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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The Krya Intense program for PCOD & PCOS hairfall : 27 ideas on diet , lifestyle and regimen

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

We are seeing a very high proportion of sudden and severe hairfall these days triggered by conditions like PCOS, PCOD and fertility treatments. Androgenic balding is rapidly increasing among women, and many of our consumers come to us for help after having gone through the entire round of Minoxidil, PRP, laser treatments, injections and medicines to regain hair growth.

Obviously the above treatments are synthetic, have limited success and come with many side effects, which are enough to prompt people into researching a good natural alternative.

 

The Krya Intense Hair system – designed for severe and sudden hair loss

We launched the Krya Intense hair oil last year, after we began receiving requests for hair growth products from Chemotherapy patients. Our research into hair loss took us to how Ayurveda defines Indralupta (sudden, intense hair loss) and we co related it with the kind of medication that Chemotherapy & radiation therapy patients received, so we could understand which doshas were imbalanced.

Our list of customers for the Intense hair oil slowly started expanding: we recommended this product to people who had undergone major surgeries, who had prolonged illnesses, and had been on medication for many years. We have also used the Krya Intense hair oil in severe cases of PCOD and fertility treatment related hair loss.

To complement the Krya intense hair oil, we now have the Krya Intense hairwash and the Krya Intense hair mask, which form a part of the Krya Intense hair growth system.

7. Krya intense hair system

 

Why is severe and sudden hair loss so difficult to treat? How is it different from normal hairfall?

In most cases, the reason for Hair problems is a simple imbalance. This does not need an advanced or specialised system and the body responds very quickly to the diet and lifestyle and product changes to give you good results.

In the case of severe illnesses or long term illnesses like PCOD, we see much slower results because the entire body has been left unsettled and stressed due to the illness itself and the medication used. In these cases, the body’s metabolism and nutritional intake is itself damaged. Usually, when nutrients are limited, teh body reserves its limited nutrition for extremely important organ systems.

So hair and skin are usually left un-nourished and can go bad very quickly.  Therefore, a natural fallout of these illnesses is extreme and severe hair loss, where you lose upto half your hair’s volume and growth is slow.

 1.lack of nutrition

Can we guarantee new hair growth?

We are often asked if we can offer guarantees for hair growth from these consumers. We empathise with the questions: after all they have often spent huge amounts of money and have been disappointed by treatments which have preyed on their natural insecurity and desire for normal hair growth.

 

However, as we often say, the success or the failure of natural herbs and natural treatments differs from person to person. Many factors come into play which include your body’s state of health, your state of mind (if you are depressed or stressed, it is much harder for any treatment to have an impact), the access you have to good quality food, the stress levels in your life and your ability to do something about it, and your willingness to make all the changes suggested to improve your health. Obviously over and above all of this, we have to factor in your genes, and your body’s current state of health and its willingness to make the change.

However, as we often say, all the recommendations we give for improving hair health are all sensible suggestions from Ayurveda that restore your body back to a state of health – so the suggestions are a good place to start anyway for good health and well being.

What we can say is this: following the suggestions given below are certainly give you and your hair an extremely good chance to regain health. So let us see these recommendations below:

 

General regimen and diet to be followed:

  1. Wake up around 5:30 am
  2. Do a round of light exercise (walking, yoga, etc) that works up sweat but does not leave you feeling tired or exhausted. This is critical to melt excess fat deposits in the body which is preventing structured hair growth.3.yoga
  3. Avoid electronic stimulation (smartphone, facebook, checking email etc ) until after breakfast
  4. Breakfast at 8 am – please eat freshly cooked traditional Indian foods like upma, paratha, poha, pongal, cheela – fermented foods like idly / dosa/uthapam to be restricted to once a week only. No tea or coffee with this meal. Avoid the following: bread, maida based foods, peanuts, sesame, peanut butter, sesame butter, red and green chilly, tamarind. Add ½ teaspoon of melted ghee to your breakfast4. traditional breakfast
  5. No snacking between breakfast and lunch unless you are really hungry. If hungry you can eat any fruit in season – chew slowly. Do not drink juices, smoothies / milkshakes / cola
  6. Lunch to be had between 12:30 – 1 – this can be the heaviest meal of the day. Eat until you feel full. Eat slowly, chew well. Add 1 teaspoon melted ghee to your food. Avoid curd completely. Also avoid any food that is very spicy, or sour or salty. Eat preferably freshly cooked home food only. Avoid desserts. Eat any food that is traditional to your family and is enjoyed by you.
  7. If you plan to eat difficult to digest food, lunch is the best meal to tackle this (if you must) – difficult to digest food is non-vegetarian food, pizza, oily food, sweets, a buffet lunch, or any manner of hotel food.
  8. Tea time – Eat only if hungry. You can eat a seasonal fruit or a glass of milk – milk to be had plain , warm and unsweetened. No fried snacks, no tea, coffee, cola, juice, milkshakes, smoothies, cold coffee, etc5. avoid cold sticky foods
  9. Dinner – to be eaten between 7:30 – 8 pm – lightest meal often day. Same as lunch, with the same restrictions. Add ½ teaspoon melted ghee to your meal.
  10. Ensure you have a good rotation of vegetables and eat a different vegetable everyday –local native vegetables in season are great for you like parwal, dhoodhi (bottle gourd), karela (bitter gourd), ash gourd, etc. Most of us tend to over-eat non native vegetables like potatoes and capsicum. Our body tends to absorb nutrients given by local vegetables that are in season much better.
  11. Avoid electronic stimulation (smartphone, facebook, checking email etc ) after dinner
  12. Sleep 2.5 hours after dinner – by this time your food should be well digested. 30 minutes before sleeping, drink one glass of hot water. This helps flush out toxins from the body.

6.hot water

Notes on diet and eating regimen:

Regulation of meals and giving your body predictability about when it will get food is crucial to restore health back to the body. These simple changes like eating at the right time, showing your food well, and eating freshly cooked food can go a long way in reducing excess weight, improving nutrient assimilation and enhancing well being.

Controlling the time that you eat balances both pitta dosha and vata dosha and controls excess kapha dosha – a huge change from such a simple act!

Controlling the amount of electronic stimulation your brain receives controls vata dosha – vata dosha is responsible for skin smoothness, complexion and energy – again such a good benefit from such a simple act

 

Foods to avoid / reduce:

