Garlic and Onion: Inexpensive yet effective hair loss remedies
There were little grateful admirers of alternative approaches towards beautification and restorative therapies in this era of pharmacological marvels; however, over the past few years, the tables have turned and the zeal regarding natural/herbal treatment and measures has gone up greatly – so much that we may sometimes call it exaggerated - and though sad at times, has often landed the overzealous on pretty rough grounds. Thankfully, with regular household items like onions and garlic, things can’t get too awry or make you raise a big stink afterwards.
Hair and a few facts:
- Hair is 88% protein (keratin) of polypeptide origin i.e. comprise more than one amino acids joined together. Sulfur is a structural part of keratin. Adding to the sulfur content adds volume, body, strength and gloss to the hair strand. Though it is dead material barring its root, yet every single strand, on an average, is capable of withstanding a force equivalent to 60kg and stretching for about 70% of its original length.
- Hair grows about 0.35mm per day. Therefore, it takes two months to grow an inch; however, age and diet has a significant role to play in it. Adding raw garlic and onions to the diet significantly increases the growth rate.
- Average lifetime of a single strand of healthy hair is between 2 and 6 years with a rest period of three months. A single hair falls out after the end of this rest period and a new hair fiber starts growing out of the root. This lifetime; however, is again dependent upon the circumstances, which can be bettered by the application of raw onions and garlic pastes or by adding them to the diet.
What garlic has to do about it?
Garlic‘s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties are known since long, but its hair-restorative capabilities remained lost in obscurity until recently, the sky high costs of cosmeceuticals forced people to find an inexpensive yet effective alternative. As the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venerology and Leprology (January 2007) showed, garlic boosts the absorption of topical betamethasone valerate (a corticosteroid) in fighting alopecia areata (patchy baldness). This explains why people in ancient times preferred slicing open garlic cloves and rubbing the juice on hairless areas. This was often followed by olive oil massages, which was left overnight for maximum results.
Garlic’s high sulfur content makes it beneficial also for skin, nails and nerves; the selenium in enables vitamin E to work better; the C, B-6 and B-1 (thiamine) vitamins help boost collagen and aids scalp circulation besides helping in carbohydrate metabolism. The calcium strengthens the structural component of hair while copper prevents defective growth. And above all, it’s manganese that supervises if the rest are playing their parts properly. Overall, garlic stimulates the flow of blood to the scalp, which results in better nourishment and therefore, better hair growth and strengthening, which is further influenced by the sulfur adding body and texture to individual strands.
What about the onions, then?
Yes, onions too; they come rich in sulfur and treat dandruff and itchy/dry scalps effectively – sometimes even better than the bottled medications that you often have to pay through your nose. Onions comprise vitamins C and B6; calcium, magnesium, potassium and germanium.
The best in this regard are the outer peels, which can be pasted (along with garlic, if you want, to bring that double-whammy) and the pulp applied – for at least 30 minutes - together with pasted fenugreek. Some also add eggs and honey to the mixes but that’s best when applied separately.
So together, apart from nourishing the hair follicles directly, they also kill microbes, parasites and pathogens causing any sort of infection.
Apart from the fact that the mix REALLY stinks, it also turns the hair a coppery shade. This is a boon to them spending tons on hair colors. Should you like sticking to the basic, gloss black, adding mustard oil to the blend will ensure that. However, this you must apply during bedtime and leave overnight for maximum effects. Or, you may use olive oil to bring a slightly brownish tinge. Shampoo it off the following morning; however, this routine must go on for at least a week before you may feel any substantial result.