Having had a few grey strands of hair is a common experience for most of us, at some point in our lives. Ageing is a natural process for human beings, but seeing grey hair gives us the feeling that world would end. Grey strand of hair play hide and seek during adolescence. Grey is the dreaded sign of ageing. Researches have revealed that prematurely greying hair is becoming more common among the younger generation. Thousands of people are seeking medication for the untimely greying or falling off of hair.
Traditional Ayurvedic Practitioner Ranjith Abeywardhana commented on this rapidly spreading condition.
“The colour of each hair strand depends on the pigment called melanin. The natural colour of hair depends on the distribution, type and the amount of melanin in the middle layer of the hair shaft.
Melanin production reduces with age and the whitening or greying occurs. In Ayurveda, the cause for a disease is treated and therefore most of the treatments are directed towards controlling the greying of hair. Not only the treatments, but avoiding certain food and following instructions on maintaining a suitable lifestyle are a must if the individual hopes to receive Ayurvedic treatment for a disease or a health condition.
Such cases were rare during past generations, usually, their first grey hairs appeared during old age as a result of natural ageing which started when they were in their 60s. Nowadays the youngsters are frequent victims of grey hair and this condition is more common among school children. Some students soak their feet in water to avoid being sleepy while studying at night which in turn fuels the process of hair turning grey. Many male students use styling creams and hair gels daily. These products are made from byproducts of Petroleum. Using such products for an extended period of time could cause a threat to overall health. Applying water to the hair and expecting it to shine is a sure sign that the person is going to have grey hair sooner or later.
Genetics play a huge role in premature greying of hair, especially if parents have experienced it. Children of such parents are exposed to the possibility of having the same experience. Occasionally, the condition is inherited by the genes of a generation rather than from the parents. Premature greying of hair is known by the term “Akala Palitha” in Ayurveda, meaning an untimely maturity of hair.
Victims of Catarrh (Peenasa) could develop premature hair at any age. Excessive hair fall indicates an increased level of phlegm in the body. This is known as “kapa” in Ayurveda. A well – balanced level of kapa Dhaathu improves bodily functions while the decreased level becomes a weakness or a “Dosha”. Raktha waathaya or the Rath pith rogaya (Extreme dryness, eczema, and other skin conditions, cracked hands and feet, endless itching and unhealable wounds are a few symptoms of Rath pith rogaya) is yet another cause for premature greying of hair. Treating raktha waathaya without consulting a good Ayurvedic physician will result in unfavourable conditions such as premature greying, asthma and severe headaches. Continuous treatment is a must for Rath Pith Rogaya since stopping treatment halfway complicates the condition.
The second most critical cause for premature greying is the unhealthy lifestyle. Avoid untimely showers including night showers as much as possible. Night showers are harmful to women than men due to their long and thick hair that takes time to dry. Night showers cool down the scalp which in turn weakens hair strands; resulting it to fall. The ones belonging to the young generations are consuming unhealthy and genetically treated or artificially flavoured food much more than their elders and this treats the tongue, but does not provide any nourishment. They are not worried about the nutritional value of the food they consume and become victims of many Shiro roga (diseases affecting head)” he said.
Other significant causes are: Excessive anger, starving for longer periods, working in dusty or highly temperate environments, sleeplessness, waking up unnecessarily early in the morning and using hair gels, styling creams excessively.
An ayurvedic physician will prescribe the treatment after a thorough examination of the condition. People have different conditions in their bodies, therefore the medications vary and there is no cure for all treatment.
Tips to follow
Treat hair with these natural ingredients-
- Crush Weralu (Ceylon Olive) leaves, Guava leaves together or separately, and apply 15 minutes before a bath. Massage the paste well into scalp.
- Crush Godapara/Diyapara (Elephant Apple fruit) and apply on the wet scalp or boil the fruit in water for about 30 minutes, let it cool and then apply to scalp and massage well.
- Boil Aralu (Terminalia chebula), Bulu or Myrobalan (Terminalia bellirica) and Nelli (Indian Gooseberry), the raw fruit together (this is called Thriphala in Ayurveda) wash hair and scalp with this mixture and massage.
- Boil a few limes and a handful of Uluhaal (Fenugreek) seeds, let them cool and apply to scalp and massage.
- Apply Thala oil (Gingelly oil) or Olive oil an hour before the bath and massage well.
- Avoid heaty food like Balaya (Skipjack Tuna), Cuttlefish, prawns, pineapples and tomatoes.
- Avoid eggs and fresh milk (for excessive phlegm)
- Avoid every type of meat (especially during treatment)
- Consume Calcium rich food to strengthen hair strands – Green leaves (green leaves that are not fertilized or grown without pesticides), Red rice, Chickpea, Black Eyed Pea and Mung beans (Green Gram) and Kurakkan (Finger Millet) frequently. Add local rice varieties such as Madathavalu, Kurulu Thuda and Pachcha Perumal to the daily diet - those provide nutrition to the body and hair.
Oiling hair the right way
“These Ayurvedic oils are good for healthy individuals to avoid having grey hair. Oiling the hair at night is inadvisable for the patients who are frequently suffering from excessive phlegm. Limit applying oil to three days per week. Asthma patients are thoroughly advised not to apply oil (due to cooling effects).
Frequent oiling early in the morning or later at night, on cold and rainy days are unadvisable even for healthy individuals because the extra coolness may provoke other illnesses. Some individuals apply oil during unfavourable times after adding Lime juice or camphor to remove “Waatha doshaya” in oil, but that is regarded as an unsuccessful attempt. Anyway, avoid oiling hair or the scalp at night. An ayurvedic practitioner will decide whether some oils are good to apply after heating because heated oil can spread other diseases. Do not apply oil before sleeping because it might trigger other diseases which are dormant.
Ayruvedic Hair Oils:
•“Maha peenas raja” Oil
“Individuals with prematurely grey hair are advised to have shower in the morning, but after sunrise. Do not have showers after 5.30 PM. Follow the instructions of a qualified Ayurvedic physician and get rid of premature grey hair” he concluded.