  1. Sesame seeds, sesame oil, peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter, peanut candy / brittle
  2. Spicy foods and herbs: red and green chilly, capsicum, mustard oil, onion, garlic7.onion and garlic
  3. Sour foods – tamarind, tomato, lemon, kokum, amchur, raw mangoes, curd, buttermilk, vinegar, cheese, paneer
  4. Salty foods – pickles, chips, crackers, preserved food, ajinomoto, papad, salty dried vegetables (vathal), canned food, processed tomato paste, tomato ketchup, processed biscuits and cookies, processed commercial bread, ready to eat foods8.ketchup
  5. Wind increasing foods and vegetables and fruits: avoid a high amount of raw foods, raw salads, fried foods, crisp foods like biscuits, chips, fries, etc. Reduce your dependence on vegetables like cabbage, peas, potatoes and other wind increasing foods.
  6. Sticky foods that can increase mucous accumulation: ice cream, milk shake, yoghurt, paneer, milk sweets, maida based cakes, biscuits and cookies, ready to eat noodles like Maggi
  7. Milk to be specially boiled in Ayurvedic way (described below) to avoid accumulating stickiness
  8. Sweet foods – cakes, pastries, milk sweets, cold sweets (very occasionally a very small portion of a warm home made sweet that you have made like kheer / payasam / halwa is ok), out of season fruits . If eating a mango, choose an organic, naturally ripened sweet mango – eat when hungry and do not eat anything else to ensure the mango is well assimilated and digested9.home made sweet
  9. Follow the traditional “Mango soak “ technique before eating a ripe mango – soak the mango (with skin) in a bowl of clean water for 30 – 45 minutes before eating.
  10. Preferentially eat split Mung dal over other lentils – avoid lentils like Rajma, channa, vatana, lobia etc that are difficult to digest. Reduce Tuvar dal and masoor dal that tend to aggravate pitta dosha.
  11. Eat only when hungry. Eat slowly savouring each bite. Stop when you are full.
  12. Drink water whenever thirsty
    1. Drink water at room temperature or water that is warm
    2. Do not add additives to water like lemon, mint, etc which can upset one of the 3 doshas
    3. Your body’s need for water varies according to the temperature, what you have eaten and the kind of work you are doing on any given day. Do not force more water into your system based on a mistaken calculation
    4. Keep listening to your body and drink water as needed
    5. Water cannot be substituted with fruit juices, protein shakes , smoothies, flavoured water, vitamin water or anything else.

10.water

 

Notes on foods to avoid:

The texts have clearly classified foods , vegetables and herbs as per their properties and what dosha they aggravate if eaten in excess. For severe balding, male pattern hair loss and hair loss driven by conditions like PCOD, the texts say that 2 or 3 doshas can be out of balance, usually pitta and kapha dosha. Hence, we follow a meal plan that is tridoshic and avoid foods that aggravate one or 2 doshas.

 

Regimen changes:

  1. Abhyanga (self oil massage face and body) twice a week in the morning using the Krya women’s abhyanga system. This helps reduce dosha excesses and has been very good in aiding hair growth in cases of extreme loss.
    1. Please read here and here about how to do an abhyanga
    2. Abhyanga should be done within one hour of sunrise before the heat sets in for best effects14.abhaynga vata
  2. Hair oiling 3 times a week in the evening around 7 pm OR 1 hour before sleeping AND 1.5 hours after dinner .
    1. We usually advice oiling with a combination of the Krya Classic hair oil (to reduce excess pitta) and the Krya Intense hair oil (to reduce excess kapha).
    2. If the hair loss is very extreme, use more of the Krya intense hair oil.
    3. Evening oiling is done in small quantity directly on the scalp
    4. Oil the scalp gently and avoid tugging or pulling at the hair
    5. Post oiling use a wide toothed comb to de-tangle the hair and plait it to keep it from getting further damaged
  3. Restrict hair wash to once a week only with the Krya Intense hairwash.
    1. On hair wash day, oil your hair and scalp generously with the Krya Intense hair oil and then apply the Krya Intense hairmask.
    2. It is advisable to do one of the 2 abhyangas suggested on this day as well.
    3. Hair that is undergoing severe hairfall is very weak at the roots – this is why we advise restricting washing it to avoid further damage. Use water that is as cool as possible to wash your hair.
    4. To wash your body (below the neck) use only warm water – cold water aggravates vata and dryness further. To wash your face use cool water
    5. If your hair feels very sticky and you have been sweating profusely, you can rinse your hair in plain water without any product.
    6. Do not use a blow dryer on the hair. Allow it to air dry. Do not use a towel and rub or tug the hair hard.
    7. Do not use clips, bands and grips on weak hair. Avoid brushing. Cover hair with a scarf when going outdoors.

11. do not stress out hair

Notes on regimen changes:

For intense hair oil, we prescribe a more intensive frequency of hair oiling with a specially prepared oil that is designed to tackle Indralupta (sudden and intensive hairfall). For this kind of hairfall, the oil needs to stay longer on the hair and help reduce heat and remove the sticky scalp deposits that prevent new hair growth. This is why evening oiling is advised so that oil stays on longer.

Hair that is intensely falling is very weak at the roots. Ensure you avoid stressing it in any way.

 

How do I know this regimen is working? Some observable changes:

  1. Your sleep quality is much better
    1. Your sleep is deeper and vivid dreams or nightmares are reduced
    2. You wake up feeling much more refreshed with fewer aches and pains
    3. You feel much more energetic and sharp the whole day12.high quality sleep
  2. Your bowel movements are quick, easy and smooth
    1. Your “business” is done very quickly
    2. There is no pain, no straining, and no difficulty
    3. There is less or reduced wind
    4. The bowel movement is firm, well formed and is in 1 / 2 masses – it is not loose and liquid, pellet –like or hard
    5. The bowel movement does not have an excessively foul or putrid smell
  3. Your appetite is strong and appears at the right times
    1. You eat your food with a good appetite
    2. The food stimulates your salivary glands and you find the food tasty and satisfying
    3. You do not have any intensive cravings for salty , sour or sweet food
    4. You remain calm, balanced and steady between meals. You do not have mood swings, food cravings or random hunger
    5. You do not have a “crash” 30 – 45 minutes after eating and become sleepy or moody. You continue to stay steady and upbeat through the day, even after meals.13. strong appetite
  4. Your energy levels are good and steady
    1. You need less stimulation during the day in the form of tea and coffee
    2. You can focus more and get things ticked on your task list
    3. You “lose it” less frequently and do not give in to rage or anger management issues
    4. You are firm, yet patient without snapping
    5. You are cheerful and good humour and do not get low or depressed easily
    6. You are able to be with yourself without depending on peppy music or cricket or sitcoms to put you in a cheerful mood14.steady mood
  5. Your body is stronger and feels lighter
    1. You do not get aches and pains in your bone and joint system
    2. You are able to move fast and feel full of energy
    3. Your body has less aches and pains
    4. You do not get as many migraines, headaches, tension headaches, gastric irritation, etc as you used to
    5. Physical movement is easier, and is done without strain or a feeling of heaviness
  6. Your hair starts to improve in stages (stages given below):
    1. It needs less washing and does not secrete excess sebum or look very oily between washes
    2. Hair breakage reduces as cuticular damage reduces.
    3. Hair dryness goes down and there is a reduction in number of split ends and depth of split ends
    4. Hair’s elasticity improves – so it can be tugged more and more without it breaking and falling
    5. Hairs porosity improves as holes in the cuticular structure are improved. So it breaks and falls less when exposed to water
    6. Hair texture feels softer and smoother
    7. Hair has a healthy sheen as sebum secretion is balanced and cuticular stricture is healthy and repaired
    8. Hair colour improves and hair starts to look its natural colour and does not appear dull, brownish or reddish.
    9. You can see fresh new hair growth – the new hair is healthy and has a good colour , normal thickness and texture

To conclude:

We have had good success in cases of extreme hairfall, and have seen encouraging results when consumers have followed a large proportion of our suggestions and when changes are made across diet, regimen and lifestyle.

Obviously the suggestions given below are for a wide audience, and need to be customised for special hairfall cases like hairfall duet to chemotherapy, hairfall due to vata aggravation, etc.

If you too would like our help, please give us a call on (0)7550-89090.

