Loosing excessive hair can be detrimental to one’s self confidence and personal ego; compelling individuals to seek either curative or preventive measures. With no prominent side effects, homeopathy and ayurveda as hair loss remedies is gaining ground.
The most common hair loss conditions are alopecia areata, alopecia universalis (Ruhya in Ayurveda), alopecia totalis (Inderlupt in Ayurveda), traction alopecia, tinea capitis, trichotillomania, male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness. Besides, other medical disorders and syndromes could lead to hair loss.
To arrive at the best hair loss solution, it is equally important to understand and pinpoint the causes of hair loss, more from the medical point of view rather than mere belief on cosmetic alterations. This thought is more prevalent in the alternative mode of treatment where a holistic approach is taken to breakdown health anomalies as per an individual’s constitution.
The challenge for alternative health practitioners in addressing hair loss begins with understanding the nature and cause of the ailment which differ from one individual to the other. Following the holistic approach, causes are categorized as genetic, physical, emotional, and hormonal or placed under other stress-related patterns. The rate of cure depends on this factor which again varies from one individual to the other. Accordingly, therapy is induced; topical when required but primarily through internal medicine.
Patient history is very important while addressing hair loss in homeopathy and ayurveda. This ensures that the right treatment is given and the correct potency of medicine is prescribed. Follow-ups are very important for such treatments as the potency of medicine needs to be varied from time to time and is dependent on the most current health constitution of the patient.
Addressing genetically induced male pattern baldness is a challenge. This type of balding pattern is inherited when hair loss typically leads to a receding hairline; revealing a gradual bald pate on the top of the head. Homeopaths sometimes find it difficult to treat such baldness pattern and one advice given to patients is to try other cosmetic modes of therapy such as hair transplant or hair weaving.
Some remedial medicines as per Boericke’s Materia Medica for treating acute baldness of hair where immediate causes are known include fluoric acid, graphitis, phosphorous and sepia. For baldness in patches, measured potency of Calcarea Carb, phosphorous and graphitis is administered. For excessive dryness, potent dosage of Thuja, Calcaria Carb, Kali Carb and phosphorous is prescribed. For hair loss during menopause, sepia is typically administered.
Post-partum loss of hair is treated with adequate doses of lycopodium, sulphur, Natrum Muriaticum (rock salt, sodium chloride) and sepia. For pregnancy related hair loss, Lachesis is prescribed. For hair loss ‘in handfuls’, phosphorous and sulphur are commonly prescribed. Hair loss ‘in spots’ is treated with Apis Mellifica, Arsenic Alba, Calcaria, fluoric acid and phosphorous. Phosphoric acid is used to treat hair loss due to grief.
These naturally occuring medicines are prescribed to strengthen an individual’s constitution with the aim to help arrest hair loss by correcting the constitution of an individual to the desired level. Self medication in homeopathy is not advisable as there are no disease specific medicines in homeopathy. The treatment is directly proportional to the “in-depth” evaluation of the patient at regular intervals.
In Ayurveda, the concept of early hair loss is related to one’s body type and optimizes the balance between mind and the body’s constitution (correcting the imbalance of one’s doshas). Ayurveda believes that every individual bears harmony with one of the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. Ayurvedic treatment therefore aims to combat disease by harmonizing treatment as per the patient’s doshas to cure the ailment. Poor circulation to the scalp is amongst the main factors contributing to hair loss. Oily and tightness of the scalp, is related to stress and poor diet and is treated accordingly.
To treat hair loss, ayurveda combines a regime of balanced diet, use of natural herbs, oil massage, meditation, aromatherapy, breathing and yoga. Almond or coconut oil massage is prescribed for dry scalp which could lead to hair fall due to dandruff or excessive dry scalp.
It is understood that too much of pitta dosha in the body leads to hair ailments. Aloe Vera juice is recommended in effectively reducing the amount of pitta from the body and suggested as a remedy for hair thinning. Other remedial measures recommended are rinsing hair in water saturated and boiled with Azadirachta indica or neem leaves. A combination of honey and egg yolk to massage the scalp is beneficial for a receding hair line.
A combination of oils made from the leaves of Eclipta alba or ‘bhringraj’, corals, Indian gooseberry or amla and black sesame can be applied to reduce hair loss. Daily consumption of white sesame seeds can help arrest the onset of
rapid hair loss. A diet intake of soya beans, whole grains, nuts, milk, salads, fruits, leafy vegetables is effective to prevent hair loss.
It is best to avoid fried, oily, greasy, spicy, sour, and acidic foods. Excessive intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, meat and excessive smoking aggravates pitta and needs to be avoided to heal the symptoms of hair loss.
Other herbal or natural remedies that can help prevent hair loss are Satavari or Asparagus racemosus which is used to energize the scalp. It also nourishes the hair shaft to help produce stronger and thicker hair. Giloy or Tinospora cordifolia helps in enhancing protective action of the white blood cells.
It also helps to open up blocked capillaries and provides nourishment to hair follicles.Varahikand or Dioscorea bulbifera strengthens hair and skin. Consumption of til or Sesamum indicum, sonth or Zingiber officinale, pipli or Piper longum, jatamansi or Tribulus terrestris in one’s diet is beneficial in repairing hair loss. Sugarcane extract can help arrest hair loss.
Homeopathy or ayurveda can be effective in hair loss only for those who have the patience to follow a supervised cohesive plan. Although loosing hair can be a nightmare, relying too much on off-the-shelf or OTC preparations without supervision can lead to irreparable damage!