Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods

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

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

Premature greying is caused by Pitta aggravation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traditional Indian cuisine and cooking methods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern changes to foods and cooking methods that upset dosha balance

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

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

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

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

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

Reduce Premature greying by avoiding these 5 foods :

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

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

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

1. Avoid Sour foods

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

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

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

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

8.fermented foods high in pitta

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

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

9. chaat

Krya recommendation for Sour foods :

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

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

2. Salty food:

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

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

Krya recommendation for salty foods :

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

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

3. Avoid Spicy food

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

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

11.chillies

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

Krya recommendation for spicy food:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Krya recommendation for sour foreign foods :

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

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

5. Avoid Salty commercial pre-packaged foods :

10. salty foods

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

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

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

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

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

To Conclude:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

7. Krya intense hair system

 

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

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

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

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

 1.lack of nutrition

Can we guarantee new hair growth?

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

 

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

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

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

 

General regimen and diet to be followed:

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

6.hot water

Notes on diet and eating regimen:

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

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

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

 

Foods to avoid / reduce:

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

10.water

 

Notes on foods to avoid:

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

 

Regimen changes:

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

11. do not stress out hair

Notes on regimen changes:

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

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

 

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

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

To conclude:

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

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

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

Krya products suggested for PCOD and PCOS related hairfall:

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

 

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

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

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

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

1.abhyanga

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

 

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

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

2.pitta dosha

 

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

3. Krya hair oils with amla

 

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

 

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

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

4.abhyanga sunrise

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

5. avoid spicy food

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

7. Krya intense hair system

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

8.pcod abhyanga

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

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

9.light physical work

 

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

9.light physical work

 

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

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

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

11. vata dosha

 

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

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

12.vata dosha excitement

 

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

 

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

13. Krya harmony hair oil

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

 

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

14.abhaynga vata 

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

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

15. warm oil

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

16.warm liquids

 

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

 

To conclude:

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

17.abhaynga - to sum up

 

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


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

For adults:

5. womens abhyanga system

MEn's abhyanga system

 

For Babies (age: 0 – 1 years):

11-baby-ubtan

 

For Kids & Toddlers (age – 1 +):

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

12-kids-ubtan

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

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

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

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

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

1. synthetic shampoos

 

In the beginning we only had herbs:

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

 

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

2. herbal smoke

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

3. shampoos

 

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

 

The fallouts of using a synthetic shampoo

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

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

4. rough dry hair

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

 

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

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

 

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

5. raincoat

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

6. silicones

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

7. itchy scalp

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

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

 

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

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

8. indian hair

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

9. krya hair system

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

10. krya hair wash

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

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

 

Differences between Ayurvedic hair care and synthetic hair care

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

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

11. rose in classic hairwash

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

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

12. herbal hair oil

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Observable stages of hair improvement:

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

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


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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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Reading Time: 16 minutes

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

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

 

The connection between the Mind and body according to Ayurveda

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

 

Vata dosha and depression

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

1. vata and fear

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

 

Pitta dosha and anger

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

2.pitta and fine lines

 

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

 

Kapha dosha – weight gain and ennui

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

3. Kapha and ennui

 

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

 

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

 

Tackling aggravated dosha conditions

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

4.opposites bring balance

 

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

 

What does Pitta dosha control in the body?

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

 

What aggravates Pitta dosha?

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

7 Pitta reducing foods, habits and practices to follow:

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

In addition:

  1. Eat bitters

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

6.bitter controls pitta

 

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

7.bitter leaves in summer

 

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

 

  1. Eat and apply Amla

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

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

8.amla the dhatri

 

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

 

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

 

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

9.dried amla

 

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

 

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

 

  1. Eat desi Cow ghee regularly

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

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

10.Kamadhenu

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

11.melted cow ghee

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

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

12.ghee for all ages

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

13.khandava forest

 

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

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

 

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

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

14.agni angered

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

 

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

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

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

15.cool down

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

16.eyes

 

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

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

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

17.frequent oiling

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

18.pranayama

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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6 reasons for premature hair greying according to Ayurveda

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

One of the common queries we get at Krya is asking for help with premature greying. Our customers are often indignant and tell us that they have great hair genes. Their parents and grandparents greyed well into their 50s. They are unable to understand why time has not been kind for them.

I too am a victim of premature greying. My hair started to grey when I was in my early 20s. By this time I had experimented so much on my hair, that I thought this greying was inevitable. I vaguely remembered reading something about how premature greying was genetic. My Mum had also begun greying although in her 30s. So I chalked my premature greying down to the effect of genetics and severe experimentation on hair .

Today I have much clearer answers, thanks to Ayurveda, about exactly why greying happens. Funnily, the answers in Allopathy and Western research continue to be vague and merely describe the symptoms without explaining what the actual cause behind premature greying is.

Modern medicine on premature greying:

Modern medicine states that damaged melanocytes are a cause of premature greying. Melanocytes provide both colour and regulate sebum for the hair. As is usually the case with allopathy, causality is not clearly established. So we do not know exactly why these melanocytes get damaged. Stress is speculated to be one factor.
Improper nutrition, hair colouring, excessive use of chemical hair products and hair dryers , and anaemia are other factors behind melanocyte damage. Therapies like radiation therapy and chemotherapy also contribute to melanocyte damage.

1. stress

Thyroid malfunction is also said to be a cause for premature greying.

Improper diet and stress is often blamed in Allopathy for all hair damage including premature greying. But, there is no clear cut recommendations provided to correct this damage. So people suffering from premature greying eat a widely varied diet. Our customers variously follow raw diets, protein heavy diet, high use of steamed sprouts, and salads, all in the quest to reverse premature greying.

Ayurveda on premature greying:

“Palitya (white hair) and Hariprabha(grey hair) is produced when the scalp is burned gradually by aggravated Pitta or aggravated Pitta with Vata dosha”  – Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana

The 3 doshas in the body:

As we know, there are the 3 doshas in the body: pitta, kapha and vata. Each dosha performs important functions in the body . We need a healthy balance of all three doshas for good health and well being. Depending upon our individual nature, environment, geography, genetics, each of us has a unique mixture of the 3 doshas. This unique mixture is our “prakriti” or our constitution.

When our doshas are in the right balance, they are called samya or normal. When our doshas aggravate upwards, it is called vriddhi or increase. As the sum of the 3 doshas always adds to the same number, when there is vriddhi of one dosha, another dosha decreases. This decrease in dosha is called ksaya. Ksaya of a dosha can be Alpa (mild), Madhya (moderate) or Utkrishta (severe), Ayurveda advises therapies ranging from diet control, external application and medicines to bring your body back to a state of balance.

2. balance

What does Pitta dosha control in the body?

Pitta dosha helps nourish the body by digesting food, and separating nutrients from wastes (Mala). It also produces heat and warmth through the body. Pitta stimulates desire, produces hunger and thirst. The colour & complexion of our skin, our intellect, understanding, courage and our decisiveness are also gifts of Pitta dosha.

3.pitta dosha

Premature greying: sign of aggravated Pitta dosha

Pitta dosha governs colour and complexion of skin and hair. Therefore Pitta aggravation provokes premature greying . This also affects our skin.  So skin  may develop greater sun sensitivity , break  out, or develop prickly heat.

4. acne

Pitta also governs digestion and our appetite. Aggravated pitta can result in an out of control appetite, where you are hungry much more frequently than normal. Or you could develop frequent diarrhea,  with loose and liquid bowel movements.

Pitta governs focus, clarity and our ability to manage anger. When Pitta is high we have anger management issues, and “erupt” often. We are also much more  irritable, get stressed easily and are unable to let go.

5.anger management

1.Basic Prakriti

Having a predominantly Pitta prakriti can itself lead to pitta aggravation. When a Pitta prakriti eats pitta aggravating food, and is in pitta aggravating situations, the dosha imbalances.

If our basic nature is Pitta dominant, we must be aware of this and seek food, practices and behaviours that keep us in balance.

2. Over exposure to the Sun

Ayurveda considers the sun as the source of all Agni in the Universe. Constant harsh sun exposure , especially during mid-day sharply increases Agni in the body. If we do not balance this excess Agni, Pitta dosha aggravates in the body. 6.beach

Beach holidays are a common way to accumulate excess Agni. Sun tan, dry and aged looking skin , sunburn are immediate effects of this aggravated Pitta dosha . When this is not addressed, it can build up to premature grey hair in time.

3. Undergoing Agni increasing treatments

Commercial tanning beds and skin treatments with uv light can be a cause of aggravated Pitta in the body. When these treatments are done, we are supposed to avoid any additional sun exposure.  If we do not follow this and eat pitta aggravating food, the pitta in the body will get aggravated.

7. treatments

Laser treatments for acne, wrinkles and hair removal also has similar Pitta aggravating effects. Similarly radiation based therapy and chemotherapy are also Agni increasing therapies. When these agni increasing therapies are used, you may experience faster premature hair greying .

4. Eating pitta aggravating food

Many consumers tell us they eat a balanced, homemade vegetarian South Indian meal .  Yet they experience premature greying, hair thinning and frequent breakouts.

