hair can take in a lot of oil, and if left un-nourished, the scalp and hair can get very dry. If left un-oiled, this hair can get very frizzy, form split ends and tangle and break easily.

If nourished well, this hair tends to be full, thick, and voluminous.

5. thick curly hair

This hair requires regular oiling and washing with an extremely gentle and mild hairwash product. The use of a nourishing mask occasionally also helps.

Krya product recommendation: Krya Extra Conditioning hair hydrating system

 6. krya conditioning system

 

Dandruff:

If your scalp has stubborn dandruff, then oiling with bitter herbs can greatly reduce the appearance of dandruff and prevent its spreading. However, in this condition, regular hair oil , especially plain coconut oil, meant for hair growth should not be used as it can increase the dandruff and trigger its spread.

 

This kind of hair will see scalp that is itchy or flaking, with prominent visible creamy or yellowish looking flakes. When the dandruff spreads, the hair associated with the flakes becomes weak rooted and falls. A temporary relief is brought on when hair is washed which subsides in a day or two and re-starts the itchiness.

Krya product recommendation: Krya anti dandruff hair system

7. krya antidandruff system

 

Chemically damaged hair:

Chemically damaged hair is usually highly porous due to breaks in the cuticular structure with poor / inadequate production of sebum. The scalp is usually heat or chemically damaged as well and can often have an itching / burning sensation especially if synthetic hair colour is frequently used.

This kind of hair is unable to absorb heavy oils, and needs a lighter, and easier to absorb hair oil with hair repairing and restorative herbs. This hair usually displays the symptoms of both dry and chemically damaged hair: so the hair is frizzy, untameable, tangles easily, breaks easily on combing, and breaks in the presence of water due to its porous nature. Hair growth is usually extremely slow and premature greying also tends to be high.

8. oiling for damaged hair

Chemically damaged hair should be weaned away completely from synthetic hair colours, heat based straightening, blow drying or any form of chemical or heat treatment. It should be washed less frequently than other kinds of hair and should be oiled regularly with moderate amounts of restorative hair oil.

Krya product recommendation: Krya damage repair hair revitalising system

 9.damage repair hair system

 

Hair that has been damaged by Illness and long term medication:

Hair damage and hair loss can also occur due to long term illnesses, ailments like PCOD and PCOS, hormone treatments, IUI, fertility treatments, PCOD and PCOS, use of birth control pills, etc. Here we see hair is much weakened where it is shallow rooted and easily falls on washing, brushing or combing. Depending on the nature of the illness, we can also see other issues like male pattern baldness, hair thinning, extremely slow or impaired growth, etc.

 

Illness damaged hair should be weaned completely away from synthetics. It should be oiled with minimal amount of oil in a very gentle manner, frequently (4 – 5 times a week). The hair should be washed very infrequently and special care should be taken to ensure a healthy lifestyle and diet is being followed. Dincharyas like the Abhyanga help enormously.

 

Krya product recommendation: Krya intense hairfall growth promoting system with additional supplementation of the Krya Classic hair oil or the Krya Conditioning hair oil depending upon dosha imbalance

10. krya intense hair system

 

Hair oiling for hair protection:

Water and Air dry out hair by removing its protective layer of oils. So hair must be well coated with oil if it is going to be subjected to high amounts of water or air.

So if you sit in an air conditioned office, drive a bike, have a long commute in the car or plan to wash your hair, your hair needs to be oiled in advance to protect the hair strands.

 

Oiling to protect hair during washing:

This means that before you wash your hair you must oil the strands and scalp thoroughly and generously until there is a thin coating of oil on the hair. So when your hair is washed, the shampoo removes this external coating of oil, leaving your sebum intact. When this is done, the sebum moves through the hair strands sealing cracks in the cuticular structure, strengthen the hair, prevent split ends and add shine and gloss to hair.

11.oiling before washing

To sum up: If you plan to wash your hair, oil your hair and scalp generously with a good amount of the appropriate hair oil. The hair and scalp should glisten with enough excess oil, so that the hairwash only works on removing this excess oil from the hair and scalp.

 

 

Oiling to protect hair from the AC

If you are constantly in an air conditioned environment, apply a light coating of oil to the hair strands ensuring the oil seals the hair from the cold and drying air emitted by the AC. You can also additionally add a physical barrier to your hair by wrapping it in a scarf.

 

Ensure you stay hydrated in an air conditioned environment by drinking water whenever thirsty and avoid drying and water removing drinks like tea, coffee, artificial fruit juices and colas.

12.hair oiling for cold

To sum up: If you are in an air conditioned office / air conditioned environment most of the time, ensure you are hydrated internally by drinking adequate amounts of water and avoid water depleting drinks. Seal your hair from the cold and drying wind by oiling it lightly with the appropriate oil. A scarf / bandana also help if you are under a direct blast of cold air.

 

 

Oiling to protect hair and scalp from high heat, dust and wind:

If you are constantly on a bike or a train or are driving long distances, you may have to deal with dust and wind in addition to a Car A.C. This again sucks moisture from hair and sometimes heats the whole body, drying up hair. Constant exposure to heat, dust and external wind can change colour of hair to a reddish brown, thin it and aggravate premature greying.

The hair needs protection from these external elements and a physical barrier like a scarf or a bandana is recommended to completely wrap and protect hair. In addition, mild oiling of the hair strands and oiling of the scalp helps continuously remove accumulated heat to ensure your pitta dosha is not imbalanced. A regular abhyanga is also strongly recommended every week to bring down accumulated dosha imbalance.

