Ashwagandha has been known as a powerful adaptogen that can treat stress and anxiety. It is mentioned in the Ayurveda study records as a brain tonic that calms the brain and heals various health ailments when ingested and used topically. But do you know the benefits of ashwagandha for hair?
Ashwagandha called Indian ginseng and Winter cherry in some parts of the world has been mentioned in many traditional alternative medicine systems for thousands of years.
Ashwagandha is scientifically called Withania somnifera and belongs to the Solanaceae family. The plant grows in dry conditions and is native to India.
The root of the plant in any form including fresh, dried, powder, tea, or supplement capsules has been used for boosting immunity, reducing stress, treating inflammation, easing anxiety, and improving energy levels.
Related: Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
The name Ashwagandha is a Sanskrit term having two words such as Ashwa and Gandha where ashwa means horse and gandha means fragrance. Its name shows the herb gives strength like the horse.
Hair loss is common in everyone despite age but it should be within a limit. Also, the hair growth and loss should be equalized. When it is imbalanced that hair loss is increasing without progress of hair growth is a problem.
Most dermatologists and hair care professionals reveal that more than 60% of hair loss in adults is due to Stress. So, adaptogens like Ashwagandha help reduce stress and inflammation thus stopping hair loss.
Ashwagandha for Hair Health in Ayurveda
Based on Ayurveda medicine, the human body works on three doshas as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Water). Each has its unique ratio that should be maintained to be healthy. When there is an imbalance in the ratio, it leads to various health ailments which also include hair loss. It is important to maintain the ratio of tri doshas to keep the body, mind, and soul healthy.
Ashwagandha is one of the most used Ayurveda herbs to balance the doshas, especially for aggravated Vata and Kapha doshas. It helps to stop or prevent hair loss caused by tridosha imbalance.
Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen which means it can effectively reduce chronic stress, inflammation, and treat hormone imbalance which are the main reasons for hair loss. Another benefit is that natural herbs like ashwagandha are suitable for all hair types.
Benefits of Ashwagandha for Hair
Let’s look into the possible benefits of ashwagandha for hair health.
Ashwagandha for Hair Loss
Cortisol is a stress hormone in the body. When the level of this hormone goes beyond normal, it affects the proper functioning of the body including hair follicles. It weakens the hair follicles and leads to hair loss. Ashwagandha can manage stress hormones so it effectively controls hair loss and its healing properties can repair damaged hair follicles.
The ashwagandha supplements have mood-lifting properties that ease stress, anxiety, and keep them at bay.
Ashwagandha is often recommended to prevent hair fall after childbirth in women.
Ashwagandha for Strong Hair
DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone in the body that works as an antioxidant and improves the body’s defense mechanism against cell damage. Ashwagandha could stimulate the production of this hormone thus it helps to avert free radical damages to hair follicles and scalp and strengthens the hair.
Ashwagandha for Scalp Health
The proper blood circulation in the body is important as it carries the required nutrients and oxygen to the body parts from head to toe. Ashwagandha improves blood flow to the scalp thus it ensures the scalp gets enough nutrients to feed hair follicles.
Also, the flavonoids in ashwagandha possess a high amount of protein, vitamin C, glucose, iron, tannins, nitrate, and potassium which are essential for a healthy scalp and hair.
Ashwagandha for Damaged Hair
As already discussed, ashwagandha can stimulate the production of DHEA which can improve collagen and sebum production on the scalp. These two compounds protect the scalp and hair from sun damage. The herb conditions scalp and hair to give a good texture. The healing properties of Ashwagandha in the hair conditioner can repair dry and brittle hair.
Ashwagandha for Irritation
Indian winter cherry or Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent inflammation in the scalp thus preventing weak hair follicles that turn to hair loss. The herb further controls scalp irritation by preventing skin ailments like psoriasis, eczema, itching, and skin allergies due to inflammation.
Related: Benefits of Ashwagandha for Skin
Ashwagandha for Gray Hair
Ashwagandha has amino acids where Tyrosine is beneficial amino acid for hair health. Tyrosine helps in increasing the production of melanin in the hair follicles. Melanin in the hair produces pigment. So, the herb aids in restoring the lost melanin and revert gray hair.
How to use Ashwagandha for Hair
Ashwagandha can be ingested or used topically. Most people consume ashwagandha in the form of powder, tea, capsules for health benefits and apply the paste of dried root topically for skin and hair benefits.
Hair Type Considerations
Ayurvedic practitioners and experts suggest ashwagandha is suitable for all hair types and textures as it is no exception to stress damages. Telogen effluvium is a common type of hair fall that affects mostly young men and women.
Stress is the main factor in telogen effluvium hair loss. Though the benefits of ashwagandha for hair are still under research, the herb’s effective treatment for reducing stress and anxiety kind of brain disturbances are already proved by various evidence-based studies and research. Thereby, ashwagandha can prevent stress-induced hair fall or hair loss.
However, it is always suggested to consult a dermatologist or physician if you take supplements for hair or any health benefit. It avoids possible side effects.
Ashwagandha for Haircare
You should find the right way to incorporate the herb into your daily regimen to notice results as herbal supplements need regular usage to show effect in the body. So, to obtain all the benefits of ashwagandha for hair growth, carefully add the herb into a routine.
Oral – Many hair care supplements have ashwagandha in their composition so you can choose the best ashwagandha supplements for your wellness.
Topical – Ashwagandha root paste can be applied topically to the scalp to utilize the antioxidants in the herb against hair growth curbing factors. Otherwise, you can use ashwagandha oil or its extract as a massaging oil on hair or skin to relieve stress and tension.