Ayurveda tell us Pitta dosha is aggravated by eating sour, salty and spicy food.  We have a much more detailed post on this here.  If you are experiencing premature greying we recommend cutting down on tamarind, tomatoes, curd, packaged foods , red and green chillies and vinegar.

5. Irregular and scalp oiling

We have mentioned that Ayurveda is very particular about the care of the eyes, brain and scalp. This is because the eyes are a seat of Pitta. Through Pitta dosha, the eye is able to see, make observations and pass these observations to the brain which then analyses and makes sense of our world.

Ayurveda says that the constant working of the brain and the eyes produce ushna or heat. When this ushna is not released properly from the body, it affects not just the working of the body but also the brain and the eyes.

12. eyes

 

The brain and the eyes have a high amount of fatty matter or kapha built dhatus. When the heat in these areas builds up and is not released, it can affect these fatty tissues and impair their functioning.

For these reasons, Ayurveda advises generous and frequent oiling of our scalp and hair. The fine srotas and the openings in our head help dissipate heat generated by the eyes and the brain when we give this coating of oil in the scalp. Oil helps soothe the nerves in the brain, nourishes the brain and scalp and also acts as a medium to trap and send out excess heat.

As an additional benefit, this frequent and generous hair oiling helps keep scalp and hair in good health. We cannot overstate the importance of this practice of oiling.

13. hair oiling

 

Unfortunately, modern aesthetic trends dictate that our hair is left dry and un-oiled and is instead frequently shampooed with products that have drying and heat increasing synthetics in them. This has a very large effect on the pitta in our body. This is also a practice that is guaranteed to leave the hair dry and under nourished and can also hasten premature greying.

 

Stress: Reason no. 6 for Pitta dosha to go out of balance

Legend has it that Marie Antoinette’s hair turned white overnight the night before she was guillotined. We do not know the truth behind this legend. But what is true is the effect of grief and stress on our doshas.

14. marie aintonette

 

Ayurveda chikitsa believes in treating the mind and body and our diet and mental health have a great deal of synchronicity and correlation on our overall health and well being.

Ayurveda opines that whenever we suppress emotions like grief, this in itself imbalances pitta dosha in the body. Apart from grief, “krodha” (anger) is another form of stress. The twin emotions of “shokha” and “krodha” are listed as one of the causes of premature greying.

 

We have written an extensive post on how stress affects the body earlier. The truth of modern living is that we have a million small stressful things affecting us everyday and sometimes one or two really big issues as well. It is important to deal in a healthy way with the stress that affects us.  Ayurveda advocates constantly examining our minds and lives and seeking a state of balance which is unique to ourselves and our circumstances.

 

To sum up:

Ayurveda believes that premature greying is a trait of pitta going out of balance. In this post we have looked at 6 reasons why Pitta dosha can go out of balance. These are as follows:

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

Any or all of these reasons can give you classic signs of Pitta dosha going out of balance like premature greying, acidity, GERD, Ulcers, frequent stomach upsets, adult acne and high skin sensitivity, cracked heels and palms and fine ,thinning hair. When we address the cause behind these symptoms, we pull the body back to a state of balance and work on the core issue.

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

 

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

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

  1. Krya Classic Hair Oil with Yellow Eclipta & Indian Gooseberry
  2. Krya Classic hair mask with Rose Hip & Liquorice
  3. Krya Classic hair wash with Rose & White Bhringaraj
  4. Krya Classic hair nourishing system (all 3 above products at a special price)
  5. Krya festive abhyanga hair wash with Vana Tulsi & Rose

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

  1. Krya after sun face wash with Vetiver & Indian Madder
  2. Krya calming after sun face mask with Indian Madder & Liquorice
  3. Krya after sun body wash with Arjuna & Ashwagandha
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Hair oiling – the ayurvedic secret to healthy hair growth and balance. Krya shares a testimonial and tells you how .

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Reading Time: 13 minutes

Sub: Miracle

Hello Preethi & team Krya,

I’m CM from Kerala. I hope you remember my earlier email to you on April 19th 2016. I had written that my hair was dry, frizzy, and was breaking very easily, especially when combing and washing the hair. I was facing a lot of hair loss and I also had severe itchiness on my scalp. I wanted to try your products and wanted to know if I should go for the anti dandruff treatment. Earlier I did a keratin treatment as per a hairstylist recommend to reduce breakage of hair, but it went a total disaster my hair become worse than before. I came to know about Krya a year after my Keratin treatment.))

Along with the product suggestions you asked to go through 2 links of the Krya blogs which explained how SLS and SLeS aggravated the hair and scalp and altered sebum production on hair causing dryness.  

This was a true eye opener for me and helped me find the root cause of my hair problems. On may 20, onwards my problems slowly started to reduce when I received Krya classic hair oil & Krya classic hair wash powder and I started to do  hot oil message once in a week with this .After that I went through a hair cut to remove my treated hair. I also started doing a hot oil massage in parlour with my classic hair oil of Krya just see the results, and I was thrilled with the results ( I’m like oh God my hair is back and I’m really feel grateful to use this product!)

And I know everyone believes in proof. So I’m attaching the pictures of my hair latest version after using Krya’s hair products. My hair has grown in the last few months, it is shiny, thick and healthy and my hair fall has greatly reduced. “CM, Thrissur, Kerala

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The myth of the shampoo: and no, it does not give you healthy hair

Unlike what synthetic shampoos tell you, using a shampoo and conditioner will not give you healthy or well nourished hair. The purpose of a hair wash product is to cleanse your hair of oil, dead cells and debris. This cleansing has to be done without altering the pH of the scalp and hair, without damaging the delicate cuticular structure of your hair, and without altering the working of your sebaceous glands.

However, time and again we have seen how this delicate balance of the hair and scalp is shattered repeatedly by the use of a synthetic shampoo. The primary surfactants in any synthetic shampoo (SLS and SLeS) are extremely harsh, synthetic degreasing agents developed for industrial cleaning.

1.SLS industrial degreaser

Here’s the crucial point here: even if you are buying a SLS free or sulphate free synthetic shampoo, you are still buying a shampoo whose primary ingredient is a commercial surfactant.

A commercial surfactant is designed to do one thing and one thing only – remove oil and remove dirt. By the nature of this format which is application plus immediately rinsing, it is untrue to expect any delivery of nutrition, health or well being.

2.shampoos - simple cleansers

 

Yet time and time again, all commercial shampoos tell you that you simply need to apply and rinse off for good hair health. In the short 5 – 10 minutes that you spend in the shower, with most of the shampoo’s composition being the synthetic surfactant, how are you supposed to satisfactorily give your hair this supposed health?

 

Yes, all of us buy into this shampoo hair health myth because of a single reason: silicones / artificial conditioning agents.

 

The irony is that silicones were first added to shampoos in order to smoothen out hair that was damaged by the harshness of shampoos. As shampoos started out being alkaline, they tampered with hair’s structure and caused damage in the cuticular structure leaving hair drier, frizzier and full of static. Silicones and other conditioning agents and pH adjusting agents were added to shampoo formulations to smoothen over these defects. Please note the use of the word “smoothen over” – the silicones do not heal or repair but simply added an artificial smooth layer over the damaged hair that mislead you into believing that your hair is actually healthy.

3. hogh hair gloss silicones

 

So when we begin washing and over washing our hair with a synthetic shampoo, our hair feels smooth and shiny because of the silicones in the shampoo. The hair also looks glossy for a while and we are fooled into believing that our hair is healthy and full of life.

Soon, the excessive oiliness on the scalp, the thinning of the hair, the fact that the hair breaks easily and the hairfall now make us understand that the smoothness and glossiness we were temporarily fooled by were just decoys – our hair is in real danger.

4. silicones hide teh truth

So if you are watching an advertisement that says that the latest shiny synthetic shampoo is fill of milk proteins, or essential oils, or natural extracts and is going to make your hair grow, switch off that television right away. You know better.

 

My hair stylist tells me not to use hair oil and go for a hair spa instead

Most consumers are aghast when we speak to them about the Krya hair oiling programme. We consider this an essential and indispensable step to hair health. As we have demonstrated in the paragraph above, a wash off product like a shampoo /hair wash cannot give you hair health simply by its transient nature. For long lasting hair and health benefits you need to use hair oil that is preferably left on for extended periods of time on your head.

 

Most of us have moved away from good hair oil. Oiled hair is no longer aesthetically appealing. Neither is long hair. We are also quite frankly addicted to the lure of hair shampooing because of the heavy scents, bubbles and the artificial silicones. And the temporary highs of frequent hair shampooing, and the look and feel of shampooed hair in the beginning leads us to believe that everything that was said about hair oiling is either over stated or a myth

5. the hair oiling horror story

This is further compounded by our time in beauty salons. Many of us have a fixed monthly routine where we spend time in a beauty salon. We learn to, over time, trust the recommendation of our favourite hair stylist, because we assume that they are much more experienced than us, and are, after all handling many any customers like ours – therefore we believe they have nothing but our hair’s health in mind when suggesting products for our head.

 

The simple fact of the matter is that most stylists have been trained by companies that manufacture hair products. Most of them have also experimented heavily with their hair as their profession demands it – most hair stylists learn on their hair and their colleagues’ hair first. This is true of hair colours, cuts, keratin treatments and hair spas. So as expected, their hair is usually in extremely bad shape.

