In 2016, Finasteride – an FDA approved medication for treating male pattern hair loss – was the 75th most prescribed medication in the United States.
You know what that tells us?
That hair loss is a growing problem in our generation. Not only that, it also tells us that most people don’t know about the many natural and Ayurvedic options for faster hair growth out there.
We’ll review some of the more effective treatments available today, but first, let’s look at why hair loss happens in the first place.
Why Does Hair Loss Occur and How?
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is a condition where you lose hair from your scalp either temporarily or permanently.
The loss of hair occurs when the normal physiologic growth of hair is interrupted.
To better understand this, let’s look at the four main phases your hair goes through to reach maturity:
- Anagen is the first stage of hair growth. It is referred to as the growing phase and may last anywhere between 2 – 7 years. This is the phase that eventually determines the length of your hair.
- Catagen is the second stage of hair growth and is also called the transition phase. The transition phase lasts about 10 days and involves shrinking of the hair follicle and its detachment from the dermal papilla in the skin.
- The third stage is called Telogen. This stage is also called the resting phase and lasts about three months. At any given time, about 10% to 15% of your hair is in this phase. The hair growth process happens in a continuous one in that while old hair is resting, new hair enters the growth phase.
- Exogen is the fourth and final stage. It is also called the shedding phase or the new hair phase. Here, old hair is shed and new hair enters the growth phase. Since hair growth happens in a cycle, all these phases occur every day. As a result, it is normal to lose some hair on a daily basis.
The processes mentioned above are normal physiologic processes. So, how exactly does hair loss occur?
Well, it happens in situations where your hair enters the resting phase too early.
When this occurs, you can experience significant hair thinning. It’s a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium.
Quite often, hormones in your body may inhibit hair growth and/or reduce the growth phase, leading to significant permanent loss of hair - especially in people who are genetically susceptible to hair loss.
A common condition that presents this way is male pattern hair loss, also called androgenic alopecia.
What Are the Goals of Natural Treatments for Hair Loss?
When treating hair loss, it is expected that whatever therapeutic agent is used will stimulate hair growth, prolong the growth phase, minimize hair shedding, and/or inhibit hormonal influence on hair loss.
Currently, there are many Ayurvedic remedies for hair loss that fit that definition and have been tested and proven to work just as effectively as many mainstream medications.
Why You Should Consider Ayurvedic Treatment for Hair Loss and Regrowth
Although contemporary medications for hair loss are the go-to in the medical community, most of them come with serious side effects.
Interestingly enough, most of the medications used to treat hair loss were initially not intended for hair loss.
For instance, Minoxidil - one of the most common treatment options - was initially developed to treat cardiovascular problems.
It was after its approval for use when it was realized that one of its major “side effects” is hirsutism (aka excessive, male-pattern growth of hair in women.)
Consequently, it has since been developed to help manage hair loss because of its supposed “beneficial” side effect of causing hair growth in patients with alopecia.
Besides side effects, medications for hair loss are also expensive and not easily available. In some cases, you may need a formal prescription from a certified physician to obtain these medications.
Ayurvedic medicine, on the other hand, relies on the use of natural herbal remedies that are largely safe with very little side effects. They are also readily available, easy to find, and without a prescription.
Why Ayurvedic Methods for Fast Hair Growth Work
The Ayurvedic approach to reversing hair loss is very different from what is being practiced in contemporary medicine.
It not only relies on products, but also makes use of treatment strategies that collectively ensure a holistic approach to the management of hair loss and hair regrowth.
One of the key principles of Ayurveda is that the strength of your “digestive fire” directly impacts the nutrient flow to your organs and tissues - including your hair.
What this means is that what you eat is one of the backbones of achieving optimal hair health.
But since the functioning of our organs and tissues are not controlled by the digestive system alone, hair loss is not only a factor of impaired diet but can also be due to other factors outside the scope of nutrition.
There are quite a number of factors that might contribute to hair loss such as:
- Lack of sleep
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Hormonal imbalances
- Severe illnesses
- Genetic predisposition
Most Ayurvedic methods for fast hair growth have ingredients that work to alleviate some of these factors.
Best Herbs to Eat for Hair Growth
A few decades to centuries ago, nettle was the go-to herb for maintaining shiny, fuller, thicker and more beautiful hair.
Nettle has an abundance of antioxidants like carotenoids, flavonoids and vitamin C, which protect hair follicles from damage caused by free radicals.
This herb also has a unique ability to dilate blood vessels so much so that it improves blood flow to hair follicles, supplying more nutrients and oxygen, which boosts growth of the hair shafts.
Some research poses the idea that nettle contains compounds that can reduce levels of dihydrotestosterone – the hormone responsible for male pattern baldness in androgenic alopecia.
The astringent nature of nettle also makes it useful for reducing irritation and itchiness of the scalp as well as treating dandruff.
Its antibacterial properties can even help treat hair loss associated with bacterial scalp infections.
Studies have shown that fenugreek seeds have important anti-inflammatory properties that benefit hair health.
Although fenugreek doesn’t effectively cure all causes of dandruff, studies have shown that its anti-inflammatory effects can help manage many hair infections that lead to temporary hair loss.
It’s important to note that fenugreek is only beneficial because it provides symptomatic relief. However, it may be ineffective against hair loss caused by underlying medical conditions like cancer or thyroid conditions.
3. Oat Straw
The reason why oat straw is a favorite in Ayurveda is because it is one of the most potent longevity herbs. Its chief mode of action is reducing stress levels in the body.
But how is this related to the treatment of hair loss, you ask?
Stress is actually one of the biggest triggers of temporary hair loss. It even has its own name - telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss is reversible but only once the underlying cause is eliminated.
Oat straw also has essential vitamins that can enrich your hair, making it appear healthier and thicker.
Hibiscus contains some biochemical components that are pretty impressive (and highly effective) for hair loss.
This herb is rich in minerals, amino acids, trace elements, antioxidants, and vitamins such as A and C. It also contains trace amounts of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin and carotene.
All these nutrients have significant roles in the body - roles that are involved in growing strong, healthy hair.
In fact, vitamins A and C are essential to the hair growth process. They strengthen the hair shaft, prevent premature greying of hair, and also alleviate certain symptoms of scalp disorders.
If your hair is prone to split ends and your scalp is always dry, this is certainly an herb you want to try.
As an added bonus, hibiscus has potent antimicrobial properties, making it effective in the fight against dandruff (often a yeast-based issue).
Other Ayurvedic Tips for Hair Thickness
Ayurvedic medicine stresses the holistic approach to the management of diseases. Therefore, regrowing healthy hair does not only rely on herbal remedies, but your overall lifestyle.
- When combing your hair, use combs with wide teeth to avoid plucking and pulling.
- Wet air is usually prone to breakage, which can contribute to hair loss. Therefore, only comb your hair when it’s dry.
- As much as you may want to keep your hair straight and neat, don’t comb it too frequently. Also, only apply the minimum amount of force necessary when brushing or combing.
- Where possible, trim your split ends regularly.
- Let your hair dry naturally as often as possible. Artificial methods can contribute significantly to hair damage - a consequence of which is hair loss.
- Get enough sleep and reduce your levels of stress since these are major contributors to hair loss.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet to provide the necessary nutrients required for faster hair growth.
If you follow these Ayurvedic tips and natural remedies discussed above, you can reverse your hair loss and regrow thicker, healthier hair.
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