The Natural Cycle of Great Hair Growth
Achieving healthy hair is no ancient Chinese secret. If you want great hair growth, you can achieve it by taking certain steps. According to Chinese tradition, the path, or Tao (pronounced “dow"), of beauty is simply one lane of the road to radiant health. They believe that healthy, shiny hair is a direct function of good circulation and healthy kidneys. Anything else—dandruff; dry, brittle hair, oily hair and scalp, weakened hair, split ends, premature graying, balding or hair loss is a consequence of imbalance. Poor blood and chi (life’s energy, i.e., a universal life force that promotes well being) results in a negative essence that causes hair to appear like a drying plant; dry hard, and gloss-free. To correct these problems, begin by dehydrating the blood and body fluids so that blood circulation to the scalp is increased. This is the only way nutrients can reach the hair follicle for continued new hair growth. Tonics and foods that nourish the blood, bone marrow, liver, and kidneys help make this happen.
Thus, adding certain foods and herbs would help promote good circulation, strengthen the blood, and balance chi (qi or energy), all of which have beautiful and noticeable effects on the shine and strength of the hair.
Throughout our lives, our hair grows in cycles determined by nature and by our own body rhythms. Underneath every hair on your head is a new hair follicle beginning to grow. As it matures, this new hair shaft pushes the preceding hair out of the scalp. It is quite normal to loose between 80 and 100 hairs a day – so few you hardly notice it – throughout most of our lives. More than this indicates your body is out of balance.
Generally, we are blessed as children with wonderful hair. If, however, we suffer before our mid-thirties from hair loss, premature graying, brittle or dry hair, or an extremely oily or dry scalp, we probably have poor kidney function. Liver function is also critical, and poor circulation subverts the state of our chi, which in turn wreaks havoc on our hair. As we age, a decline in estrogen levels retards the growth of new hair. In addition, an increase in sebaceous oils causes our hair to thin and gray – too much oil clogs the pores and kills hair follicles, causing hair to die and fall out. In women, this often begins with menopause.
Healthy sebaceous glands in the scalp are essential for healthy hair, since the oil these tiny glands produce lubricates the hair and scalp. Oily hair results from these glands secreting too much oil; dry hair, from too little secretion. Brushing your hair helps stimulate the sebaceous glands and is recommended for men and women with dry hair. Those with oily hair should brush less. It should also come as no surprise that blow-drying and other hot styling techniques are major contributors to dry, damages hair. So, if you set your dryer on the cool setting, you will see a major improvement in the condition of your hair in as little as a week.
Your emotion state sadness, grief and others, also have a profound effect on the condition of your hair and scalp.
Foods For Fabulous Hair
“You are what you eat”, is a popular saying that reflects in the way your skin, hair, and nails look. If you don’t have a good diet, it will show through and affect your look. So, as with all aspects of our outer beauty, the place to start on the Tao to beautiful hair is diet. According to Chinese teaching, healthy kidneys and lungs are the foundations of beautiful hair. A general regimen of kidney-friendly foods and herbs is the first step to rejuvenated, resplendent hair. If the kidneys are healthy, then the lungs and large intestine are healthy… and the hair will show it!
Foods For Healthy Hair and Scalp
Fruits and nuts: blackberries, chestnuts, Chinese red and black dates, grapes, papayas, plums, tangerines, walnuts
Vegetables: black and yellow soybeans, carrots, celery, chives, fennel, ginger, green beans, onions, parsnips, pumpkins, red beans, seaweed (especially arame and hijiki) spinach, sweet potatoes, winter squashes
Grains and seeds: back sesame seeds, oats, sweet rice, brown rice lentils,
Proteins: For meat eaters- chicken, clams, duck, yard eggs, lamb, oysters, white meat fish
Miscellaneous: Chinese parsley (coriander) or curly parsley, cinnamon bark, cloves, dan quai, ginseng, licorice root, safflower, wolfberry.
Foods To Avoid
Sugary foods, drink, colas, coffee, caffeine, and fatty foods.
Where To Begin
A mineral-rich multi-vitamin supplement every day will help strengthen your hair and promote growth. It will also encourage pigment retention.
Also, give your hair and scalp a papaya “facial” by peeling and seeding a medium papaya and pureeing it in a blender. Massage to this into your hair and scalp and wrap your head in a plastic wrap. Cover it with a shower cap or wrap it in a towel. Leave the puree on for 15 minutes, then wash air with warm water and a gentle shampoo.
Treat light brown, blonde or red hair with a lemon juice rinse to bring out the highlights and restore the hair’s acid mantle. Mix the juice of one lemon with water – one part lemon juice to five parts water and use it as a finishing rinse.
Another great conditioning rinse for blond hair is a cup of strong chamomile tea with teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
Bring out highlights in dark hair by using a cup of strong black tea as a finishing rinse. Life the lemon juice, the tannic acid in the tea restores that all-important acid mantle to your hair.
Wash your brush and comb every time you wash your hair. If you don’t, you’ll be brushing and combing oils and dirt back into your freshly washed hair and onto you scalp.
Never, ever brush your hair when it’s wet. Always use a comb with large rounded teeth to keep from damaging the hair shaft.