13.hair oiling pollution

To sum up: If you are commuting every day, please oil your hair and scalp everyday or atleast thrice a week with small amounts of the right oil. Also invest in a scarf or a bandana to thoroughly wrap and cover your hair.

 

In our next post, we will look why hair oiling helps nourish the scalp and why it supports hair growth and also the right technique for hair oiling to promote hair growth.

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Is your hairfall stress related? Krya shares some insights from Ayurveda that can help

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Reading Time: 13 minutes

“Hi, Is there any product that can help my hair? I am 23 years old. I have a stressful job and my hair is greying very rapidly”.

“Hi Team Krya. I am a B school graduate and I am just 25. I have a travelling stressful Sales job, and I have been losing hair at an alarming rate. For the last year, everytime someone meets me, this is all they talk about (how quickly I seem to be losing hair). Can Krya’s products help me?”

“Hi Preethi, I was extremely overweight until a year ago. Over the last year, I started a very good exercise programme with good quality foods and managed to lose about 15 kg. I eat very well and good quality fruits and vegetables. Inspire of this, my skin is now looking dull, sallow and aged. Can you help”?

 

In our last blog post on Stress, we spoke about how stress can affect hair growth and hair fall. For human beings, stress takes about 180 days to show up on hair, so when we receive complaints of sudden, inexplicable hairfall, we try and trace events that occurred about 3 – 4 months back to understand the cause.

Stress appears to excessively stimulate our androgenic hormones, perhaps to help with our flight or fight response. While the physical pathway of how stress works continues to be unravelled, its net result on hair and skin is quite certain. In times of stress, your hair’s Anagen phase abruptly shifts to Catagen phase. In normal hair, atleast 85% of hair is supposed to be in Anagen phase at any point of time, and only 1% transitions to Catagen phase.

1. stress and hairfall

 

This ratio is altered in times of stress, as a large proportion of Anagen phase hair shifts abruptly to the Catagen phase. This causes a sudden loss of much larger amounts of hair. We also saw the currently accepted stress scale the Holmes Rahe scale. This scale lists 43 events that have been researched to cause stress, and surprisingly, this list includes even happy events like pregnancy, a job promotion as events that are likely to cause stress.

 

The Mind body connection that is acknowledged and celebrated by Ayurveda and Siddha

Ayurveda and Siddha, our two forms of traditional medicine have always consistently acknowledged the role of the mind and its connection to the body. It is this mind body connection that gives you Ayu and Ayush: and a healthy body along with a healthy mind and a long life has always been the goal of traditional medicine systems.

2.mind-body connection

 

The Sutrasthana section of the Charaka Samhita recognises 3 origins of disease:

  1. Innate
  2. External (exogenous)
  3. Psychic

Innate diseases are that which arise from combinations of the doshas in the body. Externally caused diseases are those caused by Bhuta (micro organisms, bacteria, and bad energy), poisoned air, poisons (visha), accidents, trauma, etc. Psychic illnesses are categorised as those caused by unfulfilment of deeply held desires and when faced with undesirable circumstances.

 

3 types of therapy that are practiced in Ayurveda: Spiritual therapy, Rational therapy and Psychological therapy. In many illnesses as the mind and body are interlinked, the physician prescribes a combination therapy which involves some elements of Spiritual therapy or Psychological therapy along with the rational therapy. We will see some examples of this below.

 

How each dosha plays a role in physical and mental well being

Pitta dosha

Every dosha in Ayurveda is linked not just to a physical set of attributes but also to a set of mental attributes.

Pitta dosha is the dosha related to Agni in the body. It brings about digestion, helps the body assimilate and absorb nutrients, helps form blood, and gives vision, and colour and lustre to the complexion. So when pitta dosha is strong and not in excess, it brings about the qualities of leadership, focus, clarity, and prowess and an ability to get things done.

3.pitta dosha

 

But when this dosha becomes vitiated it brings about an inability to see the bigger picture, a tendency to lose your temper, dominate the people around you and get your way, no matter what. Similarly when this dosha is greatly reduced, it brings about confusion, fear, an inability to focus and bring things to fruition, besides giving you poor or impaired digestion.

 

Vata dosha

When vata dosha is strong and not in excess, it holds up the systems and organs , initiates all upward and downward movements in the body, employs all sense organs, causes the formation of all the dhatus in the body, promotes speech, etc.

A strong vayu dosha is the source of exhilaration, courage, creativity, movement and physical lightness and well being. When strong, vayu improves strength, complexion, and valour, normal development of the musculoskeletal structure, improvement of knowledge and maximum expanse of life span.

4. vata dosha

 

When vayu is vitiated in the body it affects strength, complexion, happiness and even the life span. Aggravated vayu agitates the mind, affects the sense organs, and produces fear, grief, confusion, anxiety and even delirium. Perhaps because of this all pervasive nature of vayu and its deep seated effects when it goes out of order, Vayu is variously called “PrajaPati”, Aditi, Vishwakarma and even Yama in Ayurveda. Vayu is both the producer and the indestructible. Vayu brings both happiness and misery and brings positivity and an all pervasive negativity as well.

 

Kapha dosha

Kapha dosha is the dosha of Prithvi (earth) and Jal (water). It is the dosha that builds the dhatus, muscles and allows growth of the body. When strong and not in excess or depleted Kapha dosha provides fertility, strength, firmness, patience, good humour and enthusiasm for life.

An un-vitiated kapha dosha promotes detached attachment towards material objects, promotes generosity, loyalty, commitment, and the ability to form deep nurturing relationships.

