We are not all blessed with thick, luscious locks. Add in pregnancy, hormones and aging into the mix, and our hair is often the first to suffer.
If hair loss, weak or lack-lustre hair is a problem for you, here are some simple but effective remedies that can help encourage hair growth and improve lustre and vitality:
Castor oil
Castor oil is a well known treatment to help repair thinning hair, and it is even rumoured to help darken grey hair. It can be massaged onto to the scalp and left overnight to encourage hair growth, and improve thickness and condition of the hair. Castor oil encourages circulation, helping to bring much needed nutrition directly to the hair follicles, stimulating growth and strengthening the hair. It can also help thinning eyebrows and lashes in the same way.
Biotin is a B vitamin that helps restore the essential protein, known as keratin, that gives strength and vitality to the hair. Deficiency of Biotin is uncommon but can occur if you have digestive imbalances, a poor diet high in processed foods, or following pregnancy. Good food sources of Biotin are dairy products, eggs, meat and liver.
The herb horsetail has a very high concentration of silica, one of the most important elements of strong hair and nails. Taking a horsetail supplement can help encourage healthy hair growth. However, as with all herbs, long-term use is not advised.
Vitamin C
We all know Vitamin C is a wonderful nutrient for the immune system, but it is also very helpful in improving circulation, helping to encourage good hair growth. Vitamin C also helps to remove toxins from the body, and as healthy hair requires a healthy body, this is a sure-fire way to help you glow from the inside out. Good sources of Vitamin C include kiwis, citrus fruits and berries.
Protein and iron
As healthy hair comes primarily from a healthy diet, you should make sure you eat plenty of protein and iron-rich foods if you want your hair to grow faster, stronger and thicker. This is particularly important if you are recovering from pregnancy and childbirth, or lead a very busy life. A depleted body cannot support strong hair growth, so give it the building blocks it needs. Protein and iron come from meat, fish, pulses, dairy products and eggs. Adding plenty of green leafy vegetables will help replenish nutrients such as iron.
Sometimes, thinning hair can be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as hypothyroid, hormonal imbalances, anaemia or due to stress. If you are concerned about your hair loss, you should consult with your GP.
Fiona O'Farrell is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Naturopath. She runs The Gate Clinic in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. See www.thegateclinic.ie for more information.
Natural Health Therapist