Krya products suggested for PCOD and PCOS related hairfall:

  1. Krya Classic Hair Oil
  2. Krya Intense Hairfall growth promoting system
  3. Krya Women’s Abhyanga system

 

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How a regular self oil massage (abhyanga) can help reduce 3 kinds of hairfall – Krya shares insights from Ayurveda

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

Our last post, and many of our past posts and hints have triggered an avalanche of questions on the Abhyanga, and why we so strongly promote it. Modern life itself seems to go against the grain of adopting something that is so traditional and seemingly old fashioned as the abhyanga. So why do we at Krya persist, and continue to talk about the abhyanga?

This is because we have seen the life improving and health giving benefits of a regular abhyanga first hand and have also heard from our customers about the benefits they have experienced with a regular abhyanga.

1.abhyanga

This is also because we have seen that a regular abhyanga can aid and help any hair programme suggested by us, and can help restore hair health much faster and in a more holistic manner. We will look at how an Abhyanga can help 3 different kinds of hairfall in this post, and what are the special precautions to be taken for each kind of abhyanga.

 

  1. An abhyanga to reduce and rectify pitta related hair thinning and premature hair greying

Premature hair greying and hair thinning is considered a sign of aggravated Pitta dosha in the body. Pitta dosha is responsible for mental sharpness, intellect, courage, decisiveness, complexion, blood and hair colour. So when our work or life situations demand a lot of this dosha, or if are exposed to high heat, or if we eat foods that aggravate Pitta dosha, we can push this dosha out of control.

2.pitta dosha

 

To combat hair greying and hair thinning, we advise regular hair oiling with the Krya classic hair oil, or the Krya conditioning hair oil or the Krya harmony hair oil depending upon the hair type. All these 3 oils contain a high amount of Amla that is very useful in controlling excess Pitta.

3. Krya hair oils with amla

 

In addition, a weekly abhyanga done in the first hour after sunrise is extremely useful to control Pitta dosha further. When this is done regularly, you will notice a strong reduction in body temperature to levels where you do not sweat excessively, feel very hot or have any burning sensation. The abhyanga helps reduce Pitta dosha by stimulating the production of sweat and urine which carries out excess heat out of the body. Together with hair oiling, this strongly helps control premature hair greying (if detected early), when it is due to pitta aggravation.

 

Special notes for Abhyanga that is done for hair thinning and premature greying:

  • Ensure that the Abhyanga is done as early as possible, within the first hour of sunrise.

4.abhyanga sunrise

  • This ensures that there is enough time given during the day to allow the release of excess heat from the body.
  • Stay indoors and do not expose yourself to additional heat.
  • Do not eat pitta aggravating foods on this day like red chillies, green chillies, tamarind, curd, mangoes, raw mangoes and kokum. Avoid sour, salty and spicy food on this day.

5. avoid spicy food

 

  • Drink water whenever thirsty to ensure there is adequate urination so that excess heat is released.
  • Do not do any strong, heat increasing exercise on this day like long distance running, intense gymming, etc.
  • Do NOT sleep in the afternoon after abhyanga – this will trap excess heat inside the body and give you a headache, and further worsen premature hair greying. This is also a good practice for any abhyanga.

 

  1. An abhyanga to help hairfall related to PCOD and PCOS

PCOD is a collection of symptoms that includes either a lack of menstruation or irregular cycles, presence of ovarian cysts or other associated symptoms along with these like acne, weight gain, hair loss, male pattern balding and hirsutism.

Vata and kapha imbalance are two prominent reasons for PCOD. Apana vayu is the type of vata that governs all downward flow of material in the body like bowel movement, urine and menstrual flow. In PCOD, the flow of Apana vayu may be improper. Or, the flow of vayu (air) may be extremely strong and aggravated where it could pull kapha dosha from its normal resting place in the chest, so kapha dosha forms into small vesicles that become ovarian cysts. As kapha dosha moves from the chest to the uterine area, it pulls pitta dosha that is usually present in the stomach. So PCOD sees aggravation of all 3 doshas. Kapha and pitta dosha together cause a strong and intensive hair loss that presents as male pattern baldness.

In PCOD related hairfall, we recommend the Krya intense hair system of products that include the Krya Intense hair oil, Krya Intense hair wash and Krya intense hairwash that help with this pitta-kapha hair loss.

7. Krya intense hair system

In addition, we have consistently seen that a regular Abhyanga strongly helps PCOD related hairfall. This is because the regular abhyanga balances and restores Apana vayu, which is the primary culprit behind PCOD. Abhyanga is the best cure for any vata related disorder, so this is why PCOD related hairfall responds so well to a regular abhyanga.

8.pcod abhyanga

Special notes for Abhyanga that is done for hair fall and slow hair growth due to PCOD:

  • Ensure that the Abhyanga is done with warm oil. The Krya abhyanga oil should be heated in a water bath and not directly for best results.
  • Ensure the abhyanga is done in a full closed room without any air draughts and after switching off the fan and the a.c. This ensures that there is no excess vayu aggravation after the abhyanga
  • Eat a light, easy to digest meal on the day of the abhyanga. Avoid kapha and vata stimulating foods like fried foods, sweets, curds, maida based foods, etc.
  • Do light and easy household work on any form of physical work during the day of the abhyanga. This work should not strain you or tire you out, but should engage you and keep you moving and active.

9.light physical work

 

  • Drink warm liquids and eat warm foods on this day. Avoid exposure to the a.c. as much as possible and avoid eating cold or stale foods and drinks: these include processed foods, ice creams, sweets, cold drinks etc.
  • Avoid exposure to cold and drying winds as much as possible on this day: these include using the air conditioner for long periods and driving long distances with the wind blowing in your face.

9.light physical work

 

  1. An abhyanga to help hair fall with hair breakage, split ends and vata aggravated dryness

Hair that is excessively dry suffers from split ends and breaks easily when being combed or brushed with a dry scalp is usually considered as hair suffering from aggravated vata dosha.

Vata dosha is essential in a healthy body to promote mobility, intellect, creativity and speed. Vata is often called the companion dosha as it helps transport and moves the other 2 doshas of pitta and kapha which are immobile without Vata. Vata therefore governs the seat of the muladhara chakra in the body – the kidneys, uterus, and all organs of downward movement (faeces, urine, and blood).

11. vata dosha

 

Therefore any disturbance in Vata always affects all downward movements in the body – limbs, walking, joints, periods, bowel movements, etc.

Cities and people living in cities naturally have an excess of Vata. Vata dosha governs the qualities of wind, space, and actions associated with air like speech and hearing. So when we utilise transport to commute long distances, use our speech and hearing in excess (with most office and creative jobs), use objects that excite the sense organs and involve creativity like a computer, mobile phone, Ipad, we are engaging with our Vata dosha – if this engagement is not balanced and does not give our Vata dosha a chance to calm down, we would have excited it to the point of excess.

12.vata dosha excitement

 

When vata is extremely aggravated in the body, we can see many different symptoms like high mental stress, an inability to sleep properly, constant fatigue, skin darkening and excessively dry skin and dry scalp. When we further do chemical treatments like hair colouring or use synthetic shampoos on this already dry hair and scalp, we aggravate teh condition further.

 

For vata aggravated hair, we generally advise frequent oiling with the Krya conditioning hair oil, and in the case of excessive mental stress or high use of electronic devices, we suggest using the Krya harmony hair oil. Both oils are designed to treat vata type hair and with regular use bring down extreme dryness, nourish the hair and reduce the occurrence of hair breakage and split ends.

