Ayurveda, a holistic healing system that originated in India, emphasizes keeping the body in balance by natural means. There are many ayurvedic herbs used to stimulate hair growth, applied in the form of warmed oils massaged into the scalp and hair. In addition to promoting hair growth, ayurvedic oils are employed to condition hair, prevent dandruff and protect hair from the damaging effects of sunlight. Herbs -- even those applied topically -- can have side effects and interfere with prescription medications. Consult your doctor before using them.
Bhringraj, also known as Eclipta alba or false daisy, enjoys an honored place in ayurvedic hair remedies; the name literally translates to "king of tresses." Often mixed with sesame or coconut oil for use as a scalp massage and hair dressing, bhringraj is rich in protein. In addition to its use for stimulating new hair growth, it is also employed to restore color to black hair.
Brahmi, or Gotu Kola -- also called Indian pennywort and water hyssop -- is made from an aquatic perennial herb found growing in India. It is used ayurvedically for a cardiac tonic, but it is also prized for preventing premature hair loss and to increase the thickness and volume of hair. Brahmi oil is made by mixing brahmi with a base -- or carrier -- oil such as sesame oil, then applying the mixture to the scalp and hair. Brahmi oil is believed to calm the mind and nervous system while it nourishes locks.
Coconut oil is used in ayurvedic hair treatments on Pitta-type hair, or fine hair that is prone to thinning, fallout and premature graying. Often used as a carrier oil for other ayurvedic oils, such as amalaki, coconut is used to condition hair, stimulate growth and protect it from sun damage. According to the Hair Loss Expert website, coconut oil can slow down the hair-shedding process.
Almond oil is used ayurvedically to treat Vata-predominant hair, or hair that is thin, dry, frizzy and prone to split ends. Almond oil is rich in vitamin E and high in calcium and magnesium. It can be used by itself or as a carrier oil for other ayurvedic oils. It is used to add luster, shine and strength, as well as to control hair loss.
Neem Seed Oil
Neem seed oil -- or Azadica Indica -- has been used in India cosmetically and medicinally for thousands of years. Neem oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, and has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Neem oil, which tends to solidify at room temperature, is usually combined with olive oil as a carrier oil for ease of application, and employed in scalp and hair massage. It is used to enrich hair, stimulate hair growth and prevent dandruff.
Sesame oil, usually used for Vata-type hair, is rich in manganese and copper, as well as calcium and vitamin B1. In addition to its protective antioxidant effects, it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. According to the Natural Holistic Health website, it can help prevent dandruff and nourish the scalp, and it helps to protect hair from chlorine.
Amalaki -- or Indian gooseberry, also called amla -- is used for Kapha hair, which tends to be thick and oily, as well as for Vata and Pitta hair. High in vitamin C, tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids, amalaki is considered purifying, and is used for rejuvenating hair, warding off thinning and premature graying, adding body to hair and stimulating growth.