 

The second fact is that employees of a salon are incentivised to promote products and services. Every month, the salon sets a target especially for high profit services like hair colouring, hair conditioning and hair smoothening treatments and hair spas. So a salon employee has a financial incentive to urge you to treat your hair to the latest hair spa or hair keratin treatment. And as they are trained by the company promoting these products and services, they are also under the assumption that these services are good for your hair, not damaging and that they will promote hair health.

6. hair advice

 

The multiple benefits of hair oiling – for hair growth and health

Ayurveda teaches us that hair oiling is an essential part of maintaining the body’s health and as a side benefit, ensuring the smooth health growth and care of health. Hair oiling in Ayurveda performs an extremely important function: to balance the pitta dosha generated by the workings of the brain and the eyes. As millions of neurons fire through our brain and we take in the sights of the world and process this information, pitta dosha helps us analyse this information and make intelligent sense of our day.

 

When pitta dosha aggravates in this area, it impairs the working of both the brain and eyes which are both made up of fatty tissue provided by kapha dosha. This is why Ayurveda advises that this heat generated, should constantly be kept in check to keep the body cool and ensure the doshas are always in a state of balance.

7. eyes seat of ushna

When heat goes out of balance in the hair, Ayurveda teaches us that there are a few definite consequences.

“Krodha shokha shrama kritah
Shariroh shama shiro gataha
Pittacha keshanu pachati balitha thena jayate” – Sushruta Samhita

Brief translation – “The pitta and ushna (internal heat) generated due to anger, grief and stress strike at the head (or hair root), resulting in premature greying of hair.”

 

This is why all Ayurvedic for premature greying have cooling herbs in them and are often made with either cow’s milk or goat’s milk which are considered cooling and tridoshic – an example of this kind of preparation is the Neelabhringadi tailam and also the Bhringamlakai tailam. Both are made with cow’s milk and/or goat’s milk.

The internal use of amla is also prescribed in premature greying as amla is a tridosha balancing herb.

9. amla

 

Several synthetic treatments that are now prescribed for the hair like keratin treatments and synthetic hair colour have a similar consequence – the chemicals used in the treatment increase ushna / heat in the body, so the hair suffers just like it would if pitta dosha is in excess.

 

Hair loses its natural pigmentation tending towards brown or red tones and then grey. Hair becomes rough, dry and brittle from the excessive heat, and hair starts to fall with poor regrowth as the doshas are out of balance.

 

When we reduce this ushna / heat generated in the head, we are not only able to balance the doshas, we are also able to effectively delay premature greying, control hair fall and hair breakage due to excessive heat and return the body to a state of health where hair begins to grow.

 

How does the Krya Classic hair system help you restore hair growth, reduce hair fall and delay premature greying

We started this post with a testimonial where we shared the magical transformation experienced by CM when she switched to the Krya Classic hair oil and hair ash. Are we selling magic here? Have we discovered a new Amazonian berry? The fountain of eternal youth?

NO!

We follow the basics as described by Ayurveda.

 

The head is prone to a quick increase in heat because of the activity of the brain and eyes. All of us are engaging our eyes and brains much more with the visual stimulation we subject ourselves to, use of smart phones, consumption of media, etc. Therefore it stands to reason that we are producing great deal of ushna / heat. This combined with the fact that we have all stopped oiling definitely means that this excess Ushna is going nowhere. It is sitting in our heads, unbalancing all our doshas and striking at our hair drying it with heat, turning its colour, making it dry and brittle and slowing down hair growth.

 

So the Krya Classic system, which we usually suggest for pitta related problems, is designed to remove this excess ushna.

 

The Krya Classic hair oil is a proprietary formulation that takes inspiration from the classic Bhringamlaki hair oil formulation in Ayurveda. Just like Bhringamlaki hair oil, the Krya Classic hair oil has been designed to reduce excess pitta and increase hair health, growth and strength. In this formulation, we use 9 classic hair rasayana herbs like Bhringaraj (which we harvest wild), Amla (organically cultivated), Moringa (organically cultivated), hibiscus (wild harvested), Curry Leaf (organically cultivated), Haritaki (wild harvested), Nutgrass (wild harvested).

The herbs used are known for their pitta reducing activity and promote deep rooted, strong hair growth. In addition, our consumers report that their hair feels much softer, healthier and smoother with regular use.

10.krya classic hair oil

 

Why is my regular non sticky hair oil not working? I am still seeing hairfall, hair greying and hair breakage!

We had recently written about an independent research conducted to test claims of popular hair oils in the market. A consumer panel had tested various brands of hair oils offered by reputed companies and had found that contrary to what they said in their advertising, most of these oils contained 60 – 92% by weight of simple Liquid Paraffin or Mineral Oil.

Mineral Oil is ubiquitous in cosmetic formulations of body oils, baby oils and hair oils in India. It is used extensively across moisturizers, sunscreens, lotions, body oils, baby oils and hair oils as it is colourless, has a thick consistency and is neutral in its colour and odour and is therefore able to easily take in a synthetic fragrance and colour and other additives.

A study published by the American Journal of Dermatology found that moisturizing creams containing mineral oil were tumorigenic when applied topically to UVB pre-treated high risk mice. These creams increased the rate at which tumours form.

Occupational exposure to mineral oils may occur among workers in automobile manufacturing, airplanes, steel products, screws, pipes and transformers, brass and aluminium production, engine repair, copper mining, and newspaper and commercial printing.

11. what your hair oil is hiding from you

 

The National Cancer Institute says that occupational exposure to untreated or lightly treated mineral oils is strongly associated with an increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer, particularly of the scrotum.

On scalp, mineral oil forms an occlusive barrier, and prevents the healthy interaction of the scalp with the environment. It also seals in dead cells, dirt and grime which could lead to blocked pores and toxin accumulation. Most importantly it does not penetrate the scalp or nourish it any manner.

 

How are Krya’s hair and skin oils processed? And how are they different from mineral oil based products?
Krya follows several important Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita, Sahasrayogam, Saranghadhara Samhita and Bhaisajya Ratnavalli to understand what classical Ayurvedic medicine prescribes is the right way to manufacture Ayurvedic oils for skin and hair. We also take inspiration from the kind of herbs suggested by the texts to work with different skin and hair types. However, our formulations are unique and are not the classical formulations from the text. We have developed our formulations through extensive research and understanding of new age hair and skin problems like hair damage due to synthetic colour, etc.

The 2 most important differences between a genuine Ayurvedic oil like Krya’s and a standard synthetic hair or skin oil that uses Mineral oil is the process followed and the selection and quantity used of base oils and herbs.

 

Sneha kalpana / paka method followed at Krya:
Sneha kalpana is a prescribed pharmaceutical process followed in Indian traditional medicine to prepare medicated oils or ghees from kalka (herbal pastes), Kwathas (infusions), Kashayas (decoctions) and Swarasa ( self expressed fresh herb juice) taken in specific proportions and heated in a particular way along with a mixture of oils or ghee. This method has been outlined in order to extract the active principles of each herb in the medium in which it best expresses its active ingredients.

 

Sneha Kalpana is a unique extraction process followed in Ayurveda. Through this process, the formulator aims to transfer aqueous and lipid soluble active principles of all the herbs and other raw material used into the oil.

 

So a genuine Ayurvedic oil will always use 3 components to make a herb enriched oil –
• Water based herb extracts like kwathas (mild infusions), kashayas (steeped , boiled and reduced decoctions) and Swarasa (self expressed juices from fresh plant parts)
• Thick granular herbal pastes or kalpa that are cooked in oil to extract the oil loving active principles
• Base oils
12. hair oils

 

Difference between medicated Sneha kalpana oil and the pure base oil :
The process of Sneha Kalpana alters the very nature of the base oil. Gingelly oil is often used across Krya’s formulations because of its vata reducing nature and also because it does not aggravate kapha. Gingelly oil is considered very good base oil for most skin and hair conditions, so many traditional formulations use this oil.

This oil is usually considered extremely strong, heavy and sticky to use on skin, but when processed in the Sneha kalpana method, the oil becomes much lighter, less sticky and is able to easily penetrate skin and hair without leaving a lot of oil or residue behind.

This however in no way means that Ayurvedic oil is as light as a mineral oil based product – it is not. However, it is much much lighter and more penetrative compared to the base oils themselves.

13.sneha kalpana process

 

The 5000 year old Ayurvedic secret to healthy hair and health

We have a secret at Krya. And this is why our formulations work so well. And it isn’t because we have invented something that no one has seen before. OR because we chanced upon a secret stash of ancient Himalayan scrolls which gave us the recipe for eternal youth.

 

Our secret is that we follow the basics. As outlined by Ayurveda.

 

And this secret is simple: if we remove the conditions that cause dis-orders, the body should return to a state of health.

 

So if we take away your synthetic shampoo, and replace it with a gentle, non invasive hairwash made entirely from herbs, add a rigorous regime of hair oiling with the best and most rasayana hair oil, and gently remind you to follow a balanced diet and regimen, then we have taken away the reasons that your hair went out of control in the first place.

 

This means that your hair will regain its health. It will stop breaking. And it will grow. Just like it did for CM of Kerala.

It is not magic. And it doesn’t have to be. Life is already magical. We just need to remove the blocks.


