5 Ayurvedic Herbs that Powerfully Combat Hair Loss
Whether we’re experiencing lots of stress or going through the natural processes of aging, hair loss is something that can happen at any point in our lives. And when it does, we might scratch our heads (both literally and figuratively) wondering how to remedy it.
The first step is to identify why hair loss might be happening. It occurs for a wide number of reasons. Sometimes it’s the result of a genetic predisposition, or conditions like alopecia and anemia. Other times, it can occur post-pregnancy due to a drop in estrogen levels and an increase in cortisol levels, or during the hormonal fluctuations of menopause. As research has shown, diets lacking in essential vitamins, proteins and minerals also impact hair strength and regrowth. In addition, sometimes hair loss—whether minute or significant—can occur simply as a result of stress. As dermatologist and psychiatrist Amy Wechsler tells Goop, “Hair follicles are sensitive to both physical and emotional stressors.”
It’s important to identify the root cause of hair loss and respond accordingly, whether that’s by improving your diet, learning how to ease the transition into menopause or alleviating stress. In addition, there are a number of Ayurvedic herbs that can help speed up the process of regrowth, promoting the circulation of nutrients, stimulating hair follicles and strengthening the hair. Here are 5 of these herbs—when incorporated into your hair care routine, they can help bring thickness, radiance and health to thinning hair.
While many know aloe vera as an effective wound healer, its multitude of anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant properties make it a rejuvenating salve for the hair. Cooling and detoxifying, aloe vera can combat scalp inflammation and effectively treat and prevent dandruff. It also rejuvenates dry scalps thanks to its deeply hydrating effects; as dermatologist Marisa Garshick, M.D, tells mindbodygreen, “The leaf of the aloe vera plant is rich in water, particularly in the innermost layer, so it helps to hydrate the skin and lock in moisture.”
To cleanse, cool down and hydrate your scalp with aloe vera, simply apply fresh aloe vera gel all over the scalp. Rinse off after 15 minutes.
Like aloe vera, hibiscus is cooling and cleansing, which enables it to combat inflammation. Rich in Vitamin C, it has long been used as a traditional Ayurvedic treatment for hair loss. Rubbing hibiscus into the scalp stimulates hair follicles and boosts the circulation of blood and nutrients into the hair, all of which helps promote the growth of strong, healthy hair.
To promote natural hair growth with this Ayurvedic solution, grind hibiscus flowers and leaves into a thick paste. Apply generously to the scalp and wash off with water. You can apply this paste several times a week to stimulate growth.
An ancient polyherbal blend made up of bibhitaki, amalaki, and haritaki, the benefits of triphala seem endless. Not only is it used in Ayurveda to strengthen the liver, digestion and immunity—its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties enable it to provide potent nourishment to the scalp, cleansing it of impurities and strengthening hair at its roots.
To use triphala as a hair supplement, you can mix water and triphala powder to form a thin paste. Massage into the scalp before rinsing off with water.
Rich in essential vitamins, iron and calcium, and full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, fenugreek is another powerful tool for promoting scalp health and combating hair loss. Its protein and amino acids allow it to treat hair damage and promote thicker hair growth, while its lecithin provides natural hydration and nourishment to the hair follicles. By combating inflammation and damage while also stimulating healthy circulation, fenugreek helps the hair grow back thicker and more radiant.
As Samar Kullab tells Byrdie, Indian gooseberry is “probably one of the highest antioxidant-rich foods. It has 50 times more antioxidants than blueberries.” This extreme richness of antioxidants, in addition to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, is part of what makes Indian gooseberry (or amla) one of the most revered Ayurvedic herbs for the hair. Research has backed up this Ayurvedic wisdom, showing that Indian gooseberry can inhibit the growth of the 5α-reductase enzyme that leads to hair loss. Its antioxidants also help protect the hair from damage, breakage and loss that can occur from pollution, dust and certain styling methods. Furthermore, it is deeply hydrating, ultimately leaving the hair strengthened, thicker and more radiant.To reap the multitude of Indian gooseberry’s benefits, you can either apply it as a paste or look for it as an ingredient in specialty hair oils. Our own UMA Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil utilizes both Indian gooseberry and hibiscus to promote deep nutrition, hydration and regrowth.