Is my shampoo truly natural: Krya’s perspective

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

When we describe our products and talk about how our products contain only purely natural, ayurvedic herbs, we often hear a counter: “But how can I tell if my shampoo is truly natural” (or face wash or body wash). This is an interesting and challenging question.

What makes a product “a truly natural product”? Do we go by the conventional easy definition which says that if a product’s main  ingredients are derived from renewable, plant based resources and not petroleum, a product is natural?

Is something a truly natural product? This is the modern dilemma

If we did follow the above definition, Krya would be a completely different company today and we would be selling loads and loads of shiny, water based products in bottles with pretty colours and scents. So, clearly, this is not Krya’s definition of a truly natural shampoo / face wash / face serum.

What is a truly natural product: Krya’s standard

Krya follows a much more stringent and strict standard of what consists of a truly natural product. All our products are made only from 4 kinds of ingredients:

  • Whole Plant parts (  herbs, roots, shoots, leaves, fruits, flowers and seeds). When we say the word “Whole” we mean harvested fresh or dry plant parts , not extracts, distillates or essences.
  • Whole plant based, expeller pressed, organic Oils and Butters
  • Whole Plant pressed essential oils
  • Clays, Earth and Soils with specific healing characteristics

Any ingredients that does not meet the above 4 criteria is not used at Krya. So we do not use Plant based extracts, even if they are more potent and concentrated: as they do not fall into or “Whole Plant” definition. We do not use solvent extracted oils even if they are cheaper, as they are neither organic nor cold pressed.

The 4 ingredient types behind creating a truly natural krya product

And we do not use any ingredients that are DERIVED as a secondary or tertiary by product from plants. To us these are simply chemicals which have been extracted from Plants and are not truly natural. So we use no surfactants like Sodium Coco Beteine. Nor do we try and pass of Sodium Laureth sulphate as a natural, coconut based surfactant. Because we understand that even though these ingredients may have once formed a part of a plant, their extraction and isolation process have transformed them into something else- they can no longer be called “truly natural”.

Which brings me to the second important part of what makes a product, truly natural: the way it is processed.

What is a truly natural product: Krya’s processing standard

As we have seen from the above examples, ,today even harmful chemical surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulphate are being passed off as natural. This is because the source this chemical compound was originally isolated from was a plant.

To keep our process truly natural, and ensure such chemicals do not pass muster at Krya, we follow a stringent processing standard in our factory:

  • We start production only with WHOLE herbs – we do not work with isolates, extracts or essences as many of them are made using chemical isolation techniques

How to craft a truly natuarl product : start with whole herbs

  • The herbs are bought WHOLE, cleaned and then processed in the correct manner and then sent for final manufacturing
    • The herbs are not altered with or tampered in any way – we do not change their colour, aroma, texture or any other properties deliberately
  • We use only solid formats which do not require any preservatives. By avoiding the use of water in our products, we are bale to ensure that not a single preservative, base, or any manner of manufactured ingredient goes into our products

krya truly natural procesisng technique: use solid formats that do not require preservatives

  • The herbs used in each of our products add up to 100% – there is no OTHER filler, base or any other synthetics used in our products
  • All fresh herbs, fruits and oils used are sourced only from organic sources, in season. We do not use out-of-season, chemically treated produce.

Krya's truly natural processing technique: use of seasonal organic produce

  • Oils are made from scratch using the ayurvedic tila paka method. This method of ayurvedic oil manufacturing helps extract botanical nutrients much more efficiently into oil. It also helps us avoid the use of fillers, colours, stabilisers and preservatives.

krya natural processing technique - oils

This definition of “100% natural” or “truly natural” is unique to Krya. This definition goes way beyond legal requirement or license guidelines. Even the strictest of natural product certifications allow some inclusion of synthetics to make up a format. But we, are proud to say, that our internal requirement is the strictest and most accurate definition of a truly natural product.

This definition of creating “truly natural” product imposes some restrictions and challenges for us as formulators. It is the solving of these restrictions and challenges that lead to the differences between how natural products look and feel compared to synthetics.

 Challenges faced when creating a truly natural product

One of the reasons large corporations gravitate towards making standardized chemical formulations is their ease of use and simplicity to manufacture. Because standardized chemical ingredients are used in the making of these products, the output we get is also standard.

So your synthetic detergent will always look , feel, and smell the same. You can literally close your eyes and smell its chemical fragrance and identify what you are using.

Mass market products are consistent because they are essentially synthetic

This simplistic consistency is not possible to achieve in a truly natural product due to a number of factors. This is possibly why many Krya consumers can  observe minor variations across our batches of cleansers, oils and lepas. Sometimes there is also a variation across seasons. why does this occur? We will explain this through today’s post.

Seasonal variation in produce : truly natural products

Krya uses fresh organic produce seasonally in each of our skin and hair oils. Our skin oils use varied organic produce like pomegranates, muskmelon, pineapple, mangoes, etc. These organic fruits go into the Krya Classic skin oil and the Krya Moisture Plus skin oil and the upcoming Krya After sun Skin oil and the Krya Dauhridini Body oil.

krya's products vary slightly depending upon the seasonal organic produce that goes into them

The selection of this set of organic fresh produce depends upon season, and the problem we are trying to solve. Every single fruit comes with its own inherent colour, taste, aroma and texture. So if the organic produce that goes into the oil changes, the oil will also subtly change, echoing the characteristics of the produce that goes into it.

So, it stands to reason that if a company says it is adding an organic mango into its product, you should not see this variant in february. It should only be available in the organic mango season!

Time to be suspicious?

 Availability of herbs : a challenge faced when creating truly natural products

The Ayurvedic Samhitas and Nighantus document several thousand herbs with many variations in sub species depending upon geography and climatic conditions. However, due to dwindling interest, urbanisation and lack of proper collection mechanisms, many of these herbs are not easily available to us.

But, as we expand our product base and widen our search, we stumble upon certain herb collectors or organisations who can source some of these herbs for us. Therefore, our formulations always have a small percentage kept aside for these kind of rare herbs. Whenever they become available to us, we add them into our formulations.

An example of this is “kaala haldi” or Curcuma caesia. This is a rare variety of Zeodary which is documented as being found in the eastern wetlands of Bengal and Assam.

Curcuma caesia is a renowned herb to help cure certain skin diseases, reduce vata aggravation and joint pain, etc due to its high camphoraceous content.

