There is nothing like healthy hair to make an individual feel confident and beautiful. Unhealthy hair is always a cause of concern for both males and females. Dandruff is a common chronic scalp disorder that is characterized by flaking of the skin of the scalp. As skin cells die, they are shed from the scalp surface. For some people, excessive flaking occurs resulting in dandruff.
What are the clinical features of Dandruff?
- Kandu (itching)
- Daruna (dryness followed with crack in the skin)
- Toda (pricking sensation)
- Twak sputana (cracking of the skin)
- Swaapa (numbness)
- Keshachyuti (hair fall)
- Daha (burning sensation)
- Gaura (heaviness)
Concept of Dandruff in Ayurveda:
Dandruff is known as Darunaka in Ayurveda. It is one of the most common disorders of the scalp. Although, dandruff rarely causes baldness or hair loss but the itchiness associated with this condition is certainly a cause of concern. According to Ayurveda, dry dandruff is a Vata Pradhan (Vata dominant) Kapha dosha. On the other hand, wet dandruff is Kapha Pradhan (Kapha dominant) Vata dosha. The increase of doshas such as Vata and Pitta lead to impairment of Raktadhatu (blood tissue), thus giving rise to impurities in the blood. This leads to poor nourishment of the scalp. As per Ayurveda, most of the skin disorders are related to blood impurities. So, the medicines are prescribed for blood and liver detox.
In Ayurveda, it is mentioned that dandruff may be caused due to:
- Prolonged intake of cold water
- Excessive consumption of salty food
- Excessive exposure to UV rays
- Consumption of alcohol
- Suppression of natural urges
- Improper maintenance of hair
- Excessive sweating
- Using very less or no hair oil for massaging head and scalp
- Not washing hair regularly
What is the Ayurvedic treatment of Dandruff?
The Ayurvedic line of treatment for dandruff includes the pacification of Vata and Kapha doshas through herbs, herbal medications and changes in diet and lifestyle. Ayurvedic classics have dealt with various procedures and medications to manage the dandruff.
Some of the Home Remedies for Dandruff are:
- Shiroabhyanga (Oil Massage): Oil massage with oil is said to be effective due to the properties of oil such as snigdha guna (oily), Vatahara (pacifies Vata dosha) and Kapha hara (pacifies Kapha dosha).
- It performs actions such as Snehana (unctuous) and Kledana (moistness) and at the cellular level.
- Amalaki Paste (Emblica officinalis): Mix equal quantities of Hibiscus flowers, fresh amla (Indian gooseberry) and tulsi leaves with 4 times of sesame oil and 8 times of coconut water. Cook this mixture until the complete evaporation of water content and filtered. This mixture is stored in a glass bottle. Use this oil for application on the scalp.
- Coconut Oil: Regular application of coconut oil for 20 minutes before taking bath, with gentle massage is quite beneficial.5-10 neem leaves can also be added to the coconut oil. Take 5-10 neem leaves or curry leaves, heat it in a mild fire for 5 minutes and filter it. Use this as hair oil for good results in dandruff.
- Borax: Take 10 gm dehydrated borax and mix it well with 60 ml curd. Apply this mixture on the scalp. Lemon juice can also be added to borax instead of curd. Regular application of this for 7-10 days gives relief in dandruff.
- Fenugreek: Soak 2 tablespoons of fenugreek in water. Grind it on the next day. Apply this paste on the scalp and leave it for 15-30 minutes and wash your hair. This paste acts as a natural hair conditioner and hair becomes shiny as well.
- Almonds and Raisins: Soak 5 almonds and 5 raisins in water at night and eat them next day in the morning.
Measures to be followed for Scalp Care are:
- Always use clean cold water to wash the head.
- Avoid using hot water for hair wash.
- After washing hair, comb hair only after hair gets dried.
- Don’t apply heat and direct sunlight on the scalp.
Some Ayurvedic herbs useful in the treatment of Dandruff are:
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Yashtimadhu along with coconut oil has the properties such as Madhur Rasa (sweet taste), Guru (heavy), Snigdha (oily), Sheet Veerya (cold potency), Madhura Vipaka (sweet taste conversion after digestion), Keshya (good for health of hair), Kandughana (relieves itching), Daha Prashamana (relieves burning sensation), Vrana Prashmana (ulcer healing), Raktpitta Shamaka (provides relief in vitiation of blood). These properties pacify the aggravated Doshas and help in nourishment of hair and scalp.
- Manjisthadi Kwath: The major ingredient of Manjisthtadi Kwath is Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia). Manjisthadi Kwath has Madhur (sweet), Tikta (bitter) and Kashaya (astringent) Rasa (taste), Guru (heavy) and Ruksha (dry) Guna (qualities), Ushna Virya (hot potency) and Katu Vipaka (undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion).
- It is also attributed with Vranya Rakta Shodhaka (wound healing by purification of blood) and Vishaghana (potential to pacify the toxic effects) properties which makes it clinically useful in Darunaka by improving the blood circulation of scalp and thus promotes cleaning of debris.
- Arogyavardhini Vati: Arogyavardhini Vati is widely used in Ayurvedic practice due to its blood detoxifying properties.
- It is widely used in the management of Kushtha (skin disorders).
- Triphala Powder: Triphala Powder is widely used in Ayurveda for the treatment of wide variety of disorders.
- It stimulates digestive capacity and acts as Rasayana (rejuvenator).
- It helps in regulation and proper functioning of Srotas (micro-channels).
- Due to properties such as Katu Rasa (pungent taste), Ruksha (dry) and Teekshan Guna (scraping quality), Katu Vipaka (undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion), Vranashamaka (heals wounds), Vishahara (expels toxins), Kandughana (relieves itching), Krimighana (expels worms), Kledanshamaka (alleviates moistness), Vatashamaka (pacifies Vata dosha) of triphala, it helps in cleaning debris and preventing the scalp from secondary invasion of microbial growth.
Wholesome Diet and Habits:
- Intake of fruits such as pomegranate, mango, lemon and coconut are recommended.
- Include cow ghee in the diet.
- Shiro abhyanga (application of the oil to the scalp) is advised.
- Foods that are rich in Vitamin E such as sunflower seeds, almond, pine nuts, peanuts, spinach, chia seeds should be included in the diet.
- Excess intake of cold water, wrong food combination, suppression of natural urges, exposure to strong sunlight should be avoided.
Dandruff is not a life-threatening illness but negligence will result in infectious skin diseases. Therefore, regular application of the oil to the scalp and wholesome diet will help in treating dandruff. Ayurvedic management of dandruff has a strong possibility to breakdown the pathogenesis.