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8 Powerful Ayurvedic Herbs for Hair Growth and Thickness

Updated: May 25

Are you dealing with hair loss or thinning hair?


Robert Svoboda in his book, "Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution," tells us that hair is an important measure of the body's and tissues' overall health (Svoboda, Loc 802).


Hair health is closely correlated to prana, the life-force energy (Svoboda, Loc 802), and vata dosha.



herbs for hair growth and thickness: back of woman showing her luxurious hair

Ayurveda offers us many herbs for hair growth and thickness.


This post will cover the connection between the hair and the doshas, tissues, and tastes, as well as these 8 powerful Ayurvedic herbs for hair growth and thickness:




Hair characteristics by doshas


Vata dosha hair


Herbs for Hair Growth and Thickness: woman with curly, kinky hair that is dark at  the roots

The hair of a vata dosha individual is usually dry, but because of vata's irregularity, the head and hair may have spots of oiliness (Svoboda, Loc 813).


Vata dosha hair is usually dark, coarse, rough, kinky-curly, and sometimes frizzy with tangles (Svoboda, Loc 813-814).


Vata individuals may notice their hair seems lusterless and dull with a tendency toward split ends and dandruff (Svoboda, Loc 814).


To learn more about vata dosha, read Vata Dosha Characteristics



Pitta dosha hair


Herbs for Hair Growth and Thickness: woman with straight pitta hair eating watermelon

Pitta individuals tend to have red, blonde, or light brown hair and may find themselves going white or grey at an early age (Svoboda, Loc 814).


Fine, thin, delicate, and straight hair indicates pitta dosha is predominant in the constitution (Svoboda, Loc 814).


Pitta dosha can create oiliness in the hair reducing the luster (Svoboda, Loc 814), and pitta individuals may need to wash their hair more often.


Balding early is also a sign of a pitta individual due to excess testosterone (Svoboda, Loc 814), which is common in pitta people.


To learn more about pitta dosha, read Pitta Dosha Characteristics



Kapha dosha hair


Herbs for Hair Growth and Thickness: woman with thick luxurious kapha type hair looking at the camera

Kapha dosha individuals have thick, luxurious, coarse, and wavy hair (Svoboda, Loc 814).


The hair tends to be brown to black and quite oily (Svoboda, Loc 814).


To learn more about kapha dosha, read What You Need to Know About Kapha Dosha Body Type


Dual constitution individuals


Most people's constitutions have a similar predominance of two of the doshas, and less of the third, but we all have all three doshas within us.


The way your doshic makeup will affect your hair is quite individual.


The characteristics listed above are a general guideline to understanding your hair based on the doshas.



How imbalanced doshas may affect the hair

Herbs for Hair Growth and Thickness: woman with dull, lifeless hair looking at her hair in dismay

Vata dosha


The qualities of vata dosha are dry, light, rough, cold, subtle, mobile, and clear.


An imbalance of vata dosha may lead to dry, frizzy hair with split ends and dandruff (Pole, 30).


Hair loss can be attributed to depletion caused by vata dosha.



Pitta dosha


The qualities of pitta dosha are slightly oily, sharp, hot, light, fleshy smelling, spreading, and liquefying.


When pitta dosha is out of balance, early greying of the hair and balding may happen (Pole, 30).


If sebaceous secretions that normally hold the hair tight become excessive the hair loses its grip and falls out-- a sign of pitta imbalance (Lad, 54).



Kapha dosha


The qualities of kapha dosha are heavy, slow/dull, cold, oily, smooth, dense, soft, stable/static, gross, and cloudy/sticky.


Kapha dosha out of balance may create excess oiliness of the hair (Pole, 30).


To learn more about the qualities mentioned above, read 20 Gunas (Qualities) of Ayurveda



The connection between the hair and the tissues of the body


Herbs for Hair Growth and Thickness: illustration of a skeleton to symbolize the connection between bones and hair in Ayurveda


The seven tissues (dhatus) of the body

  1. rasa dhatu--plasma/lymph

  2. rakta dhatu--blood

  3. mamsa dhatu--muscle

  4. meda dhatu--fat

  5. asthi dhatu--bone

  6. majja dhatu--bone marrow/nervous system

  7. shukra/artava dhatu--reproductive tissue for men/women


In the Ayurvedic theory of tissue development, the health of each of the seven tissues relies on the health of the other six tissues.