Black turmeric: renonwned ayurvedic herb for inflammation, skin cleaning, etc

We have been searching for reliable suppliers of Kali haldi for a few years now and have just stumbled on a source. So when we get access to herbs like this, they find their way into our formulations.

So formulae can also vary / change depending upon availability of herbs. This affects the way the final products looks / feels and smells.

The effect of regional and geographical differences on herbs:

The Ayurvedic Samhitas tell us that the “kala” (season) and “desha” (geography) from where a herb is harvested alters the properties of the herbs subtly. This is because of the climatic conditions under which the herb grows and also the richness and natural nutrients available in the soil.

An example of this is one variety of organic turmeric which we source from Meghalaya. This variety of turmeric is the same species of turmeric which is used across Indian households in cooking. But due to its cultivations in this hilly region, presence of abundant rain and relatively un-urbanized and pristine surroundings, the turmeric has a much higher percentage of Curcumin as is seen in the plains. This makes the turmeric slightly higher in oil content, and its colour is a distinct yellow-orange with a strong and rich aroma.

high curcumin turmeric is used in krya's skin care products for its potent skin healing properties

In this example, the herb is distinctively different from its counterpart that grows on the plains. But this does not make it superior to other varieties of organic turmeric – just different and more suitable to its “desha”.

We see subtle differences across many herbs depending upon “desha”. For example: the Sapindus trifoliatus (soapberry) we use across our products has regional differences when sourced from wet climates vs dryer climates – the colour of the fruit, aroma and foam head all differ depending upon geography.

 Seasonal variations in herbs

The Ashtanga hridayam tells us that herbs are less juicy, intense and more woody in Adana Kala and in seasons like Greeshma Ritu (summer season).  So when we make our hair and skin oils in Summer vs say Winter, there is a marked difference in the Swarasas (fresh juices) , Kashayas (deocotions) and Kwathas (herb infusions) we make as a prequel to making our final oil.

The Swarasas make in dry season is typically darker, more intense in its aroma and is much more concentrated. This makes the oils made in this season look darker and feel slightly thicker.

All these above reasons cause minor , subtle variations in truly natural products like Krya’s hair, skin and home care products. These differences do not affect how the products works for you, but it will affect the consistency of aesthetics you come to expect from a product.

The Krya “Signature” – what continues unchanging across all our batches

Someone reading this could very well ask what unites our products across batches despite minor changes in the formulations. Yes a truly natural product can expect to get perfect consistency across every single batch due to all the factors listed above. But, at Krya, we try and ensure there are a few uniting factors across our formulations:

Use of Signature Ingredients in Krya’s products:

In some of our products, we use certain “Signature Ingredients”. An example of this is Chamomile and Green Tea which go into the Krya Classic face wash formulation. Since our test launch of this product in January 2013, these signature ingredients go into almost every batch of the formulation.

Signature ingredients in Krya classic face wash: chamomile and green tea

We have, so far, made only one batch without the use of organic Chamomile due to lack of availability from our regular supplier. Regular customers were quick to pick up this difference and demanded to know why their facewash was not smelling the way it used to!

Signature Colours across Krya’s products / product categories:

Many Krya hair oils and skin oils have a signature colour or belong to a specific colour family. For example, the Krya traditional Baby massage oil usually has a reddish-brown colour due the use of Manjishta in the formulation.

Krya traditional baby massage oil - caries a signature colour, aroma and texture

Both the Krya Abhyanga Oils (classic and Intense) also have this reddish brown colour and a distinctive fragrance due to the use of certain herbs like bala, ashwagandha, nochi leaf, etc.

Signature properties across each batch

Notwithstanding the minor differences in formulation depending upon seasonality, herb availability, etc, obviously the one major uniting factor across each batch is the way each Krya product works for you.

We take care to ensure that the texture of the product is similar across batches. This is especially important in products meant for sensitive skin like the Krya toddler bodywash for Sensitive Skin and the Krya Sensitive Bodywash for Adults.  Here due to the dosha vitiation in skin, skin is particular sensitive to rough edges in the product and a small texture change can trigger a reaction like a rash.

Similarly, despite minor formulation changes, our skin products meant for Pitta prakriti skin like the Krya Classic range or the Krya After Sun range is always designed to cool, soothe and draw out excess Pitta from skin. So the products always feel refreshing during use and skin feels lighter and fresher after use.

Signature properties: krya's aftersun range always balances pitta and soothes skin

To Sum up:

Truly natural products are a minuscule minority. Most often , we have standardised commercial products hiding under the guise of a truly natural product. Therefore, when we do come across truly natural products, we are taken aback at their aesthetics and the textural and minor differences we see across batches.

I hope this post educated you on why these differences in texture, aroma or colour could exist in a truly natural product. I also hope this post helped you appreciate the many challenges behind creating a truly natural product.

If you too would like to try our truly natural range of skin, home and hair care goodies, please explore our offerings online. For product queries or doubts please write to us or call us on (0)75500-89090.

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Revitalise & Heal chemically damaged hair with Ayurveda: the Krya Damage Repair Hair revitalising Hair Oil

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

Frequent chemical treatments tend to damage hair. Stylists and trichologists tell us that we can only cover up the damage, but cannot heal hair. But, when we understand the “hetu” or cause of damage, and treat it holistically, we can solve even the unsolvable. This post will examine how we can heal chemically damaged hair through the wisdom of Ayurveda.

Imbalances seen in Chemically damaged hair

Chemically treated hair usually exhibits a few characteristic imbalances. Pitta and vata dosha of the hair system is aggravated and imbalanced. This explains the use of adjectives like “fried”, “dry like straw”, “Rough and lifeless”, “texture like hay” to describe chemically damaged hair.

Chemially damaged hair has imbalanced vata and pitta dosha. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Pitta imbalance in chemically damaged hair is caused by the use of high heat and heat aggravating chemicals. This dries out the hair strands and damages the sebum balance in the scalp. So hair thins faster, greys prematurely and the scalp is dry, itchy and irritable.

Vata imbalance is also high in chemically damaged hair . This due to the drying nature of heat and chemical treatment. This in turns slows down sebum production in the scalp and cuts off supply of nutrients to the hair follicle. This results in dry, parched scalp and coarse, rough, straw-like hair strands.

Heat & chemical treatments imbalance sebum i hair making it dry, coarse and lifeless. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Scalp damage and change in hair texture and growth patterns

Chemical damaged hair goes with a damaged and toxin filled scalp. The pitta and vata imbalance in the hair results in slower hair growth. The scalp is also unable to support the growth of long hair duet to a weak supply of nutrients. The new hair that grows is usually much thinner, weaker, much more liable to breaking and usually much shorter than the original length.

