Want healthy, shiny hair? The right herbs could help.

Eduard Titov

Want healthy, shiny hair? The right herbs could help.

As you age, maintaining your hair’s health means that you need to maintain all-round good health as well as maintain a good hair-care regime.

Diet is the foundation of healthy hair – you need vitamin B complex, vitamin A, calcium, silica, iron, zinc, protein and also unsaturated oils or fatty acids. As is the norm, you’ll also need plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, water and about eight hours sleep each night.

Even after taking the most sensible measures, hair loss in inevitable. However, the right herbs could be what your diet is missing.

Here are four common herbs that can be used to help to keep your hair healthy (and also have intoxicating scents).

Lavender oil stimulates circulation in the scalp and strengthens new hair growth.

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Lavender oil stimulates circulation in the scalp and strengthens new hair growth.

1. LAVENDER

The oil of Lavandula angustifolia is a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-septic.

Lavender oil stimulates circulation in the scalp, strengthens new hair growth, and helps to balance the natural oil production of the scalp, making it a popular choice for people of all skin types.

As an added bonus, lavender oil is also a natural insect repellent for protection against fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and head lice.  It can also soothe symptoms of stress and headaches.

2. BASIL

Basil is rich in magnesium, an often overlooked mineral that is essential for hundreds of chemical processes within the human body.

When applied to hair and scalp as an herbal rinse, basil also acts as an anti-inflammatory, strengthens your hair against breakage, and improves circulation in the hair follicles. This can eventually help to stimulate growth.

Basil can strengthen your hair against breakage and improve circulation in the hair follicles.

Sally Tagg

Basil can strengthen your hair against breakage and improve circulation in the hair follicles.

3. LIQUORICE

Glycosides, triterpene saponins, and flavonoids naturally occurring in licorice root work to nourish the scalp and heal damage caused by fungal infection, eczema, environmental allergens, and chemical exposure.

To make a licorice root cleanser, add one tablespoon of dried licorice root to three cups of boiling water.  Allow the roots to steep for an hour or more on low heat (simmer.)  Strain and cool the infused liquid to room temperature before applying to hair and scalp.

4. MARSHMALLOW

We bet you haven’t heard of this one! The roots of Althea officinalis, or the common marshmallow, contain lauric acid.

This is the medium chain fatty-acid that is present in coconut oil, which gives the fruit its outstanding list of health benefits. Marshmallow root is also rich in mucilage, a natural hair detangler.

To harness its benefits, boil dried marshmallow for about fifteen minutes, then strain to extract mucilage, which can then be combined with your favourite natural conditioner.

MICHELLE REED