Graying of hair is generally considered a sign of old age. At times, graying starts even at a young age. Modern lifestyle with poor eating habits and erratic lifestyle have caused young people to go gray. Stress is one of the top contributors to the premature graying of hair.
Nutritional deficiencies are among the causes of greying hair. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you eat healthy to prevents grays and promote hair growth. Hair also starts to go gray due to a drop in the production of the dark pigment – melanin in the hair roots.
Certain health problems can also lead to the greying of hair. For example, disorders like thyroid issues and anemia can cause hair to become prematurely gray. Those who suffer from ailments of the stomach like malabsorption are also prone to greys. Diseases affecting the small intestine like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, tapeworms and other gut-related problems can be linked to greying of hair.
Ayurveda and Graying Hair
In Ayurveda, this condition is called palitya or akala palitya (premature graying of hair).
According to Ayurveda, greying hair is a pure Pitta disorder that occurs due to the vitiation of Pitta dosha (biohumor related to Fire and Water). This is why people of the Pitta constitution tend to start graying earlier than others. Excessive Pitta in the sebaceous glands which reside at the hair roots, called folliculitis can also result in hair loss and graying prematurely.
Pitta-provoking habits such as excessive passion, anger and physical strain results in graying of hair. One must also avoid Pitta-genic beverages like alcohol, tea and coffee. Intake of spicy, oily, salty and sour, fermented foods along with meat can aggravate Pitta.
But apart from being a primarily Pitta problem, the sage Vagbhata classified palitya according to the doshic dominancy.
Vata dosha: Hairs develop split ends; brittle, dry and rough in texture; color appears shimmery and transparent like water
Pitta dosha: Scalp shows signs of burning; hairs have a yellowish tinge
Kapha dosha: Hairs are thick, long and exceptionally white in color
Symptoms of Graying Hair
The regions just above the ears and at the temples are the first to show signs of grays. This graying may start to spread to the sides and the top of the scalp. In men, the facial hair like the beard and mustache begin graying sooner while the hairs on the chest and pubic area follow later. If you’d like to identify whether you are graying earlier than usual, take note of the following graying hair symptoms.
- Hair loss or thinning
- Hair discoloration before the age of 35
- Dry, brittle hair
- Frequent headaches (if the graying is caused by sinusitis or nutritional deficiencies)Symptoms of Pitta
- aggravation like acidity, nausea, excessive sweating and intolerance to heat may also be seen.
Causes of Graying Hair
While most of the causes of graying hair are mentioned above, here is the complete set of reasons you could be going the salt-n-pepper way.
- Chronic cold or sinusitis
- Washing the hair with warm water
- Faulty diet
- Mental stress, worry, shock, grief
- Nutritional deficiencies like B vitamins, iron, copper and iodine
- Hereditary reasons
- Keeping the scalp unclean
- Excessive use of hair dyes and electrical accessories like dryers and straighteners
- Improper protein synthesis
- Thyroid or pituitary gland problem
- Oxidative stress from pollutants and toxins
- Hormonal changes that occur at perimenopause
- Extreme exposure to the sun
- Improper sleep cycles
- Undergoing medical treatments that increase the Fire element in the body (taking drugs for serious ailments that are very heating in nature)
Ayurvedic Treatment for Gray Hair
|Herbs||Bhringaraj (Eclipta Prostrata): This herb is also called Kesharaj or ‘King of Hair’ and is one of the best natural remedies for grey hair treatment. Dry some fresh leaves. Boil some dried leaves of this herb in coconut oil and rest it rest for anywhere between a week to 10 days. Once ready, filter the oil and bottle in a dark-colored bottle. Bhringaraj powder can be added to hair packs to retain color, reduce hair loss and promote hair growth.
Amla (Emblic Myrobalan): Known for its high Vitamin C content, amla or Indian gooseberry is an excellent Ayurvedic treatment for white hair. One can make a potent hair oil by boiling dried pieces of amla and curry leaves in coconut oil. Cool and bottle this oil in an amber-colored glass bottle. Use this as a massage oil twice weekly. One can also use amla to prevent premature graying of hairs by drinking 30ml of fresh amla juice or eating the fruit daily. Amla powder is an excellent addition to hair masks. Make your own herbal shampoo by mixing equal parts of reetha (soapnut), amla and shikakai (acacia concinna). Use this to wash your hair instead of a shampoo loaded with chemicals.
Henna (Lawsonia Inermis): Henna is the best treatment for grey hair because of its coloring and conditioning properties. Soak henna in an iron pot overnight and make a deep conditioning hair mask by combining eggs, curd and other herbs for gray hair.
Sesame (Sesamum Indicum): Usually used as an oil for head massage, sesame or til is an excellent way to reduce gray hair naturally. The seeds can be consumed after dry roasting them. White sesame seeds have higher iron content than the black variety, which contain more calcium. Sesame seeds make a delicious addition to smoothies or they can be combined with jaggery (syrup) to make tasty and nourishing laddoos.
Onion (Allium Cepa): Pyaaz or onion can answer how to stop gray hair with its rich sulfur content. Used while cooking, onion is a powerful home treatment for hair loss and premature graying. Apply the juice of an onion to your hair and scalp to arrest gray hair or mix it in with an all-natural oil of your choice.
Brahmi (Bacopa Monneiri): One of the best herbs for greying hair if your hair turning color due to stress. This brain and nervine tonic is used in Ayurveda as a tranquilizer. Massage your hair and scalp with brahmi oil to keep Pitta at bay or use the powder in a cooling hair masks.
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