Chemically damaged hair looks much older and ages rapidly. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

The Krya Damage repair hair oil – an ayurvedic oil that heals chemically damaged hair

 

Krya Damage reapru hair system revitalizes and heals chemically damaged hair.

 

Ayurveda lists keshya (herbs meant for hair care) into 3 categories: Keshya “sanjana” (to help hair originate or form), Keshya “vardhana” (to promote hair length and growth), and Keshya ranjana (to restore natural hair colour, improve hair darkness and delay hair greying).  A lot of attention is paid in Ayurveda to reduce excess pitta from building up on the scalp. This is because as we have mentioned, the brain and the eyes are both originators of heat and this heat tends to accumulate on hair and scalp. When this excess pitta energy builds up in the hair, it accelerates hair greying.

In Chemically damaged hair, there is already a build up of excess Pitta energy: so the use of Keshya Ranjana herbs helps bring down this imbalanced Pitta dosha.

The result: hair thinning and premature greying is slowed down.

Krya uses ayurevdic herbs that balance aggravated pitta in chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

We use Keshya Vardhana herbs to reduce teh vata aggravation in the hair, and imporve hair length, hair thickness and improve hair’s texture.

The result: Hair is glossier, softer, smoother and is able to support growth of long hair

Krya’s damage repair hair oil,also uses scalp detoxifying and clarifying herbs . These herbs stimulate blood circulation, help remove toxins and revitalise the hair system.

Krya damage repair hair oil: ingredients

In the current formulation of the Krya Damage repair hair oil, we used 25 different forest collected and organic herbs, fruits, vegetables and cold pressed oils to help nourish, detoxify and heal chemically damaged hair. We have listed the properties of a few of these herbs below.

Beetroot : detoxifies scalp, stimulates hair growth in chemically damaged hair

The beetroot (Beta vulgaris) is a healing organic vegetable that goes into the Krya Damage repair hair oil. The roots and leaves of Beetroot have been used in traditional medicine across the world from ancient times to treat a variety of disease.

Krya uses organic beetroots to detoxify the scalp in chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Beetroots are a very rich source of betains (the red and yellow pigment group) and carotenoids. This combination of coloured pigments has good anti inflammatory and detoxifying effects when consumed internally and also on topical application. Biotin supplements are now currently a range and are being prescribed for severe hair loss. Beetroot is a good source of bio available biotin and folate, and pantothenic acid (vitamin b5).

Beetroots , when added to the Krya Damage repair hair oil, help detoxify the scalp and stimulate high quality hair growth.

Krya tip: Please include organic beetroots atleast twice a week into your diet to help detoxify the system internally and improve bio-available biotin in your body.

Ashwagandha: promotes thicker and fuller hair growth in chemically damaged hair

Ashwagandha is the Ginseng of Indian medicine. It is a famous rejuvenative, growth promoting and aphrodisiac herb. The herb is prescribed to build general immunity, for its anti aging (rasayana) effects and to build strength and well being in the body.

Krya uses Ashwagandha to improve hair quality and growth in chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

 

In the Krya Damage repair hair oil, Ashwagandha is used to detoxify the scalp and promote healthy growth of hair. The use of Ashwagandha helps promote thicker, fuller and faster hair growth in chemically damaged hair.

Brahmi: improves hair texture of chemically damaged hair

We have written many times about the healing power of this tiny, power-packed amazing Ayurvedic herb. Brahmi is an important herb to nourish the brain and is used in Ayurveda to help children’s brains develop well and also in elderly people to support the nervous system and to retard diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Krya uses Brahmi to improve the strength, health and gloss of chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Brahmi is a critical hair care herb which we use in oils like the Krya harmony hair oil and the Krya kids hair oil. In both these oils, we use a high proportion of Brahmi to reduce stress and to support the function of the young, growing brain.

Brahmi is very useful in the Krya Damage repair hair oil to reduce high Vata, and to improve hair texture and growth.

 

Besides these 3 herbs, the Krya Damage repair hair oil uses the following herbs, vegetables, fruits and cold pressed oils:

Krya uses 25 ayurevdic herbs, fruits, vegetables and organic oils to formulate teh Krya Damage repair hair oil. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

 

  1. Guduchi (forest collected)
  2. Khadira (forest collected)
  3. Liquorice (forest collected)
  4. Manjishta (forest collected)
  5. Nutgrass (forest collected)
  6. Rosemary (organically grown)
  7. Ram Tulsi (organically grown)
  8. Amla (organically grown)
  9. Bottle gourd (organically grown)
  10. Banana Stem (organically grown)
  11. Bhringaraj (organically grown)
  12. Moringa (organically grown)
  13. Almond (organically grown)
  14. Hibiscus flower (organically grown)
  15. Henna (organically grown)
  16. Curry Leaf (organically grown)
  17. Castor Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  18. Kokum Butter (cold pressed and organic)
  19. Coconut Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  20. Sesame Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  21. Tamanu Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  22. Apricot Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  23. (cold pressed and organic)

To sum up: Heal Chemical damage naturally

Over processed hair and chemically damaged hair is hard to care for. You are told that you cannot fix or treat this hair and asked to invest in more and more damaging chemical treatments to mask the way your hair grows. Instead, Ayurveda provides a true holistic ray of hope. We hope this post gave you a glimpse of how Krya thinks about, researches and formulates products for you. we also hope this post inspired you to seek out solutions to help holistically heal chemically damaged hair.

If you too have chemically damaged hair and would like to try out our natural solutions, please explore the links given below. In case you have any queries on the same, please write to us.

Krya’s products to heal chemically damaged hair:

Krya Damage Repair hair mask to heal and revitalise over processed, chemically damaged hair

Krya’s safe , all natural hair colours to help you STOP further damage:

Krya's all natural , healing hair colour that colours and nourishes hair and scalp.

 

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Krya Formulation update Tuesdays: a better oil for dry, frizzy hair

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

Rupert Baxter, that quintessential suspicious secretary in PG Wodehouse’s Blanding’s Castle series was often said to be generally suspicious of everything and everyone. I often find myself invoking my inner Baxter when I read beauty product labels, especially those proclaiming to be completely natural.

1. blog post inner baxter

As you are aware, we make excellent Ayurvedic first principle based skin and hair oils at Krya. We have spoken about how Ayurvedic manufacturing has incorporated many sophisticated oil processing techniques that are designed to fractionate the oil, change its viscosity and improve its spreadability and dispersion of plant actives by the use of different manufacturing techniques.

