Dandruff, an Ayurveda perspective


Dandruff is a common & embarrassing condition that causes the skin of the scalp to flake off. It is not a serious or contagious clinical condition.  Most people use medicated shampoos for relief, but that does not give a permanent solution. The symptoms usually reappear after some time. It is a mild variant of seborrheic dermatitis. In babies, this condition is called cradle cap.


  • Oily & irritated skin
  • Extreme scalp dryness
  • Fungal growth in scalp oils
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Other skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema
  • Contact dermatitis.


  1. Flaky skin on eyebrows, scalp, beard, mustaches & shoulders.
  2. Scalp itching
  3. In babies, the presence of cradle cap, that is the presence of crusty & scaly scalp

Risk factors

Some risk factors contribute to the dandruff

Age- Usually from adulthood to middle age, dandruff is very common, but older individuals are also found to have dandruff problems. In some people, this condition persists lifelong.

Men are more prone to develop dandruff than women because of the male hormonal influences

In some diseases of the nervous system like parkinsonism, dandruff is a common problem

Ayurveda perspective Darunaka

Darunaka is the terminology used for dandruff in Ayurveda. There is a detailed description of the doshas & symptomatology in various classics. Ayurveda insists to have a proper diet & regimen to have a healthy body free from diseases. Dandruff is a very disturbing scalp condition that affects puberty, any ethnicity & gender. It is seen aggravated in the winter season. In India, it affects almost 18% of the Indian population. Due to food & activities that cause Kapha – pitta imbalance, the doshas pitta, as well as kapha, undergo vitiation. The scalp becomes itchy, hard & scaly due to the doshic influences. There will also be shedding of the debris or the dead tissue from the scalp. The symptoms like hair loss, & itching occurs due to Kapha & Vata dosha.

Management /treating in the Ayurvedic way

As the general rule of treatment is to prevent the causes that lead to the dandruff condition. Once the causes are identified, it is wise to avoid exposure to the same.

In extreme cases, Panchakarma therapy is followed, where the dosha vitiation is at its peak.

  • Snehana or oleation therapy- external application of medicated oils in a gentle manner. Swedana or fomentation is also very effective as it enhances the blood circulation of the scalp region. Nasya, instilling medicines through the nasal cavity especially avapeeda Nasya is very effective. Shirobasti with suitable oil is very effective. Siravedha is also recommended for removing impure blood. External application of oil made from Gunja & eclipta(Bhringaraja) is very effective for alleviating Vata Kapha dushti. External washing with kodrava Jala is advised. Borax is indicated to apply in hair for 5 minutes 7 then to be washed off. Local application of an herbal paste made from glycyrrhiza, sausurea, saindhava salt are recommended. Mango seed powder with hareetaki powder is found effective.

Medicines have to be chosen depending upon the degree of dosha involvement, the intensity of the disease & Prakriti of the patient.

Dos, pathya

  • Maintain proper scalp hygiene
  • Do scalp massages gently once in a while
  • Use dried & hygienic towels for drying hair
  • Avoid using the same towel for the facial region as dandruff can spread to eyebrows or cheek areas.
  • Drink an adequate amount of water.
  • Maintain an optimum level of oiliness in the scalp.


Ayurvedic treatment for Dandruff

Hair tonics in Ayurveda

Ayurveda describes some of the natural herbal hair tonics that can prevent all types of hair diseases.

Vibhitaka, bhringaraja, neeli, bakuchi& japa Pushpa are some of the powerful hair tonics. These herbs are very popular in the preparation of various hair oils.

Eladi oil which is prepared in tila taila is very effective in dandruff. It is a Vata Kapha alleviator & prevents hair loss.