13. Krya harmony hair oil

It is extremely beneficial to add a frequent abhyanga to treat this dryness even more thoroughly. As we have mentioned above, the skin is a primary seat of vata dosha, so when we massage the skin with a warm herbal oil, we are instantly treating aggravated vata dosha and are bringing it down to more harmonious levels.

 

The addition of an abhyanga helps treat hair and scalp dryness in a much quicker and much more wholesome manner.  It also corrects any vata aggravation across the rest of the body and helps induce restful sleep and calms the entire body down.

14.abhaynga vata 

Special notes for Abhyanga that is done for hair fall due to dryness, hair breakage and excessive split ends:

  • Ensure that the Abhyanga is done with warm oil. The Krya abhyanga oil should be heated in a water bath and not directly for best results.

15. warm oil

  • Ensure the abhyanga is done in a full closed room without any air draughts and after switching off the fan and the a.c. This ensures that there is no excess vayu aggravation after the abhyanga
  • Eat a light, easy to digest meal on the day of the abhyanga. Avoid vata stimulating foods like potatoes, millets, biscuits, and any dry, hard and crisp / brittle foods. .
  • Ensure you include warm melted ghee in all meals on this day (atleast 1 teaspoon per meal)
  • Reduce electronic stimulation strongly this day as much as possible. Set a device cut off for yourself this day.
  • Drink warm liquids and eat warm foods on this day. Avoid eating cold or stale foods and drinks: these include processed foods, ice creams, sweets, cold drinks etc.

16.warm liquids

 

  • Limit exposure to wind and coldness as much as possible. If AC is unavoidable, dress warm to ensure your body does not go dry again.
  • Eat your meals on time and ensure you sleep two hours after dinner, preferably before 10:30 pm on this day. This will ensure vata dosha settles down and you get good restful sleep

 

To conclude:

In this post, we have described only 3 types of hairfall that can be helped greatly by having an abhyanga. However, in our experience, an abhyanga helps many many other conditions including depression, post partum mothers, people with high mental stress, sports people to reduce their rate of injuries, babies and children to improve immunity and aid growth and to nourish and vitalise older people with high fatigue and tiredness.

17.abhaynga - to sum up

 

An abhyanga is an extremely important Dinacharya, and in the true Ayurvedic tradition helps extend both ayu (life) and Ayush (health).  We hope, that this through this post, we have been able to convey to you some of the benefits of this Dinacharya. We also hope you are inspired to adopt this Dinacharya and enjoy the benefits for yourself.


Krya products recommended for you and your family’s abhyanga:

For adults:

5. womens abhyanga system

MEn's abhyanga system

 

For Babies (age: 0 – 1 years):

11-baby-ubtan

 

For Kids & Toddlers (age – 1 +):

  1. Krya traditional baby massage oil with Bala & Ashwagandha
  2. Krya Fragrant Kids Ubtan with Gotu Kola & Cassia Flower

12-kids-ubtan

Please note: If you , your family members or your child has skin prone to eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis, please write to us for other product options.

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How the Krya hair care routine works to reverse your hair damage and grow strong hair: Dump your toxic shampoo today !

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

My hair felt much softer and smoother with a synthetic shampoo. I read that it is so bad and contains so many harmful ingredients. Then why does my hair feel better when using a synthetic shampoo and so rough when I use a pure natural hairwash like the Krya hairwash or if I use a mixture of herbs?

If you too have felt this way, then this post should be useful for you and provide you with a few insights on how shampoos are formulated, why they are formulated this way and why despite the temporary good feeling of using a shampoo, you should consider switching to a natural product like the Krya hairwash.

1. synthetic shampoos

 

In the beginning we only had herbs:

Civilisation as we know it has been around for 1000s of years. In these many thousand years, despite the invention of soaps, these were never used to cleanse skin or hair. You can read about the history of soap in our earlier post. Soaps were prized for their ability to clean and  to launder linen and were always considered extremely harsh and unfit for personal use.

 

Indian civilisation which records many firsts including the discovery of the zero, advanced mathematical and astronomical progress, high progress in surgery, medicine and hygiene, never used a synthetic soap and a shampoo for either laundry or personal use. This is despite the fact that the procedure to make a lye based soap has been around for atleast 5000 years and would have been easy to make and accessible across India.

2. herbal smoke

 

We instead used a rich variety of herbs for different kinds of cleansing in India. In India cleaning was multifaceted: we cleansed our person, our laundry, our floors and even our air using herbal smoke. Many of the herbs used were also edible and could be used to solve dis-eases. This meant that we only used extremely safe, tried and tested herbs that could be eaten.

 

This obviously meant that we were not harming our body, our hair or our skin. This also meant that we did not pollute the soil, water or the earth in our quest to clean and care for ourselves.

 

The birth of the synthetic shampoo (and hair problems):

The harmonious situation we described in the previous paragraph came to an end when Hans Schwarzkopf, a German, invented the first liquid shampoo in 1927. Initially a liquid shampoo was simply a watery soap. This made the preparation strongly alkaline and extremely harsh on hair. So in 20 years, shampoo formulations “evolved” to use synthetic surfactants like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Laureth Sulphate.

3. shampoos

 

Little did we know when we all agreed to this change that we were merely substituting hair roughness and damage for far more insidious long term side effects like dermatitis, with SLS. You can read much more about how much damage SLS and SLeS do to hair, skin and the earth in our previous posts.

 

The fallouts of using a synthetic shampoo

Many of us have come to appreciate the feeling of using a synthetic shampoo. A shampoo and a conditioner give the hair an instant feeling of smoothness. There is no external serration or roughness when we wash or comb our hair.

However, with repeated washing, we notice that the sebum secretion in the hair either becomes excessive or very poor. So as a result we suffer from either extremely oily hair or very dry scalp and hair with constant itching and flaking. There is also a slowing down in hair growth. We may also notice hair breakage, frizziness and hair thinning.

4. rough dry hair

Why is it that our hair quality worsens so much internally , but the external appearance and smoothness is maintained when we use a synthetic shampoo?

 

The natural composition of Sebum: the first target of a synthetic shampoo on your scalp

We have spoken about how the surfactants in a synthetic shampoo dry out the secretions of your scalp’s sebaceous glands. Sebum, produced by our scalp is not a simple oil. It is a complex mixture of triglycerides, waxy esters, and metabolic secretions of fats along with squalene. This mixture of substances forms sebum and this helps lubricate our skin and hair.

 

Depending on the weather and temperature, sebum changes in structure. For e.g.: In rainy weather, there is a greater production of fat based cells which act as a waterproof layer for skin and hair.

5. raincoat

This intelligent, skin and hair protecting secretion is mercilessly stripped dry whenever we use a synthetic surfactant based shampoo or a soap on our skin. The harsh detergent in the shampoo does not have the ability to remove only excess sebum. Instead it completely strips hair of the sebaceous secretion forcing the sebaceous glands to repeatedly waste energy re-producing the sebum.

Natural sebum in the right quantity gives hair a healthy sheen. It gives the right amount of oily coating to the hair to ensure that hair does not build up static, or go dry and frizzy. It maintains the synergistic bacteria on our skin and scalp by giving them nutritive substances. It keeps hair strands healthy and does not allow hair to go dry thereby facilitating hair growth and health.

Most importantly: as the sebum composition is decided by the body using intelligence, it is able to anticipate the needs of the body and vary its composition accordingly.

 

Plasticizers and silicone based conditioners: a poor substitute to natural sebum

The consistent use of synthetic shampoo tampers with the natural production of sebum and alters how much is produced, by either drying out the sebaceous glands or excessively increasing sebum. This means that without this sebum and with the excessively harsh detergents in the shampoo, the hair is bound to go completely dry and get damaged.

