Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ayurvedic 101 No. 2

Oils and Oiling Techniques
compiled by mira-chan

Why oil?

Oils are used as a protective conditioner and for treating problems of hair growth and both hair and scalp condition. They can be used daily to protect hair from the elements. Herbal oils are applied to the scalp daily or pre-wash to treat scalp conditions. More thorough scalp and length oiling is done pre-wash as a conditioner to protect the hair from the drying effects of the cleansing herbs and water.

Herbal oils are chosen depending on condition of the scalp and used either together or separately. They are applied on non wash days in the evening or at least 30 minutes before washing to let the herb act on the scalp.

Pre-wash oiling is done on dry hair at least 30 minutes before washing. Non- wash day oiling can be done on dry or damp (misted) hair depending on how hair reacts to oiling. Amount used depends on hair length and how much oil the hair absorbs. Start with small amounts and increase as needed.

Post wash oiling is done on dry or damp hair depending on the hair reaction to oils. Only a small amount is used. It helps in detangling and shine, similar to a leave-in conditioner.

Which oils might be right for you?

Coconut - cooling oil
Used for scalp and length of hair, the body, and for cooking. Herbs can be infused in it, flavoring/scenting the infusion by immersing oils in it and letting it sit in the sun without high heat as heat from cooking a long time will alter the properties of unrefined coconut oil slightly. Prevents protein loss from hair during washing.
Applied both pre-wash and on the days between washing.

For dry or damaged ends: Wet/ mist the ends of the hair and liberally apply coconut oil, then braid. Let the oil soak in for at least a day.

Sesame-Warming/ neutral oilCommonly used for hair and cooking. The best oil to use when infusing other herbs by cooking. Can be applied between washing but, referred as a pre-wash oil as it has a stronger scent than coconut.

Mustard - warming oilIt is used more in Northern India, for the scalp and for medicinal body massages. It brings circulation to the scalp due to its mild irritating properties, similar to cayenne pepper. It has anti-bacterial properties. Do not try to infuse herbs in this by heating as it produces noxious fumes. Applied pre-wash to scalp only. Has a strong scent.

Amla Oil -- cooling oilConditioning astringent. A cooling, pitta soothing oil. Used for hair loss, premature graying, strengthens the roots, reduces dandruff. Prevents split ends. A small amount is applied to hair and scalp after washing or massaged in pre-wash. Promotes sound sleep when massaged into the scalp.

Brahmi Gatu Kola (Bacopa monnieri)Herb infused in oil. A cooling, pitta soothing oil.
Used to combat dandruff and dry scalp.

Bringraj (Eclipta alba)
Oil of the herbs called the king of herbs for hair infused into oil such as sesame. Aids in hair growth. Used for prevention of premature balding, and helps with sun damaged and color treated hair. Massage into the scalp pre-wash.
Ayurvedi Herbs and Uses
compiled by mira-chan and Shell

Albizia amara- usilai, vaagai, sirisa
For dandruff.

Amla (Emblica officinalis)The herb is an astringent, helps dye uptake, a conditioner and is mildly acidic (high in Vitamin C).

Aritha/Reetha soapnut (Sapindus trifoliatus)Cleansing, can leave hair a bit stiff. Aritha - can be used whole, fresh or dried, boiled then let stand of a night, as a shampoo on their own. It can also be used as a gentle fabric detergent. Some recommend it for use with shikakai and amla.

Brahmi Gatu Kola (Bacopa monnieri)Used for skin diseases. When used as a paste promotes growth and is anti dandruff. Similar to the oil.

Bringraj (Eclipta alba)Aids in hair growth. Used for prevention of premature balding, and helps with sun damaged and color treated hair. Bringraj herb and oil have similar properties.

Hibiscus (Rosa sinensis)Mild cleansing agent, promotes hair growth, softens and conditions. Hibiscus - possibility of it staining light porous hair a slight red.

Henna (Lawsonia inermis): BAQ Henna is a natural red dye that gives different results depending on current hair color and can be combined with Indigo for darker colors(browns/black).  It is a great conditioning and strentghmimg agent.

Jatamansi--Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)An essential oil usually mixed with sesame oil. It helps in growth and darkening of hair, prevents hair loss and premature graying. It is good for dry hair and scalp. It is used as a nerve sedative by massaging it into the scalp.

Kapoor Kachiiused for fragrance.

Methi fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum)Very conditioning, can be used as a gelling agent in mixes for the slime factor. Gives shine to hair. Also good for dandruff and hair loss.

Neem (Azadirachta indica)Anti fungal, anti bacterial herb. Can have an unpleasant smell if infused in oil. The herb itself has a neutral smell. It works in killing of and protection against lice, fungal caused dandruff, and any infection caused skin conditions. Helps treat eczema. Natural insecticide and fungicide.

Orange Peel (Citrus aurantium)A mild astringent used for skin. Makes hair soft, manageable, shiny, and supple.

Phaseolus Mungo -- black gram, green gram, mung beanCooling agent.

Rose Powder (Rosa alba)
Cooling, soothing, and cures skin irritations. Fragrant.

Sandalwood--red (Pterocarpus santalinus)Cooling and soothing herb. do not confuse with yellow sandalwood, which is prized for its lovely scent.

Sandalwood--yellowPurifying and soothing. Good for normal to oily hair in a hair mix (not a lot, has a simialr consistence to clay cleaners). Good as a face mask

Shikakai/Sheekakai (Acacia concinna)Cleansing agent. Can be drying. Use with oils or a conditioning herb.

Triphala/Trifalatriphala - mix of Amla, Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) - promotes hair growth

Tulsi--holy basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Treats ringworm and other skin diseases, protects skin from environmental damage

Vetiver (Vetivera zizanioides)
A cooling herb, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic

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