Ayurvedic Hair Care – Principles, Herbs, Oils And Medicines

Ayurvedic hair care concepts cover all the aspects of hair health – growth promotion, natural colour management and prevention of hair fall. Ayurvedic classical literature emphasizes the utility of various herbal compounds in hair care. This interesting factor is dealt in very subtle way but with deepest classical back ground.   

Ayurvedic hair care

Hair in Ayurveda

Hair is the sub tissue (Upa Dhatu) of Asthi (bone tissue) ; some consider it as the mala (by product/waste derivative) of Shukra dhatu (reproductive system).

Hair wash powder

Ideal combination of herbs to make hair wash powder:
Reeta, triphala, bhringaraj and hibiscus powders – all can be taken in equal parts and made into combination. This can be used as hair pack and also to wash hair.

Basic elements of hair

In the origin and development of hair, there is significant need of Prithvi (earth element) and Akasha (space/ether) Mahabhoota. During the process of formation and development of hair, the successive role of other tissues can also be estimated; because, though its origin begins at the earliest for its appearance it takes much time. So the role of later dhatus like asthi and shukra can be well judged by this.

Hair improvement functions

As far as the matter of hair and its growth is concerned, once again we can reduce the need of nutrition and essential body requirements as it is formed/derived from the later tissues.This is explained with the broad heading of Keshya concept. The word ‘keshya’ is suggestive of ‘keshaaya hitam yat tat’.It means that which is good for hair. So the goodness of hair can be understood by three perspectives like-
1. Kesha sanjanana-that which helps in the origin of hair
2. Kehsha vardhana-that which promotes hair growth or which makes hair dense and thick
3. Kesha ranjana – that which gives dark black color to the hair.

Kesha sanjanana

For the purpose of kasha sanjanana ie origin of hair, there is a need of the substances which help to promote the asthi and shukra dhatus as the hair is directly linked with these tissues as explained earlier. For the enrichment of asthi (bone tissue), prithvi (earth element) and akasha (ether) mahabhootas are very essential.

In this regard, the food and beverages which are Madhura(sweet) and Lavana(salt), Kashaya (astringent taste) are very essential. Likewise,to strengthen the Shukra Dhatu, Madhura(sweet) and Katu (pungent) rasa substances are indeed needed. Thus for the origin of hair, much nutrition is essential and there is need of a balanced diet too. These are the Ayurvedic herbs for hair growth
a. Vatama- Badam
b. Kajutaki- Cashew nut
c. Bhallataka beejamajja-Marking nut seed pulp
d. Narikela -Coconut pulp/milk
e. Jyotishmati – Celastrus paniculata
f. Sprouted wheat or wheat germ oil etc

Following preparations are helpful for the origin of hair (Kesha sanjanana)-
1.Vatama taila/Badam tail
2.Jyotishmati taila
3.Hastidanta masi (application) along with Rasanjana
4.Godhuma taila/Wheat germ oil
5. Chemparutyadi keram

Above formulations are helpful in case of baldness, hair fall, itching of the scalp etc too.

Kesha vardhana

Kesha vardhana – Hair growth promoters 
For the promotion of growth of hair,the medicaments rich in snigdha (unctuousness), guru(heaviness), manda(slowness), sheeta(cold) and sthira(stable) qualities are essential.

Madhura(sweet), amla(sour) and slight kashaya (astringent) dominant substances contribute this benefit.If any drug with other taste and quality are to be included for added benefits,it is taken care that it is compensated well by the other herbal ingredients. Usually, the sesame oil or coconut oil which are used as the bases serve this purpose well.

