Hair

Ayurveda Part 1: The science behind hair growth

I am in a lot of natural hair groups on Facebook. Mainly because when I started my natural hair journey I was clueless about a lot of things and these groups helped me so much. I would follow people's hair care questions and the comments. If I didn't get much clarity I'd take it further to research on the subject matter. The groups really helped me with the basics and also fueled my interest. Someone posted in one of the groups about Ayurveda. To be honest I thought it was another natural hair brand (I was completely clueless 🙈) until I read further in the comments and looked it up on google. I didn't really find many articles that explained in detail what Ayurveda is in relation to hair. Most were just lists of Ayurvedic herbs to use for hair and their benefits or a holistic definition which really didn't exactly answer my particular question. I then tasked myself to look into Ayurveda as a whole and then narrow it down to hair in particular in order to give other people like me a much better understanding. This can easily turn into a boring article that's why I decided to split it into parts so you can take breaks in between and resume later. I pray I keep you engaged. I do not want to exhaust you!!!!!!

WHAT IS AYURVEDA?

Ayu meaning life;

Veda meaning sacred knowledge

It is traditional Hindu medicine based on balancing the body's system using diet, yoga and herbal treatments. It is the herbal pastes and oil treatments in particular that are used for hair growth.

THE DOSHAS 

Doshas are three substances believed to be in the human body.  Ayurveda is based on the tenate that the body is healthy when the three doshas are balanced. The three elements are:
1. Vata 

Responsible for movement in the body

2. Pitta 

Responsible for digestion

3. Khapa 

Responsible for immunity 

I will explain the vata in detail as it contributes to hair growth.

THE ROLE OF THE VATA DOSHA

The vata dosha is responsible for the transportation of nutrients in the body. An imbalance of this dosha  may result in the inhibition of nutrients to your scalp and hair cells. According to Vaidya Manohar this lack of nourishment may lead to , "dry scalp, dry hair, split ends, and finally, thin hair or hair loss".
There are several panchakarma treatments one can use to increase and restore hair growth. These include the Shiroabhyanga and Shirolep.

WHAT IS SHIROABHYANGA?

It is an Ayurvedic head massage performed using scented oils. This hair and scalp treatment nourishes the roots and prevents excessive hair loss. The warm oil prevents a dry scalp. It also gives the hair lustre. They use oils like:

  • Coconut oil
  • Almond oil
  • Olive oil 
  • Sesame oil

These oils are infused with a few drops of essential oils like:

  • Rosemary oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Jasmine oil
  • Rose oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Neem oil

I have shared some oil combinations you can use and their benefits in part 2.  


WHAT IS SHIROLEP?

It's the application of medicated herbal pastes to the scalp and hair to promote hair growth. Examples of the herbal powders are:

  • Henna
  • Bhringraj 
  • Shikakai 
  • Amla 
  • Neem
  • Brahmi 

These powders are mixed with water, coconut milk or oils to make a smooth paste. 
I hope you found this article captivating and helpful. I have posted some DIY combinations of shirolep and shiroabhyanga here. Happy hair growing!!!!!
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Hair

ROSEWATER FOR HAIR

A spray bottle with a DIY concoction is a must have for every naturalista. From aloe juice to guava water, there are so many endless possibilities. My usual go-to mix is olive oil, glycerine and water. It works well for my hair but I felt it wasn’t good enough for my son’s and my niece’s hair. I wanted something that was well moisturizing and that would make their hair manageable. I began my search for the perfect mix and that’s how I stumbled upon the rosewater idea on Pinterest.
I always knew that you could use rosewater as a toner for your beauty regimen or a moisturising face mist before going to bed. I knew how revitalizing it is for skin so I was truly eager to see what it could do for hair. I really wanted to give it a try and the fact that I could make my own rosewater at home made this experiment even more interesting. I couldn’t wait to try it out. 
Method:

I took two roses, separated the petals and washed them before boiling them in half a cup of water. Once I brought the pot to boil, I let it simmer till the roses had turned from red to white. I allowed the water to cool before I strained it into my spritz bottle.

Rosewater spritz:

  • 1/2 cup rosewater
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons glycerine
  • 2 tablespoons of a light oil of your choice e.g coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil (I prefer olive oil)

The spritz can be used daily to moisturise your hair and scalp. You can even use it whilst your hair is in protective styling. I am using it on my niece who currently has African threading as her PS. For my son I use the rosewater spritz as his liquid when I do the LOC method. I usually keep his hair in two strand twists but lately I have been lazy so I have to keep his free hair moisturized all the time to prevent breakage. Their hair is now well moisturized and easy to comb. It also appears much healthier. My niece always used to have a flakey scalp but that seems to be a thing of the past now.
The Benefits of rosewater:

  • Revitalizes dry & brittle hair
  • It reduces build up on the scalp 
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce dandruff
  • It’s stimulating properties increase blood circulation and improve hair growth
  • It replenishes lost moisture 
  • It leaves hair smooth, shiny and healthy
  • It refreshes your scalp and adds a light fragrance 
  • Makes hair more manageable

I have noticed such great change that I am even tempted to switch my usual concoction for the rosewater as well. Try it out, it could turn out to be one of the best things you’ve ever tried! You can also play around with the measurements till you find what’s more suitable for your hair.

Social

The correlation between social media activity and an increase in crime and road accidents 

I was chatting to my mom and a question popped up in my head. What is going on in Zimbabwe and South Africa? There has been a tremendous increase in violent crime as well as deaths due to road accidents.
This year alone we’ve heard reports of spousal murder, girls being abducted and the most painful case for me was of the 22year old female who got gang raped in Johannesburg, South Africa in May. It’s one tragic story after another. In Zimbabwe recently we’ve had multiple road accidents. Four bus accidents that claimed lives in June alone. Two of the buses were SA bound and one was Zambia bound. There was also one involving a sprinter commuting locally between Harare and Bulawayo. The most recent of the accidents occurred today along the Harare-Mutare road and is said to have claimed nine lives.
I caught wind of all these cases via social media platforms, Facebook and WhatsApp. The murder of Karabo Mokoena (a young lady murdered by her boyfriend) was trending on Facebook, everyone was talking about it. Gruesome pictures of the car accidents were flooding my WhatsApp. We had all the details way before they were published in the newspapers. Nowadays I don’t even bother to buy one because I get whatever news on WhatsApp or Facebook as soon as it happens.
The effectiveness of social media as a tool to keep people informed has led me to this question. Are violent crimes and road accidents truly increasing at an exponential rate or are we just becoming more aware of what’s going on? It’s truly mind boggling. Has the crime and road accident rate always been high, just unreported? I don’t know, but it’s something worth thinking about and looking into. If we are just becoming more aware of the occurrences in our society due to the increase in our online presence then we have come a long way in terms of development. However, if crime and road accidents are truly increasing then our sense of security is truly in danger as we can not live in fear and we can not keep losing so many lives. Our governments and law enforcement sectors need to intervene so as to curb these problems. We also have to be cautious citizens ensuring our vehicles are road worthy and that we exercise extreme caution on the road especially when we have passengers’ lives in our hands.
I will continue to look deeper into this. If you have your own theories regarding this matter please feel free to share with me or add anything that may lead us to a sound conclusion.