One of our earliest memories is sitting with our mothers and grandmothers for hair wash day- once a week, they would pamper us with all-natural ingredients fresh from the garden to keep our hair long, strong, and shiny. The years may roll by, but the benefits of natural hair care ingredients are timeless.
Our ancestors have identified various natural hair care heroes that have been passed on from generation to generation, to help achieve thick and strong hair. Among these various hair care heroes, the benefits of hibiscus, methi and amla cannot be understated. Even in the present day, these ingredients are present in shampoos and conditioners to access their time-tested benefits in a modern form. With a host of essential nutrients and natural goodness, learning about the benefits of hibiscus, amla and methi is sure to help you in your quest to maintain your tresses.
Hibiscus is one of the most well-known plants in Ayurveda for hair growth and health. The colourful and lovely flowers that bloom in the gardens all around you have incredible healing capabilities. It nourishes and conditions hair while also restoring the softness of your strands, resulting in less hair fall. Hibiscus is good for hair since it naturally seals moisture in the shafts and makes it smooth and silky. Some of the other benefits of hibiscus are:
- Promotes hair growth
If you are worried about the strands on your comb after every time you brush your hair, hibiscus is an ingredient you need to pay extra attention to next time you’re shopping for hair care products. Hibiscus is rich in amino acids- amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and play a vital role in nutrient absorption and making proteins in the body. They supply nourishment to the hair and aid in hair growth.
Amino acids are used to make keratin. Keratin is the protein that makes up our skin, hair and nails. It is a protective protein that helps maintain your hair’s strength and shine, making it less prone to breakage. It also makes hair more manageable as it makes the hair strands thicker. Hibiscus petals and leaves are a natural, rich source of keratin which strengthen hair over time, compared to salon keratin treatments that are not only expensive but damage hair over time.
- Deeply Conditions Dry Hair
Harsh chemical shampoos stripping your hair and leaving it dry? Hibiscus is a natural, gentle conditioner that helps not only nourish hair, but seal its moisture content so it remains soft and hydrated. Hibiscus flowers and leaves contain a high amount of mucilage, which is a natural conditioner for the hair.
Hibiscus helps protect your scalp and hair from harsh environmental stressors like pollution and UV rays. Hibiscus can help protect your scalp from UVB rays, which helps protect the sensitive skin of your scalp.
If your scalp produces excess oil, it can cause an oily scalp- your hair feels oily just a day or two after you washed it. In more serious cases, it can even cause dandruff. Hibiscus is a natural astringent which helps control oil secretion by the sebaceous glands on the scalp. This helps maintain your scalp's oiliness, keeping it healthy and dandruff-free.
One of the ancient uses of hibiscus leaves and flowers was a natural hair dye to turn grey strands into lustrous black locks. Our hair contains cells called melanin- melanin is made up of pigment cells, which are present in every hair follicle. This is what gives hair its natural dark hair colour- thus, if there is loss of melanin, hair loses its dark colour and turns grey. The flavonoids, antioxidants and vitamins present in hibiscus help produce melanin, thereby giving your hair a rich dark colour while simultaneously nourishing it.
Amla, known as the Indian gooseberry in English, has been used for millennia to treat common ailments and boost immunity. As it is rich in nutrients, it has been richly used across a variety of home recipes to provide nourishment to hair, skin, and overall health. The leaves and fruits are known to have therapeutic properties- the fruits in particular are a rich source of vitamin C, antioxidants and nutrients. Amla’s wide range of benefits has made it a popular ingredient in hair care. In fact, its popularity transcends boundaries- gooseberry is now commercially produced in the Middle East and Asia to cater to its growing international fanbase.