The tissues progressively feed one another from rasa dhatu (plasma/lymph) to shukra/artava dhatu (reproductive tissues) and they also affect each other in reverse order.


Hair is considered a "waste product" or "secretion" of asthi dhatu, the bones (Pole, 40).


A deficiency in any of the four tissues preceding asthi (bone) in the list above will affect the bones and, in turn, the hair.


Good digestion and nourishment of the seven tissues will ultimately lead to healthy hair.


Excessively high fat metabolism (possibly caused by over-exercise or overindulgent fasting) can deplete meda dhatu (fat) leading to hair loss and other degenerative diseases (Lad, 141).




Two of the six tastes that affect hair


Ayurveda tells us that there are six tastes.


We should have all of the six tastes in the diet at every meal for proper nutrition.


While all of the six tastes will affect health, and therefore the strength of the hair, the sweet taste is beneficial for healthy locks, and the salty taste in excess is not good for the hair.


Sweet taste


Herbs for Hair Growth and Thickness: a red apple representing the sweet taste

The sweet taste, when digested properly, will build all of the tissues and benefit hair growth and health (Pole, 63).


Sweet helps to cool the heat of pitta, which can also help reduce the balding and greying of hair (Pole, 63).


Remember that the sweet taste is not just sugar, it also includes grains, dairy, legumes, meat, sweet fruits, and sweet vegetables.


Salty taste


The salty taste in excess can lead to grey hair and baldness (Pole, 64).


The salty taste is composed of fire and water, the same qualities of which pitta dosha is constituted.


In Ayurveda, the general rule is that like increases like, and opposites reduce.


Therefore, the salty taste increases pitta dosha which may lead to the greying and balding of hair.


To learn more about the tastes, read 6 Tastes of Ayurveda: A Key to Balance



When considering herbs for hair growth and thickness...


Remember that Ayurveda does not just look at the manifesting symptoms.


The ancient healing system looks for the root cause of the disease.


Some of these herbs for hair growth and thickness will reduce pitta dosha which will help if your hair loss is due to excess pitta dosha in your body creating too much heat and "burning" the hair off the head.


Others of these herbs for hair growth and thickness will help to nourish the bones when there is a deficiency of asthi dhatu (bone tissue), which will help promote hair growth.


Your underlying cause for hair loss is important when choosing the correct herbs for hair growth and thickness to provide overall well-being.



Ayurvedic herbs for hair growth and thickness


1. Amalaki (Amla)--Indian Gooseberry


Herbs for Hair Growth and Thickness: amalaki fruit growing on a branch

Qualities: dry, light

Tastes: all of the tastes except salty; mostly sour, bitter, and astringent

Potency: cooling

Post-digestive effect: sweet

Doshas: tri-doshic, balances all 3 and increases ojas (Pole, 126)


Amla, one of the herbs for hair growth and thickness, is well-known as a tonic for beautiful tresses in the Ayurvedic tradition (Pole, 126).


This herb is famous for alleviating early greying and hair loss due to its propensity to rejuvenate the body and slow aging (Pole, 127).


It is especially beneficial when there is excess pitta heat "burning" the roots of the hair (Pole, 127) because it is cooling and has a special affinity for reducing pitta dosha.


Athreya herbs offers a nice Amalaki Powder.





2. Bhringaraja--The King of Hair


Qualities: dry, light

Tastes: bitter, pungent, sweet

Potency: cooling

Post-digestive effect: pungent

Doshas: tri-doshic, balances all 3 doshas (Pole, 141)


Bhringaraja, another of the herbs for hair growth and thickness, is known for reversing baldness and maintaining dark hair (Pole, 141).


This herb clears pitta heat from the head, reducing pitta's "burning" of the hair and alleviating alopecia (hair loss) (Pole, 141).


Bhringarja rejuvenates the bones (Pole, 141), and remember hair is a "waste product" or "secretion" of the bones, so strengthening the bones will help to nourish the hair.


This herb can be combined with amalaki, sariva (anantamul), and triphala when high pitta creates hair problems (Pole, 142).


Athreya Herbs also offers a nice Bhringaraja Powder.




