We all know that graying hair is a natural part of the aging process, but for those who are going prematurely gray or those who aren’t ready to embrace their silver fox, there are alternatives. Learn more about why we go gray and try a handful of potent Ayurvedic and herbal treatments that have been used to slow — and in some cases reverse — the progression of gray hair.

Why we go gray?
For most of us, gray hair is inevitable. When we’re young, our melanocytes — the cellsat, the base of the hair follicles that produce the pigment that colors our hair — do their job and do it well. But as we age, production of pigment slows, and eventually stops. The result: gray hair.

And when it comes to going gray, age isn’t the only adversary. The following is a list of factors that may contribute to premature graying.

  • Heredity
  • Stress
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Medication
  • Medical treatment
  • Heavy smoking, drinking or drug abuse
  • Psychological shock or trauma
  • Excessive use of hair dyes
  • Unhealthy scalp

Home remedies for graying hair
The following Ayurvedic and herbal home remedies are easy to prepare and may slow, stop or reverse the graying process. Ingredients for these remedies can be found at well-stocked natural food stores:

  • Curry leaves make an excellent anti-gray hair treatment. They can either be taken orally or used topically. For oral consumption, season foods with sautéed curry leaves. For topical application: gently heat curry leaves in coconut oil. Allow to cool. Use the resulting mixture as a once-weekly hair tonic.
  • Snake gourd can help prevent premature graying. Soak dried snake gourd in coconut oil for 3-4 hours. Massage the scalp with oil mixture.
  • Butter makes an excellent scalp treatment that may fight graying hair and hair loss. Massage the scalp with softened butter twice a week.
  • Henna is a great hair conditioner and natural hair dye. Apply henna paste to hair, massaging it into the roots. Leave in for 1-3 hours. Wash hair with a mild shampoo. Henna will give your hair a reddish hue.
  • Sage makes a natural dye that gets the gray out. Boil 1/2 cup dried sage in 2 cups of water for 15-30 minutes. Steep for 2-3 hours. Work through hair and let dry. Wash hair with a mild shampoo.
  • A mixture of lime juice, henna powder and castor oil fights gray and adds color. Work into scalp and let dry. Wash hair with a mild shampoo.
  • A mixture of black tea and salt can reverse the appearance of gray hair over the course of several treatments. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 1 cup of strong black tea. Massage into scalp and leave in for 1 hour. Wash hair with a mild shampoo. Repeat once a week.
  • Neem (Indian lilac) is a great line of defense against premature graying. Soak neem leaves in coconut oil for 2-3 hours. Heat mixture gently, then allow to cool. Use the neem oil as a scalp massage.
  • Indian gooseberry has been used for centuries to slow or stop the advance graying hair. Mix 3 tablespoons of Indian gooseberry powder with 2 cups boiling water. Allow to cool and thicken overnight. In the morning, work the paste into hair and scalp. Leave in for 1 hour, then wash hair with a mild shampoo.

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