A beautiful, lustrous, and healthy mane is often associated with good health and well-being. As an essential part of your appearance, it can be a significant part of your identity. Over the years, you may have tried various kinds of specialized shampoos, hair treatments, serums, or even hair packs, but the results may not have been what you desired.
The world-renowned ancient and holistic wisdom of Ayurveda believes that your hair is a reflection of your constitution or physical state. To keep your mane healthy, ancient Ayurvedic texts recommend various techniques, one of them being the use of dosha-specific oils. There is a special significance given to oils derived from natural herbs. Amongst them, ancient Ayurvedic scholars believe bhringraj stands out as a clear winner.
In this article, let's deep-dive into understanding bhringraj, its overall health benefits as per your dosha, and the innumerable medicinal benefits it offers to your hair.
First off, what is bhringraj?
As part of the sunflower family, bhringraj or Eclipta prostrata comes from a plant known as false daisy. This miraculous Ayurvedic herb, native to Thailand, India, Nepal, and Brazil, is also known as 'Kesharaja' or 'king of the hair.' As a rasayana (rejuvenating) and keshya (hair growth-enhancing) herb, it has been used in hair care for its unique ability to promote hair growth and overall strength.
The Ayurvedic properties of bhringraj are:
Rasa (taste): Katu (pungent) and Tikta (bitter)
Guna (physical property): Laghu (lightweight) and Ruksha (dry)
Virya (composition): Ushna (hot)
Vipaka (metabolic property): Katu (pungent)
The sacred texts of Raj Nighantu specify the three classifications of bhringraj based on its nature: Shweta Bhringraj (white-hued blossoms), Peet Bhringraj (yellow-hued blossoms), and Neel Bhringraj (blue-hued blossoms). Although each one of these is used to produce oil, the most commonly used one is Shweta Bhringraj or the white-hued blossom. This herb can be used in the form of a taila (oil), churna (powder), or supplement for maximum benefits.
Bhringraj is known to be tridoshic in nature, which means it helps balance all the doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Owing to its bitter and pungent taste, it calms the Vata dosha, while its hot potency helps balance the Kapha dosha. It is especially effective in pacifying the Pitta as well.
While combining the bitter and cooling properties of bhringraj, it acts as a rejuvenating tonic and works throughout the tissue layers (rakta dhatu). This herb cools the fiery Pitta that can affect hair follicles and cause hair thinning and greying.
Understanding the Ayurvedic benefits of bhringraj
Although bhringraj is primarily known for its rejuvenating properties and hair growth-promoting effects, its benefits extend way beyond luscious locks. Some of the Ayurvedic benefits it offers to the body are:
- To soothe migraine and frequent headaches: Studies have proven that owing to its high magnesium content and soothing properties, bhringraj can reduce the symptoms of stress headaches or shiro ruja. You can choose to apply it to your forehead, massage it into your scalp, or try the nasal application for relief.
- For better functioning of the liver: As one of the largest organs of the body, the liver plays a key role in flushing out ama or toxins. As a liver tonic, bhringraj contains demethyl-wedelolactone and wedelolactone compounds that can help protect the liver against damage while promoting anti-toxic activities that regenerate liver cells. You can mix bhringraj powder with buttermilk or honey to treat liver disorders.
- To improve metabolism: Bhringraj helps improve metabolism owing to its deepan (appetizer) and pachan (digestive) properties. Ayurvedic scholars call bhringraj jatharagni deepaka or 'the one that stimulates digestive fire'. The proper consumption and use of bhringraj can help absorb food better, assimilate it, and aid the excretion of waste. You can add bhringraj churna (powder) to water and consume it every day.
- To help control high blood sugar: Bhringraj has been traditionally used to control blood sugar or diabetes. It has properties that help stimulate the production of insulin in the body, A scientific study has proven that the consumption of this herb can significantly reduce blood sugar levels by an average of 17.8%. Ayurvedic scholars recommend mixing equal quantities of bhringraj powder with babool flower powder and consuming it every day.
- For improved heart health: Bhringraj helps promote a healthy heart. It has been proven to help control blood pressure and regulate cholesterol in the body. The consumption of this Ayurvedic herb also helps in the reduction of triglycerides that trigger heart conditions. You can mix bhringraj leaf extract with honey and consume it for better heart health.
- For the treatment of cognitive disorders: A scientifically proven lab test indicates that when bhringraj is combined with ashwagandha, it can reduce oxidative stress in the brain and improve memory in conditions such as Alzheimer's. The cooling action of bhringraj can help calm the mind, alleviate stress, and support deep sleep. Massaging bhringraj taila (oil) on the scalp can help provide relief from stress and improve memory over time.
- For glowing and healthy skin: When bhringraj churna (powder) or taila (oil) is applied topically, bhringraj helps soothe inflamed skin. This is due to its anti-inflammatory properties. This reduces acne and helps soothe skin affected by psoriasis and dermatitis. It also helps prevent bacterial infection. As a rasayana (rejuvenating) herb, it also has antioxidant properties that help reduce premature signs of aging.