To ensure that the hair does not look too dry or damaged, a shampoo uses silicone based hair coating substances in the shampoo.

6. silicones

 

Dimethicone: PolyDimethylSiloxane (PDMS) (a silicone used in moisturising skin care and shampoos)

A typical example of this kind of silicone is Dimethicone, which is found across many leading shampoo brands. Dimethicone is an industrial emulsifier found in putty, certain food brands and across skin and hair care products, in heat resistant tiles, in herbicides and hydraulic fluids. Dimethicone is an emulsifier and provides a smooth coating on skin and hair, which is why it is so favoured in the cosmetic industry.

Dimethicone when applied on hair forms a synthetic plastic like coating with a reflective shine. This coats over breaks in the hair’s cuticles and gives us a smooth gliding effect. This makes us believe that our hair is much healthier and well maintained than what it actually is.

The important thing to note here is that our hair is still damaged. Dimethicone is only forming a layer over the damage preventing us from observing the damage.

 

Concerns in the use of silicones in skin and hair care products

When used on hair, silicones can aggravate the sebaceous glands, stimulating aggressive sebum production. This can create a breeding ground for fungal attacks on the scalp leading to sebborheic dermatitis or stubborn fungal dandruff.

7. itchy scalp

Silicones can interfere with the natural function of the skin and scalp by preventing temperature regulation and the interaction of the skin and the scalp with the environment.

In skin, silicones can also lead to breakouts and acne as the plasticky coating can trap dirt and bacteria close to the skin.

 

The Indian hair secret: ours for thousands of years, and now fast disappearing

A few paragraphs before, we made the statement that in the beginning we all used herbs to cleanse ourselves. And this has worked pretty well until the last 50 years for all of us, especially Indians.

8. indian hair

Indians discovered synthetic shampoos quite late in the day (around the mid 1990s) and synthetic conditioners even later (for the last 15 years). This explains in part why Indian hair was so prized over the world for its health, texture, length and colour. Until today, Indian hair is exported across the globe to make wigs and human hair extensions for the rest of the world which has suffered from hair damage from a much longer use of synthetic hair products.

 

The secret behind healthy Indian hair was simple: We followed the Ayurvedic method of cleansing the hair.

 

Ayurvedic hair cleansing – first oil the hair with a good hair oil

Ayurveda recommends generous and frequent oiling of hair with a natural herb infused oil made using cold pressed vegetable oils like coconut and sesame. As we have described before, this hair oiling is good for us for several reasons.

Apart from supporting the sebaceous glands, assisting the scalp’s nutrition and naturally conditioning and strengthening hair, hair oiling also helps cool the scalp and the eyes and helps balance pitta dosha in the body. As we have discussed before, when pitta dosha goes out of control, our hair starts to thin down, goes grey and loses its natural colour.

9. krya hair system

 

Hair oiling is an extremely important part of Ayurvedic hair care. Hair is never supposed to be left “dry” in Ayurveda as the body is always generating excess heat in the form of the brain and the eye’s activity. This excess heat is released through the scalp which means that hair is constantly subjected to internal heat.

When this internal heat is left unchecked, hair can go dry, brittle and lose its colour and strength.

 

Ayurvedic hair cleansing 2: wash using the right combination of herbs

The second part to cleansing and maintaining your hair is to use the right combination of Ayurvedic herbs to wash your hair. We have written in detail in earlier posts on how an Ayurvedic hair wash is formulated very differently from a synthetic shampoo.

A synthetic shampoo mainly has 3 kinds of ingredients: a detergent to clean hair, silicones to coat hair and hide the damage caused by the detergent and colours and fragrances to trick you into thinking the shampoo is a luxurious and safe product to use.

10. krya hair wash

A natural hairwash like Krya’s range of hairwashes on the other hand have many different kinds of herbs to perform different functions: release excess heat, gently remove excess oil and dirt, restore the acid mantle of hair, improve hair growth, and clean the srotas (minor skin openings) in the scalp well so that the scalp is able to perform all its normal functions.

All these functions are achieved using edible grains and lentils and carefully chosen, hair improving herbs.

 

Differences between Ayurvedic hair care and synthetic hair care

There are a few critical differences between Ayurvedic hair care and synthetic chair care. For one, there are no herbs chosen purely for “fragrance”, lather” or “providing a good experience”.

For example Krya uses shade dried organic red rose petals in the Krya Classic hair wash which have a beautiful natural fragrance. The rose is used in the formulation to balance excess pitta on the scalp, and provide an astringent effect on the scalp so that the hair is able to deeply root into the scalp.

11. rose in classic hairwash

Similarly, an Ayurvedic hair care product will not contain fake ingredients like silicones to hide hair damage. So when you first move to a natural hair care product like one of Krya’s hair washes, your hair may seem much rougher than it did when washing it with a synthetic shampoo. This is merely the truth. What your Krya natural hairwash is revealing is the current , damaged state of your hair.

However, with careful oil application, a good diet and a consistent use of our hairwash products, many of our consumers have observed a reversal in this hair damage. In 1 – 2 months, your hair will start feeling much smoother and in better health as the damaged cuticles have been assisted in repairing themselves.

12. herbal hair oil

Also, an Ayurvedic hair wash product like Krya’s hairwash can seem much more difficult to apply on the hair and scalp at first. This is because our hairwash is formulated without synthetic emulsifiers and thickeners which give synthetic shampoo its heft and thickness. As with all good things, it takes a little bit of practice to get used to this format. Along with the obvious hair benefits, by eschewing the use of these synthetics we are also able to reduce the toxic load on your body by using purely herbs, lentils and grains in our hairwash products.

 

OK, I am convinced. What should I start with and how long will it take for me to see results on my hair?

Phew! We are glad you were able to see the benefits behind using pure natural and synthetic free products like ours. We have designed 5 types of hair care products in Krya for different hair needs. We recommend starting with the oil and the hairwash from each system for a start. If your hair is in bad shape and needs resuscitation, we recommend using the hair mask as well from the system you choose.

  1. If your hair is normal to oily and requires frequent washing, or is greying or thinning, choose the Krya Classic hair range
  2. If your hair is normal to dry, tends to tangle easily, breaks easily and is frizzy or dry, choose the Krya conditioning hair range
  3. If your hair has severe and stubborn dandruff, choose the Krya anti dandruff range
  4. If your hair has been chemically treated frequently, and is feeling very rough with poor hair growth, choose the Krya Damage repair hair system
  5. If you have been having medication and illness related hair loss (surgery, chemotherapy, long term medication, PCOD), choose the Krya Intense hair system.

 

Hair goes through some visible signs of improvement which you should look for when you switch to our hair systems. What we have described is the usual order of improvement. Depending upon your body’s state of health, your hair could experience these stages one at a time or several at a time. The time taken to cross each stage again depends on your health.