 

None of the Ayurvedic manufacturing techniques use solvents, manufacturing chemicals or anything synthetic. Instead, a carefully thought through series of different methods like infusions, tinctures, over night soaking, the use of fats of different viscosity, slow cooking and stirring at different speeds, are all used to make emulsions, creams, pastes and herb infused oils.

While it is true that the Ayurvedic processing techniques cannot give an infinitely wide range of textures and formats, many standard formats like creams, pastes, and oils of varying viscosity can all be achieved.

2. ayurvedic oil manufacturing

 

The desperate attempt to appear natural : consumer product scams

There is rightfully a growing wave of concern around the toxic load on our skin, hair and bodies. This concern has lead to several small but significant changes in the consumer products industry like the visible reduction in the use of sulphate surfactants like SLS and SLeS, and the promised phasing out of ingredients like Triclosan.

But with these good developments have come in what may be best described as dubious developments. There is a rapid substitution being followed in the consumer product industry where consumer hated ingredients like SLS or SLeS are being replaced by another class of surfactants which are little known and have not yet been studied for their possible ill effects on the human body or the environment.

Along with ingredient substitution, another growing disturbing trend I am seeing is the mis-labelling of ingredients, making them appear much more natural than what they really are.

 

Does a chemical ingredient’s origin make it natural? – Light Liquid Paraffin in hair oils and moisturizing products

Here is an inherent contradiction all of us have to live with: we all appreciate the benefits of using oil, but many of us dislike the texture and experience of using oil.

This dislike has prompted consumer products companies to find ways of making an oil, which is inherently viscous and sticky, “non sticky” and like water. This has lead to the use of Liquid Paraffin derived “non sticky oils” in hair care where 60 – 90% of the content is light liquid paraffin, a derivative of petrolatum.

3. light liq paraffin

Light Liquid Paraffin is derived from Petrolatum which is indeed natural, but it is of mineral origin. LLP is odourless and colourless and is non sticky, so when it is used on skin and hair it feels light and dry. However, petrolatum and its derivatives are occlusive and comedogenic on the skin – so consistent use clogs the skin and scalp, and can trap dirt and dead cells in the skin triggering cystic acne.

Also unlike vegetable oils which are considered an “Anupana” or medium to transmit the nutrient active of the herbs infused in them, liquid paraffin does not penetrate the skin barrier. Therefore the properties of the herbs cannot be utilised by the body.

Therefore in Light Liquid Paraffin we have an ingredient of mineral origin which does not penetrate skin, can trap dirt and trigger acne, and which cannot transmit the plant actives into the body. Using products with this ingredient does not help our skin or scalp, however pleasant it may seem while using the product.

 11.acne

 

Does a chemical ingredient’s origin make it natural? – Caprylic Capric Triglycerides in moisturizing products

Another way of making oil less sticky is to not use a vegetable oil at in the base. Instead, many formulations are appearing where the ester of glycerol and fractionated coconut oil is used as a base, and herb extracts and essential oils are added to this base.

Caprylic Capric triglyceride is one such ingredient. This is a lab derived ester made by the esterification of glycerol and either coconut or palm oil derived fatty acids. Esters are present in nature and are responsible for many of the aromas we experience like the fragrance and flavour we get when we bite into a ripe apple. However, they are rarely present in an isolated form, and have to be extracted or synthesised in a lab.

The esterification process has been deliberately employed in the case of Caprylic Capric triglyceride. First the fatty acids of coconut or palm oil has to be isolated and extracted, and it is then subjected to the esterification reaction with glycerol to produce this chemical ingredient.

Caprylic capric triglyceride looks like oil, but it is completely non greasy and has a dry, almost powdery texture on skin. It is a favourite ingredient in many skin and hair care products and is specifically used for the way it feels on application.

But, here is something you should keep in mind: Caprylic Capric Triglyceride like many esters used in personal care products is NOT natural. It may be derived from molecules which have been extracted from coconut or palm oil. However, it is not a naturally occurring ingredient and is produced via a chemical reaction in a lab. More importantly, while coconut oil or even palm oil is good for skin and hair, having been used for millennia, their synthetic derivatives have never been tested extensively for use on human beings. We also do not know how these isolates compound or react when discharged into the atmosphere or even how stable they are.

From an Ayurvedic standpoint, no research has been done on whether this ester is a good Anupana, or even if it is absorbed into skin or if it disperses plant actives.

 

Making an Ayurvedic oil: and how we avoid the use of synthetics like Caprylic Capric Triglyceride

We have spoken often with pride about the Krya oil making process. We frequently speak about this because our oils are an integral part of our skin and hair care offerings. If there is one health giving practice that works immediately, it is the application of oil on your scalp and skin, whether it is to balance your doshas in your weekly abhyanga or to improve the quality and health of your hair.

There are 2 key differences between genuine Ayurvedic oils and synthetic oils with suspect ingredients like the 2 we have discussed above.

  1. Sneha Kalpana Paka (Oil cooking) technique: A genuine Ayurvedic oil is“paka” oil where the oil is “cooked” to incorporate various herb extracts, decoctions, juices and pastes. The cooking of the oil can take place either via direct heat or through solar heat.4. paka process
    1. When the oil is cooked on direct heat, the temperature is kept as low as possible, and the final oil mixture which contains different kinds of juices, extractions, tinctures and pastes) needs to be continuously and gently stored. The combination of heat, manual stirring and use of different kinds of herb extract methods (water based infusion, boiled decoction, paste), transfers the plants actives from the herbs into the oil.
    2. The solar heat process sis generally used when delicate herbs or flowers are infused into oil (like flower petals) where the use of high heat can alter the fragrance and plant actives. In solar cooking method, the oil is infused for atleast 1 mandala (48 days) in a vessel made out of a particular material (bronze, eeyam, etc). As the temperature increase in this method is not as high as direct heating, the oil has to be infused longer to extract the plant actives efficiently.
    3. The result of the Ayurvedic oil paka technique is an oil whose properties have been transformed by the process Even if we started with a relatively viscous oil like sesame or Coconut, the Paka process makes the oil lighter, more nutrient dense, alters its colour and aroma and makes it much easier for the skin / scalp to absorb both the oil and the herb actives.
  2. 5. result of paka processAn Ayurvedic oil is always made using a particular proportion of herb extracts, pastes and oils
    1. The oil is usually only 25 – 40% of the base volume of the mixture. The balance consists of fresh juices, herb decoctions and a paste made from the herbs.
    2. The oil is cooked until all the water in this solution evaporates leaving behind only the transformed oil and the solids from the herb paste. This usually takes anywhere between 5 – 9 hours of steady boiling.
    3. The final oil that is achieved is highly concentrated and potent containing the actives of all the herb extracts which were added into the oil mixture.

