Herbs are a great way to boost hair growth, restore moisture and enhance its texture and shine.
Unlike synthetic chemicals, that may cause more harm than good, herbs contain plant nutrients which are both gentle and nourishing for the hair.
For thousands of year, people from all regions have been using herbs to grow strong and healthy hair.
And they are equally important even today.
You often hear so and so hair product is enriched with aloe vera, nettle or rosemary. Herbs are very much in and will always be due to their fabulous effects on hair.
You can use them in various ways: to moisturise and condition hair, restore luster and bounce, soothe scalp irritation, relieve dandruff, lighten or darken your hair color, provide deep cleansing, or stimulate the scalp to boost hair growth.
In this article, I list the most beneficial herbs for hair from around the world and how to use them….
Rosemary is one of the top herbs for hair growth. If you want to keep your hair healthy and vibrant forever, make it a part of your hair care routine. This aromatic plant is packed with tons of antioxidants which help fight against free radicals – that are responsible for greying as well as thinning of hair.
The revitalising properties of rosemary add shine and increase bounciness and silkiness of the hair. Rosemary is also a good natural remedy for treating dandruff, itchiness, and scalp irritation.
Besides, this ancient herb is said to boost memory and lift your mood.
How to use:
There are so many ways you can use rosemary:
Apply Rosemary hair rinse to stimulate hair growth
Use Rosemary hair serum for thinning hair
Make Rosemary oil or Rinse for greying hair
Nettle, also called as stinging nettles or bicchu buti in India, is actually a weed that grows freely in Europe and northern Asia. This herb is rich in vitamins A, C, K, pantothenic acid, iron, silica, and omega-3 fatty acids — all amazing stuff for your hair.
Nettle is a traditional remedy for hair loss, including male and female pattern baldness and alopecia areata. It encourages hair growth by stimulating the scalp and improving circulation.
Being an astringent, nettle reduces over oily scalp and hair. It also works great as a volumising treatment for hair and will add strength, lustre and incredible fullness to your hair.
How to use:
Make a nettle hair rinse to promote growth, and add volume and thickness to your hair. See how to do here.
Drinking nettle tea may also help battle hair loss, as iron and other vitamins nourish hair from within, in turn improving hair growth. (Buy nettle tea here)
Nettle also helps with dandruff due to oily scalp. Add 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to a cup of nettle tea and use as a final rinse.
More DIY with nettle here
3. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
If you have been reading this blog for some time, you know that amla will be next. It is my favourite herb for hair.
Amla has played a key role in the long, thick, and beautiful hair of India women. This Indian berry is a rich source of vitamin C and contains an array of other powerful antioxidants that help to rejuvenate your hair and promote stronger and healthier growth. Amla also helps to pacify pitta dosha (or excess body heat), which can cause hair loss and early greying.
With excellent conditioning properties, amla nourishes and moisturises hair, and adds amazing shine and texture to it.
How to use:
Apply homemade Amla hair oil to condition hair and boost hair growth.
Use Amla hair rinse to get rid of grey hair
You can also take Amla powder supplement for great hair and health
4. Fenugreek seeds (methi)
Fenugreek is not just an aromatic spice, but has amazing medicinal and beauty benefits.
Fenugreek works for all hair types. It provides natural proteins, vitamin C and other nutrients for the nourishment and growth of hair. This herb is also a great alternative to store bought conditioner, thanks to its high mucilage content – which provides slip like conditioner and makes detangling very easy. Regular use of fenugreek in a hair rinse or deep conditioner mask will soften your hair, increase manageability, and restore lustre and bounce.
Plus, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help with dandruff, scalp irritation, eczema and acne.
How to use:
make Fenugreek hair rinse to condition your hair
use fenugreek with yogurt to promote hair growth (see Miracle hair mask recipe)
Add fenugreek to homemade hair oil, see here and here
You can also include Fenugreek seeds as a supplement in your curries or soups.
5. Aloe Vera
In ayurveda, aloe vera is said to be an important remedy for hair fall, dandruff, scalp irritation, and eczema. Besides, many cultures around the world use aloe vera to keep their hair healthy and beautiful.
With tons of vitamins and antioxidants, aloe vera nourishes the hair follicles and stimulates hair growth. Aloe also coats the hair strand and adds volume and texture, and makes hair feel thicker.
This succulent plant is renowned for its soothing and cooling properties that relieve redness and irritation. Besides, aloe vera is a powerful health tonic, it helps with cell rejuvenation and keeps you looking and feeling young.
How to use:
Aloe vera hair growth blend: Mix equal quantities of aloe vera and olive oil and massage into your scalp. Let it absorb for an hour before washing it out. This combination can be used by all hair types: It deep conditions hair and makes it smoother, silkier, and healthier.
You can make Aloe leave-in conditioner, see the recipe here
Take Aloe vera juice supplement for hair and overall health.
Lime is famous for Vitamin C, but it’s also good for hair. The ancient Egyptians used lemon as a shampoo to remove dirt and grease from the hair.
The astringent and clarifying effects of lime make it ideal for people with oily hair. It won’t clean like a shampoo, maybe the Egyptians mixed it with clay or something to use as a shampoo.