5. kapha dosha

 

When kapha is in excess, it shows as excess weight, an ability to accumulate mucous quickly, a greater love for earthy pleasures like food, material objects, a high attachment to objects, a tendency to relax and sleep much more, indolence, etc. When kapha is reduced, there is inability to put on healthy weight, reduced fertility, a feeling of instability and an inability to stay grounded, etc.

 

Balance and peace: the key to leading a life of health and well being

We have seen the inherent strengths and qualities each dosha gives us. Many times we are asked what the ideal combination of doshas is. Or what is a good proportion of doshas to have? And this is very obviously, a difficult one to answer.

 

Ayurveda understands and respects our individuality: and every one prakriti is unique. It is made up not just of the combination of doshas that we receive when we are conceived, but also the environment with which we are brought up, the food we eat, the experiences we receive and of course our response to all of this.

 

Ayurveda also tells us to seek our own balance within the framework of our life, and how we seek to find this balance is also unique. A Vaidya will always give each of her patients a unique programme that recognises the individual’s unique prakriti.

6. path to balance

The central framework behind this approach in Ayurveda is the belief that each one’s balance is achieved differently. For a spiritually inclined person, their balance may come with chanting certain mantras, and praying to their Ishta devata along with certain changes in their diet. For a person who is much more rationally inclined, their treatment may come from diet and lifestyle changes alone.

There is no one formula or combination to achieve balance. Ayurveda teaches each of us to find our very own recipe for balance.

 

How the body affects the mind and vice versa: Ayurvedic insights into pregnancy

The connection between the mind and the body is extremely well explored in Ayurveda’s treatment of pregnancy. From the 4th month onwards with the formation of the foetal heart, Ayurveda believes that the foetus is able to communicate its deep seated desires to its mother.

 

This is why, Ayurveda calls the Pregnant woman the “Dauhridini”, the woman with the 2 hearts. Many of the pregnant women’s cravings for certain kinds of foods are explained in Ayurveda as the desires of the foetus. At this stage, Ayurveda says the foetus carries some of its unfulfilled desires and dreams sometimes from its previous births, so it is imperative for the family of the pregnant women to treat her food cravings with care.

7. dauhridini

 

Not allowing the foetus to fulfil its wishes leads to deep seated psychological harm, so Ayurveda insists that the Dauhridini’s peculiar  cravings or wishes be fulfilled with unconditional love, support and tact.

 

How the body affects the mind and vice versa: Ayurvedic insights into the post partum state

Post partum depression is recognised as a reality today for most mothers. This is a subject that is not openly acknowledged or treated or even spoken about. It will come as a surprise to no one that Ayurveda spoke about this and devised an elaborate post partum care programme to help improve not just the mother baby bond and also the father baby bond.

 

Recognising that post partum depression can come due to severe vata derangement post birth, most Ayurvedic practices centre around bringing vata back to balance. The new mother’s meal timings and sleep timings are strictly regulated and external and internal oleation is strongly practiced to bring vata dosha back to normal.

8.post partum care

 

In addition to regulating vata through diet and regimen, Ayurveda also uses spiritual and psychological therapy to help with vata imbalance. The nursery is ritually purified and special homams or ritualised prayers are held post delivery. At the beginning of vata periods like late evenings, the nursery is fumigated and strong devotional music is either sung or played outside the nursery door. Vata carrying winds are warded off and the nursery is kept warm to bring down vata influences.

Here we see an example of how mental well being is attended to by addressing the physical body and the surroundings.

 

How the mind affects the body: Ayurvedic insights for students and calming mental stress

We were at a specially organised organic event last week, and I met a consumer who wanted me to help with her daughter’s recent hairfall issue. She was studying for her board exams and had been attending a series of coaching classes for the last year to help her pass her engineering examinations. This meant that her sleep and eating timings were erratic. This also meant that she was under a high amount of mental stress and strain surrounding her exams and her future.

 

Believe it or not, Ayurveda addresses the problems of students as well! (Even if we believe that CAT, NEET and IIT entrance examinations are a modern student’s problem, I am sure an ancient student also had to pass oral or written examinations to be allowed to study with the Guru of their choice). Ayurveda recognises that nutrient assimilation is especially poor in times of stress. When this is compounded with erratic sleep, then no matter how healthy your diet is, your body will not be able to utilise the nutrients in your food.

 

This is why Ayurveda augments external application products for children and teenagers with certain types of herbs. For example, the Krya Kids hair oil utilises nervine herbs like Brahmi (Bacopa monnerii). Not only is Brahmi a great aid to memory, it also helps calm and soothe down overwrought nerves and aids good sleep. This is especially useful when you are dealing with a stressed out teenager which has been burning the midnight oil and is too wound up to sleep properly.

 

In the case of the exam stressed teenager, the reason for her hair fall was the mental stress she was facing. So she was advised to use hair oil with Brahmi which would help soothe the stress and also advised to increase her intake of cow ghee. Cow ghee is very useful in periods of mental stress when the brain has to work very hard. The brain comprises almost purely of fat, so Ayurveda uses another good quality, pure fat like ghee to support the brain during periods of strain. In addition, we also recommended pada abhyanga (foot massage) atleast thrice a week to calm down vata and aid sleep and rest.

 

So here we see how working on the physical body through external application and food helps work on the mind and calm it down.

 

How the Dinacharya prescribed in Ayurveda work on our mind and body:

Many dinacharyas given in Ayurveda also combine 2 – 3 types of therapies and this is why they work in such an eerily wholesome manner. We have, for instance, been hearing from a lot of consumers who have been doing an Abhyanga. While it was suggested by us as a general practice to balance doshas and pacify aggravated vata, we found, unexpectedly that it seemed to somehow improve the functioning of the thyroid gland.