The Kesharaja: Bhringraj
An ideal herb to support a lustrous and robust mane, bhringraj helps the hair in innumerable ways. Bhringraj oil, in particular, contains terpenes, phenols, and flavonoids that enhance hair health and reduce oxidative stress. Let's dive into the details and look at some of its benefits below:
- To stimulate hair growth and reduce baldness: Bhringraj is scientifically proven to stimulate hair follicles as per a study conducted in 2008. Massaging this oil regularly on the scalp can also help increase blood flow and circulation. When used appropriately, there is mounting scientific evidence that bhringraj can not only stimulate hair growth and reduce baldness but also aid the hair cycle to move from the resting phase to the growing or anagen phase.
- To help reduce premature greying: As per research, owing to its high antioxidant and darkening properties, bhringraj oil can curb and conceal premature greying. Though the premature greying of hair is mainly genetic, the regular use of this oil may slow this process owing to the presence of active components such as haritaki and jatamansi.
- To help prevent dandruff: With its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, the use of bhringraj oil can help reduce dryness of the scalp and treat dandruff. When mixed with carrier oils such as coconut, sesame, or amla, it can help reduce skin dryness and add luster to the hair.
- To help reduce scalp infections: Since bhringraj is anti-inflammatory in nature, it can also help with psoriasis, tinea infections, follicle infections, or other skin irritations on the scalp. The regular use of bhringraj oil can reduce inflammation, pacify the fiery Pitta, and promote hair growth.
- To reduce hair fall: Traditionally used to manage hair fall, bhringraj is a natural remedy to reduce hair damage caused by heat styling products or environmental factors such as pollution and dust. The calming properties of this herb also help calm the mind and reduce stress, thus aiding in the reduction of hair fall. One of the primary reasons for hair fall is an aggravated Vata. Bhringraj not only helps balance the Vata but also helps promotes growth owing to its keshya (hair growth enhancing) properties.
- To add natural luster and shine: Bhringraj contains vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins E and D, magnesium, calcium, and iron, which help nourish the scalp and deeply condition the hair. When applied to the scalp as well as mid-length and ends, it can add a natural lush and radiance to your hair.
READ MORE: What Causes Hair Thinning? Ayurvedic Perspective And Remedies
Carrier Oils That Work with Bhringraj
There is sufficient anecdotal and Ayurvedic evidence that suggests the use of bhringraj as a hair rejuvenator. Here are some ways in which you can use carrier oils along with this herb:
- Amla Oil: Bhringraj when combined with amla oil can help boost hair growth owing to its anti-aging and antioxidant properties while enhancing the natural pigmentation of the hair. It works wonders for those who are looking to pacify the fiery Pitta dosha.
- Sesame Oil: Sesame oil along with bhringraj can help reduce lipid peroxidation while preventing hair loss. The antiviral and antifungal properties also prevent scalp infections for those with a dominant Vata dosha.
- Castor Oil: When bhringraj is combined with castor oil, it can help fill keratin gaps owing to the presence of ricinoleic acid and proteins. This is apt for those with the Pitta dosha.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil along with bhringraj deeply nourishes the scalp and dry ends, improves hair texture and protects the hair from harmful UV rays. It balances the Vata dosha and Kapha dosha.
- Hibiscus Oil: Bhringraj combined with hibiscus oil can help prevent premature signs of greying and its antimicrobial properties can reduce scalp conditions such as dandruff. With tridoshic properties, hibiscus oil works wonders for the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha dosha.
Additional tips to keep in mind
While bhringraj oil is known to be a hair rejuvenator, keep the following tips in mind while using it:
- Incorporate bhringraj oil into your weekly routine. Apply lukewarm oil to your scalp and massage it in a circular motion to relax your mind and soothe your scalp. Wash it after an hour or keep it overnight. Remember to conduct a small patch test before application.
- If you plan to use bhringraj orally in the form of a churna or tablet, consult with a doctor before taking it.
- Ayurvedic herbs such as amla, sesame seed, and licorice root when combined with bhringraj can help moisturize your scalp, prevent damage, and provide much-needed protection from sun damage.
- If you are pregnant, lactating, or taking blood thinners owing to any pre-existing condition, speak to your healthcare provider before adding bhringraj to your dincharya (daily routine).
- Bhringraj can also be applied as a hair pack. It is usually combined with other Ayurvedic herbs such as amla, methi, and brahmi for maximum benefit.
READ MORE: Seven Ayurvedic Herbs For Strong And Healthy Hair
Summing it Up
The wonder herb bhringraj is a popular and effective recommendation in age-old Ayurvedic texts. You're bound to better manage a multitude of ailments such as liver conditions, diabetes, troublesome metabolism rates, inflammation, and pain.
To add to this, the skin and hair benefits such as reduction of premature greying, dandruff, baldness, and promotion of thick, healthy, and glowing hair with radiant-looking skin only make this herb the rejuvenator that it is.
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