 

Making the Krya conditioning hair oil: a quick update

For Formulation Tuesday today, I have chosen to speak about skin and hair care oils and moisturizing products and to illustrate how genuine Ayurvedic oil is different in its manufacturing and ingredients in general.

As a part of this, I also wanted to share with you in brief, how we make the Krya conditioning hair oil – we made our newest batch this Saturday.

 

Who is this oil designed for?

The Krya conditioning oil is designed for vata prakriti skin and scalp. Vata prakriti skin and scalp tends to be inherently dry and usually drinks up or soaks up oil and moisture with gratitude. This kind of hair is usually inherently dry or frizzy. Winter or low humidity environments can cause dry dandruff or flaking in this kind of hair.

6.vata prakriti hair

If this hair is excessively shampooed or chemically treated, it tends to increase frizziness, split ends and hair breakage.

We have 2 kinds of hair oils for Vata prakriti hair. The first is the Krya conditioning hair oil. The second is the Krya harmony hair oil, which is to be used if you are mentally stressed, or work for long hours with uncertain timings and tight deadlines.

The Krya harmony hair oil works on soothing the brain and reliving vata caused by mental stress. The Krya conditioning hair oil works on physically balancing vata dosha in your scalp by using herbs and oils that nourish and nurture the scalp.

7.harmony hair oil

 

What goes into the Krya conditioning hair oil?

The Krya Conditioning hair oil is formulated using herbs that are very high on soothing a dry and irritated scalp and also help tame “frizzy” and vata aggravated hair. 16 nutrient dense herbs and 4 cold pressed and organic vegetable oils are used to make the Krya conditioning hair oil.

Herbs like Daucus carota (carrot), Lagenaria siceraria (Bottle Gourd), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and Moringa oleifera (Moringa) are used to improve the texture and health of hair and improve its gloss and smoothness. Herbs like Acacia katechu (Khadira), Phyllanthus embellicus (Amla) and Eclipta alba (Bhringaraj) are used to soothe the scalp and improve its health and therefore improve hair growth.

8. krya codnitioning hair oil

Herbs like Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), Murraya koenigii (Curry Leaf), Terminalia Chebulia (Haritaki) and Terminalia embelica (Vibhitaki) are used to promote hair growth, rejuvenate the scalp and hair and normalise the dosha balance so that the entire hair system becomes healthy.

Ayurveda ranks the extraction method of each herb and also assigns different nutritive values to Swarasa (fresh expelled juice), Kwathas (Infusions), Kashayas (decoction) and Kalpa (herb paste). Depending upon the bio actives in each herb, we are advised to follow the above 4 methods to extract a herb’s actives.

Every Krya oil has a high volume of potent plant actives going into the oil mixture. For example, in the Krya conditioning hair oil, 25% of the oil mixture is fresh Swarasa (cold pressed plant juice). Swarasas are considered very nutritious and of high potency in Ayurveda, and addition of this to an Ayurvedic oil greatly improves its efficacy. In the Krya conditioning hair oil, we use fresh Swarasa of Carrot, Bottle gourd, Amla and Bhringaraj, all grown organically.

9. potent bio active hair oil

Woody herbs and tubers have tightly bound actives within the plant. So it is recommended in Ayurveda to coarsely crush the herbs, soak them in water and then boil the mixture for a particular duration (either until water evaporates to ½ its volume or ¼ its volume). The Kashaya preparation and boiling process takes 12 hours (before the oil boiling starts). The process followed and the time taken both ensure we are able to successfully extract actives even from woody and hard herbs like Khadira, Ashwagandha and Liquorice to ensure that the final oil is rich in their actives.

10.kashaya extraction process

To sum up:

So there you have it: that is the Krya Tuesday formulation update for this week. We have discussed how we work on the Krya conditioning hair oil; a product that is much loved for its hair texture improving, scalp healing and hair growth improving properties. The Krya Conditioning hair oil is to be used along with the Krya Conditioning hair wash and the Krya conditioning hair mask. Together these 3 products form the Krya conditioning hair hydrating system.

 

Our ongoing Formulation Tuesday series is designed to give you a glimpse into how we think about, research and work on our product formulations. We believe that it is imperative for companies to be transparent both about their products and their manufacturing process. This, we believe, helps consumers make better choices for themselves and be more involved in what enters their home, is applied on themselves and is released into the soil and water.

 

Information helps us all make better choices. We hope you found this post both interesting and relevant to read.

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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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Hair care herbs around the world

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

My hair epiphany happened when I was 28. I was in a lab, with my friend who specialized in natural herbs and their application in skin and hair care products. We were discussing hair damage, and she made a remark that startled me.

“Preethi, almost every single woman I know has damaged hair”, she said. I hotly disagreed, and ran my hand through my hair to disprove her.

Yes, I coloured my hair, I added, but I spent top dollar to buy the best products money could buy. I was careful to choose ammonia free colours. I used the best shampoo, conditioner, and serum I could buy. I had even added a post wash spray on serum for care and gloss. Hell, I actually spent a significant proportion of my salary buying high quality haircare products – surely my hair wasn’t damaged?

“So give me a strand of your hair”, she said, “and let’s look at it under the microscope”.

And I did.

My hair was appalling.

The cuticular scales were missing and damaged. I could see gaping portions of the hair shaft visible under the 200X pitiless magnification of the sophisticated microscope in my friend’s lab. She pointed out places where atleast 6 layers of my cuticle were missing.

And she exhaustively listed every single treatment I was doing to my hair which was damaging it – shampooing with an SLS / SLeS based shampoo, blow drying it with my fancy hair styler, colouring it every other month in different colours, perming it (once), straightening it (twice), and washing it almost every single day to keep it bouncy and ungreasy.

“You do know that your hair isn’t supposed to be washed so often, or feel so greasy, right?”, she casually added. “Your hair is supposed to be healthy and look good, without using so many synthetic products”.