 

The functioning of the thyroid gland can be broken up into 3 parts: improvement of metabolism, maintenance and upkeep of breath and cardiovascular system and upkeep of normal developmental activities. At the right level, the thyroid gland also helps maintain normal sleep, rest and sexual activities.

 

So by their action the thyroid hormones help assimilation of nutrients, help move it around to where it is needed, increase oxygen consumption in the body, maintain heart rate, help growth in children, brain development. Most importantly, the literature says that when the thyroid hormones are in excess, there is said to be an increased generation of thoughts but a sharply decreased focus.

 

Going by the working of the thyroid glands, it makes sense to look at it as an organ of vata dosha. So when over stimulated it gives typical vata aggravation symptoms like weight loss, an inability to shut down, excessive and hyperactive thoughts, delirium, an inability to stay calm, etc. When it is in low quantities, all the normal workings of vata dosha are affected: so the strength and lightness of the body, the mobility, the creativity and the exhilaration and courage given by vata dosha are all in short supply.

9.abhyanga

Given this, it makes sense that an Abhyanga twice a week seems to work so well to balance the workings of the thyroid gland. Warm oil is the counter to vayu and it helps keep vayu in check and present at healthy levels by stimulating and balancing all the 3 doshas.

 

Why is an abhyanga a self massage and NOT an assisted massage in Ayurveda?

Many people often ask us if we mean an assisted massage when we use the term “Abhyanga”. A massage given to us at a spa or by someone we love does seem much more relaxing than something we do for ourselves. However, the central idea of an abhyanga in Ayurveda is a self massage. It is assisted only in the case of babies and small children and the infirm and the old who lack the strength to give themselves an Abhyanga.

 

The obvious reason behind this is that the Abhyanga helps generate heat and when done vigorously by you are a form of exercise in itself. This gives the body the heat and the circulation required to help the oil penetrate, manage excess vayu and cool down excess pitta and stimulate excess kapha.  It also helps you understand the proper functioning of your body. You gain a greater appreciation of the workings of your body, are able to understand its subtle signals much better and start to understand its signals and signs of overwork much better.

 

An even more subtle reason is that the 5 sense organs are ruled by Vayu. And the sensation of touch is very enjoyable and strengthening to Vayu in the body. Self love and self belief are an essential part of health and well being. So it is no wonder that Ayurveda forces you to touch your entire body, lovingly massage it with oil, listen to its complaints and protests and give your mind and body a sense of union.

 

Many of us grow up, especially in the adolescent years feeling a sense of outrage and irritation towards our physical bodies. Our heads carry an idealised picture of beauty and physical appearance that our bodies struggle to respond to. The dosha which promotes union in the body is Vata dosha. So Vayu by its mobility and ability to travel across subtle and gross spaces and unite the functions in the body helps promote this sense of union between your head, heart and body.

10. touch

The Acharyas tell us that this Union gives us a firm sense of self. It helps us chart our path and move forward with courage and conviction. It is wonderful to me that we can approach such a mystical thing as this union through a simple everyday practice of the Self Abhyanga.

 

We are not a collection of organ systems!

Through this post we wanted to illustrate and highlight just how deep and complex the workings of the human body are. We are not simply a collection of organ systems that can be “repaired” with mechanical adjustments. Ayurveda teaches us that when we approach our body as a whole and treat it with attention, care and sensitivity, we are able to achieve much better, deeper and longer lasting results. Ayurveda also teaches us how to access our mind by the workings of our body and how to harness our mind by directing and controlling our breath.

 

It is also our experience that when we start doing the dinacharyas prescribed in Ayurveda like the Abhyanga or the Gandusha, our practice is rewarded by deeper insights into how our body functions. We learn what disturbs it, how we respond in periods of stress and from these insights we begin to understand how to look after our body and our mind and how to achieve that state of union we all desire.  Our fundamental belief in Krya is that external well being and beauty springs from a well spring of health and balance. Simple external application or the use of superficial products cannot help you achieve what you are looking for. But a deeper exploration of health and a willingness to make fundamental changes can get you to your goal much faster.

 

Through our work and the products we offer, we hope to help you move towards that well spring and experience health, balance and joy and well being for yourself.

 

Do you suspect that your hairfall is being caused by mental stress?

Talk to us (075500-89090) . OR send us an email and we will do our best to help.

Here are some products that can help:

  • Krya harmony hair oil with Brahmi & Vetiver
    1. Recommended if you have high mental stress, or have trouble switching your brain off and going to sleep
    2. Helps in healthy hair growth and reduces hairfall brought on by mental stress and anxiety

12.harmony hair oil

5. womens abhyanga system

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When stress causes hairfall – Insights from Krya on how your hair bears the brunt of grief and stress

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

3 months.

 

This is the time that it takes for your hair to display signs of the stress you are facing.

 

If you are losing hair today by the handful, then we have to dial back to what happened roughly 180 days before.

 

You can lose hair by altering the balance of pitta dosha, by chemical treatments, by increasing your shampooing frequency, and by imbalancing your vata dosha. You can also lose hair when your stress levels suddenly change. And we are going to explore this in detail in today’s blog post on stress related hair loss.

 

The 4 phases of normal hair growth:

All of us have between 90,000 – 150,000 strands of hair on our head. On any given day, depending on your state of health, weather and state of mind, you could lose anywhere between 20 – 100 strands of hair. As long as your hair loss stays within this range, and as long as you have 90,000 – 150,000 strands of hair, and your hair has the right proportion of growth and loss, this hair loss is considered normal.