 

Krya’s range of hair care products for different kinds of hair and challenges:

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

16.classic system

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

15.conditioning system

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

14.anti dandruff

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

9. Krya damage repair hair system

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

7. Krya intense hair system

 

And there’s a 6th component to this – balancing pitta is also about controlling the heat generated through the rest of the body. Read more about how the Abhyanga can help you in this here.

 

 

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Worried about your post partum hairfall as a new Mom? Here are 5 Simple yet powerful Ayurvedic Ideas that can help you

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Childbirth is a singularity event.

The birth of the Universe itself is treated as a singularity in the big bang hypothesis, where about 15 billion years ago, there was a point when there was no space or real time. From an infinitesimally small and infinitely dense point, the big bang happened causing the birth of the Universe.

1-singularity

The birth of a baby is a similarly a very singular event

In a very small period of time, the pregnant woman experiences a spectacular change to become a mother and enters the post partum phase. Since this is a very dramatic, extreme event, Ayurveda recognizes the need to treat the new born baby and mother also with extreme caution, attention and thoughtful detail.

This caution and detail is mentioned to protect the Mother and Baby from infectious disease, to allow their muscles and dhatus to fully recuperate from the ordeal of child birth and build strength, and to allow only positive energy to surround the young growing child.

For example, in the Ayurvedic pediatric texts, it is clearly mentioned that the new born baby can leave the home for the first time only after the 3rd / 4th month to be taken to the temple for a brief visit and then should avoid going outside the home till the completion of the first year. The visit outside is allowed at the stage when the neck does not require support. This is also the time when baby begins to respond to social stimuli and smile back, so a visit is encouraged at this time.

 

Understanding Vata Aggravation is the Key

From an Ayurvedic perspective, with the birth of the child and expulsion of placenta, a large empty space forms in the womb. The nature of vata dosha which is made up of Vayu (wind) and Akash (space) is to rush in to fill this gap left behind by the newly born baby.

The aggravation of Vata is heightened further by urban living as the very nature of city life is vata promoting. Long commutes, late nights, irregular meal times, highly processed foods, excessive cell & device usage and multi-tasking are all factors that aggravate Vata.

2-vata-aggravation

The key to putting together a good post partum care regimen for the new mother lies in this Ayurvedic understanding of the nature of Vata aggravation and the resultant management techniques.

The Ashtanga Hridayam defines Vata as dry, light, cool, rough and very mobile. To pacify aggravated Vata, the key Ayurvedic principles are :

Diet – Food which is warm, unctuous, freshly cooked. The use of ghee, rice , moong dal, milk , warming spices like pepper are highly recommended.

Regimen : Since Vata is mobile and agitated , a fixed daily routine for waking up, meals and sleep times controls Vata

Abhyanga – One of the seats of Vata is the skin. So the use of unctuous oils through a massage helps in removing excessive Vata and therefore this is a principal Ayurvedic tool to help in post-natal care.

 

The 5 Simple yet Powerful Ayurvedic Ideas for post partum care and health

If this very important concept of aggravated Vata is understood properly, it gives us a deep insight into the root causes of post partum hair  loss, dry skin , joint pains etc. While you can read in great depth about the Ayurvedic practices of post natal care on the Krya blog and more about the results of vata aggravation on a new mother and its effects on skin and hair, we have summarized below the top 5 simple yet powerful Ayurvedic ideas that should form part of an ideal post partum regimen

  1. Sequestration of mother & baby & Controlling travel : While this is a very good idea simply from the point of view of avoiding germs and infection for the newborn, it is also useful to control Vata. Travel and movement are Vata aggravating and simply eliminating all manner of discretionary travel, even short local trips, is an excellent starting point. For example , the new mother may wish to take a break and drive down to the supermarket to buy groceries. If there are clear symptoms of vata related disorders, then even this discretionary travel should be replaced with say, ordering groceries online, and say taking a short regular walk around your building. Regular western science cannot comprehend this very deep principle and only Ayurveda views travel as a cause for concern in Vata related disorders.

3-travel

 

  1. Daily Rhythms : The nature of Vata is mobile and agitated, so the discipline of fixed times for major activities like Abhyanga, bath, meal times and the time of going to bed provides a daily rhythm that can keep Vata in check. Even though to the new parents it may seem that their baby’s sleep and feed patterns are necessarily chaotic, it is still a worthwhile exercise to impose some sense of routine and rhythm for the mother. For example, her Abhyanga and bath times and her meal times can still be strictly monitored to ensure a sense of routine. Regularity, order and routine pacifies aggravated Vata dosha.

 4-schedule

  1. Abhyanga : We cannot overstate the importance of a regular Abhyanga in post-partum care. The use of warm, unctuous Ayurvedic skin oils balances Vata dosha which is coarse, rough, dry and light. In the abhyanga, special attention should be given to the abdominal area (for C Section moms, wait until the stitches are fully healed before attempting massage here), waist, lower back, joints ( wrist, knee & ankle) , the soles of the feet and the ears. These areas are the primary and secondary seats of Vayu and an abhyanga focused on these areas will help eliminate aggravated Vayu.  The Abhyanga will improve circulation and thereby repair minor soft tissue injuries, tone the abdominal and pelvic muscles and aid digestion. Please ensure the abhyanga is done with a warm, sesame based oil to help control Vata dosha. A simple pada-abhyanga (abhyanga for your feet alone) can help relieve exhaustion, tiredness and insomnia if done just before sleeping every night and is very useful for exhausted parents.

5-pada-abhyanga

An abhyanga is also vital for the young baby. If no help is available, this is something that can be done by the new Mother or the father and can be a very enjoyable activity for the parent and the child. If being done by the Mother, ensure her stitches are well healed and also ensure that she has had her abhyanga, bath and meal so that she is not tired when attending to the baby.

6-baby-abyanga

  1. Vata-balancing diet : Reduce or eliminate following Vata-aggravating categories
    1. In vegetables avoid potato, peas, cauliflower, cabbage, beans and other “gassy” vegetables
    2. In lentils avoid / reduce all other lentils with the exception of split, yellow moong
    3. Avoid processed foods like Maida, bread , readymade cereal and colas
    4. Avoid diuretic drinks like tea and coffee

7-vata

Add the following nourishing foods like cows ghee and milk, aged rice, split moong dal, nourishing seasonal vegetables like squashes, beets and carrots. Use spices like cumin , pepper , dhania and turmeric and avoid chillies and other pitta aggravating foods

 

  1. Embrace Focus ( & avoid multi-tasking) – Ayurveda tells us that the nature of Vata is mobile and agitated , so the Vata constitution person moves around quickly, talks fast and multi-tasks. To pacify excess Vata, focusing on one task at a time, silence and present moment awareness are excellent tools. The practice of focus will help controlling the Vata aggravation faced by new mothers. Becoming a parent can be overwhelming and you may feel that there are literally a million things to do at any given moment. Remember that focusing on one thing at a time and doing whatever you do with focus and to the best of your capacity is good for you, your baby, your family and most importantly your doshas and health.

8-awareness

 

We have been focusing on post partum Ayurvedic care over the last few posts as this is such an important piece of the puzzle to answer the high amount of hair loss that new mothers face today. Motherhood has indeed changed from ancient times when a Mother had access to high quality post natal care, rest. There was also a strong availability of traditional knowledge in the form of the older generation, and given that babies were born much earlier than they are today, mother and sometimes grandmothers were also available to provide physical care and attention to the new mother and baby.

This is no longer available for many of us. We live in cities. We are having babies much later than our mothers and grandmothers used to. Many of our Mothers are not as physically fit as the previous generation and because of the nuclearisation of our families, many of us do not have access to the traditional knowledge that our families used to have to let us know what should be done.

This is the reason behind focusing on this important topic and having many guest writers write for us on the Krya blog. Ayurvedic first principles are not difficult to follow and come with a lot of innate sense. It is our hope that if this knowledge were more widely available, new mothers can pick and choose what works for them and attempt to regain health using traditional, Ayurvedic first principles. You can choose as many or as few principles to start with. Adopting even one of these principles will lead to measurable changes in your health and well being. It is our experience that awareness and taking the first step are the hardest part of any health programme. Once you begin, the changes you will see for yourself will inspire you to keep going on this path.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post and also hope you were able to appreciate the difference in approach Krya follows when treating hair and skin problems. If you too are alarmed at your post partum hair fall and would like to consult us, do call us on 075500-89090 or write to us.

 

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Ayurvedic post natal care to strengthen, nourish and care for a new mother and a new born baby. Krya shares a first person account.

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Reading Time: 20 minutes

The Krya blog has been speaking these last few days about different types of vata based disorders. The last few of our posts have been speaking in particular about post partum hair fall and related vata disorders and how the root cause of this can be traced to uncontrolled vata dosha because of a lack of proper post natal care that follows Ayurvedic principles.

As we have discussed earlier, Ayurveda opines that the birth of a child causes an imbalance in the body’s doshas as a large gap is created in the womb that was once occupied by the fetus and her placenta. The process of childbirth which is physically demanding and rigorous excites Vayu. Once Vayu is aroused, it is in its nature to rush in and occupy empty spaces and childbirth gives Vayu a large empty space to occupy.

blog-post-1-vata-and-pregnancy

Traditional post natal practices therefore centre around nourishing, oil and ghee based warm food and regimens like abhyangas to remove fatigue, provide strength back to the body and reduce the likelihood of vayu rushing in and upsetting the body’s dosha balance.

