We always hear how fruits and vegetables heal our bodies (which they do), but we often overlook Mother Nature’s most powerful sources of ancient medicine…Herbs.
Probably the #1 question I get asked is, “What foods are best for growing healthy hair?”
The real answer is that there isn’t one pill or even one plant that is the solution to hair growth. The answer is that the key to having and growing heathy hair lies in a symphony of eating the right nutrients and being mindful about the care of your hair.
There are a few key players that have been shown for thousands of years through ancient medicine to have an impact (in addition to a healthy diet and hair care) on the growth and health of the hair.
Herbs have been used in ancient Chinese medicine for thousands of years, yet in our society, we are so accustomed to grabbing a pill bottle and we think that’s the cure-all to everything.
Let us listen and take some advice from our ancient beauty mentors.
The list of healing herbs is countless, but I’ve compiled a few favorites that stand out to me as showstoppers in the ancient world of beauty.
I’ve compiled a few of my go-to herbs for this popular topic!
Amla is one of my favorite super foods of all time. I first learned about Amla powder from one of my favorite plant-based mentor’s Michael Greger, MD, from Nutrition Facts. It is my favorite superfood powder to add to my smoothies, and its great for immune support AND fabulous hair.
Amla raises levels of collagen (I’m in LOVE with the fact that a berry gives me collagen! Thank you cosmetic surgeon plant gods!) which accelerates production of new hair growth. By the way, if you’re wondering what the heck an “alma” is, Amla is a fancy name for Indian Gooseberries!
In addition to adding Amla into your diet, you can make a DIY Amla hair mask.
He Shou Wu
Have you heard of He Shou Wu? I didn’t know what the heck this herb was when I first read about it a couple years ago. I figured that if had that weird of a name yet still made it to a top beauty list, then I probably needed it in my life yesterday.
Fortunately it has some pretty kickass health benefits in addition to a sweet name.
He Shou Wu is a prized, Chinese, tonic herb (well, its actually derived from the plant’s root). He Shou Wu contains an antioxidant called Superoxide Dismutaste, which is the body’s most powerful natural antioxidant enzyme. Some studies show, when taken regularly it helps prevent hair loss, as well as the loss of color!
He Shou Wu is best taken in a tincture form or in a power form. Used as a tea it does not have its full potential. Try adding to your morning smoothie, or sipped as a tincture at night.
Nothing to do with a horse! Horsetail, gets its name from the appearance of its thin, wispy, branchlike leaves that somewhat resemble a horse tail.
A couple quicks things to remember about Horsetail:
1 – It stimulates blood vessels that supply oxygen to hair follicles!
2 – It contains silica a nutrient which helps to repair damage and fortify new and existing hair against breakage. Horsetail is high minerals, potassium, selenium and manganese. Since bone, hair and fingernails require high mineral levels,
Horsetail is taken as a tea, tincture or applied topically as shampoo, conditioner, or balm.
Here’s an organic Horsetail tea you can try.
Another herb very high in silica and magnesium, which are essential for strong hair.
When applied to the hair, Oat Straw lends a softness and shine that your hair will loooove. It can also soothe itchy or irritated scalps as it acts as a calming agent. If you want to get your Martha Stewart on, then why not make yourself a DIY shampoo & conditioner with oat straw extract??
Not to get on the topic of menopause, BUT the word on the street is that Oat Straw can especially help during the big M! The word is out that Oat Straw can help with brittle nails, and thinning hair. (just saying…I’m not a medical doctor, only a hair doctor, but it wouldn’t hurt looking into this!)
Most commonly Oat Straw is used in tea form, but remember to check for it as an ingredient in natural hair products.
Nope nope, not the marshmallows you may be thinking of, I am talking about the root; Marshmallow Root. Marshmallow root is rich in mucilage, a natural hair detangled.
(Not related to hair, but marshmallow root tea is helpful in treating urinary tract infections).
You can boil dried marshmallow for about fifteen minutes then strain to extract mucilage. This extract can then be combined with your favorite conditioner. Pretty cool, right?
Or just drink this one that’s already made.
On another note…
Just have to throw this in from a hair professional’s standpoint. To ensure that your hair grows healthy and strong, here are my salon tips:
1. Turn the heat down on the flat irons! I recommend using a flat iron that actually has a temperature dial (as opposed to just having an on/off switch). Higher than 250 degrees can cause keratinization, which snaps your hair off. This flat iron is one of my favorites, and you can get close to the hairline, if needed, because the iron is so thin.
2. If you want your hair to grow, get regular trims; I mean slight TRIMS, not inches off each time. When your hair is broken off, the only hair to mend it 100% is to snip it off…sorry!
3. Use a heat protectant! Don’t think your hair needs it? Wrong..it does! I love many of Kenra’s products. They make a heat protectant spray. (also obsessed with their dry shampoo…been using it for years).
Make sure to use the hashtag, #TeaTuesdayWithAshley, on your next instagram tea pic!