We believe all kinds of things about hair – but if there’s one thing we should believe in, it is this. Like my friend said to me 9 years ago, your hair is supposed to look good. It is designed to look awesome. And its awesomeness is not just aesthetic, it is also functional. The same stuff that keeps it glossy and shiny, also keeps it strong, whole and protects it from damage.

Unfortunately, almost every single synthetic product we put on our hair to wash, condition, straighten, colour or perm it damages it. Pretty badly.

Yet human hair, like the human body, is resilient. It is capable of healing itself and repairing damage, if the damaging conditions are removed.

I am the very first user of all of the products we make at Krya. In the 8 years that have passed since I peered into a microscope to study my hair, convention dictates that my hair should have gotten more fragile, more damaged, and less healthy.

On the contrary, as I transitioned to better food (read mostly organic, whole grain, and plant based), cut the stress (somewhat – I do run a business!), got more air and light in (and stopped working in an air conditioned environment), my hair damage started to reverse. Somewhere along this way, I threw away all the synthetic products I used and started to use only 2 products – a Krya all natural, toxin free shampoo with frequent oiling using a Krya all natural, herb filled oil.

My hair is growing more, breaks less, is less greasy (so I do not have to wash as frequently) and my scalp is flaking less.

Most hair that is damaged due to lifestyle reasons can be coaxed back into good health. And we are going to be spending a lot of August, telling you just how, on the Krya blog. We are also going to be running some fun contests and giveaways on the Krya facebook page, so do join us there as well.

And to inspire your transition to natural haircare and to re-discover just how good your hair can look / be, we have a very special deal on all of Krya’s haircare products with upto 20% off on all our haircare goodies!

When we write / speak about natural haircare, we often draw a strange blank. We are met with a sense of panic when we recommend you throw away your synthetic shampoo / conditioner and You ask us this: “Just how do I then care for my hair? Am I supposed to just look unfashionable without my serum?”

Hair and herb history – or how people looked good without the SLS

A recent paper I read that studied the plants used in traditional haircare  by Bhil tribals in 3 taluks (Vijaynagar, Khedbrahma and Bhiloda of Aravalli ranges ) in Sabarkantha district in Gujarat . They treat hair ailments with plant remedies based on their inherited knowledge handed down from their local vaidyas in the tribe. Nearly 25 plants were listed in the research conducted among tribals from 3 taluks in a single district in India.

The traditional Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita, Sarangadhara Samhita and Bhaisajya Ratnavalli are full of formulae, herbs and preparations both internal and external to cleanse hair, treat scalp infections, promote hair growth, and even colour and condition it. Siddha texts including the more recent “Anubhava Murai vaidyam” by Raja Serfoji includes a similar compendium of hair care herbs.

A reading of Nicholas Culpepper’s seminal work published in the 17th century contains a rich account of herbal and pharmacological knowledge. Culpepper spent most of his life in the outdoors, cataloguing the medicinal herbs found in the English countryside, and was one of the most well known astrological botanists of his day. His approach to herbal medicine have had a far reaching impact on how modern medicine is practices today. For example, he prescribed the medical use of foxglove, a precursor to digitalis , used to treat heart conditions.

These materia medica list thousands of local and indigenous herbs that can be used to safely care for hair. Apart from these formal systems of learning, ethnographic studies or oral traditions in tribal communities also records the rich and varied use of herbs to treat ailments and to enhance beauty.

Today we have presented just 5 of these many thousand herbs used for healthy haircare.

  1. Mushta / Nagarmotha /Indian Nutgrass / Cyperus rotundus

Mushta is discussed elaborately by Acharya Sushruta, acharya Vagbhatta and Acharya Charaka.  Acharya Charaka describes this plant to cool pitta and treat pitta related conditions like diarrhea and skin infections. Acharya Vagbhatta described Mushta as a febrifuge that cools down pitta induced fevers.

 

In Cambodia, Mushta is known as a diuretic herb. Traditional Chinese medicine describes Mushta as being effective against liver disease (interestingly the liver is considered the seat of Pitta in Ayurveda). In srilanka, Mushta decoction is taken internally to reduce fevers, diarrhea and stomach complaints.

mushta - krya aug 4 blog 4

As Mushta brings down pitta and has a woody fragrance, it was often used as a decoction or a paste to cleanse hair. It was also added to hair oils to delay graying and keep hair soft, well conditioned and healthy.

Mushta can be found in many of Krya’s skin and haircare products including the Krya Classic Hair Oil, the Krya Classic Hairwash, the Krya Abhyanga bath powder for women, the Krya After Sun Bodywash, The Krya Body wash for Men, etc.

  1. Nimba / Neem / Azadirachta indica

In vedic literature, Neem is mentioned several times. Acharya Charaka classified Nimba as a Kandughna (anti pruritic) drug. Acharya Charaka used the flowers of Nimba in Nasya treatment and indicated that it is to be used extrenaly in skin diseases.

Acharya Vagbhatta described the seed oil of Nimba as being very effective in the treatment of grey hair and hair fall.

Neem leaf , neem seed oil and neeem flowers are traditionally used in hair and skin care. Neem helps bring down scalp itching, scalp dermatitis and scalp psoriasis. It is a very effective anti bacterial cleanser and deodorizes scalp and skin with regular use.

nimba - krya aug 4 blog 3

The crushed seeds and leaves are applied over hair as insecticide to kill lice. The infusion of fresh leaves is applied on the head to cure dandruff. The mixture of seed and exuded sap from trees growing near water, is massaged on the scalp for promoting hair growth.

Nimba can be found in Krya’s anti dandruff system, the Krya Kids ubtan, and the Krya Anti acne face wash.

  1. Amalaki / Phyllanthus embellica / Indian gooseberry

The Indian gooseberry is renowned in Ayurveda and Siddha and is called the “Dhatri” or the Nurse. It is one of the few herbs that contain all 6 tastes, and is therefore considered a perfect food. It is not a surprise, therefore to see such frequent mentions of this fruit in Vedic literature and in Ayurveda.

The Texts classify Amlaka as a Chavanaprasha and Rasayana (rejuvenative, life expectancy enhancing, youth promoting) herb. It has extremely strong anti microbial activity, hypoglycaemic activity, hypolipidimic activity and anti emetic activity.

amla - krya aug 4 blog 4

It is a strong, health giving and hair nourishing herb which promotes hair growth, retards graying, removes excess pitta and conditions hair. It is also an extremely rich source of Vitamin c which stimulates healthy hair and skin growth even in the boiled / dry form (a unique fruit as generally Vitamin C is water soluble and disappears on boiling).