Observable stages of hair improvement:

  1. Balanced sebum production: hair and scalp stays “cleaner” much longer and needs to be washed less frequently.
  2. Sufficient sebum production (related to above) : Hair does not feel dry or break at the tips as sufficient sebum is produced in the scalp to coat the entire hair strand
  3. Scalp feels clean and healthy without any visible breaks, flaking or boils
  4. Hair tangles and breaks less and generates less static
  5. Hair is smoother and easier to comb.
  6. Hair reflects light better without any styling products or conditioners used – especially in sunlight. This means that your scalp is producing sufficient sebum and that your hair strands have no or minimal cuticular damage.
  7. Visible reduction in split ends despite growth in length
  8. Hair is able to grow longer – this usually is achieved when scalp is healthy and there is sufficient growth medium for hair to extend in length. This is also achieved when sebum production is sufficient and balanced – when there is too little sebum, hair length is poor and split ends are high as there is not enough sebum to maintain a long strand without damage.
  9. New hair that grows is thicker and blacker – there is a slowing down in hair greying
  10. There is a filling of hair in previously thinning areas like the crown of the head and the forehead

Do look for these signs of hair improvement when you switch to any of the Krya hair systems. These are ways to monitor the progress in your hair and give you confidence you are on the right track, despite the initial difficulties in switching to a natural system.


We hope this post resonated with you and you were able to get a sense of how deep, holistic and well thought out genuinely natural products based on Ayurveda are.

We also hope we gave you a sufficient sense of horror and disgust at how poorly thought through, bad for hair health and bad for the environment synthetic personal care products can be.

With the abundance that nature provides us, and the fantastic solid framework that Ayurveda provides us, we do not need to resort to synthetics to care for ourselves and our families. Do write to us with your questions, reflections and if you would like us to write about a particular subject you are seeking answers or insights to.

 

 

 

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Is grey hair bothering you? Krya shares 7 ways you can slow down premature greying today by changing your food and lifestyle habits

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We wrote about premature greying last week and how Ayurveda classifies premature greying. As we saw last week, Ayurveda is quite definitive, precise and holistic about exactly why premature greying occurs.

Premature greying is seen as a consequence of unchecked, aggravated Pitta dosha. In addition, repressing or not dealing with extreme anger and extreme grief (krodha and shokha) is also said to cause premature greying.

 

The connection between the Mind and body according to Ayurveda

All traditional medicine is able to see the connections between our emotions and the state of our health. In Ayurveda, every dosha is responsible for a certain kind of emotional trait. When this dosha goes out of balance (either too high or too low), Ayurveda is able to predict the corresponding emotional state. Similarly emotional states can also affect the doshas causing an imbalance.

 

Vata dosha and depression

Excess vata can cause fear and depression. Fear is very correctly connected to Vata dosha which is the dosha of mobility. All of us are programmed to react to adverse situations by either expressing “fright” or “flight” – both these responses are governed by Vata dosha which gives us the capacity to move swiftly and also helps us “get afraid”. In the same way, when we are afraid or depressed, our vata dosha can aggravate as this is the physical manifestation of our emotional state.

1. vata and fear

Aggravated vata dosha gives us dryness all over the body as dryness is the key quality of vata dosha. So your may find that your skin and hair are perpetually dry and flaky no matter how much moisturiser you may use. Vata also governs the organs of mobility and creativity so aggravated vata may manifest as a difficulty in falling asleep or aches and pains in your joints.

 

Pitta dosha and anger

Grief and anger are states governed by Pitta dosha. So when we constantly react with anger or grief to our external circumstances, we are overusing Pitta dosha. Similarly, if we physically aggravate Pitta dosha by overeating spicy, sour or salty food, we tend to respond much faster in anger than in patience.

2.pitta and fine lines

 

Aggravated pitta dosha increases fire all over our body. So you may find your skin and hair feeling dry as though you have been standing in hot midday sun for a long time. The hair turns grey, goes find and starts to thin and bald. The skin develops red, inflammatory conditions like prickly heat, sensitivity, rashes and acne.

 

Kapha dosha – weight gain and ennui

Kapha dosha in its normal, un-aggravated state is an important and strength giving dosha. It gives our mind and body “sthiram” or steadiness, and helps us cultivate the qualities of patience, gentleness, forbearance and generosity. When kapha dosha is in excess, in the physical level it can contribute to a feeling of sloth, lack of energy and ennui. When we over indulge in kapha aggravating foods like sweet and oily foods, and sweet and cold foods, we put on excess weight. In this situation we find ourselves in a vicious cycle where we are unwilling or lack the energy to do something about this excess weight. This excess weight is bought on by unchecked kapha based eating which in turn aggravates kapha dosha in the body which contributes to the mental state of sloth and ennui.

3. Kapha and ennui

 

In other times we may be in a mental state of sloth. We may have ennui in general and let ourselves or our surroundings go and not care to make a change. In this state, we are harnessing unchecked kapha dosha. In the mental state we may find ourselves quickly adding on physical weight or developing conditions like hypo thyroidism, PCOD, etc. We may also find that we are drawn to kapha aggravating foods when we are in this mental state!

 

Aggravated kapha dosha increases thickness, paleness and coldness all over the body. It also promotes unnecessary growth. You may find that the skin is cold to touch, lacks healthy complexion. You may also develop excess growth based skin and hair conditions like psoriasis and oily dandruff. The body may feel heavy, cold, thick and tired all the time.

 

Tackling aggravated dosha conditions

We have spoken a little about what happens to our moods, mind and body whenever one or more of our doshas are imbalanced. In Ayurveda, opposites bring moderation and balance to the body. So when pitta is aggravated, or vata is aggravated, we attempt to pull the body back to a state of balance by eating the opposite of the dosha that is imbalanced.

4.opposites bring balance

 

We also practice external applications, use products and follow therapies that aim to reduce the dosha that is in excess. By using this principle of opposites, we bring the body back to balance.

 

What does Pitta dosha control in the body?

Normal (prakrta) Pitta dosha helps nourish the body by performing the function of digestion and helping separate nutrients and nourishing parts of the food from waste products. Pitta dosha also produces heat and warmth through the body. It stimulates desire, produces hunger and thirst. The pitta dosha also determines the colour and complexion of our skin, and is responsible for our intellect, understanding, courage and our decisiveness and ability to get things done.

 

What aggravates Pitta dosha?

We discussed 6 reasons why Pitta dosha aggravates in detail last week. These reasons are as follows:

  1. Having a pitta prakriti and aggravating our dosha by choosing pitta aggravating foods and practices
  2. Over exposure to the Sun
  3. Undergoing agni increasing treatments
  4. Eating Pitta aggravating food
  5. Not oiling the hair and scalp regularly
  6. High stress that is not addressed or dealt with properly

Any or all of these reasons can give you classic signs of Pitta dosha going out of balance like premature greying, acidity, GERD, Ulcers, frequent stomach upsets, adult acne and high skin sensitivity, cracked heels and palms and fine, thinning hair.

 

We will now see what we can do to bring this aggravated Pitta to balance.

 

Will bringing my aggravated Pitta dosha turn my grey hair black?

Ayurveda tells us that we cannot reverse the colour of hair that is already grey or white. However, hair, skin and all the cells of our body are constantly renewing themselves. By bringing Pitta dosha back to balance, we can slow down the process of greying and delay this process of aging.

This means that instead of growing more and more grey / white hair, there is a good chance you can grow new black hair when you bring Pitta dosha back to balance.

 

7 Pitta reducing foods, habits and practices to follow:

Any dosha balancing regimen has to start by reducing or eliminating the foods, habits and practices that caused the aggravation in the first place. So as we explained in our earlier posts on pitta dosha and what aggravates it, we start by reducing or eliminating salty, spicy and sour food, over exposure to heat, situations that put us in grief or anger, and we learn to control our stress.