 

Every strand of hair grows through 4 phases:

  1. Anagen phase (active growth phase) – In this phase, the hair is in its most active growth phase. The duration of the Anagen phase varies for different kinds of hair. For the hair on our heads, the Anagen phase can last anywhere between 2 – 8 years. Those of us who genetically are predisposed to long hair, have a much longer Anagen phase allowing our hair to grow really long.

Your eyelashes, on the other hand, have a much shorter Anagen phase of 30 days.

anagen phase

 

The 2 take-aways here are this:

  • The longer the Anagen phase, the longer the hair growth
  • When the Anagen phase is atleast 2 years long, it means that the hair is being allowed the right level of nutrition, and mental health to grown normally

In normal hair, atleast 85% of your hair is supposed to be in Anagen phase.

 

  1. Catagen phase – (transition phase) – In this phase, the hair prepares for hair fall by beginning to detach itself from the skin (the dermal papilla). This phase lasts 2 – 4 weeks. This phase marks the beginning of normal hair fall

Only 1% of your hair is supposed to enter Catagen phase at any point in time. While the hair strand is detaching itself from the dermal papilla, the blood supply is cut off from the hair strand.

catagen phase

 

  1. Telogen phase – (Resting phase) – In this phase, the hair completely separates from the dermal papilla and prepares for falling out. This phase lasts between 2 – 4 months. As the hair is completely cut off from the dermal papilla, the epidermal cells of the scalp form temporary bindings around the hair, anchoring it on your scalp until it is time for it to fall.

telogen

 

When the hair follicle, which remains dormant in the Telogen phase, starts to re-grow, the hair that has been anchored in place by your scalp will break from its root and fall out. This is the normal process of hair shedding. Even as the hair is shedding, the follicle below it has already started re-growing – this ushers in new hair growth within 2 weeks, when the hair and scalp are in normal health.

In normal hair and scalp, 10 – 15% of the hair strands are in Telogen phase.

 

Changes in the 3 phases of Hair growth under stress:

Studies among Mice indicate that in times of stress, like exposure to a high degree of noise, hair moves abruptly from the Anagen phase to the Catagen phase, in large numbers.

 

A similar response is researched to be true in human hair. In times of stress, your hair’s Anagen phase abruptly shifts to Catagen phase. In normal hair, atleast 85% of hair is supposed to be in Anagen phase at any point of time, and only 1% transitions to Catagen phase.

stress effects

 

This ratio is altered in times of stress, as a large proportion of Anagen phase hair shifts abruptly to the Catagen phase. This causes a sudden loss of much larger amounts of hair.  Literature review suggests that hormones like cortisol, which are used by the body to combat high periods of stress, may be triggering this shift. An analysis of Rhesus monkeys with hair loss found that there is a high level of cortisol in the blood stream.

 

How long does it take for this stress to show up on hair?

For human beings the hair on the head takes 180 days to show as hairfall from the time of the stressful event. This could be after a physically stressful event like trauma, surgery, or after emotional stress like a divorce or a change of job.

 

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hair growth:

Chemotherapy drugs work on attacking cells that replicate fast – cancerous cells are typically covered by these drugs. However, other, normal fast replicating cells are also attacked by these drugs like the hair follicles.

Therefore, chemotherapy drugs, depending upon the dosage, inhibit new hair growth and can also determine how severe the hair loss is after treatment.

Radiation therapy, especially on the head (seen in brain tumours) can severely affect hair follicles. Hair shedding can start within 2 weeks of beginning radiation therapy where hair follicles quickly enter the Telogen phase.

 

The Holmes and Rahe Stress scale

Here’s the thing about stress: It gives us a feeling of being inadequate or unable to cope with the demands that are being placed on us. And the level and type of stress we can cope with, without feeling inadequate varies for each person.

In order to standardise this , atleast to some extent, and to understand what level of stress can make us ill, The Holmes and Rahe stress scale was developed in 1967 by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe.

This scale was developed by researching the stress faced by 5000 patients. Holmes and Rahe arrived at a list of 43 stressful events that can occur in anyone’s life and gave each stressful event a weightage. If a person is undergoing several types of stress at the same time, these combined scores could give your doctor a sense of how high or how low your stress levels are.

Many surprising life events find their way into the Holmes Rahe stress scale – these include even happy events like pregnancy, a promotion, and moving to a new home.

holmes rahe scale

Every day, modern stresses like a long commute, high noise levels, constant television / media consumption, high use of the Smartphone, late night working, do not find their way into the Holmes Rahe scale – we can argue that this is because this scale was devised at a much gentler time when these devices, and even the now common phenomena of working women were not this prevalent.

All of us live in a world with aggravated stress levels. If you add to this any of the 43 stressful life events that further push up stress, it is no wonder that stress related hairfall is now such a huge phenomenon.

 

The effect of stress on skin:

The American academy of dermatology also has many peer reviewed papers that explore the link between cortisol and your skin. Higher levels of cortisol means higher or unregulated sebum production on skin.  This means that greater stress could cause a sudden flare up of acne on your skin. Obviously, connected with this is the fact that many of us when stressed, tend to eat oily, rich or sweet foods that could easily trigger acne.

skin stress

A 2001 study called “Psychological Stress Perturbs Epidermal Permeability Barrier Homeostasis” found that stress can also cause higher degree of water loss from your skin. This water loss reduces the ability of skin to heal itself after an injury – so you could have dry or flaky skin, or blemishes and scars that do not go away.

 

To conclude:

How do we cope with this stress? Ayurveda discusses specific techniques that are suitable for different kinds of people including colour and aroma therapy, use of certain herbs and imbibing certain Dinacharya to help the brain calm down. We will discuss these in tomorrow’s post on coping with different kinds of stress.

