by Shanti of A Curls Best Friend
Before Pantene, Queen Helene and Head and Shoulders, women turned to their gardens, woods and fields for plants that met all of their beauty needs. Whether it be a cure to dandruff, premature balding, dull strands or a desire for a new color there was a plant that they knew could meet their specific demands. I think that as the world is beginning to become more synthetic the less we truly understand the implications of allowing such chemicals, toxins and mad men creations into our bodies. It is important to be knowledgeable and at the very least know that there are natural alternatives to every single demand that humans require whether in sickness or health. With that being said, I have begun my research into herbs that can treat and assist in hair. Let's begin with Rosemary. (My source for today's research comes from the book entitled "Back to Eden" written by Jethro Kloss).
Rosemary is very common and easily accessible herb. It is green in appearance with thin, needle-like leaves with a deep, pungent smell. When it comes to it's contributions to hair it seems to be all purpose. Here is a brief list of its uses and benefits to hair...
-Stimulates and improves circulation to the scalp thus encouraging hair growth
-Due to it's antibacterial quality it gently cleanses hair
-Fights premature graying
-Relieves irritated, dry, flaky, dandruff ridden scalps
How Do I Use It?
As with all herbs there are many different ways that rosemary can be applied externally unto your hair and scalp. These processes can be used with both fresh and dried herbs. But as with cooking, it is always recommended to use fresh ingredients. (If you don't use all of your herb initially, you can dry them and store for next time!) Here are the most common processes for external use of rosemary.
Rosemary Infusion- What is that you ask? It's a simple as a cup of tea. Actually, it is like a cup to tea!
- Simply boil water and add your rosemary to the water.
- Allow it to steep for 15-30mins and then sift away the leaves. You are left with rosemary infused water.
- The water can then be used for a rinse for any of the following; cleansing rinse, treatment for shine, treatment for graying, treatment for dandruff and scalp irritation.
- DO NOT RINSE OUT! (Remember to accompany rinses with a nice scalp massage as well).
Rosemary Oil- There are two ways that you can achieve an oil infused with rosemary.
- The first which is the quickest but not necessarily the cheapest is purchasing rosemary essential oil (which is a highly concentrated) and adding a few drops to your oil which you use daily.
- The second option is buy fresh rosemary and crush it within your hands to bring out the aroma. Put the crushed herb into a GLASS bottle (beer bottle, jelly, jars etc) and pour your choice of oil (olive, jojoba etc) over top the herbs.
- Try to pick an oil that is not temperature sensitive like coconut oil.
- Put the bottle in a cool, dark space and allow it to sit for 2-4 weeks. You can then apply this rosemary infused oil to your hair and scalp for the following; dandruff, scalp irritation, stimulate hair growth, scalp massage, added shine and luster.
- Crush fresh rosemary and add to a jar of apple cider vinegar.
- Follow the same steps as the oil and store in a cool, dark space for 2-4 weeks.
- After shampooing hair, combine 1/4 cup of your rosemary vinegar to 1-2 cup of water and rinse hair with it.
- DO NOT RINSE OUT. This is best used for the following; gentle cleanser, hair treatment for Ph balance, shine and conditioning.
You can find rosemary at any grocery and produce store. It is a very inexpensive and very accessible herb. If you are a gardener, look into adding this wonderful culinary and medicinal herb into your harvest being as though it grows easily and yields well.
Have you tried Rosemary in your hair recipes?