For generations, amla fruits have been consumed or used to make tonics, oils and other products that promote good health. Various studies have demonstrated the potential antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties present in amla fruits and extracts. Some of the benefits of amla for hair are:
Prevents Hair Loss
Amla is one of the most effective ingredients to combat hair fall- both in terms of weak, brittle hair, and loss of hair from the scalp. Amla is rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and amino acids which help promote blood circulation throughout the scalp and enhance keratin in the hair, helping it grow stronger. Enhancing blood circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients to the scalp, which promotes new hair growth. Amla is also rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps create the protein collagen, which is highly rich in amino acids that increase hair growth. Collagen is also a powerful antioxidant that helps fight the damage caused by free radicals (such as stress, air pollutants or poor dietary choices), strengthening your hair and giving it that natural shine.
- Protects Hair From Damage
Amla helps protect your hair from the harmful rays of the sun- think of it as nature's sunscreen for your hair! Amla is rich in tannins and calcium. Tannins are a natural vegetable source of polyphenol- a chemical that binds to keratin proteins in the hair, thus helping them remain in the hair structure and adding to the strand's strength and shine.
3. Helps Fight Dandruff
The star ingredient in amla- Vitamin C- is a multi-tasker. Not only does it help in reducing hair fall, it also helps reduce dandruff by maintaining scalp health. Vitamin C helps clarify the scalp by acting as a gentle chemical exfoliant, removing the buildup of dirt and grime on the scalp to ensure it is clean and able to absorb nutrients. Moreover, its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help ensure the scalp is free of impurities, with an optimum pH level.
4. Reduces Frizz
Amla is rich in Vitamin E, which is a great conditioner for the hair. It helps reduce frizz in hair strands, leaving hair smooth and silky. As it replenishes hydration to the hair and locks in moisture, which ensures it is manageable and tangle-free.
Fenugreek, also known as methi, has been utilised by Chinese and Ayurvedic medicinal systems for ages and can be found in both kitchen pantries and medicine cabinets around the world as a staple cure for various ailments. It is usually consumed in powder or seed form- it is said to be one of the world's oldest medicinal herbs, with roots in India and Northern Africa.
The seeds of the fenugreek plant are used to make fenugreek powder. The leaves and seeds of this little, leafy green plant are used in supplements and cooking. The seeds and powder are noted for their characteristic sweet, nutty flavour, which many people compare to maple syrup.
Fenugreek seeds are rich in folic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. They are also high in iron and protein, and contain active phytochemicals such as flavonoids and saponins which contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Some of fenugreek’s benefits for the hair are:
- Fights Dandruff
- Fenugreek is rich in saponins- saponin is an antibacterial compound that helps unclog your hair follicles so your scalp is fresh and clean, encouraging hair growth and slowing hair loss. As saponins help clear build up from the scalp, they also help in the fight against dandruff.
Fenugreek seeds are high in iron and protein, which are two important nutrients for hair growth and strength. They also have a special blend of plant compounds, such as flavonoids and saponins. Because of their anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, these chemicals are thought to promote hair growth. Fenugreek powder can reduce shedding by lowering inflammation in the hair follicle, which is the cause of some types of hair loss. Fenugreek powder is high in vitamins A, K, and C, as well as folic acid, potassium, calcium, iron, and protein, all of which are necessary for hair growth.
Fenugreek is high in protein and amino acids, which aid in the healing of damaged hair shafts caused by dehydration, heat styling, chemicals, UV damage, or colour treatments. It promotes thicker hair growth by improving cuticle integration in the hair shaft. Moreover, Fenugreek has a mucilaginous fibre that absorbs a lot of water. The mucilaginous fiber helps preserve the moisture barrier in your hair strands, resulting in improved shine and a softer texture.
The potassium in fenugreek seeds helps to prevent hair from greying prematurely. It also has lecithin, which helps to nourish the hair. Fenugreek, when combined with amla, is a great home hair pack for dark, lustrous hair.
In today's times, when there are a plethora of stressors and pollutants that damage our hair, natural ingredients can help replenish our tired tresses. Including it in our diet as well in our regular hair care routine by buying products that contain them as a key ingredient is the best way to get healthy, lustrous hair.