Is your stress high? Should you be making some changes in your life? Is your life / job hassling you at a dangerous level? No stress scale can help you conclude, but this is a good place to start.

 

 

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The Krya ten point programme to help you heal, revitalise and repair chemically damaged hair

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Reading Time: 1 minute

We have been receiving a lot of excellent feedback on the Krya Damage repair hair revitalising system lately. We have also been receiving a lot of queries on just why chemical treatments like hair colouring, hair re-bonding, smoothening and treatments like the Cysteine treatment and the Brazilian damage hair.

 

Many of our consumers come to us after several years of chemical colouring with a few texture alteration treatments thrown in. At this point their hair is written off by the very parlour that damaged their hair, as too damaged for any more beauty treatments !

 

This is a subject that is very close to my heart, as someone who has gone through all these damaging treatments herself, and has painstakingly restored her hair health – my hair volume is still not as good as what I used to have, but despite my prolonged damage, I have reached a happy situation where my hair growth is good, texture is excellent and strength and elasticity is very good.

 

Just why are these chemical treatments so damaging to our hair? What about treatments advertised to “repair” hair damage like the cysteine treatment?

 

For the real truth on why you should run and not walk away from your hair stylist and your parlour, and how you can begin to heal damaged hair, do take a look at our presentation on this today .

 

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The Ayurvedic alternative to a shampoo and conditioner – Krya explains why a synthetic shampoo and a conditioner worsens hair fall, decreases hair elasticity and increases hair breakage.

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Reading Time: 12 minutes

“I can’t believe the difference just 2 months of using the Krya extra conditioning hair system has made to my hair,” said SB of Delhi to us this morning. My hair used to break, was dull and lifeless and I had almost given up hope on it”, she added.

 

Why are synthetic shampoos and conditioners so similar to Lex Luthor and his evil sidekicks? We have been discussing hair, how dosha imbalances affect it , and how what we eat, and do can severely affect our hair. Here’s a post on something else we do that affects our hair – our consistent use of synthetic shampoos and conditioners.

 

In this post, we will see how synthetic shampoos and conditioners, in their very design, can damage your hair, dry it out, increase hair breakage and slow down hairfall.

 

Why are synthetic shampoos so harsh on hair?

Harsh surfactant

Synthetic shampoos use only one grade of cleanser, the synthetic surfactant to clean hair. The synthetic surfactant like SLS / SLeS is basically a modified detergent which strips hair of oil and dirt.

1. industrial car cleaner

 

Unfortunately, SLS and SLeS do not have any safeguards – so even if the weather is dry, and your scalp really needs the sebum, a synthetic surfactant will still remove oil aggressively. This is why scalp gets either very dry, or reacts like the less mild mannered Hulk and over compensates by producing huge amounts of sebum in response to this aggressive cleansing.

 

SLS and SLeS have also been implicated in contact related allergic reactions on scalp and skin. Most people who use synthetic shampoos do not rinse their hair well and will have traces of SLS and SLeS lingering on the scalp. As scalp and skin sensitivity increases, you may find your scalp flaking aggressively (dandruff), developing excessive itching (mild dermatitis) and even resulting in conditions like boils, and scalp psoriasis.

2. scalp itching

 

One of the other ways synthetic surfactants damage your hair is by reducing its elasticity. The elasticity of hair is an important property where the hair shaft is able to cope with varying changes on hair. For example, hair elasticity comes into play when hair is combed, brushed or tugged. If your elasticity is good, your hair can handle pulling and snap back to place easily without damage. If your hair’s elasticity is poor, the slightest pulling, tugging or even wetting can instantly snap and break your hair.

 

Poor elasticity comes from excessive dryness and cuticular damage – this is the reason for extreme hair breakage and split ends. And synthetic surfactants are the primary cause of poor elasticity. The second cause for poor hair elasticity is chemical treatments like straightening, perming and hair colouring.

 3.chemical colouring damage

 

Silicone based conditioning agents that mask damage

If I shampoo and do not condition my hair, it is a mess”

 

How many times have you said this?

Is the conditioner repairing your hair? No, it is simply hiding damage. One of the side effects of using synthetic shampoo is that your hair’s cuticular structure is damaged. Some of the scales are ripped off, and some are broken or misaligned. As a result your hair will feel coarse, rough and look dull and lifeless.

 

To hide this damage, a synthetic shampoo is formulated with a silicone based conditioning agent. This is also the main ingredient in synthetic conditioners and gloss enhancing serums and spray on products. The silicones form a thin coating over the damaged cuticular structure – this is similar to a plastic wrap on your hair. As light falls on your hair, it reflects off this thin coating, making your hair look glossy and shiny. However, under this layer, the damage still exists. This is why every time you shampoo, your hair continues to feel rough. The silicones are simply hiding the damage done by the shampoo, and fooling you into believing your hair is healthier than it is.

 

Why are Krya’s hair washes better for you?

The Krya hair washes are designed differently from synthetic shampoos to cleanse in 3 different ways:

  1. a) through a natural surfactant
  2. b) by adsorption
  3. c) by the use of natural plant acids.

5. 3 types of cleansing

It is this combination of using 3 types of cleansing that makes the Krya hair washes milder, gentler, and better for the hair’s cuticular structure and helps us reduce hair breakage due to scalp dryness, and chemical treatments.

 

Natural surfactants

Krya uses biological surfactants like Soapberry and Shikakai for their oil removal and dirt cleansing effects. A mature, organically harvested soapberry contains 12% saponin content. A mature harvested Shikakai contains 6% Saponin content. The saponins in Soapberry and Shikakai are biologically and chemically unique. When we add 3 – 4 different kinds of detergent plants, we get a rich cornucopia of cleansing properties which complement each other.

