Causes and Types
Diet for Good Hair
Foods for Healthy Hair
Herbs for Healthy Hair
The condition of your hair and scalp is a clear reflection of your general well-being. Almost any illness or emotional stress can cause dull and lifeless hair, and your hair can therefore act as an early warning sign when you are out of sorts, or perhaps lacking in certain vitamins and minerals. But hair problems are also frequently caused by overexposure to chemicals (dyes, tints and perms being the main culprits), heat from electrical styling appliances and the wear and tear of too much brushing and combing.
Foods for Healthy Hair
Certain foods have traditionally been used to prevent hair loss, gray hair and dandruff, such as black sesame seed, black soybean, ginger, onion juice, lettuce seed, watercress, parsley leaf, coconut, mulberry fruit, chrysanthemum, seaweed, olive oil, royal jelly, etc.
Black sesame seed, which is also quite laxative and should not be used if it causes loose stools, benefits the body as a whole, especially the liver, kidney, spleen and stomach. Its high oil content lubricates the intestines and nourishes all the internal viscera. It contains nutrients that are required for healthy hair such as polyunsaturated fatty acid, vitamin E, protein, lecithin, etc. For premature hair loss or grey hair due to insufficiency of liver and kidney blood, black sesame seeds could be used alone, or it could be prepared with mulberry leaves, prepared rehmannia root, glossy privet fruit, eclipta, etc.
Black soybean benefits kidney and spleen, nourishes yin (bodily fluids), can promote blood circulation, possesses some diuretic (increase the flow of urine) action, dispels pathogenic wind and removes the poisonous quality of any substance. In traditional Chinese conception, it darkens hair by its kidney nourishing potential.
Fresh ginger pieces and onion juice rubbed into the skin is said to promote the growth of hair and to be a remedy for baldness.
Lettuce seed is said to be used to make hair grow on scar tissue.
Applied externally, watercress has a long-standing reputation as an effective hair tonic, helping to promote the growth of thick hair.
A poultice of the parsley leaves is said to prevent hair loss and to make freckles disappear. It has also been applied externally to soothe bites and stings, said to be of value in treating tumors of a cancerous nature. It has been used to treat eye infections, whilst a wad of cotton soaked in the juice will relieve toothache or earache.
Coconut is a folk remedy for loss of hair and baldness.
Mulberry fruit has a tonic effect on kidney energy. It is used for liver-kidney yin deficiency, premature gray hair, ringing in ears, dizziness, insomnia, rheumatic pain, constipation, and diabetes.
Chrysanthemum infusion or decoction has certain antibacterial effects on staphylococcus aureus (potentially pathogenic bacteria found in hair follicles, skin, nasal membranes, and perineum of warm-blooded animals. They may cause a wide range of infections and intoxications), a variety of pathogenic bacilli and dermatomycosis. With high concentrations, it can also inhibit influenza virus PR3 and leptospirae.
Seaweed benefits the liver and kidney channels, the two organs that are closely related to healthy hair. When consumed daily, seaweed can promote the growth of glossy hair and prevent its loss. It also helps to provide a clear complexion and soft, wrinkle-free skin. One of the richest sources of iodine; highly concentrated in iron and calcium, rich in niacin and thiamine, seaweed is excellent for alleviating high blood pressure; builds bones and teeth, and is traditionally used to treat feminine disorders and mouth afflictions. One word of caution is that the high sodium content of seaweed may make it unsuitable for anyone on a low sodium diet.
Used with alcohol, olive oil is a good hair tonic; used with oil of rosemary, it is a good treatment for dandruff.
Royal jelly is generally said to have the following health benefits: helps maintain and enhance hair, nails and skin tone; increases energy, endurance and stamina levels; reduces stress; increases resistance to disease.
Herbs for Healthy Hair
The famous Chinese herbal blood tonic fleece flower root has been used to maintain healthy hair and darken gray hair.
Glossy privet fruit treats yin deficiency of the liver and kidney with symptoms of premature greying hair, aching and weakness of the waist and knees, dizziness, tinnitus, and weak or blurred vision.
Eclipta is widely used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine and in India. It is considered to be the best remedy for the hair and is also used as a rejuvenative and liver tonic. To treat premature greying of hair, dizziness, tinnitus, aching and weakness of the waist and knees caused by yin deficiency of the liver and kidney, this herb is often used in combination with glossy privet fruit. Externally, it is used as an oil to treat hair loss and is also applied to athlete's foot, eczema, dermatitis, wounds, etc. Its powder applied externally has a good effect of stopping bleeding.
Chinese date is rich in vitamin E. It nourishes qi (energy) and benefits the spleen-pancreas, enhancing blood quality. It is often used in combination with Chinese angelica root, prepared rehmannia root and other herbs to nourish blood. The leaves are said to promote the growth of hair.
Chuanxiong and dahurian angelica root both posses the quality of activating blood circulation and dispelling wind. Wind refers to action, accounting for the loss of hair. In traditional Chinese medicine, both these herbs can be used to treat hair loss.
Mulberry leaf has been used to promote hair growth, treat consumptive fever and coughs, and improve eyesight.
Mulberry mistletoe strengthens hair and teeth, promotes the growth of eyebrows and beards, treats lumbago, infantile stiff back, nourishes skin and muscles.
Genkwa treats head sores, tinea capitis (a fungal scalp infection with a crusting and scaly lesion of the scalp that can also be associated with localised hair loss) and intractable tinea (skin disease).
Eupatorium, soaked in oil, is applied to the hair as a treatment for dandruff.
Aucklandia root is used in Ayurvedic medicine where it is valued mainly for its tonic, stimulant and antiseptic (preventing or arresting the growth of microorganisms) properties. It is said to be able to prevent the hair turning grey and be aphrodisiac (arouses sexual desire).
Biota leaf can be used externally for the treatment of alopecia and scalds. Grind it into powder and mix with a medium for application or make into a tincture for external rubbing.
In case of loss of hair after illness, drynaria rhizome can be decocted together with wild rose branches for brushing the hair. It helps to slow or stop the hair loss.
Wild jujuba leaf is astringent and febrifuge. It is said to promote the growth of hair. So is Oriental arborvitae seed.
Psoralea fruit is used externally to treat hair loss and various skin ailments. It is also used in the treatment of febrile diseases, premature ejaculation, impotence, lower back pains, frequent urination, incontinence, bed-wetting, etc.
Chebula fruit activates the flow of body fluid, relieves stagnation of qi in the chest and diaphragm, checking water passages and blackening hair, beards and whiskers.
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