Amlaki is found across all Krya hair formulations including the Krya Classic hair system, the Krya extra conditioning hair system, the Krya damage repair hair system and the Krya anti dandruff hair system.

  1. Saw Palmetto / Serenoa repens (Peruvian ginseng) /

Saw Palmetto is a palm like plant with berries that grows in the south eastern united states. The berries were a staple food for Native Americans. The active ingredients in Saw palmetto include fatty acids, plant sterols and flavonoids. Saw palmetto is prescribed in Europe for Benign prostrate hyperplasia (a non cancerous enlargement of the prostrate gland). The berries are also expectorant, a mild sedative and help expel mucous. The herb is also used to treat urinary disorders.

saw palmetto - krya aug 4 blog 2

Historically, saw palmetto was used to stop hair loss and trigger healthy hair growth. Research suggests that saw palmetto inhibits DHT (dihydotestosterone), an enzyme that is associated with male pattern baldness.

  1. Soapwort (a cousin of the Indian soapberry ) / Saponaria officinalis

Soapwort comes from a family of nearly 30 species of saponin containing plants found in Europe, parts of Asia and Western Siberia. Soapwort leaves and roots can be used as a gentle cleanser for hair and skin. Historical anecdotes indicate it was used to clean the Shroud of Turin.

soapwort - krya aug 4 blog 1

It has also been used historically, much like its Indian cousin, the Soapberry to clean delicate fabric like wool and garments with lace.

So there you have it – we read about 5 herbs that have been used historically around the world to cleanse and care for hair.


 

As we are fond of saying, the chemical consumer product industry is about 150 years old. But human beings have been washing, bathing and keeping themselves clean for millennia. And we did pretty well (apart from that brief blip during the Black plague in medieval Europe). The most brilliant thing about the human body is its ability to heal itself, if the conditions that cause it harm are removed. Similarly, hair that is damaged due to lifestyle reasons can be coaxed back into good health.

To inspire this change and to give your hair a much better shot at real health, we are celebrating the Krya Hair Olympics Challenge this August.

Looking for thicker, healthier, stronger hair this August?

Throw away your synthetic hair care products and replace them with Krya’s nourishing hair care products instead.

Every Krya hair care product for adults carries a special discount only in August 2016

  • 10% off if you buy a single piece of any Krya hair care product for adults
  • 20% off if you buy 2 or more pieces of any Krya hair care product for adults or a Krya hair care system for adults

Explore Krya’s huge range of good-for-you hair care products at special prices all of August here.

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Dandruff Dojo – why Krya tells you to throw away that shampoo

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“I am using a popular brand of anti dandruff shampoo. I shampoo every single day, because I’ve been told that only this will keep away my dandruff. While my shampoo removes the dandruff, my scalp feels itchy by the evening and the flaking starts again. What do you think could be the problem? Am I stuck with dandruff and shampooing everyday forever?”

This was in response to the Krya newsletter I had sent out last week. This query was sent to be by a man who described his hair as having worsened after he started to work. He was now in his 30s, and his dandruff had become extremely noticeable and quite alarming.

There are 2 causes of dandruff: the first is an underlying skin condition like psoriasis, eczema or seborrhea. And if you had any of this, any part of your skin will be affected, including your scalp. Also, when you have an underlying skin condition like this one, you wouldn’t just have your scalp affected, but atleast some part of the rest of your skin.
The other kind of dandruff which the Mayo Clinic describes as the most common cause of dandruff today is dry skin caused by aggravated sebaceous glands. This aggravation can occur because of how often you shampoo or what you shampoo your hair with.

What is in your Anti dandruff shampoo:

The lead chemical used by an anti dandruff shampoo is a fungicide – this could be ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione or selenium disulfide, miconazole and even hydrogen peroxide or common bleach. Now the thing to note is this: this solution is logical only if your dandruff is caused by a fungal infection like seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Even then the fungicides do not heal the root cause. Worse still, they are excessively harsh and drying on the scalp and could lead to the other type of dandruff. This could explain why people using an anti-dandruff shampoo feel that they are worse off than before.

Environmental effects of fungicides like Ketoconazole:

With the increasing use of fungicides in anti dandruff shampoos, it should come as no surprise that these fungicides find their way into fresh and salty water bodies through our sewage lines. As is common with many classes of synthetic chemicals, fungicides like ketoconazole are easily absorbed into the body of fishes and other aquatic organisms – here they tend to get stored in the body and bio accumulate with increasing exposure.

Studies indicate that increasing doses of these fungicides retard the activity of CYP3A, an important enzyme group present in human beings and acquatic organisms like fish. This enzyme group helps catalyse many reactions in drug metabolism and also help synthesize cholesterol, steroids and other lipids.

In rainbow trout and killifish, ketoconazole accumulation decreased the catalytic activity of this enzyme group by 60 – 90%. Needless to say, ketoconazole is not healthy for these fish or the human beings who eat them.

Adverse effects on hair and scalp due to use of fungicide based shampoos

One of the common side effects caused by fungicides on hair and scalp is skin and scalp irritation. Because of their harsh and excessively drying nature, the sebaceous glands in your scalp can get aggravated leading to extremely dry or extremely greasy hair.

Other allergic reactions may include severe itching, burning or irritation, redness or pain on the scalp, oozing or weeping of skin, eye redness and swelling and hair loss.

The main cause of dandruff today: aggravated sebaceous glands

Dandruff used to be an isolated problem and a specialized problem, usually affecting men, 20 – 30 years ago. However today, it is one of the most commercially exploited scalp condition – estimates of dandruff in urbanized populations range from 20% to 50%! And it is now a gender agnostic condition – women and men suffer from dandruff.
It is important to note here that while dandruff has rapidly increased among urbanized populations the incidence of skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema and sebbhoroea have not multiplied this rapidly.

What appears to have increased is a non-specific type of dandruff caused by aggravated sebaceous glands – which is dandruff caused due to an excessively oily or an excessively dry scalp.

 Why do your sebaceous glands become aggravated?

We’ve written in our last few posts about some of the hazards behind the chemical ingredients that go into your shampoo.

SLS and SLeS

SLS and SLES dissolve your hair and scalp’s sebum layer and strip skin of all its natural oils leaving you with dry skin and hair. “The lathering power of liquid soaps is actually an enemy. It can bubble the oil out of your skin” says Dr. Marianne O’Donoghue, associate professor of dermatology at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Dermatology.