Our posts on post partum health have led to a lot of enquiries on how mothers should be looked after post child birth for good health. So we are fortunate today to carry a piece written by Seetha Anand Vaidyam on the traditional post natal practices that were followed in her home for both her pregnancies.

Seetha is a holistic educator, remedial therapist and an author (a longer bio follows at the end of her piece). Along with her piece, we have also included textual references to the practices described wherever relevant to clearly establish that these time honored practices flow from Ayurvedic first principles.


Old is Gold,

I was always told,

This advice I followed,

Especially when lo behold!

The most precious being in my hands I hold.”

Seetha Anand Vaidyam

 Good news! You are pregnant!” — My Gynecologist told me. I was 22 years, I had been married for 2 months, I had gone for my check up alone and I was nervous. “What should I do Doctor… In terms of how should I take care, what foods should I be eating…anything I should bear in mind… ? “, I asked her in part shyness, part embarrassment and even fear. I wanted to have children and had planned it, but now that I was pregnant, I was nervous, especially since I was in a new city away from my own relatives.

“Just act as normal as you are. You can do all what you did … just be normal.” my doctor said to me. And I did try. Surely a blanket “be normal” is not the soundest of advice and this is something I re-learned in my research and working with children of different needs in later years.

Pregnancy is the time to begin the nourishment of the baby in-utero. Seldom are first time mothers aware of the extent of influence their lifestyle can have on the baby. Stress, sadness during pregnancy can be especially detrimental. Sadness brings a kind of constriction in the abdominal region for most people, (we use terms like stomach churning feelings etc.) This constriction, tension can damage the tender nerves and muscles of the fetus in-utero. Nothing, nothing but the well being of the baby is paramount in that period and for this the pregnant mother’s wellness of body, mind and soul is imperative.

blog-post-2-pregnancy-special-period Ayurvedic first principles:  from the Putrakamiya chapter of Ashtanga Samgraha of Acharya Vagbhatta

“Sattvaviseshakarani Punarmathapithrasvadyoganatharvarthnyah:  Shruthyaschabhikshanam

Swopachintah cha karma bhavathi Poorvabhayschethi”

 This can be roughly translated as: “ The factors that influence the mental makeup of a child are the mental traits, purity , behavior of the family, cleanliness and purity of parents, the sounds that the fetus hears, the sounds and vibrations the pregnant women hears, and the karmic effects of the past lives of the fetus”.

 

It is to be noted here that Acharya Vagbhatta says that the collective set of emotions, thoughts, feelings and the sensory stimuli offered by the external environment shapes the mental makeup of your child. In this context , a pregnant woman and her caregiver must evaluate the television she watches, songs she listens to, people she meets and books and newspapers she reads and ask herself if each of these influences are positive and useful for the growing child.

Fast forward … 9 months later I was in another city, my home city and I was now a mother of a new born! This time, both my mother and me nervously asked the doctor, what I should be fed, if we could follow our traditional post natal care at home (especially since my first delivery was a Cesarean section and my mother had no experience of that, she was very confused as to what should be done), if we could give the traditional “orai marundhu” to the new born etc. My obstetrician said something similar to my gynecologist in the other city: “Just give her normal foods, no massages, use simple baby soap for the baby, and just stick to mother’s milk and if the baby is not satisfied top feed!!!” And what was worse, she said, “Don’t come running to me if an infection develops in the baby due to use of traditional oils and powders!”

blog-post-3-harsh-synthetics

Being from and married into a traditional family, the words of the Doctors were ignored with contempt. My mother and mother in law consulted each other and a few other elderly aunts and grandmothers and the plan for my massage and diet and that of my baby were chalked out.

My pregnancies are not something I relish writing about since till date I wish I had taken better care of my babies when they were inside me! I was in a new city, unaware, helpless and overwhelmed by so many things in my new life! But like they say no point in getting negative with regret. The post natal care that my mother lovingly provided me and my babies hopefully made up for most of my earlier shortcomings. I will share details of traditional post natal care based on my own experiences and observations.

Post natal care is extremely elaborate and specific in South India. Even in today’s times of hospital deliveries, many of the customs are followed.

 

The design of the New Mother and new born baby’s Chamber

The room where the new mother and baby are housed, is kept spic and span and fumigated with sambrani over a ‘kumiti’ or iron stove with coals. It is a well lit room but not overly bright or close to noises, the windows were closed by dusk. The room is kept very warm and cozy. The room is protected from strong sensory stimuli such a smell, sound and light.

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Ayurvedic first principles:  from the Balopacaraniya (care of new born child) chapter of Ashtanga Samgraha of Acharya Vagbhatta

“The chamber that holds the new born baby and recovering Mother should be architecturally beautiful, equipped with all necessary materials, should not have too much wind, and should have only soft wind blowing from the east. The room should be entered only by a few elderly women and physicians and should be free from bedbugs, mice, mosquitoes and other vermin. The room should not be too dark, or too bright. The cradle, bed, and bed sheets should be clean, well washed, unwrinkled, soft and fumigated with rakshoghna drugs.

 

It is important to note again, that Acharya Vagbhatta specifies that the baby’s nursery should have restricted entry with good cleanliness and fumigation using certain drugs. This helps prevent infections as Ayurveda considers that both a new mother and the baby have low immunity and depleted strength. The mention of controlling wind in the nursery is also a point to be noted – this is because Vayu (air) is already considered high in the mother post delivery. So additional Vayu is not to be allowed in as a strong breeze. Ayurveda actually classifies wind as having different properties depending upon the direction from which it blows!

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Clothing

Both the mother and baby are given soft cottons, often used clothes. New clothes for the baby are actually discouraged. Often old cotton dhotis and saris are converted into “jablas” /tie string tops and diapers. The diapers from the first day of the baby made from old saris or dhotis are thrown away and not washed. Later they are rinsed and then soaked in hot water with herbal powders, brushed, washed and dried in the sun. Care is taken not to have them washed by unmarried, young persons who may have an aversion for tending to soiled clothes.

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Even the repulsive feelings that a person may have for the soiled clothes were considered strong enough to harm the tender baby. Such was the extent of sensitivity towards the new born! And of course the new mother was forbidden from wetting her hands or staying near moist areas. She was considered to be in a delicate physical state and vulnerable to colds and infections after the hard task of child birth. If the delivery happened during monsoons, the washed napkins were dried indoors but were further dried on top of sambrani fumes that were covered with a metal rice sieve.

Ayurvedic first principles:  from the Balopacaraniya (care of new born child) chapter of Ashtanga Samgraha of Acharya Vagbhatta

“Fumigation of the nursery and the linen and bedding of the mother and child should be done with guggulu and other rakshoghna resins which are mentioned in the prescribed texts. The child and mother should also be adorned with small bundles of herbs like Vacha, and other rakshoghna herbs to ward off the evil eye and deter krimi and germs”.

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Negative energy and the warding off this are addressed with a great deal of care across Ayurvedic texts including the Ashtanga Samgraha. The use of specific herbs, chanting of mantras and specific stotras, prayer, and restricted access to the new Mother and baby helps protect both and helps them conserve their spiritual energy.

 The mother and baby are kept warm, ears of the mother are covered with cotton, and the mother’s waist is bound by a folded sari tightly so that the sagging belly after delivery is held tightly. I went through this procedure after both my deliveries, the first being cesarean while my second was normal delivery. The baby’s head and ears are well covered, feet are protected with socks.blog-post-7-covered-ears

Ayurvedic first principles: the procedure described by Seetha above to cover the ears, feet and bind the stomach of the New mother all flow from the principle of correcting excess Vayu. The ears and feet are the seat of Vata dosha, so it is kept covered in both Mother and Baby to prevent entry of excess Vayu.  The space in the stomach is kept physically restrained in the Mother to restrict the space available for Vayu to rush in and fill the now empty womb.

 

Daily Rhythms of a post natal home

A post natal house functioned like clockwork. Sleep, wake, bath, meal, visitor timings were all strictly followed. It is considered healthy for babies to wake up early. Lactating mothers need as much rest as possible and new born babies sleep long hours and need frequent feeds. Child birth is considered to be a tiring effort sapping the mother of energy and certain essential nutrition.

Therefore apart from the special diet given, the daily rhythms or routines were sacrosanct since they also build up the etheric forces/ life forces of the mother which tend to get weak during the birthing process. The baby is tender and depends immensely on a precise rhythm to build its body clock and bio rhythms. Today modern medicine talks so much about the connection between health and bio rhythms, which traditional wisdom always believed was sacred.

 

Visitors and Outings for the Newborn and Mother

Visiting new borns and new mothers was highly restricted. Only certain inmates of the house entered the room. Relatives and friends from outside were allowed for one day on the 11th day after birth where the child is given a formal bath and placed on a cradle and the naming ceremony is carried out. After the completion of the function, restrictions continue and visitors are not encouraged.

