The hair has a tendency to lose its natural colour with advancing age and turn grey, but premature greying is a morbid condition and it makes even the young look older.
The hair is an appendage of the skin. It is composed of the same kinds of cells as are found in the outer layer of the skin, which is known as the epidermis. Hair grows from hair follicles which are deep recesses in the epidermis. The sebaceous glands of the scalp secrete an oily substance called sebum, which is the source of nutrition, lustre, and blackness of the hair. The hair cannot be fed externally, for such nourishment, as the scalp requires, must come to it from the bloodstream.
Causes and Symptoms
A faulty diet and mental worries are the two primary causes of premature greying of hair. Lack of some of the B vitamins, iron, copper, and iodine in the daily diet is said to be a contributory factor. Mental worries produce extraordinary tension in the skin of the scalp; this interferes with the supply of vital nutrition necessary for the health of the hair. Other causes of premature greying of hair are an unclean condition of the scalp, washing the hair with hot water, drying it with an electric dryer, and use of hair dyes. Heredity is also a predisposing factor.
Indian Gooseberry: The use of Indian gooseberry is the foremost among the home remedies found beneficial in the prevention and treatment of premature greying of hair. This is a valuable hair tonic for enriching hair growth and hair pigmentation- The fruit, cut into pieces, should be dried, preferably in the shade- These pieces should be boiled in coconut oil till the solid matte’ becomes like charred dust This darkish oil is very useful again5′ premature greying.
The water in which dried amla pieces have been soaked overnight is also nourishing for the hair. This water should be used for the last rinse while washing the hair. Massaging the scalp every night with a teaspoonful of amla juice, mixed with a teaspoon of almond oil and a few drops of lime juice, also proves beneficial in the prevention and treatment of premature greying of hair.
Amaranth: Amaranth is another effective home remedy for hair disorders. Application of the fresh juice of the leaves of this vegetable helps the hair to retain its black colour and prevents it from premature greyness. It also helps the growth of the hair and keeps it soft.
Curry Leaves: Liberal intake of curry leaves is considered beneficial in preventing premature greying of hair. These leaves have the property of providing vitality and strength to hair roots. New hair roots that grow are healthier and contain a normal pigment The leaves can be used in the form of a chutney, or may be squeezed in buttermilk. When the leaves are boiled in coconut oil, the oil forms an excellent hair tonic to stimulate hair growth and bring back hair pigmentation.
Ribbed Gourd: Ribbed gourd boiled in coconut oil is also an effective remedy for premature greying of hair. Pieces of this vegetable should be dried in the shade. These dried pieces should be soaked in coconut oil and kept aside for three or four days. The oil should then be boiled till the solid is reduced to a blackened residue. This oil should be massaged into the scalp. It will help enrich the hair roots and restore pigment to the hair.
Butter: The butter made from cow’s milk has the property of preventing premature greying of hair. A small roll may be taken internally and a little quantity may be massaged into the hair roots twice a week.
Vitamins: The vitamins considered useful in guarding against premature greying of hair are pantothenic acid, para-aminobenzoic acid (paba), inositol. The minimum daily requirement of these vitamins appears to be 10 mg of pantothenic acid, 100 mg of para- ^inobenzoic acid, and 2 gm of inositol. To obtain satisfactory results, all three of these vitamins belonging to the B group should be supplied at one time, preferably in a form which supplies all tile B vitamins, such as yeast and liver. The three anti-greying-hair vitamins can also be produced in the intestinal tract by bacteria, us, taking a sufficient quantity of yoghurt daily and a tablespoonful of yeast before each meal is an excellent remedy for the prevention and treatment of premature greying of hair. If one wishes to take tablets of calcium pantothenate and para-aminobenzoic acid (paba), they should be taken in addition to the yeast and yoghurt, and not as a substitute for them.
Diet is of utmost importance in the prevention and treatment of premature greying of hair and persons suffering from this disorder should take a diet rich in all essential nutrients. Devitalising foods such as white flour, refined sugar and all products made from them, soft drinks, pastries, jams and jellies should be avoided. These foods take away energy, cause wrinkles, unattractive skin, grey hair, and premature old age.
Massage of the scalp with almond oil is recommended.