3. Bibhitaki--One Who Keeps You Away from Disease


Herbs for Hair Growth and Thickness: a branch of a bibhitaki tree

Qualities: dry, light

Tastes: astringent, sweet

Potency: heating

Post-digestive effect: sweet

Doshas: tri-doshic, balances all 3 doshas (Pole, 145)


Bibhitaki's affinity for the head and upper body maintains hair growth making it another of the herbs for hair growth and thickness (Pole, 145).


Bibhitaki, along with amalaki and haritaki, is one of the three fruits in the famous triphala formulation.


Athreya Herbs offers a nice Bhibhitaki Powder.





4. Brahmi--Bacopa monniera



Qualities: light, spreading

Tastes: bitter, sweet

Potency: cooling

Post-digestive effect: sweet

Doshas: tri-doshic, balances all 3 doshas (Pole, 149)


Brahmi, one of the herbs for hair growth and thickness, is especially beneficial for hair vitality when applied topically as an Ayurvedic oil.


The Brahmi is cooked into the oil in a special Ayurvedic process.


Massaging Brahmi oil into the scalp helps to stimulate the scalp and promote hair growth.


Taking Brahmi internally will also help reduce pitta dosha due to its cooling effect and bitter and sweet tastes.


Athreya also offers Brahmi Powder.





5. Fenugreek


herbs for hair growth and thickness: fenugreek leaves

Qualities: light, unctuous

Tastes: pungent, astrigent, bitter, sweet

Potency: hot

Post-digestive effect: pungent

Doshas: reduces vata and kapha, and may increase pitta (Pole, 178)


Fenugreek, one of the herbs for hair growth and thickness, strengthens the bones (Pole, 178), which in turn will bolster the strength of the hair


Athreya Herbs is a supplier of Fenugreek Powder and Fenugreek Whole Seeds that I trust.




6. Gotu Kola--Indian pennywort


Qualities: dry, light

Tastes: bitter, astringent, sweet

Potency: cooling

Post-digestive effect: sweet

Doshas: tri-doshic, balances all 3 doshas (Pole, 187)


Gotu Kola, another one of the herbs for hair growth and thickness, is pitta reducing (Pole, 187) which helps in hair loss due to excessive pitta dosha in the body.


In addition, gotu kola can be used topically (like Brahmi) to help stimulate hair growth.



7. Jatamam(n)si--Indian spikenard


Qualities: light, unctuous, penetrating

Tastes: bitter, astringent, sweet

Potency: cooling

Post-digestive effect: pungent

Doshas: tri-doshic, balances all 3 doshas (Pole, 200)


Jatamam(n)si is an endangered herb, please make sure you purchase it from a sustainable source.


This herb, another one of the herbs for hair growth and thickness, prevents hair loss and greying while promoting hair growth (Pole, 200).


Jatamam(n)si is tri-doshic (balances all three doshas), but its cooling effect has a special affinity for pitta dosha.


Athreya herbs works to be sustainable, try their Jatamam(n)si Powder.




8. Tila--Sesame Seed


herbs for hair growth and thickness: sesame seeds

Qualities: heavy, unctuous

Tastes: sweet, pungent, astringent, bitter,

Potency: heating

Post-digestive effect: pungent

Doshas: vata balancing, may increase pitta and kapha (Pole, 277)


Sesame nourishes the bones (asthi) providing calcium for the bones and hair (Pole, 277).


Sesame can be eaten to improve bone health and promote healthy hair, or applied directly to the scalp as sesame oil to encourage hair growth.


Athreya Herbs offers high-quality Sesame Oil.





8 Powerful Ayurvedic Herbs for Hair Growth and Thickness


These are 8 powerful Ayurvedic herbs for hair growth and thickness:



Some will help balance pitta dosha to help in hair health, and others will help strengthen the bones to promote hair growth.


If you want to learn more about how to implement Ayurveda in your life, you can schedule an appointment for a consultation:






 

Pole, Sebastian. Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice. 2nd ed., Singing Dragon, 2013.


Svoboda, Robert. "Chapter 2 - Constitutional Characteristics." Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution. Kindle. Sadhana Publications, 1998.


Lad, Vasant M.A.Sc. Textbook of Ayurveda: Principles of Practice. 1st ed., vol. 1, The Ayurvedic Press, 2012.



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