 

Acacia concinna (Shikakai) at Krya

Acacia concinna alone contains several saponins, of which atleast 5 types have been chemically isolated. Apart from saponins, chemical analysis reveals that the Shikakai pod also contains acids like tartaric acid, oxalic acid, and  acacic acid, ketones like lactone, and natural sugars like glucose, arabinose, etc.

6.acacia

 

Ayurvedic texts like the Raj Nighantu classify Acacia concinna as laghu (light), tikta (bitter) and kasaya (astringent). It cures vitiated kapha and pitta dosha, which is why it works so well across Krya’s anti dandruff products like the Krya anti dandruff hair wash and the Krya Anti dandruff hair mask. It also cures leprosy and other skin diseases so it is classified as a “Kushta” herb and also heals oedema due to wounds which is why it is classified as a vrana-sopha herb.

 

Soapberry at Krya

Krya has a long and delightful history (and experience) of using Soapberry in our cleansing formulations. We use upto 3 species of Soapberry at Krya, and always try and introduce Soapberries from different geographical terrains in order to imbibe their varying properties across these places.

7.soapberry

 

Soapberry is recorded in the Raj Nighantu as having tikta (bitter), ushna (hot), katu (pungent), snigdha (oily) properties. It is a vatahara herb (reduces vata), and is kapha-hara (reduces kapha) as well. This is why the soapberry is indicated in both vata conditions like dry scalp and kapha conditions like psoriasis, itching, boils, etc.

 

The soapberry is therefore used at Krya in hair washes, ubtans and in certain formulations meant for difficult skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. We use 2 different species of Soapberry in Krya’s hairwash formulations: the South Indian Soapberry, Sapindus trifoliatus and the Himalayan Soapberry, Sapindus mukorossi.

8. soapberry 2

 

Sapindus trifoliatus grows across South and Western India and is found upto Orissa. We source Sapindus trifoliatus from Tiruvannamalai which is a dry region in south India and from the forests in Orissa which are much more moist, have greater tree cover with much higher bio diversity. The “tikta” content of Sapindus trifoliatus is much more than the Himalayan soapberry, which is why it has greater prescriptive use in therapeutic conditions.

 

Sapindus mukorossi grows across hilly terrains, and is native to the Himalayas and Nepal. We source Sapindus mukorossi from Uttaranchal and Punjab which have slightly differing heights and differing biodiversity. Sapindus mukorossi is a less pungent herb compared to Sapindus trifoliatus, so we use this for some of our sensitive hair products like the hair washes that are made for babies and toddlers. The foam produced by the Sapindus mukorossi is also different technically from what is produced by the trifoliatus herb. We find that a judicious combination of the two helps improve cleansing and detergency across our formulations.

 

Adsorption based cleansing herbs

Apart from natural surfactants, Krya’s hair washes also use several adsorption based cleansing herbs. These work differently from surfactants. They adhere to oil and grime on the hair and create a bond between themselves and these substances. So when the hair is washed, this oil, dirt and adsorbent layer is gently removed from the hair. Adsorption based cleansing herbs have always been used in Ayurveda and traditional medicine as a complementary cleansing aid to surfactant plants. Clays, muds, and certain kinds of lentils and grains form a part of this adsorption based cleansing family.

 

At Krya, we use special adsorption based cleansing lentils and grains. These are documented for their pitta hara (heat reducing) properties in Ayurveda, so they are very helpful in hair and scalp formulations. They are also very gentle and soothing in their action, and do not strip hair aggressively of sebum.

 

Why we do not use Muds and Clays at Krya

At Krya, we generally do not use muds and clays in our products. In our testing, we have found that several forms of clays and muds come highly contaminated with E.coli and other organisms that are commonly found in excreta. With arable land becoming scarce, there is a lot of animal and human contamination across land, so previously uncontaminated muds and clays have now become contaminated with these micro organisms.

9.clay

The use of muds and clays also comes with a great deal of environmental hazards. If we use river soil, we tend to take the richest river soil which could be put into better use for farming or growing of food. If we take top soil, we are again disturbing the land, without planning for replenishment of this soil.

 

Even though certain kinds of clays are documented in Ayurveda to have good skin and hair properties like Multani Mitti, because of bacterial contamination and environmental issues, we tend to avoid these ingredients at Krya.

 

Fruit and plant acids for hair cleansing, restoration of acid mantle and hair health

The pH of our skin and scalp is 5.5. This mildly acidic pH is healthy for us as it allows our skin and scalp to form a strong barrier function for our whole body to keep out harmful bacteria and other micro organisms. This acidic pH also helps our body secrete mildly acidic sebum which coats our hair and skin giving it moisture, gloss and a protective cover to keep it from drying out in harsh wind or cold weather.

 

Unfortunately by using harsh synthetic shampoos, we break this cycle of producing this precious sebum on our hair and skin. Because of the harsh way in which shampoos over cleanse hair and scalp, the body is left dry and has no acidic sebum either for its protection of for hair and skin health. This is why when we over use shampoo, we find that our hair becomes extremely oily within a day or two of washing.

14.samosa

 

Krya’s hair washes use a harmonious combination of fruit and plant based natural acids in our hair washes. When used along with the natural plant surfactants and adsorption based cleansers, these plant acids restore the acid mantle of hair and scalp, help the cleansing process and strengthen the hair.

