It seems that the U.S. Presidency comes with an unpleasant side effect: gray hair. Less than one year into his term, President Obama's hair has turned visibly gray. It happened to his many predecessors, too. Did you know that the condition of your hair actually reveals a lot about the level of stress in your life? Chinese medicine attributes many hair issues to a decline in your vital essence, brought on by stress, overwork, physical and emotional strain, an unhealthy lifestyle, and too much alcohol.
While stress reduction is at the forefront of most of our minds these days, what can you do if your hair woes are already showing up on your head? Read on to find out the best ways to remedy graying hair, hair loss, and dandruff, and learn how to get a shiny, healthy head of hair!
Here are recommendations for graying hair:
- Eat for hair health. The Chinese have long discovered that black sesame seeds, black beans, and walnuts reverse graying. For healthy and shiny hair, eat foods everyday that are rich in essential fatty acids and omega-rich nutrients: flaxseed oil, sesame oil, olive oil, virgin coconut oil, avocado, beans, nuts and seeds.
- Chinese herbs for graying hair. "Shou wu" (also called "fo-ti" or polygonum root) is a hair nurture supplement available in Asian herb stores, used to restore hair growth and reverse graying. Rich in vitamin E and the B-complex vitamins, Shou wu has many other health benefits: It supports healthy estrogen profiles in women, stimulates red blood cell production, builds your immune system, maintains healthy cholesterol levels, and improves intestinal regularity.
- Color your hair naturally. If you want to dye your hair, use the following natural colorants: Henna works well for shades of light brown and red, coffee or black tea may be used by brunettes, and chamomile and lemon juice can color light hair.
Hair growth is affected by the hormonal system, in particular the androgenic hormones, which include testosterone and a derivative of testosterone called DHT. It is normal to lose around 100 hairs each day, which are replaced within days. However, as we age, our hormone levels fluctuate and start to decline. This reduces the stimulus to the hair follicles and results in hair loss. In Chinese medicine, hair loss is thought to be caused by activities that deplete your vital essence: stress, physical and emotional strain, an unhealthy lifestyle, and alcohol--all of which hasten your hormonal decline.
Here are some hair replenishing remedies:
- Ginger juice helps hair loss. Massage your scalp with fresh ginger juice. Squeeze a 1-inch chunk of ginger root in a garlic press to yield juice. Rub the fresh ginger juice into affected part of scalp. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse it out--or leave it on overnight to stimulate the hair follicles.
- Arbovita replenishes hair. Apply the Chinese herb arborvita to stimulate follicles, improve blood flow, and strip away root-clogging oils. I have used this herb for my patients over the last twenty years with very good success. It is found in Hair Tonic, a topical solution. Other Chinese herbs traditionally used for hair loss include eclipta, shou wu, ginger, and sesame. For a natural herbal blend that combines all these herbs to nourish hair follicles and promote healthy hair, try Hair Nurture Formula.
- Stimulate blood flow. Try this Dao In Massage exercise, which I recommend to all my hair-loss patients. This local stimulation can help invigorate blood circulation. Sit comfortably on a chair. Using the tips of all 10 fingers, gently tap the head all over, stimulating the scalp for about one minute. Begin with light force and gently increase to moderate strength. Then massage the scalp with both hands for 2 minutes, gently at first and then more vigorously taking care not to pull out hair. Straighten the fingers of your right hand, and with the palm side of fingers gently tap all over the scalp 36 times. Repeat with your left hand, another 36 times. To get the best results, do this exercise twice a day.
It's normal to have some degree of dandruff. Your scalp undergoes regular regeneration and dead skin is shed to allow new skin to grow. This flaking can become worse when hormonal imbalances, stress, and improper diet come into play. Dandruff is at its worst during winter and fall, when the air tends to be dry.
Remedies for scalp issues:
- Apply aloe gel. Squeeze aloe juice directly from the stem of the plant and massage into the scalp once a day, preferably before bedtime, for an entire month. You can get better results by leaving the aloe on overnight and rinsing it out in your morning shower.
- A baking soda head scrub. In the shower, wet your hands and scrub baking soda vigorously into your scalp. After rinsing it out, massage Tonic Oil- containing the oils of wintergreen, eucalyptus, and menthol-into your scalp. Leave this on for 10 minutes before shampooing.
- Soak your scalp in green tea. Prepare a mild green tea, and soak your scalp in it for 10 minutes, shampooing out with olive oil, avocado oil, or hypoallergenic shampoo.
For extremely flaky dandruff and dry skin, I often recommend to my patients our Exquisite Skin Chinese herbal formula.
TIPS FOR SHINY, HEALTHY HAIR
Whatever your hair issues, these will boost your overall hair and head health:
- Nourish your hair. For shiny hair, mash a ripe avocado, massage it into your hair and scalp, and leave it on for 1 to 2 hours once a week.
- Brush bad hair days away. Be like a renowned Chinese empress who had a full head of beautiful hair at the end of her long life, the result of a daily 500-stroke hair brushing. Using a natural-bristle brush, spread your hair's natural oils with full strokes from the scalp down the to tips, 100 strokes every evening. Studies show steady massage and brushing over time stems hair loss, promotes hair growth, and generally improves hair quality.
- Less stress. For all hair and scalp problems, a daily program of stress reduction exercises and meditation can help regulate your energy and strengthen your essence.
- Go natural. Eliminate hair care products that contain harsh chemicals, which can damage hair roots and strip vital nutrients from the follicles. Use only products with natural ingredients.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
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