Herbal medicine will never cease to amaze, there's literally an herb for everything. Here, you will find some for all things hair!
We’ve complied a list of herbs that we believe promotes healthier hair, as a result of general well-being and health. The properties and health benefits of these herbs can encourage healing in many areas. We have put together our favourite herbs that hold the nutrients needed for encouraging healthy hair, rather than a recipe that makes your hair start magically growing at rapid pace (PS this doesn’t exist).
Simply put, when the body is in a good state of general health, it will be able to perform better. This includes the process of hair growth and other healing. We attain this state by consuming healthy foods and teas, to maintain balance in the body.
Internal and External Haircare
The haircare products we carry help to heal and nourish from an external approach. External remedies help to heal and protect from environmental factors, repair existing damage, promote shine, strength and moisture, tame frizz, and create style and manageability. Herbs and food are an internal approach to take on the job from the inside. With internal care, we can nourish, hydrate, and strengthen the hair from the follicle, before it leaves the scalp, preparing it to take on both applied and environmental damage. Both internal and external approaches are effective but are much more effective when working together.
We will start by explaining the properties found in the teas, so you know why to consume them and how they work in the body. We don’t recommend relying on just hair products alone to get your hair to its healthiest state, and we don’t believe that supplements should be relied on over foods and herbs either (a topic for another day).
Nutrients and Properties of Herbal Teas
(What to look for in your tea)
Anti-oxidants, like vitamins A,C,E and minerals selenium and zinc (to name a few), have become pretty well known. Naturally occurring in whole foods, abundantly so in plants, are essential for optimal health and general well-being. They’re used widely by the beauty industry in hair, skin and body products, for their amazing healing and ‘boosting’ properties. Antioxidants reduce inflammation by cancelling out free radicals (which otherwise causes oxidative stress leading to; inflammatory skin conditions, damaged cells and hair follicles, which can then lead to hair loss, and so many other health concerns). So, the more antioxidants we consume, the more healing and preventative we are being. Preventive measures are key because it’s a lot harder to heal a condition once it has stemmed.
Many of the teas listed below have cooling properties. In ayurvedic medicine, food and plants have properties like cooling or warming and grounding or lifting/energizing. Cooling, or yin, properties will help to reduce inflammation as they will literally cool the body. If inflammation is redness, swelling and pain, then something cooling will bring reduce signs and symptoms (like an ice pack on a fresh injury). Bringing down inflammation is key for all healing to take place. This can have a positive effect towards damaged hair follicles and hair loss.
A multi-vitamin is a nutritive because it contains multiple nutrients. You can consider a number of these herbs as naturally occurring multi-vitamins, otherwise classified as a Nutritive Tonic in herbal medicine. We like to believe that when it's naturally occurring, our bodies are naturally better at absorbing and assimilating the nutrients and properties. The several different nutrients found within a single plant or food often occur together for a reason, like needing each other to make one another’s performance take place.
Good digestion may sound like a simple thing. But it’s actually a set of complex functions that take place in a specific order, that a lot of people struggle with. Without getting lost on the topic of digestive issues, a key take-away is, failure of an efficient digestive system could mean failing to absorb nutrients for our food. Part of the job of digestion is to break down the food we eat into its little particles and compounds; vitamins, minerals etc., and send them to their needed areas to take on their specific duties. We’ve included a few herbs that promote healthy digestion to ensure the proper assimilation and absorption of the foods pieces you consume.
We talk a lot about finding ways to reduce stress as a way to care for your hair. In short, stress causes that oxidative damage in the body, just like the free radicals. When stress is present, it basically takes over and stops the necessary functions the body requires, like digestion, eliminating and balancing hormones, healthy sleep hygiene, and protecting and building the immune system. Before all those tasks become impaired, the process of healthy functioning hair, skin, and nails is first to go.
Lack of growth, signs of brittle or breaking hair and nails, and skin conditions are often the first signs of something deeper going on. We often turn to the medical industry when things get really out of control, like an illness, but we tend to turn to the beauty industry to try and fix these visible conditions through the use of creams, lotions and potions. But there is no product or formula that can naturally heal stress-related conditions or their symptoms, nor yield long-lasting results. For that, we need to put in the effort to lower our stress to prevent these concerns from ever occurring. On top of incorporating exercise and meditation and other outlets, there are herbs that are classified as nervine relaxants that are known to help calm the nervous system to prevent and lower stress.
Probably the most important concept of life is to stay hydrated, and dehydration shows up in all kinds of ways. We need water for the body to do…everything. We mentioned depleted hair, skin, and nails are often first to show when something is going on. If we are dehydrated, that is exactly what will suffer first. As an experiment, try drinking 3-4 litres of water or herbal tea a day for 4-5 days and watch your skin go from glum to glow. It’s so instant and obvious. Our body loves water and needs it desperately to function and perform.
If you struggle with digestion, drinking more water can help, but not during meals. Try to avoid liquids during and around eating as it can dilute the digestive juices and impair the digestive process. Wait 30-60 minutes before and after eating, before drinking a large amount. It’s fine to sip a tiny little bit throughout the meal if you struggle with a dry throat or getting the food down, just don’t take giant gulps.