In addition:

  1. Eat bitters

Bitter foods and bitter herbs help cool down Pitta dosha. Bitters are also used as medicines that involve pacifying or balancing pitta based diseases like jaundice which is seen in Ayurveda as a disease of aggravated Pitta.

6.bitter controls pitta

 

Bitter vegetables like bitter gourd, bitter greens like methi and palak and all native greens, and bitter spices like methi seeds, coriander seeds all help cool down excess Pitta. Preparations like Neem leaf chutney are also culturally eaten around the beginning of summer to herald the beginning of the traditional New Year. This is again an excellent practice to help cleanse the body and to tackle the build up of excess pitta in the start of the season.

7.bitter leaves in summer

 

Similarly, bitter herbs are excellent for topical use on skin, scalp and hair in aggravated Pitta like conditions. Krya extensively uses bitter herbs like Nimba (Neem), Vacha (Sweet flag), Kalmegh (Maha Nimba), Kushta, etc in skin and hair formulations.

 

  1. Eat and apply Amla

There are several pitta pacifying herbs and fruits in Ayurvedic lore. However, in our set of recommendations, we have made it a point to separately mention the Amla (Indian gooseberry). This is because it is an extremely powerful rasayana (youth giving) herb, is very powerful in its pitta pacifying nature and is also an excellent culinary and external application herb.

Amla is also called the “Dhatri phala” or the fruit which acts as a nurse, because it is so medicinally valuable and powerful. It is one of the hoariest herbs in Ayurveda and finds use in formulations spanning diseases and medical conditions.

8.amla the dhatri

 

In cooking, the Amla is a very valuable herb. Although it has a sour taste at first in the mouth, it is the only fruit which has all the 6 tastes (rasas) inside it, according to Ayurveda (sweet, sour, salty, astringent, bitter, spicy). It is very sweet and soothing on digestion and therefore helps build the dhatus and is regenerative in its action.

 

We have mentioned how sour taste aggravates Pitta dosha. Using Amla as the souring agent in your food vastly improves the nutritional quality of your food and also reduces the Pitta component of your food. You can use it in its fresh form , as a juice or a paste and even as a dried power to add sour taste to your food instead of conventional and pitta aggravating souring agents like tamarind, mango, lemon juice, tomatoes, etc.

 

Fresh amla is nutritionally more powerful than dried amla. If using dried amla, make sure you use it within 6 – 9 months of drying. Choose a trusted source for this. Do not buy dried Amla powder – if possible buy dried amla pieces and powder just before use as this helps retain its nutritional qualities.

9.dried amla

 

Amla is the only heat stable source of Vitamin C. This means that you can boil it and use it in strongly boiled dishes like typical Indian cuisine without any worry of losing its nutritional properties. Amla is better eaten as a food than drunk as a tea or eaten as a supplement. When eaten as a food, it helps us assimilate the nutrients of the rest of our food as well.

 

Amla is also an excellent anti aging herb. We use it extensively in Krya’s Moisture plus range of face washes, face masks and face oils meant for dry or aging skin. We also use Amla extensively in our Hair products, both oils and washes and powders.

 

  1. Eat desi Cow ghee regularly

One of the very best ways to bring aggravated Pitta and vata dosha under control is to eat high quality, grass fed and hormone free, desi (native) cow ghee.

Cow ghee occupies a very special place in Ayurveda and there are literally hundreds of ways it is used in Ayurveda. Cow ghee is considered tridoshic in Ayurveda and there is extensive literature on how this cow ghee should be sourced, how the cow and her calf must be treated, right down to different ways of making this ghee.

10.Kamadhenu

 

Most people across various medical conditions can benefit eating Cow ghee. As can all of us with small dosha imbalances and no major health issues.

 

There was a time in the western world when Cow ghee was universally panned as being bad for the heart and for the arteries. The western world has now reversed its stand. Grass fed cow ghee is one of the very high, in demand fats. Western medicine and nutritionists are now saying what Ayurveda has been saying all along – that limited small quantities of good quality cow ghee is very good for the body, and the arteries and the heart. And consumption of cow ghee does not clog the arteries – using oils like palm oil, dalda and vanaspati does.

 

Unfortunately this is yet to hit India. So in India, we routinely have consumers asking us how we can recommend ghee when it may lead to weight gain.

 

Nothing can be further from the truth. We will do a separate post on the properties of cow ghee. But for now, if you are experiencing pitta aggravation, eating 2 – 3 teaspoons of ghee per day along with your food can rapidly bring down your pitta aggravation. You will find that your skin texture improves within 2 months of regular ghee consumption and a reduction in your pitta aggravation.

11.melted cow ghee

Cow ghee is important at almost every stage as per Ayurveda. Children need regular cow ghee as this is the stage of brain development and the fat in cow ghee helps proper brain and dhatu development. Old people need cow ghee to help lubricate their joints and bring down inflammatory conditions.

Young adults need cow ghee to help cope with mental stress and prepare their body for fertility. People in their 30s- 50s need cow ghee as this is naturally the time of increased pitta. Cow ghee consumption helps balance this aggravated pitta.

12.ghee for all ages

Remember: Eat only freshly melted liquid cow ghee and not solid. This helps control kapha and mucous production which could increase if you eat un-melted cow ghee. Go for high quality cow ghee: by this we mean ghee that is churned using the proper Ayurvedic technique, sourced from free range, grass fed indigenous cows that are treated well.

 

Also remember: We are talking about Desi Cow ghee here and not Desi Buffalo Ghee. Buffalo Ghee has entirely different properties and is not recommended for universal consumption.

 

Ayurveda is very conscious of the karmic effect of foods. If you source dairy or produce from poorly treated, inhumane conditions or pesticide sprayed areas, the pranic quality of that food is also poor. Ensure your dairy is sourced from humane, well treated, well reared and well raised cows where the calves are treated well too.

 

  1. Treat Agni well and eat on time. Eat only when you are hungry.

In Hindu mythology, Agni is given the status of a God. Lord Agni is always given offerings of food, ghee and herbs, as he is always hungry and looking for food.

You may remember your Mahabharata with reference to Lord Agni. Arjuna and Krishna burned the Khandava forest to build the capital city of Indraprastha. They offered the entire Khandava forest to Lord Agni and he consumed every single tree and living being in the forest to satiate his hunger. Pleased after his meal, he blessed both Arjuna and Lord Krishna.

13.khandava forest

 

Just like in Mythology, the Agni in your body is always hungry. When Agni increases, as when Pitta dosha is aggravated, the hunger in your body increases even more. This is why excess hunger is also a sign of dosha imbalance in Ayurveda. Appetite, like everything else, has to be balanced and normal.

We have talked about what the right meal times are in previous posts. Meal times should follow the course of the Sun to maximise digestive ability and nutrient absorption.

 

It is important to feed the Agni in your body on time and in correct quantity so that he is properly satiated. Skipping meals, eating at varying timings and not eating the right quantity can all aggravate Agni and therefore Pitta dosha.

Similarly, eating when Agni is not ready is also a sure fire (pun intended) path to disease. It is far better to skip a meal when you are not hungry than to eat on schedule even though you have no hunger. This builds toxins, ama and diseases and blockages in the body.

14.agni angered

Remember: Starving the Agni in your body, means that it will eat your body / tissues inside instead. This is the cause for diseases like Ulcers. Ensure you eat steadily on time. Similarly eating when you are not hungry will increase toxins and slow down nutrient absorption. So respect your body’s Agni.

