Dandruff, a common chronic scalp condition, is marked by itching and flaking skin. It can be caused by excessively dry skin, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, or a condition called seborrheic dermatitis -- excess oiliness that causes flaky white scales. Ayurveda, or "science of life," is a 5,000-year-old healing system that originated in India. Try these Ayurvedic remedies to bring back balance and health to your scalp and hair.
Coconut and Camphor
Combine 1 tsp. of camphor with 1/2 cup of coconut oil and store in an airtight glass jar. Shreelata Suresh, a yoga teacher and writer on Ayurveda and Indian culture from San Francisco, notes that the coconut is revered in Ayurveda for its ability to nourish the hair and scalp. Indobase Beauty recommends massaging this skin-nourishing oil into your scalp for 10 minutes each night before bedtime for 15 consecutive nights to control dandruff. After 15 nights, switch to massaging every other evening.
Fenugreek seeds, or methi, are a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic treatments for skin and hair. Ayurvedic Cure recommends treating dandruff by soaking 2 tbsp. of the seeds overnight in water and grinding them into fine paste in the morning. Apply the mixture to your scalp and leave it on for half an hour. Shampoo out with your normal shampoo.
Thyme, called brahmi in Ayurveda, is valued for its astringent and healing properties. It is a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic dandruff remedies. Ayurvedic Cure advises boiling 4 tsp. dried thyme leaves in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain, allow to cool, and massage the mixture onto your scalp. Allow it to remain for half an hour, then rinse out.
Lemon and Vinegar
From Ayurvedic Cure comes a dandruff remedy that utilizes the cleaning and antibacterial qualities of lemon, known Ayurvedically as jambir kul. Mix 1 tsp. lemon juice with 2 tsp. vinegar, and massage solution into scalp.
Turmeric, or haldi, is considered a hair-nourishing spice in Ayurveda, and one that balances all doshas, or body systems. Ayurveda College credits it with antibacterial, anti-allergenic, antioxidant and astringent properties. Indian Hair Oil suggests sauteing 1/4 tsp. turmeric with 1/4 tsp. cumin, or jeera, and 1/4 tsp. marich, or black pepper, in 1 tsp. ghee, or clarified butter, and eating it over vegetables for a snack that will nourish the hair and scalp.
Some Ayurvedic herbs are called keshya rasayanas, which are herbs that promote the overall health of your scalp and hair. Shreelata Suresh notes that both amla -- the Indian gooseberry, which can be taken in either capsule or powder form -- and triphala -- a traditional Ayurvedic combination of three fruits -- are rasayanas, and advises using them to promote hair and scalp health.