 

One of our go-to fruit acids is the Amla (Indian gooseberry). The Amla is a famous rasayana Ayurvedic herb which promotes good health, longevity and youthfulness. It is used across Krya’s skin and hair formulations in our powders as well as our oils. The amla helps strengthen hair, works to restore the hair’s acid mantle, improves cuticular strength, and reduces hair breakage.

10.amla

 

Apart from the Amla, Krya uses a wide range of acidic fruits and herbs across our hair formulations like Haritaki, Vibhitaki, Orange, Sweet Lime, Lemon, Rose, Bhringaraj, Hibiscus, etc. Each one of these herbs come with unique hair nourishing properties apart from their acidic nature. They variously help improve hair gloss, improve the strength of hair, increase its elasticity, improves its ability to grow and help its health.

11. acidic herbs

 

The Use of hair oils and hair masks for good hair health

Krya recommends the use of generous hair oiling and the application of hair masks to improve hair health. Hair oiling is a practice traditionally recommended in Ayurveda. It helps balance pitta and vata dosha, removes excess heat from the scalp, and provides the scalp with a frequent dose of health giving herbs.

 

Hair masks are another part of Krya’s recommended hair regime to give hair strength and improve the texture, manageability and gloss of hair. Different herbs respond better to different ways of application. Some herbs are best used in hair oils where the slow boiling and processing help them release their properties. Also hair oils tend to use herbs that are beneficial when left on hair for a much longer time.

12. herbs for oils

 

Certain herbs are best use in extremely short applications like hair washing. Herbs like Shikakai, Soapberry, etc are short use herbs – they are best use in wash off applications where they can work intensively on the scalp and hair and give you immediate results.

 

Certain herbs are best used for an in-between application like a mask. We have found that herbs like orange flower, fenugreek, curry leaf, are also excellent when applied directly to hair as a paste and left on for a while. In this, the curry elaf is an extremely versatile herb, lending itself to all 3 formats. When herbs are used as a (short) leave on mask, they help strongly improve hair manageability, improve cuticular structure and vastly improve hair’s elasticity, gloss and smoothness.

13. curry leaf

 

The Krya hair systems – better as a whole rather than single products

To many of our consumers who come to us for recommendations of a good hair oil and a hair wash, we often suggest the use of a complete Krya hair system which includes a hair oil, a hair wash and a hair mask. Our hairwashes are designed to be used only along with our hair oils. Similarly, using a synthetic shampoo after using our hair oils, takes away from the good the hair oil can actually have on your hair.

 

Our hair systems have also been designed to be used as a whole. Our systems use a principle of layering and complementary abilities where each product works in harmony with the next to improve the effects on your hair. So a classic hair oil works along with a classic hairwash and a classic hair mask to reduce heat, dryness caused by heat, delay premature greying and improve health. Here’s a testimonial shared by a consumer who used this entire system and how her hair grew after the use of this system.

 

Similarly, the Krya conditioning hair oil reduces vata related dryness and works with the conditioning hair wash and hair mask to reduce vata related hair breakage, improve hair gloss and improve hair elasticity.

15. conditioning hair oil

A previous blog post written by a consumer, shares her experience with the Krya anti dandruff hair system. In this, she shares how use of all 3 products help treat her previously stubborn dandruff problem.

 

It is important to understand which of our systems will suit your hair best and then use them as a complete system. We have consistently found that use of all three of these products in conditions as varying as dandruff, pitta related hair fall, vata related hair dryness and chemical damage related hair breakage and dullness, use of all 3 products together, gives a much faster hair transformation.

 
A happy hair day everyday with Krya

We have been sharing personal transformation hair stories this last month on Krya, and how even severely chemically damaged hair has been restored to health using one of our hair systems. We receive a call / email amongst every single day from grateful consumers who cannot believe the transformation in their hair after mobbing out of synthetic solutions to our holistic, natural hair systems.

Almost every one of them uses the word “magic” when they describe the change our systems have wrought in their hair.

 

Is it magic?

 

Magic exists in the body’s propensity towards health and its willingness to heal itself. We have often said that hair and skin is supposed to look good. And when the body is in a state of health, this health radiates as hair that has a great hair day every day.

 

Even if our body is healthy, by the consistent use of unhealthy, synthetic products on our hair and skin, we create a state of ill health in our hair and skin. When we switch from using these ill health creating synthetic products, to holistic, natural products, we immediately start the natural healing process in our bodies.

 

Are you having a perpetually bad hair day? Are you looking for a change?

 

Your search ends here:

  1. Krya Classic Hair nourishing system – useful if you have straight – wavy hair, are seeing premature greying, have hair that is fluctuating in its oiliness, and hair tends to be dry or break due to excess ushna / heat production

 

  1. Krya Conditioning Hair system – useful if you have wavy to curly hair that is inherently dry, and are seeing manifold issues of dryness like dull un-glossy hair, hair that has split ends, lots of static when you comb hair, and are facing issues of aggravated vata dosha

 

  1. Krya Anti Dandruff hair system – useful if you have large flaky, itchy dandruff which is persistent and nearly chronic, which could sometimes be accompanied with a fungal infection of the scalp

 

  1. Krya Damage repair Hair system – useful if you have hair that has been persistently chemically treated – coloured frequently and regularly, has been permed / straightened or exposed to treatments like the Brazilian, Keratin, etc. This kind of hair is described as straw-like – is extremely coarse, ragged, dull and frizzy. This is the kind of hair that requires heavy application of silicon based conditioners to get it into any kind of manageable shape (and this is this way because of chemical damage and not its inherent nature)

 

  1. Krya Intense Hair system – useful if you have medication and illness based hairfall.

 

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