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Ayurvedic first principles: from the Balopacaraniya (care of new born child) chapter of Ashtanga Samgraha of Acharya Vagbhatta

“Shoorairayodhibheergupathmadrashyam nagaram paraiha

Yatha shishovarpurathdhwagatho thaovirddhibhigrahaiha”

 

“Just like a city is protected from enemies by brave men with suitable weapons, similarly the body of a child must be protected from different kinds of invaders / evil spirits using appropriate methods”

 

This is the concluding verse in the Balopacaraniya chapter which brings together the point behind all of the prescriptions of newborn and maternal care in Ayurveda. Every single ritual prescribed is done with the view of protecting the health of the child and mother – the care given post child birth to the Mother and in the first year of the child are seen as critical for establishing the lifelong health patterns of the Mother and Child.

After 30 days, a visit is made by the new born and the new mother to a nearby temple. The child is brought outside the room to sit in a place where the evening sunlight falls. By the end of the second month the child is allowed to be placed in the other rooms of the house. The mother is still not very active and is confined to feeding the baby, in some cases bathing and changing diapers, folding clothes. Physically exerting activities are not carried out by the mother.

 

Massage and Bathing Rituals

Nothing is discussed, prepared for and spoken about as much as massage rituals in a post natal household!!! In some houses a masseur is appointed these days, but traditionally the mother or grandmothers who were usually in a fit condition bathed the new mother and the new born baby.

 

Cold pressed Sesame oil or Coconut oil was used for the massage. While the baby received a full body and head oil massage every day after the 11th day of birth, the mother received an oil massage for the body everyday and head oil massage every alternate day. After the 11th day of giving birth. The mother’s body oil was mixed with generous amounts of kasturi manjal and especially rubbed well on the waist, feet, elbows and face.

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This everyday oil massage of the body helped prevent dryness and itchiness that result after delivery. In case of girl babies too turmeric was added to the body oil. Massaging around the navel area for both mothers and babies was regarded important and also on the area on top of the head where there is a slight depression, considered to be the crown / sahasrara chakra.

Ayurvedic first principles: from the Balopacaraniya (care of new born child) chapter of Ashtanga Samgraha of Acharya Vagbhatta

“An abhyanga with a special herb infused oil should be done every day. Medicated oil prepared, with herbs like Bala, Chandana, Kushta, Ashwagandha, Eranda, Tila and other herbs is ideal for massage. “

 There is a special emphasis on muscle and dhatu nourishment and growth and vata reduction given in Ayurveda which percolates the philosophy behind formulating abhyanga oils for babies and new Mothers. As we have discussed before herbs like Bala are extremely useful in balancing excess pitta and vata and are extremely nourishing and helpful in building muscle mass and relieving fatigue and tiredness. Ashwagandha is excellent for skin and also helps with inflammatory conditions that the Mother could face.

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 Tila as mentioned as the oil of choice here and this is different from what has been practiced in Seetha’s home. We must be cognizant here of regional differences and modifications in Ayurvedic practices depending upon the geography and climate. Being hot and humid, Ayurvedic practices in Kerala have traditionally adopted coconut oil as the base oil of choice. However, to control the kapha promoting nature of coconut oil, the oil is usually prepared with certain warming herbs and spices to control any kapha based excesses.

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The oil for the baby was prepared at home by my mother. She would grate enormous amounts of coconut and then extract milk from it, this was gently heated till oil emerged from it. ‘Venda Velichennai’ or virgin coconut oil thus got was carefully stored in glass bottles or ceramic ‘baranis’/’jadis’. This oil smelled like ghee and was prepared in a kind of secrecy away from the eyes of all so as to avoid any feelings of greed or lust for the oil. It is amazing how the new born was protected even from negative thoughts and feelings. Such was the reverence for a new life in the olden days. This is now considered as discrimination and blind belief. Thoughts and feelings produce energies and babies are very sensitive to energies.

The entire bath water was heated and then allowed to cool down a wee bit before being used (cold water was never added to make the hot water tolerably warm) And of course in the days of yore, copper boilers or cauldrons were used to heat water over firewood and coal.

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Ayurvedic first principles:

 Acharya Vagbhatta and Acharya Charaka recommend bathing the baby and the mother with water which has been boiled with Jivaniya herbs (restorative and vitalizing herbs). Some of these herbs include Mahameda, Kakoli, etc.

 The purpose of using Jivaniya herbs is to restore Prana to the tissues, promote the longevity and health of all the dhatus and promote deep nourishment.

 

New born mothers and babies thus massaged and bathed glowed with soft and well moisturized skin. Especially mothers and girl babies looked golden due to the application of turmeric. Hair of new born mothers under such care generally became lustrous and thick and abundant. At least for the first three months when she gets maximum personal care pampering!!

Soaps were a strict no no! A Bath powder for babies was made with moong dal/ channa dal while for mothers vasanai podi or ubtans were made at home with various herbs and lentils. Hair wash powders for the mothers were also made at home with Shikakai, karsalanganni, ponnanganni, hibiscus flowers and leaves, lime peels, fenugreek, curry leaves, many other flowers, leaves, seeds, seed pods — which were all cover dried in the sun and powdered. These powders and oils were sent with the new mother when after a period of 3 months she returned to her in laws and husband.

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After bath babies and mothers were well dried and gently warmed with sambrani fumes. Kajal or kann mai was the only cosmetic item that was allowed. This was applied even to the eyes of boy babies and their forehead marked with a dot/bindi/tilakam. In order that the bindi/ tilakam/ pottu did not smudge, a bit of vibuthi that was again home made with cow dung ash was rubbed slightly over it. Thus there was no need for any chemicals in body care. This not only ensured glowing skin but also made sure that there was adequate probiotic microbial activity in the body which is the foundation of immunity and health.

The fragrance emanating from new born babies and mothers under such a personal care regimen has to be experienced to understand the value of such homemade, pure, chemical free personal care products. My mother’s sister sent me home made kann mai made from castor oil, pachcha kalpooram, nadyaravattai flower extracts. It smelled good and brought a refreshing tingling in the eyes when applied.

Ayurvedic first principles: the use of herb enhanced collyrium

Collyrium / Kajal is an Ayurvedic medicine and is so much more than a regular cosmetic product. It has been designed to protect the eyes which are an important secondary seat of Pitta by reducing excess Pitta. As the eyes are also made up of kapha based fatty substances, the use of herb infused Kajal helps the healthy removal of fat based toxins from the eyes .

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 Rasajnana is a famous Ayurvedic extract made from Daruharidra, which is used in Ayurvedic Kajal. Rasanjana when prepared properly helps promote the dislodging of kleshma (fat based toxins) by triggering a watering reaction in the eyes.

Diet

While babies were strictly only fed mother’s milk, they got just a dash of ‘orai marundhu’ which was a mixture of a set of seeds/herbs, gold etc which were rubbed on a stone along with a drop of mother’s milk and applied to the baby’s tongue. Babies were fed in a private area and a serene silence was maintained during the baby’s feeding time.

In case baby is taking very short feeds and falling asleep only to wake again very soon for another feed, the mother is advised to caress the ear lobes gently. I was given this advice too and I found that the baby sucked for longer when I did this!!! Babies were fed with solely mother’s milk for upto 10 months and were fed mother’s milk in addition to other foods even after the first year. Some scriptures and ancient texts indicate that mother’s milk was given till the fall of, milk teeth. With changing times, consciousness changed and priorities changed.

Children lost their dreaminess, unconscious behavior and innocence prematurely. So as a result, it was considered embarrassing to feed children with mother milk once they became conscious. Mother’s milk is loaded with microbes and lauric acid. This helps the growth of beneficial gut bacteria which are the essentials of a strong immunity system in the body.

The first thing a new mother is given to eat is a ‘legyam’ again home made with so many different heat inducing herbs, spices, lemon, ginger, ghee etc. A gooseberry sized ball of this is given in empty stomach. This is a decongestant, anti inflammatory and digestive. The beneficial properties of this is passed to the baby through the mother’s milk.

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Babies and mother’s are especially hungry after a laborious bath!! So usually the mother’s were fed while the baby is being bathed so that they are not hungry while feeding the baby. Bathing soon after a meal/feed for anyone was absolutely forbidden.

Ayurvedic first principles: from the Balopacaraniya (care of new born child) chapter of Ashtanga Samgraha of Acharya Vagbhatta

 “A child should not be fed with the breast milk of the women who is hungry, grief stricken, tired, exhausted, angry, whose tissues are diseased, who is pregnant, or who is indulging in unhealthy foods”.

 Ayurveda is very particular about the health of the mother as this science recognizes the deep spiritual, mental, emotional and physical connection between the Mother and her baby. By nurturing the Dauhridini (pregnant woman) from the stage of pregnancy, keeping in her in good spirits and providing her loving emotional and physical care post child birth, Ayurveda ensures the baby too is well looked after and has the chance to develop well.

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 Many of us have seen tired, exhausted and depressed or even hungry modern mothers tending to their children’s needs. This is not a healthy practice and you are not supposed to sacrifice your well being for that of your child. Ayurveda recognizes that only if you are nourished and healthy, can you give your child the right environment to be nourished and healthy as well.

