After my first semester at college, the massive change in weather, diet and lifestyle threw my body off-balance. My hair weakened to the point where it was falling out in clumps, not only in the shower but even on my clothes, my pillow case, and bedding. Don’t get me wrong, some amount of hair fall is totally normal, but my hair had become noticeably thinner, weaker, and greasier, and I didn’t know what to do about it. During this time, my face was also exploding with painful, cystic acne—something that I’d never experienced before. As you can imagine, this, along with my severe hair fall, hit my self-confidence real hard. I began caking my face with make-up to cover the painful bumps, and I wore a cap or a beanie like you would on a bad hair day because at that point, it seemed as though everyday was a bad hair day.
Then, my grandmother, who grew up using ancient natural remedies to help her hair and skin, introduced me to the world of Ayurveda—one that I have explored greatly since and have grown to become fascinated by because it really does work. From how to treat a sore throat to promoting hair growth, they have a solution to almost everything in the book! Here are some of them that you may want to incorporate into your everyday life.
- Coconut oil is the best all-in-one moisturizer there is.
My grandmother would often tell me to oil my scalp and give it a good massage—or “champi,” as we call it—but just like most people, the thought of having oily hair made me cringe. Thank God, she did it anyway. Now, 15 years later, I have all that goodness from the Friday-night head massages with coconut oil to thank for my soft, strong, and silky locks. Although it may feel sticky, massaging your scalp and ends with cold-pressed coconut oil and leaving it in overnight or for 30 minutes can help restore the moisture and undo some of the damage caused by using the styling and heat tools that we all love on the daily.
- Turmeric ain’t golden for no reason.
This golden spice is truly a kitchen treasure. Its potent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties make it ideal to consume first thing in the morning on an empty stomach as it cleanses the gut and promotes healthy digestion. Simply add a teaspoon of dried turmeric powder to a cup of warm water along with some ghee or black pepper to help release its goodness. You can even use it as a facemask when combined with some yogurt or milk to help shrink stubborn zits without drying your skin out.
- A spoonful of yogurt a day keeps the doctor away.
While dairy is often a no-go for most, yogurt is usually an exception. Why, you ask? Because its bacterial composition is different than that found in other dairy products such as milk or cheese—a spoonful of yogurt every day after a meal helps promote a healthy gut flora and therefore, allow your gut to digest and process the food you eat effectively. It also has a cooling effect on the body, which is why it is commonly consumed after a spicy home-cooked meal in Indian households.
- Eat yo’ pickles.
Another accompaniment commonly found on a plate of Indian food is some pickle. Tangy, sweet, sour and spicy, much like kimchi, this fermented food helps keep the gut healthy, allowing smooth digestion of your food. The more fermented, the better!
- Take your shot of Indian gooseberry juice.
Although this is popular and easily-available in India, it is lesser known in other parts of the world, but you need to get your hands on these if you can! Its high vitamin C content will allow you to ditch those immunity supplements you’ve been taking since last year, and if you love your sour foods, this is a real treat. Additionally, when consumed religiously, overtime, it helps prevent premature greying of hair. You can consume it as a shot, cut up like a fruit with some cumin and salt sprinkled on top, or even eat it dried, like candy. This is because according to Ayurveda, it is the only fruit or vegetable that retains its medicinal properties in any form.