 

  1. Take proper pitta balancing precautions whenever you are exposed to heat , light or the Sun is increased

We spoke about how overexposure to sun and heat and light treatments can increase the Agni in your body. Ensure that when this exposure is inevitable you take sensible Agni reducing precautions.

When exposed to the Sun, do not strain your Agni by over exercising, eating heavy food, working late or doing an abhyanga. Do not eat immediately after sun exposure or a heat based treatment. Take a cooling down period of 30 – 45 minutes where you sit indoors and drink normal temperature or warm water.

15.cool down

 

Once your body has been accustomed to the indoors and has a chance to naturally cool down, you can then take a shower and use Agni reducing herbs and pastes to further cool down your body. Do not bathe, eat cold foods or drink cold drinks immediately after sun exposure.

If the nature of your work requires constant sun exposure, ensure your diet is low in pitta aggravating foods and that you eat cow ghee and add the pitta reducing foods and regimens we have mentioned in this post and earlier.

 

  1. Use Agni reducing external applications like hair oil, skin oil and herbal Kajal (Anjana)

We spoke yesterday about how the eyes are an important seat of Pitta dosha and how the heat generated in the eyes and brain has to be reduced on the spot. The use of herbal Kajal (anjana) and herbal hair oil is well documented in Ayurveda for the same.

Herbal Kajal generally used eye soothing herbs like daru haridra, ghee, castor oil, Bhringaraj, etc to remove excess pitta and to remove the dirt encrusted in the eyes through tears. This helps keep the eyes in good working order. Apart from use of Anjana, Ayurveda advises balanced use of the eyes.

Cleaning the eyes with clean cold water, first thing on waking up and  – 3 times during the day also helps flush our impurities and keeps down excess pitta.

16.eyes

 

Remember: do not use your smart phone, e-reader, laptop within the first 2 hours after you wake up and in the last 2 hours before sleep. This prevents shock to the eyes, allows rest and allows the eye muscles to slowly unwind and repair themselves.

Using a good herbal hair oil frequently, helps calm the brain and dissipate excess heat from the head. This also incidentally keeps the hair strands in good health, repairs cuticular damage and maintains the hair strands in good elasticity, strength, and gloss. It also helps promote hair growth.

For cooling the head, we recommend late evening oiling of the scalp using small quantities of hair oil. About ¼ – ½ teaspoon of hair oil should be warmed in the palm and used to gently massage the scalp alone. This amount of hair oil is usually well absorbed by the scalp. With regular use you should notice good, peaceful sleep and freshness in the morning as a sign that this practice is working well for you.

17.frequent oiling

 

Besides night oiling, Ayurveda also recommends copious hair and scalp oiling just before a hairwash. This also helps dissipate heat and helps coat the hair strands and protect them well and keep then in good health. Depending upon your level of familiarity with this, you can leave your hair oil for upto an hour or two before hairwash.

Remember: Please do not strain yourself by leaving hair oil on overnight or for several hours if you are not used to it. This will do you more harm than help you. Always accustom your body gradually to any practice. We advise leaving hair oil on for no more than 15 minutes to start with. This duration can be increased every 3 weeks after (6- 7 usage occasions) by 10 minutes. This duration should be gradually increased until you can leave hair oil for 45 minutes – 1 hour on your head before washing off.

 

  1. Develop practices and strategies to deal with stress, grief and anger

We have many bizarre and new strategies in place in the modern world to help us cope with our emotions. Sometime back, I read with concern about a chain of outlets in Japan that were designed to help Japanese executives cope with anger.

Japan is a society where anger and many private emotions were not easily expressed in workplaces, out of respect for hierarchy and seniority. This has been documented as leading to a lot of frustration, stress and rage in modern Japan. The Japanese chain I mentioned, offered a service where you could rent the outlet for an hour, and then express your anger by breaking all the china and bric a brac especially left for you to give you the satisfaction of expressing your rage!

Ayurveda tells us not to express anger but to cool it down or prevent its build up. Grief on the other hand has to be let out, expressed and shared.

18.pranayama

 

There are many practices in Yoga and Pranayama and Bhakti Yoga that help us deal with our emotions. For Anger and grief, Ayurveda explains that we should adopt breath control and practice Pranayama. We are also encouraged to express and write down our grief. If we are spiritual, we are asked to practice Bhakti yoga and surrender to the divine presence.

 

We are also asked to regulate our daily schedule so we are able to rein in dosha excesses that may be cropping up because of improper hours or diets.

 

Whatever be your strategy, if you have unexpressed grief and unresolved rage, this is a sure path to dis-ease (and grey hair). Work on it.

 

To sum up: 7 ways of balancing Pitta aggravation in your body:

Ayurveda believes that opposites bring about balance. In this post we looked at 7 ways to rein in excess Pitta and bring balance to the body. These are:

  1. Eat bitters
  2. Eat Amla
  3. Eat cow ghee
  4. Treat Agni well and eat on time. Eat only when hungry.
  5. Take proper pitta balancing precautions whenever your exposure to heat , light or the Sun is increased
  6. Regularly use Agni reducing external applications like hair oil, skin oil and herbal Kajal (Anjana)
  7. Develop practices and strategies to deal with stress, grief and anger

We have successfully used these techniques in our lives, for our employees and with many of our consumers to help them with aggravated Pitta dosha, especially in the skin and hair. Remember if your hair is greying much earlier than it should, or you are constantly breaking out, you have much greater control on your body than you think you do. When we address the cause behind these symptoms, we pull the body back to a state of balance and work on the core issue.

We hope this post resonated with you and you were able to get a sense of how deep, holistic and interconnected the science of Ayurveda is. Do write to us with your questions, reflections ad if you would like us to write about a particular subject you are seeking answers or insights to.


Here are some Krya hair and skin products that are suitable to a Pitta based prakriti or to help bring down excess Pitta:

Hair products : Suit straight, slightly oily hair that has a tendency to grey prematurely, is fine or is experiencing Pitta symptoms like thinning:

  1. Krya Classic Hair Oil with Yellow Eclipta & Indian Gooseberry
  2. Krya Classic hair mask with Rose Hip & Liquorice
  3. Krya Classic hair wash with Rose & White Bhringaraj
  4. Krya Classic hair nourishing system (all 3 above products at a special price)
  5. Krya festive abhyanga hair wash with Vana Tulsi & Rose
  6. Krya harmony hair oil (especially suited for high stress, grief and vata aggravation)

 

Skin products: suit Pitta prone skin that is normal – oily, sweats well, has a tendency towards body odour, and is sensitive to heat and gets red or inflamed easily when pitta is out of balance . This skin may also experience occasional acne:

  1. Krya Classic face wash with Green Tea & Chamomile
  2. Krya Classic face mask with Rose petals & Guava
  3. Krya Classic Skin Oil with Carrot & Wintercherry
  4. Krya Classic Body wash with Rosemary & Cassia flower

 

For acne prone skin, we have the following Krya products:

  1. Krya anti acne face wash with Guava & Lodhra
  2. Krya anti acne face mask with Daruharidra & Lodhra

 

For skin that is frequently exposed to the sun, we have the following Krya products:

  1. Krya after sun face wash with Vetiver & Indian Madder
  2. Krya calming after sun face mask with Indian Madder & Liquorice
  3. Krya after sun body wash with Arjuna & Ashwagandha
  4. Krya Zingy After Sun Bodywash for Men with Lemon Eucalyptus & Green Tea

 

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