Drink – Ashwagandha powder can be added to tea or coffee and drink in the morning. You can consume ashwagandha herbal tea without milk and sugar for better results.
Include – Add ashwagandha powder in your regular hair shampoo and conditioner. It conditions and nourishes your scalp and hair.
Let’s go further.
Ayurvedic Hair Care Products
You can replace your chemical-induced hair shampoo, conditioner, or oil with natural hair care products that have ashwagandha as the primary ingredient. Otherwise, you can mix ashwagandha root powder with shampoo, conditioner, and other products for topical application.
Ashwagandha Hair Masks
Use ashwagandha root to prepare a homemade hair mask. Apply the mask to the scalp and wash after a gentle massage.
How to prepare Home-made Ashwagandha hair masks
Ashwagandha Mask for Normal and Oily Hair
- Mix 2 to 3 spoons of ashwagandha powder in a cup of warm water.
- Apply the paste to the hair and scalp, massage the paste all over the head, cover the scalp, and leave the paste on for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Later, wash the hair with clean water and make sure there is no leftover paste in the scalp or hair.
Ashwagandha Mask for Dry Hair
- Take 2 to 3 spoons of ashwagandha root powder, Brahmi, and hibiscus powder in an equal part.
- Mix them all and add a cup of yogurt or coconut milk to make a smooth paste.
- Apply the paste to the hair and scalp and rest it for 20 to 30 minutes.
- After that, wash with normal water or shampoo the hair.
Ashwagandha Herbal Tea
Ashwagandha tea is the most refreshing herbal beverage that can be consumed hot or cold. The adaptogens in the herb boost nerve functions, calm the brain and relieve stress.
Drinking ashwagandha tea in the morning gives energy for the day and in the evening sets you free of tiredness and provides sound sleep.
Related: Health Benefits of Ashwagandha Tea
To make a perfect cup of ashwagandha tea, you can use dried roots, powder, or ashwagandha tea bags.
Add a spoon of ashwagandha tea powder or a couple of dried roots or a teabag to the cup of boiled warm water. Let the ingredient steep in the water for 15 minutes. While using a teabag, it is enough for 5 minutes.
Now, strain the water and add lemon or honey for flavor and drink it.
Often, ashwagandha is used with other herbs and spices like tulsi, mint, ginger, or cinnamon for added benefit and taste.
Ashwagandha churna or powder is given with ghee, honey, or milk as an Ayurveda supplement for improving energy. The root powder of ashwagandha mixed warm cow milk is called Moon milk in Ayurveda which treats insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Consume a spoon of ashwagandha churna mixed with ghee, warm milk, or honey every day after breakfast which will make you ready for the day. If you are new to herbal supplements it is better to start with a low dose like a ¼ spoon and then gradually increase the dosage as per your body’s reaction to the herb.
You can find ashwagandha in most Ayurveda supplements for hair growth. Based on various reports, 300 to 500 mg of ashwagandha in a day is safe. You can take supplements 2 to 3 times a day which equals the recommended safe dosage.
The regular intake of Ashwagandha benefits men as it can regulate cortisol hormones and promote testosterone levels in men and boosts their sexual health.
Withania somnifera has fat-soluble components so you should have meals with quality fats before taking the supplements.
Ashwagandha oil or extract can be used as massaging oil or ingested. You can mix a few drops of this extract in warm water and drink it as a supplement.
Massaging with ashwagandha oil can give you better relief from stress, tension, and tiredness.
The last word
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen used in Ayurveda medicine for immunity, stress relief, calmness in the brain, and many other health requirements.
There are no direct studies to suggest ashwagandha is a natural remedy for hair loss but based on other studies that tested the medicinal properties of the herb showed that it can reduce the causes of hair loss. The benefits of ashwagandha for hair are also confirmed by several kinds of research.
In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is defined as Rasayana meaning rejuvenator. The herb has healing, rejuvenating, and revitalizing effects that benefit hair health too.
However, it is important how to take it and continue the routine. It is essential to consult a dermatologist or your healthcare provider to determine the safe serving of the herb according to your current health status and requirement.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Should I Take Ashwagandha to work?
Ashwagandha for extensive stress may take one week of regular usage to show the result. But for hair growth or hair loss, it might take a minimum of 12 to 16 weeks.
Does ashwagandha aid hair growth?
The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties in the herb might reduce conditions that cause poor hair growth. But, there is no research to support ashwagandha as a herbal medicine for hair growth.
Is ashwagandha safe for extensive usage?
Ashwagandha is safe for everyone at any age group for long usage under medical suggestions. But if you take it in an excessive dosage or in an inappropriate way, it may cause some adverse effects.
Are there possible side effects of ashwagandha?
When you start taking ashwagandha, you may experience drowsiness, headache, or stomach upset at the beginning which is common when under control. If it extends for a couple of days and the severity increases, you must stop using it and consult a doctor.
What happens when you overdose on ashwagandha?
The excessive usage of ashwagandha without a proper diet or regimen reported increased heartbeat and skin allergies in some populations.
Who should avoid ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha can affect thyroid hormones in both positive and negative ways. It can treat hypothyroidism but it could also promote hyperthyroidism.
If you have problems with thyroid glands or have thyroid diseases or are under medication for thyroid dysfunction, you probably avoid ashwagandha.
If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, don’t use ashwagandha as it might cause premature delivery.
People who are allergic to the plants from the nightshade family like tomato, pepper, potato can’t be tolerant to ashwagandha too.
Ashwagandha has active components to influence the immune system. If you are taking medications for auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or others, you should not consume ashwagandha without consulting your healthcare provider.