Herbs and Teas to Boost Hair Health
Rich in silica to help strengthen the hair (skin and nails), preventing split ends. Horsetail should not be consumed daily for long periods of time, as it can become toxic in large doses. Don’t let this scare you, it’s perfectly safe when not over done. Aim to drink horsetail tea daily for a couple weeks at a time taking a few weeks break to avoid over consumption.
This herb is known as a nutritive because it’s basically an all-in-one multivitamin. Containing several antioxidants; vitamins, A, C, E, K and some B vitamins, as well as minerals calcium, magnesium and iron. Helping to relieve inflammation and provide the body with so much nourishment, nettle is a must in a daily brew. It’s rather bitter on its own so be sure to add in some flavour boosters mentioned below.
Loaded with antioxidants (more so than green tea (apparently)) that protect the hair follicle, and contains minerals like zinc, copper, and calcium to strengthen hair at the root. Rooibos is found in topical haircare as well, as its copper content is used to possibly help prevent the premature greying of hair.
This amazing herb contains tons of silica and calcium, which strengthen the hair, skin, nails and bones. Also containing several other trace minerals and vitamins and protein.
A nutritive containing significant amounts of vitamins C, K, as well as minerals calcium, iron, potassium, copper and phosphorus. Alfalfa has a cooling/yin effect bringing the anti-inflammatory properties with it.
The absolute wonder herb. This miracle of a plant offers so many health benefits, it would be crazy not to drink a cup every night before bed. It's most known for its soothing effects on the nervous system, which is why we consume it at night. It is not a sedative, but rather by calming the nervous system and lowering stress, we drift off into a more restful slumber. Chamomile is also recognized for its digestive and PMS aiding properties. Combine with peppermint and fresh ginger to sooth digestion and period cramps.
How to Make your Tea Taste Good
If you were to make a blend of the top listed herbs on their own, it would taste…very…earthy. This might be fine for you, especially if you’re someone who chooses health benefits over flavour. But a lot of us need motivation to eat and drink healthier options. A reason to choose brewing a pot of tea over an afternoon coffee pick-me-up. Well, mother nature thought of this and came through on the solution. This next list of herbs is not just bursting with delicious flavours to balance out (cover up) all that earthiness, they’re also loaded with just as many nutrients.
Again, containing a lot of the properties described above, like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, these herbs make a great addition to any brew.
Offering a rich pink colour and deep fruity flavor, hibiscus contains tons of antioxidants, promotes digestion and lowers inflammation. Hibiscus has a strong reputation of providing magical skin results and consuming regularly will give your skin a noticeable glow!
Rosehip has a pleasant and subtle fruity flavour. Found in many skincare products, rosehip is significantly rich in vitamin C and contains many other antioxidants that are good for hair and skin.
And spearmint too, offers a cooling effect helping to lower inflammation. They also boost digestion, aid PMS cramps and reduce androgens.
Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime can boost digestion, offer some vitamin C, and give a nice fresh flavour boost.
Slice up some fresh ginger and steep in boiling water for 30 minutes or more, for extra strong spice and flavour, or add it in your tea pot for a regular brew. Ginger boosts digestion and the immune system, stimulates circulation, and aids period cramps and nausea.
Yes, we said it. If those teas perked the flavours but you’re a sweet tooth at heart, it’s perfectly ok to add a little something But, if you want to continue adding healthy options, both honey and maple syrup contain loads of vitamins and minerals bringing even more nutrients to your healing pot of tea. Manuka honey is specifically healing and high in anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Steep Herbal Tea
Choose your blend, this can be any amount you like. Maybe that’s a single herb or a blend of five or six herbs. In a tea pot or french press, steep in boiling/hot water for 15-20 minutes, or longer, we really want all the good stuff! Next, add your sweetener if using any, and enjoy. Consume 2-4 cups a day.
You can also steep over night in the fridge for a nice cold/iced tea!
The Bottom Line
Hydration is key for good health. Drinking 2-3 litres of water a day, with the addition of 2-4 cups of tea a day, can have amazing effects on our bodies. Our bodies best absorb nutrients when consumed through food and drink, as opposed to taking supplements. When the body is well nourished, it flourishes. It grows and get stronger, its energized and functions well. When we are in good health, our hair, skin, and nails show it. This can help promote healthy natural hair growth, prevent brittle, dry hair, even out tone and texture, and promote shine and colour.
The teas are supplemental to a healthy lifestyle. They alone will not do the all the work for us. They alone will not make your hair grow faster, but rather aid and encourage the body to function at best to promote general health, which includes regular hair growth.
We are not medical experts or doctors, and this information is not medical advice. You should consult a doctor or health practitioner before consuming if you are unsure whether these teas are suitable for you. Some of these herbs and ingredients may not be safe for pregnant woman and should absolutely research further which ones are safe and which ones are not. If you have any reactions or allergies to these herbs and ingredients, you should stop consumption and see your doctor.