Lime also has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties which help with dandruff, scalp acne and other scalp problems. Along with antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids, lime also contains folate and pantothenic acid – the stuff you hear in hair growth products. It strengthens the hair follicles and makes hair long and strong.
How to use:
Lime juice rinse works great in hard water, removing any cal or product buildup. Here’s how to use.
You can also use lime juice to treat dandruff. Mix 2 tablespoon olive oil (or coconut oil) with 1 tablespoon lime juice. Massage into your scalp and let it sit for an hour before washing it out.
You can add few drop of lime juice to your drinking water and get its yummy goodness.
Last but not least, use lime to lighten your hair. Mix 1 tablespoon lime juice with ½ cup of water. Spray on your hair and let it soak in for a couple of hours. Sitting in sun will speed up the process. Repeat once a week until you get desired results.
Famed for its high silica content, horsetail strengthens the hair shaft and keeps hair shiny and healthy. I love using this herb in my DIY hair rinses.
Rinsing your hair with horsetail tea may help with thinning hair, prevent split ends and encourage faster hair growth.
How to use:
Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of horsetail leaves in boiling water, then reduce the heat and allow the tea to steep for about 5 minutes, strain and use. You can also add other hair nourishing herbs like marshmallow root, oat straw and nettle to it.
You can also make horsetail and marshmallow moisturising & detangling spray.
Bhringraj or Eclipta Alba is another fantastic ayurvedic herb for hair loss and premature greying of hair. It is considered as the “king of herbs” for hair growth because of its ability to rejuvenate and nourish hair. A regular use of Bhringraj can make hair grow darker and thicker, and also add shine and softness to it.
I have seen it myself, one of my relatives used bhringraj powder mixed with coconut oil, brahmi and amla his grey hair reduced remarkably in one years’ time.
How to use:
You can use bhringraj in a hair mask. Mix 1 teaspoon each of bhringraj powder, brahmi powder, amla powder, shikakai powder with water to form a paste (you can also use coconut milk or yogurt as the base of the mask). Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes, then wash as usual.
Make bhringraj hair oil: Mix 1 teaspoon bhringraj powder with 2 tablespoon coconut oil, warm slightly in a pan and apply to your scalp and hair. Let it sit for an hour and wash off.
You can also add bhringraj powder to henna paste to dye your hair.
Bhringraj is a great liver tonic, and a healthy liver equals healthy hair. You can take half teaspoon bhringraj powder with ghee or honey or drink it with warm water (Note: Before taking bhringraj powder internally please consult an ayurvedic doctor).
9. Marshmallow root
Native to Europe, Western Asia and North Africa, marshmallow has a wide variety of healing and beauty benefits. It is particularly beneficial for those with dry, coarse, curly hair, and also if you have a sensitive scalp.
The entire plant, particularly the root is rich in mucilage (slippery substance) which helps to soften the hair naturally while providing easy slip when combing. With regular use, you will notice that your hair is more flexible and less prone to frizz and flyaways.
Due to its soothing and cooling properties, marshmallow is extremely effective to combat itchy, irritated scalp conditions. Marshmallow also provides natural proteins for the nourishment and health of hair and makes hair grow faster, thicker and shinier.
How to use:
Make a Mashmallow hair rinse. It helps to moisturise both scalp and hair.
You can also combine it with horsetail grass to make a softening and hair strengthening rinse (see here).
Or combine it with nettle leaf to make a hair conditioning and volumizing rinse.
Shikakai literally means ‘fruit for the hair.’ It has been used in India for centuries as a cleansing and conditioning agent – it’s nature’s own 2 in 1 shampoo plus conditioner. Shikakai gently cleans hair and increases bounciness and silkiness of hair. What I also like about shikakai is that it is naturally pH balancing and helps to keep the scalp healthy and dandruff free.
How to use:
You can use shikakai to make a natural shampoo.
Or make a shikakai hair rinse
You can also use shikakai in a hair growth Mask
Buy shikakai powder here
11. Brahmi (Gotu Kola)
Brahmi is an excellent hair growth promoter. It’s regenerative properties help repair hair follicles as well as strengthen the scalp tissue to encourage healthy hair growth. Brahmi also supports scalp circulation which in turn nourishes hair follicles and reduces hair loss.
Plus, the calming effects of brahmi can reduce tension and calm the mind, thus improving the quality of sleep at night.
How to use:
Use Homemade brahmi oil for a head massage.
Another way to use brahmi is as a hair mask. Mix 1 tablespoon each of brahmi powder, amla powder and fenugreek powder with yogurt (or coconut milk) to form a paste. Let them steep for 15 minutes. Then apply to your scalp and hair and help it sit for 10-20 minutes, before washing it out.
You can also use brahmi as a gentle hair wash. Mix 1 teaspoon brahmi powder, 1 teaspoon amla powder and 1 tablespoon shikakai powder with water to form a runny paste. Use as you would use a regular shampoo, leave it on for 2 to 3 minutes and wash out with water.
Have you tried any of these herbs? How do they work on your hair?
Next week, we will see herbs for Blonde Hair