In some cultures, silver hair can conjure up an aura of maturity and respect. It is the physical manifestation of wisdomsomething to look forward to.
In the West, unfortunately, the onslaught of gray usually brings an avalanche of less-than-flattering connotationsunattractive, geriatric and even enfeebled.
Now, we can either ignore naysayers and rock the adage of embracing old age, or we can comply and color our silver strands. Since most of us arent Helen Mirrenaccepting and embracing the gray just isnt an optionlets look at some natural remedies to darken our tresses.
According to the experts at the National Institutes of Health, nutritional supplements, vitamins, and other products cannot reduce or reverse the rate of graying.
Graying occurs as specialized cells in hair follicles called melanocytes lose their ability to produce pigment (melanin) over time, according to the November issue of the Berkeley Wellness Letter. Its not that hair actually turns gray, but that new hair with less melanin grows in. White hair has virtually no melanin.
Genes play a large role in graying, of course. Moreover, men tend to turn gray earlier than women. Smoking is linked to premature graying. In rare cases, gray hair may be a sign of illness.
Nutritional supplements such as Melancor and Reminex decrease grey hair by allegedly boosting melanin. But Chicago Tribune health writer Julie Deardorff says there is no evidence to back up these claims, nor is there reason to believe these substances would affect hair color. Furthermore the Wellness Letter concludes that the products are a just a big, expensive, waste of time: [theyre] supposed to take six months or longer to work, by which time youve spent hundreds of dollars to find out that the product doesnt work. Homemade Treatments Nevertheless, there are still natural treatments that can be easily concocted at home to both promote shiny hair and reduce gray. Natural Dyes: Instead of reaching for a packet of hair dye, try some natural applications. According to Deardorff, Henna is excellent for shades of light brown and red; coffee or black tea may be used by brunettes, chamomile and lemon juice will color light hair. Amla, an Indian gooseberry, has been heralded as a valuable hair tonic for enriching hair growth & hair pigmentation. Regular massage of amla paste into the scalp may reverse graying and prevent hair from falling out. Traditional Chinese Medicine: In TCM, hair reflects the quality of blood and strength in the kidneys. He Shou Wu, or Fo-Ti, is a Chinese herb used to strengthen the kidneys, and thus is also thought to restore the hairs natural color. Fo-Ti is available at Asian pharmacies. To learn more about Fo-Ti, click here. Dietary Choices: Minerals like zinc, iron and copper, and protein promote shiny and healthy hair. Include foods such as green vegetables, chicken, whole grains, cereals and soy in your diet. Avoid eating excessive meat, diary, and salt (iodine has been shown to cause premature grey hair).