Mother’s diet consisted of short frequent meals. Parboiled rice was given preference since it is easier to digest. Tuvar dal and channa dal were avoided since they induce vata or gas. Moong dal was given in limited quantities. Lots of iron rich curry leaves, drumstick leaves, bean varieties, perandai or bone setter thogayal that is rich in calcium, dried sundaikkai or thai brinjal, manathangalikkai which had properties of healing wounds and ulcers were included every day. Gourds were by and large avoided, so were brinjals, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc. In short gas producing foods were avoided. Pepper was the preferred spice and chilies were avoided or minimized.

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Betel leaves were given at the end of the meal and even in the evening to aid digestion and bring down acidity.  Ginger was another spice that was used every day. Coolants and cold foods were completely avoided. Ghee was served generously. Water was given in restricted amounts. The use of tamarind was restricted. Peanuts were avoided. Bananas especially the nendram variety was given to satiate odd time hungers. Par boiled rice gruel/ puzhungal arisi kanji with salted narthangai or salted lemon pickle were given. The baby’s stools were an indicator of whether the diet of the mother was suiting the baby. Greenish or whitish yellow stools were considered not healthy and immediately changes were made in the mother’s diet. Curds were not given.

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The practice of giving white bread, certain types of vegetables, etc might have crept in during the in-between period. What are truly traditional needs to be understood. After the entry of the Britishers in 1600 A.D., many traditional customs were modified. Cropping patterns were altered. Grains traditionally grown were discontinued and certain foreign ones introduced. Therefore even what has been practiced for 400 odd years may not be truly traditional!

 

Ayurvedic first principles – a healthy post partum diet

All the Ayurvedic texts that refer to kaumarabhrityam (gynecology, obstetrics and child care) have given special importance to the pathiyam diet that is given both to the pregnant woman and the recovering Mother.

 The purpose of the diet in each stage is different – in the pregnant woman the diet is meant to be nourishing, full of good fats and cooling. The diet is supposed to nurture the fetus at every stage of the development and not cause any ama or toxic residue in the body.

 The pathiyam post partum diet has a different purpose. The food is meant to nourish all the dhatus of the woman which may be depleted following child birth. It is also supposed to ensure that the breast milk is full of the nutrients required by the growing child. The food is sweet (madhura) and kapha promoting in nature to build the dhatus and nourish the tissues.

 The food is also cooked so that excess pitta and vata is controlled. So the vegetable and cereal selection is quite deliberate.

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The time immediately after delivery is usually an extremely restricted diet. It is high in nourishing liquids like milk cooked with galactologue herbs and ghee. Cleansing mixtures like panchakavya is also used to stimulate digestion, remove ama and toxins form the body as these may pass onto the baby through the breast milk.

 Post the first 15 days / month 1, the recovering Mother is put on a more solid diet. A very careful selection of lentils is given – if the Vaidya feels that vata is high, she may be advised a diet without any lentil except Mung dal and not lentil based vegetables like beans. Hard, difficult to digest lentils like peas, rajma, channa are usually restricted.

 Ghee is key to the pathiyam diet to promote adequate digestion, keep the body in a tridoshic state and reduce vata dosha. Warming spices like Maricha (black pepper), Sunthi (ginger) and Jiraka (Cumin) are also liberally used in the food to expel wind, promote digestion and cleanse the respiratory passages of mucous if present.

 

General atmosphere in a post-natal home

Care was taken to avoid overwhelming sensory stimuli. Noise levels were restricted. Loud noises which would startle a sleeping baby or disturb the deep sleep of a new mother whose sleep depended on her child’s sleep were consciously avoided. Very often grandmothers or elderly members of the house or the new mother would sing lullabies and other specific baby songs.

The entry of too many visitors as mentioned earlier was avoided. In some communities, the inmates of the house where a baby is born would also not go to other houses for a period of 30 days. This was like a quarantine that was observed. The close relatives of the new born could not even attend functions and festival celebrations for a period of 30 days after the birth of the child in their family.

Feeding time of the mother is considered sacrosanct. The mother is advised to be calm while feeding the baby since the babies are tender in every way and would be affected by any physical, emotional or mental disturbances around them.

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A post natal care household was full of busy activity — preparing bath oils, powders, fresh legyam, meals, fumigation, washing clothes etc. So there was no time for gossip or idleness. Today we hear so much about post natal depression and mood swings. In a traditional home, where so much activity is going on there is so much to observe and participate, to absorb and learn that one does not get the time to become depressed. Moreover the food given is so carefully chosen that it balances hormones and leads to emotional stability.

At the end of 3 months and in much earlier times after 5 months, the new mother left the luxurious pampering in her mother’s house and returned to her in-laws and husband.

Even then till the baby turned one year old, that is till the mother is lactating, she was not allowed to cook or go into the kitchen since the heat from the kitchen fires might interfere in the lactation. Mother’s milk was considered to be ‘oushadam’ or medicine and hence every measure was taken to safeguard it. New mothers were pampered, nourished and their motherhood and the baby’s childhood were cherished.

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The changing patterns of motherhood

In course of time life became fast paced and therefore roles changed and so have health and fitness. Stamina and stress do not go hand in hand. The elders in the family can no longer perform all the chores required of them during the birth of their grandchildren, mothers are not relaxed enough to lead life on a slow track for a certain period of time. Ambitiousness, restlessness, changed priorities have all resulted in the lack of reverence for the new born and the new mother.

The rise of full time working mothers with limited maternity holidays, emergence of packaged baby feeds, over exposure of children to excessive sensory stimuli prematurely — have all resulted in weakened bodies, minds and souls — of mothers and their babies!!

I hope this article helps in reviving the due reverence for the new born and the new mother. I hope at least some aspects of post natal care can be incorporated if not all.


seetha-anand-vaidyam-krya-blog-author-profileAbout the Author:

Seetha Anand Vaidyam, works through Ananda Foundation for Holistic and Healthy Learning & Living. Ananda, through its 3 wings — Learn to Move & Move to Learn; Plate to Planet and Art of the Hearts — offers hands on workshops, talks and one on one counseling sessions on Early Childhood, Remedial Therapy, Sustainable Living and Holistic Wellness across India and abroad. Seetha has authored ‘ “Good” Food — a guide to right cooking and eating’ which has 2 editions and 1 reprint to its credit. She can be reached at seethaanand@yahoo.com .

 


Krya would like to thank Seetha Anand Vaidyam for her generous, authentic and detailed piece on traditional post natal care today. This very important tradition of nourishing the mother and caring for her mental, emotional and physical well being which used be such an important part of Indian culture is fast disappearing today.

We hope that this post brought home the importance of these practices and you were able to appreciate the deep rooted Ayurvedic first principles behind these practices. Even if you are unable to recreate the exact set of rituals described by Seetha in this post, we hope you are able to incorporate atleast few parts of these rituals in your life or help out another young mother with knowledge about these practices.

 

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Losing hair after your pregnancy? Worried? Your vata dosha could be imbalanced. Krya explains.

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We spoke last week about a common hair fall issue that we are seeing increasingly at Krya – hair loss that is traced to the post delivery period in women, or post partum hair loss. We spoke yesterday about how modern methods of treating pregnancy and child birth are at odds with what Ayurveda. These differences can lead to the severe dosha imbalance we see today and the many distressing extreme problems of hairfall that come our way.

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At Krya, it is a part of our mission to communicate just how advanced, well thought out and deeply rooted the science of Ayurveda is. Apart from what we post about, here is a gem I came across in my reading today.

 

Manasa Vikasam – Psychological development of the infant

An individual comprises of 24 tattvas (principles / realities) which comprise of the learnings their soul carries, their genetic makeup, their “aham” ego, their manas (mind), etc. The sum of these individual tattvas for each individual is called the “mahat”. As the Mahat begins to interact with environment, Ayurveda believes that psychic and psychological development begins. Unexplained talents and gifts that evolve in children are believed by Ayurveda to be gifts or talents developed in the previous cycle of birth.

The Ahamcara (loosely described as the I / Ego) is a set of unorganised drives, feeling and emotions which lies dormant within the Mahat. Depending upon the experiences that occur to the individual, both good and bad, the Ahamcara develops in later life, influenced by the positives and negatives surrounding the child.

Depending upon the experiences of the child, the Ahamcara may develop into a sattvic personality, a rajasic personality or a tamasic personality.

Herein lies the Ayurvedic genius of surrounding the foetus with good experiences and fulfilment at the antenatal stage. The pregnant woman is referred to in Ayurveda as the Dauhridini (the woman with 2 hearts). Her unexplained food preferences or wishes in the pregnancy are said to arise from the foetus who expresses his / her wishes through the mother. Ayurveda opines that as far as possible, the wishes of the Dauhridini should be fulfilled. Even in the case where her wishes are harmful to her and the foetus, she is to be treated in a loving manner and should be sweet talked or cajoled into accepting another similar fulfilment which does not harm her or the baby.

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Surrounding the foetus and her growing Ahamcara with positivity, love and fulfilment of her desires even at the foetal stage, helps develop her Ahamcara and mahat well and makes for better Manasa Vikasam in the later stage. Unfulfilled wishes of the foetus is said to lead to cognitive disorders in the pre birth stage or psychological disorders as the child grows to be an adult.

