Healthy growing hair is always a sign of youthfulness & wellbeing. But nowadays, even before the age of 20, the hair starts to grey & that is referred to as Premature Greying of Hair. The exact causes are not known. Mostly greying is associated with some primary disease conditions like autoimmune disorders or metabolic syndromes. The growth intensity of grey hair is much more than black hair. The grey hair follicles are thicker & strong than normal hair.
According to studies, by the age of almost 50 years out of the half population, there will be 50% grey hair. In men greying can be easily noticed in the frontal as well as the sideburns. In females, it is more prominent in the scalp boundaries. Gradually it progresses to other areas of the scalp. The genetic factors determine the progression of the greying process.
Pathogenesis of greying- Causes
Melanin is the pigment that is responsible for providing pigmentation to the hair. Greying of hair is caused due to the decreased production of melanin. While white hair is caused due to the absence of melanin. Genes play a crucial role in melanin production in an individual.
Fear or stress-related issues may or may not be a contributing factor. There are historical pieces of evidence that the British statesman Thomas Moore went white just by an overnight awaiting a jail execution. Also, there are other factors like smoking, radiation exposure, anxiety due to autoimmune diseases & other inflammatory diseases that can trigger premature greying. Studies elicit that smoker grey earlier than non-smokers.
It is a very distressing condition that leads to social isolation. It coexists in certain other disease conditions like hyperthyroidism, pernicious anemia, hereditary, malnutrition, skin diseases & malarial fevers. It is also triggered by mental disorders like stress, depression, fear & anxiety.
Ayurveda perspective of greying- Palitya
Greying of hair, as well as many hair diseases, are well explained with effective treatments in Ayurveda Samhitas. Palitya is the term referred to describe premature greying of hair. It is caused primarily due to the vitiation of pitta dosha as well as Agni. When the doshas are vitiated due to the improper diet as well as regimen, the vitiated dosha gets localized in the scalp region to produce greying hair. Ayurveda acharyas describe hair diseases in different chapters in different contexts.
The symptoms vary according to the dosha predominance and Famous Ayurvedic Doctor in Pune finds the exact dosha and cure the problem. The spitted hair, extreme dryness, coarseness, dry, & roughness are the symptoms of Vata predominance. In the case of pitta kopa, there is a burning type of sensation & yellowishness. In Kapha predominance, there is unctuousness, thick & white hairs are seen. In a predominance of 3 doshas, all the features are shown.
Line of treatment
In Ayurveda, the first line of intervention is to avoid the cause that leads to greying of hair. Mostly Nasya therapy is very effective in the treatment of this hair condition. For the same, there are various herbal oils mentioned in the classics. The medicines have to be chosen according to the degree of the dosha vitiation as well as the chronicity & strength of the patient.
Sahacharadi taila, Bringaraja taila, Nimba taila, Vidarigandha taila
In addition to these nasal oils, some local applications of herbal paste are found very effective.
Tiladi yoga & dughdhika karavira yoga are mentioned in the classics.
Additionally, internal medications should be taken as a part of shaman therapy
Vidaryadhi kashayam, manjishtadi kashayam, guluchyadi gana kashayam are good choices. These medicines are cooling & alleviates the pitta dosha. They purify the blood too.
Panchakarma therapies are chosen when there is high involvement of doshas. A mild form of virechana is recommended.
Repeated chemical treatment of hair for cosmetic purposes
Unscientific use of hair products available in markets
Avoid excessive salty or spicy foods
Reduce exposure to pollutants
Reduce the use of laptops & mobile phones during sleep hours