Skin below 35 years reacts aggressively to this systematic stripping of sebum. With the increased use of Sulphate containing product, you may find your skin and scalp becoming oilier, creating a vicious cycle where you are compelled to wash more frequently. If you find that your hair is getting greasy and oily a day after shampooing, then you need to investigate your shampoo – the excessive harshness of this product usually forces a defensive skin reaction where the scalp starts to aggressively produce sebum to make up for the loss every time you shampoo.

Of course this will only prompt you to use more shampoo to counter this greasy defense – the result damaged and dry hair and scalp.

MEA, DEA and TEA:

The effect of ethanolamines, added to shampoos to increase foam and to thicken the liquid is equally worrying. Ethanolamine based products can trigger contact dermatitis, and irritate your scalp leaving your hair feeling dry and lifeless and breakdown your hair’s keratin structure.

Even an industry funded body like the Cosmetics Ingredient review is cautious about the use of ethanolamines – they ask users,( i.e., us who love our synthetic shampoos), to use Ethanolamines only briefly, scrub vigorously and to not use it continuously.

Contrast that with the Shampoo industry’s prevalent paradigm: where we are asked to wash frequently, even every single day, and rinse and repeat shampooing to ensure our hair is “clean”.

blog post graphic sept 4

Ok, its harmful – but I rinse it right off. So there isn’t going to be any long term effect, right?

Wrong.

One of the properties we have come to fear in some of the most toxic chemicals used on the planet, the pesticides / fungicides / herbicides that are sprayed on your food is this: their ability to persist in the atmosphere, long after they have been used.

One never thinks about persistence in the products we use on ourselves.

A recent paper published by researchers at Cornell University attempted to do something utterly fascinating: capture 3D photographs of our microbiome and the chemicals that reside on our skin to understand how the two interact.

As a part of this research, the volunteers were asked to forego shampooing and bathing for a few days and 3D photographs were taken before and after this abstinence.

The results are scary:

In the picture given below, on the male volunteer, SLES persists on the scalp several days after the last shampoo – and we assumed these chemicals would get washed right out.

On the female volunteer, avobenzene lingers on her neck several days after a sunscreen was used and washed off, lingering on despite the shower and the soap.

Facebook post sept 15 2015

We’ve said this before: the skin is one of our key organ groups in protecting our body from invasion. Unfortunately, the skin is also extremely susceptible to the synthetic formulations we apply, rub and wash it with. The dermal route is one of the fastest routes of letting synthetic chemicals bypass your powerful intestinal tract (where they would be made less harmful), and directly invade your major internal organs.

Remember what we had to say about Parabens? 60% of breast cancer tumours were found in the area where deodorants are sprayed – and this area represents only 1/5th of the entire armpit area.

Co-incidence? We think not.

How does dandruff caused by aggravated sebaceous glands look?

Dry dandruff – caused by under active / stripped sebaceous glands

Dandruff that is caused by under-active sebaceous glands will have a few tell tale signs: you should begin feeling worse immediately after shampooing – your scalp should feel itchy and dry. The dandruff flakes will be small, light and not clumped together. The problem will worsen as you increase your shampooing frequency. And the rest of your skin will usually be okay – there will be no underlying skin condition like psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis.
Oily dandruff – caused by greasy scalp / over active sebaceous glands
Dandruff caused by over active sebaceous glands is also usually easy to spot – you will find your hair to start secreting oil and look limp, greasy and unwashed one or two days after washing your hair.

The dandruff flakes will be large, heavier & will clump together. This will of course prompt desperate measures on your part like increasing your shampooing – and you will find that the more you shampoo, the more oil and flakes your hair seems to be secreting.

Sometimes this kind of dandruff can lead to a fungal infection. The excessive oil secreted on the scalp can attract fungi which then start to east some of the excessive oil on the scalp, break it down and secrete a hydrolysed oil compound. This compound leads to itching on the scalp and irritates it further.

So the key to controlling this kind of dandruff is to ensure that you do not over wash your hair – if you wash it too aggressively with synthetic products, your sebaceous glands will also respond aggressively.

The second part for this kind of dandruff is to ensure balance: your hair regime must clean without stripping. Your oiling regime must moisturize without loading your hair.

The changing nature of dandruff – from oily to dry as you age

When you are below 30, your sebaceous glands are at their peak – so excessive shampooing triggers a compensatory response from them. You will find your hair looking greasier, as your sebaceous glands work overtime to replace and add more oil to protect your hair and scalp. This response goes down as you age, so in your 20s, excessive shampooing might give you oily dandruff which changes to  dry dandruff as you age.

The point of all this is simple

Ketoconazole and such fungicide based anti-dandruff shampoos are not the answer to any hair problems. And neither is washing your hair everyday with a synthetic shampoo.

If you suspect dry or greasy scalp dandruff, start by washing your hair less, moisturize and nourish your scalp more, and oh yes, throw away your chemical shampoo.

It should NOT be used to wash your hair.

A fantastic hair month to you from us at Krya – You deserve the best.

This article is a part of Krya’s series on healthy and happy hair, which we are writing all this September. Through the Krya healthy hair series, we hope to inform, educate and inspire you to restore your hair to its natural state of great health. Synthetic shampoos and hair products contain a huge host of suspect industrial chemicals that are not just toxic for us to use, but are polluting and toxic to the planet as well. The natural world is full of safe, environmentally sustainable, cruelty free options to care for your hair, and our series will try to present atleast a small part of this exciting world to you. 

 

Consumers love our all natural, synthetic free, gentle hair washes- explore more here. We are running an introductory offer on all of our skin and hair care products this month – just subscribe to our newsletter above to get the coupon code in your inbox.

 

If you would like to explore our series further, here’s what We’ve written about hair health before this piece:

  1. What goes into your Shampoo – part 1 & part 2
  2. What’s the deal with SLS and SLES – and why it shouldn’t come anywhere near you or your hair
  3. What is your hair supposed to be? A trial? A challenge? Or simply, your best friend
  4. Is beauty external? We think not
  5. What should you be looking for on that product label?  
  6. Common carcinogens implicated in breast cancer found in your home 
  7. Is it a conspiracy? A pre-planned genetic supremacy race? Or simply misinformation? Some reasons behind common toxics & why they continue to be used
  8. Are we putting our children at risk by using these products on them? Here are 3 toxins that plague children through the products we use on them.
  9. Do the products we buy contain toxins? How do we decode what goes into them? Here’s Urban Survival 102 telling you how to decode a cosmetic label

 

 

 

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