Herbs for hair growth

Following herbs promote hair growth –
a. Methika (Fenugreek)
b. Vatankur (tender buts /aerial roots of vata-Ficus bengalensis)
c. Malati (Jasminum grandiflorum)
d. Kumari (Aloe vera)
e. Narikela (Coconut pulp/milk)
f. Japa (Hibiscus)
g. Amalaki (Amla/gooseberry)
h. Kamala (lotus)
i. Bhumyamalaki -Phyllanthus indica etc

Ayurvedic formulations

Following preparations are helpful for the promotion of hair growth (Kesha sanjanana)-
1. Chemparutyadi keram/taila
2. Amalaki taila/keram
3. Malatyadi taila/keram
4. Kayyunyadi taila/keram
5. Utpaladi tailam
The above formulations are helpful in arresting  thinning of hair, splitting of  hair, burning of the scalp, premature graying of hair, hair fall etc

Kesha ranjana

Kesha ranjana – restoring natural hair colour 
Dark, long and black hair is the dream of every individual. Imparting good colour ie Kesha ranjana is possible by the substances which promote the Ranjaka Pitta and Bhrajaka pitta (pigmenting units derived from the Pitta -as per Ayurveda).Usually the herbal drugs (even mineral substances too) possessing unctuousness (snigdhaguna), teekshna (penetrative), ushna (warm/hot), laghu (light), Sara(motile) properties are beneficial in this respect.
Astringent(Kashaya) and bitter (tikta) herbal ingredients contribute this health benefit.
Few of the herbal drugs possessing this nature are-
a. Bhringaraja-Eclipta alba
b. Madayantika-Lawsonia inermis
c. Neeli-Indigofera trinctoria
d. Sharapunkha-Tephrosia purpuria
e.Amalaki-Amla-Emblica officinalis
f.Emblica myrobalan-Haritaki

Following medicines serve as Ayurvedic cure for giving dark black color to the hair (Kesha ranjana)-
1. Neelibhringadi taila
2. Bhringaraja taila
3. Amalakyadi taila
4. Chemparutyadi taila
5. Neelinyadi taila
6.Manjishthadi taila etc

These kind of medicaments are helpful in preventing the premature graying of hair, curling of hair, reddening of hair etc.
So it is very essential to look into the actual problem behind the hair and simple usage of hair care tonics, lotions, shampoo or oil may not fulfill the need. Your Ayurvedic physician will do this job in judicial way.

Is Shampoo Hair Wash Okay To Do After Ayurvedic Hair Oil Application?

Hair oil combination

100 ml each of coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, almond oil and castor oil are mixed with 2 handfuls of dry or fresh amla and 2 handfuls of curry leaves with few small onions. Oil is then prepared by heating all these on a slow fire, filtered.

Article by Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD (Ayu) and Dr Hebbar.


Ayurveda stress on daily hair oil application. But not washing hair every day ( even with herbal wash) cause hair fall?
For daily use, half a teaspoon of oil can be applied and no need to wash this off daily as the oil quantity is very less.
Once or two times in a week, one can apply 1 tablespoon of hair oil, leave it on overnight or for at least 1 hour and then wash off with hair wash powder or shampoo.
Read related: How And When To Apply Hair Oil? Ayurveda Details

People in Kerala do not use shampoo, but rinse their oily hair with water- doesn’t leaving oily hair cause headaches and hair fall?
Kerala is a very hot and humid place. There, the washed hair gets dried very quickly. Hence, for them, it is fine to continue this way.
If one lives in cold places or during winter, it is best to use hair wash powder or shampoo to wash off applied hair oil.

Shaving of head is done for kids but is there any positive effect in terms of hair regrowth if head is shaved in adults (mainly women)?
Shaving head exposes the roots of the hair and scalp. This makes it easy for the oils to enter deep and show their impact. So, if one is comfortable shaving their head, it is best to do so, to grow thicker hair with suitable oil application.
Read related: How To Select Hair Oil For Yourself? Choices And Examples

How Much Time For Ayurvedic Hair Oils To Show Results?

3 comments on “Ayurvedic Hair Care – Principles, Herbs, Oils And Medicines

  • va

    29/09/2018 - 12:55 am


    Could you please clarify if kesh ranjana darken the hair to black or restore the natural color of hair? Are kesh ranjana herbs suitable for blondes?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      24/10/2018 - 3:29 pm

      Kesha Ranjana means restoring the natural colour. From the list, the below herbs are suitable for blondes.

      a. Bhringaraja-Eclipta alba
      b. Sharapunkha-Tephrosia purpuria
      c. Amla – Indian gooseberry.

      Reply to comment
  • MITA

    30/09/2018 - 7:55 am

    some words can’t understand. some sanskrit words,so pl. translate into english. thanks.

    Reply to comment

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