Graying of hair is the most familiar sign of aging and it is a natural phenomenon. Most commonly graying starts around the age of forty but it starts earlier in some people which is known as premature graying. The age at which grey hair appears depends on the genes the person has inherited. Once graying of hair starts it may take as long as ten years for the entire hair on the head to go grey. Graying starts near the ears and at the temples and slowly spreads to other areas.
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Ayurveda’s Approach to Grey Hair
According to Ayurveda, aggravation of pitta dosha is the main cause of graying of hair. It also speeds up the graying process. Premature graying can also occur due to stress as it causes vata aggravation. Anger, emotional disturbances, or excessive physical exertion can cause vata dosha disturbances and the hair loses its natural color due to this.
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How Hair Turns Grey
The roots of the hair get their nourishment from the hair follicles that contain pigment cells. These cells are capable of producing melanin which gives color to the hair. The higher the melanin quantity the darker the hair color. When the cells produce less melanin the condition may lead to graying of hair.
Premature graying occurs mostly due to the lack of important and essential nutrients such as iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc. Deprivation of vitamin B6 and folic acid may also cause the hair to turn grey earlier than it should.
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Natural Dyeing of Hair
Henna, used as a paste is the most popular form of vegetable dye in India as it is more suitable for Asian hair. Henna also can condition the hair. It prevents any harm to the hair from chemicals and heals the hair to reduce split ends. Henna gives luster and smoothness to the hair. Walnut juice can make dark brown hair color deeper. Onion peels boiled with water and a few drops of glycerin added to it can lend a reddish color to the hair. There are many other natural herbs that can change the color of hair.
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Herbal Remedies for combating Grey Hair
- Taking one teaspoonful of grated fresh ginger soaked in honey is an excellent way to arrest graying of hair.
- A paste made by mixing basil juice, mint juice, coffee powder, fenugreek seed powder, henna powder, and curd should be applied on the hair left for 3 to 4 hours and washed off with a mild natural shampoo.
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Prevention of Grey Hair
- Massaging the scalp with the herbal hair oil medicated with Neela, Bringaraja, Vibhitaki works well to prevent premature graying. Gooseberry, black peppercorns, and lemon juice help in preventing graying of hair.
- Ayurveda considers certain foods as causing dosha imbalances in the body and hence should be avoided. They are meat, oily and fried foods, acidic, spicy, and greasy foods, tea, coffee, and alcohol.
- Ayurveda suggests the practice of yoga as they produce excellent results in treating and preventing grey hair.
- Every morning soon after getting up rub the forehead close to the hairline. This is done to remove any blockage in blood circulation to the scalp.
- Certain Yoga postures known as ‘Asanas’ and a breathing exercise known as ‘Kapalbhati’ greatly help to arrest the graying process.
- Rubbing the fingernails of both hands – According to yoga, the nerve endings below the fingernails and the hair roots are directly connected. Rubbing the nails of hands against one another promotes blood circulation in the scalp and the hair roots are fortified and work towards reducing grey hair.