 

Increase in vata dosha post childbirth – leading cause of post partum hair fall

Our post yesterday discussed how Ayurveda views the process of childbirth and the after effects on vata dosha. We spoke about how Ayurveda traditional practices of internal oleation, controlling the diet of the pregnant women and the use of post natal abhyangas, tying of the stomach and inclusion of ghee (both as a diet supplement and in its medicated form) help control the excess vata post child birth.

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As the baby is born, there is a gap in the womb which vayu (air) attempts to occupy. If this space is not controlled and enough Sneha (fat) is not given internally to control the entry of vayu, the excess vata dosha can manifest as hair and skin disorders which can later lead to greater vata based disorders.

This then explains the common complaint of post partum hair fall. When excess vata is left unchecked and no measures of controlling vata are adopted, it dries up the body internally causing dry and brittle and weak hair, and aches and pains in the joints, a lack of enthusiasm and energy and an overall feeling of tiredness and exhaustion.

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We had mentioned how external oleation and hair oiling is a cornerstone in controlling this excess vata for post partum hair fall.

 

Excess vata – an urban malaise

Cities are considered high in vata dosha. By the nature of their design, the long distance commutes, high cell phone and device usage, and the nature of modern office jobs, all of us quickly accumulate excess vata dosha.

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By our frequent commutes, plane travel, excessive use of mobile phones, late nights, eating out and varying timings of eating, the vata dosha tends to aggravate. This leads to urban malaise disorders like lower back, joint aches, neck and shoulder aches, an inability to fall asleep easily, and a feeling of tiredness and a need for stimulants like coffee and tea to get us through our days.

When this existing urban malaise is combined with a serious vata affecting condition like what is seen after pregnancy, we see the vata disorders magnified by a massive amount leading to sudden, excessive and seemingly uncontrollable hair fall.

 

Ayurvedic herbs to control excess vata

Sneha (fats) are the key to controlling vata. Fats are thick, oily, unctuous, and smooth and are the opposite of vata dosha which is rough, dry, coarse and brittle. Most Sneha or fats are also kapha promoting because of their thick and unctuous nature. So when Ayurvedic oil is made for the purpose of balancing excess vata dosha, it is important to use a judicious base of oils and carefully chosen Ayurvedic herbs to ensure other doshas are kept in check.

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The Ayurvedic texts mention a good selection of herbs to help control vata. The texts also advise using carminative, slightly pitta increasing spices to help control vata for an important reason. The warming action of these herbs helps control the cold nature of vata and also decreases the kapha building property of the Sneha. In the next section, we will see a sample of vata reducing herbs that are used in the Krya Abhyanga oil.

 

The Krya Abhyanga skin oil with Vacha and Ashwagandha

Bala (Sida cordifolia)

Ayurvedic texts classify the herb Bala as a group of 4 herbs – “balachatustaya”. Bala is considered “brmhaniya” – promotes healthy muscle growth, “balya” – tonic and “vata samsamana” – pacifies vata dosha.

Acharya Charaka mentions that Bala is a rasayana drug (rejuvenative) for muscle tissue and muscular system. The literal translation of the Sanskrit word “Bala” is “strength” –so all the 4 Bala herbs are a tonic for the body and a rejuvenative when used in vata disorders.

As Bala is sweet in its rasa, it also helps alleviate excess pitta. It is therefore also considered valuable blood purifier helpful in rakta pitta disorders.

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Two Krya massage oils use Bala – the Krya traditional baby massage oil uses Bala to impart strength and aid healthy muscle development for babies. The Krya Abhyanga oil uses Bala to relieve excess vata, balance excess pitta and to bring relief in vata based complaints like post partum hair fall, joint aches, and other complaints associated with vata vitiation.

 

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha is a famous Ayurvedic herb known for its rasayana and kapha and vata balancing properties. The term Ashwagandha comes from the Sanskrit words “ashwa” meaning horse and “gandha” meaning odour – Ashwagandha as the texts describe is the herb that smells like a horse.

Just like the horse, the Ashwagandha herb imparts strength, speed and virility when used. Apart from these properties, it balances kapha and vata dosha, nourishes all dhatus (tissues) and has a rasayana effect on the entire body.

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Apart from these properties, Ashwagandha has a marked anti-arthritic effect and is very useful in inflammatory conditions like gout. It is also a calming herb and helps relax frazzled nerves and is a very strong rejuvenative herb to all the muscle tissues.

We use Ashwagandha in all our skin oils for adults at Krya. It goes into the Krya Abhyanga skin oil for its vata and kapha alleviating properties and its strong action to relieve muscle pain and inflammatory conditions.

Ashwagandha also goes into the Krya Moisture plus skin oil for its excellent skin regenerative and rasayana properties. This oil is meant as a frequent pre-bath moisturising product that we recommend for extremely dry skin and for very cold climates. Ashwagandha is also used in small doses in the Krya Classic Skin oil which is designed for the moisturizing needs of normal – oily skin and is to be used pre-bath as well.

 

Maricha (Piper nigrum) / Pepper / Kali Mirch / Milagu

Maricha is the Sanskrit name for black pepper which is one of the names of the Sun, referring to the hot and potent properties of black pepper. The use of black pepper is well documented in Indian cuisine for its ushna (heat), kola – taste improving sensation, Teekshana – sharp and intense flavour, krimihara – destroys insects and worms, etc.

Maricha is a spice that is revered in Indian medicine and was held n high esteem by the Ayurvedic Acharyas. Acharya Charaka classifies Maricha as a dipaniya (appetiser), sulaghna (relieves colic) and krimighna (removes intestinal worms). It is also classified as a rasayana drug for the respiratory system. Maricha is one of the 3 herbs used in “Trikatu” – three pungent spices which are used in severe colds, respiratory illnesses, and in reducing kapha accumulation.

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As Maricha is hot and virya (strong) and carminative (wind expelling), we add it in small quantities as  kashayas to the Krya abhyanga skin oil and the Krya traditional baby massage oil. This helps increase the warmth of both oils improving their vata reducing properties, helps the penetration of the oil better and also prevents kapha related side effects like coughs and colds.

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These 3 herbs are a sample of the 16 dosha balancing, skin improving and health giving herbs and  the 3 cold pressed , organic base oils we use in the Krya Abhyanga oil. As mentioned before we use the Tila paka method while making all of Krya’s oils.

 

The Ayurvedic Tila paka method – a sophisticated ancient oil manufacturing technique

The Tila paka method is one of the sophisticated oil manufacturing methods used by Ayurveda to make herb infused oils. Another method of making Ayurvedic oils is the Aditya paka method, where herbs are left to infuse in oil that is placed in the Aditya (Sun). This method is less popular compared to the Tila paka method, as there is a greater limitation on the use of watery herbs compared to the Tila paka method.

The Tila paka method helps transfer the properties of several carefully chosen herbs into base oil or a combination of base oils. Depending upon the properties of each herbs and whether they express their actives best in an oil phase or water phase, the herbs are either extracted through water or added as a paste into oil.

Ayurveda uses a combination of methods even in water extraction depending upon the woodiness, aroma and delicacy of the herb. Flowers are usually extracted as cold infusions or lukewarm teas to protect their delicate flavenoids. Thick hard, woody herbs are extracted in water separately using strong kashayams. Soft leaves are extracted as milder boiled infusions called kwathas.

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Oil based herbs and seeds are usually directly added to the oil to allow the oil based actives to percolate into the base oils. These form a part of the kalpa (herb pastes) that are added to Ayurvedic oils.

The result of this is a very deeply herb infused base oil which has used the correct medium to extract the actives from each set of herbs.

The Tila paka process is transformative in nature. The base oils we use like sesame oil, coconut oil, kokum butter etc completely transform in their stickiness, penetrative ability, colour and fragrance – the oil becomes something entirely new. The interesting change is also in how the base oils transform. Many of us may find sesame a thick, slightly difficult to use oil, for example. But we have seen time and gain, how the Tila paka process transforms the sesame oil to an oil that penetrates skin and hair very quickly, with a completely different fragrance from its original fragrance.

 

Krya products recommended to balance vata for women and men:

  1. Krya Women’s Abhyanga System (Krya Abhyanga Oil + Krya Women’s Ubtan with Lotus & Lodhra)

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  1. Krya Men’s Abhyanga System (Krya Abhyanga Oil + Krya Men’s Ubtan with Vetiver & Van Tulasi)

Depending on your hair type, we will also in addition suggest the right Krya hair system for you – Classic, Conditioning, Anti Dandruff or Damage Repair.

 

To conclude:

We have been speaking about the transformative effects of simple practices mentioned in the Ayurvedic Dinacharya (daily regime) on our health. The disorders caused by dosha imbalances can seem awful and daunting, but often the answer to helping your body lies in seemingly simple, yet deep transformative daily changes.

Can we give you a guarantee that our hair oil alone can help your post partum hair loss? No, and no one should give you one. As we have explained, any external disorder that manifests is a sign of a deep internal lack of balance, and a programme designed to correct this internal imbalance through diet, regimen changes and external application has the greatest chance of succeeding.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post and also hope you were able to appreciate the difference in approach Krya followed when treating hair and skin problems. If you too are experiencing hair and skin disorders, and would like to consult us, do call us on 075500-89090 or write to us.

Remember, beauty is achieved only when health is achieved.

 

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