By Dr. Chanchal Sharma, Ayurveda
Alopecia areata is stated as a baldness disorder where there is hair loss due to a mistaken attack of the immune system on the hair follicles (the region where hair growth starts). The damage which the hair follicles face is not permanent. However, the reason why the immune system attacks the hair follicles is still unknown. Although this problem is commonly seen in people below the age of 20, it may also be found in adults and children belonging to any age group. Men and women equally fall victim to this disorder.
Causes of Alopecia Areata-
It’s yet not perfectly understood what causes alopecia areata. For some reason, follicles stop producing visible hair, resulting in smooth bald patches that can appear overnight. Researchers are trying to determine what triggers the disease, and whether it’s from within the body or from environmental factors. There are no diagnostic tests available which can predict the onset and behavior of alopecia areata.
However, there may be some hereditary factors which play a role in hair loss, in about 20% of cases people with alopecia areata have a family member who are also affected. Below area few common factors which are known as a trigger for Alopecia areata.
- Genetic tendencies
- Environmental triggers
- Long illness
- Exposure to chemicals
- Nutritional deficiency
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Extreme Stress
- Local skin disease
Increased hair fall in ayurveda is termed as khalitya and is classified under shiroroga.
Romakupagata / keshamulagata vitiated pitta (bhrajaka pitta) along with vitiated vata leads to dis-lodgement or withering of the hair from the hair roots. Further to this, vitiated sleshma / kapha along with rakta will cover and causes obstruction to the hair root, which results in no further hair growth from that place.
A few ways of treatment to reduce hair fall and stimulate hair growth:
- Pitta Pacification: This type of treatment is stated as an effective ayurvedic treatment to enhance the digestive system including pitta pacification dietary chart and pitta decreasing ayurvedic medication. This therapy removes toxins from the biological system through effective herbs.
- Ayurvedic Oil Application: Jasminum grandifolium induced medicated herbal hair oil is highly effective for treating baldness.
- Panchakarma Therapy: Panchakarma is defined as five (pancha) remedies (karma) which involve ayurvedic measures to cleanse the body. This therapy is generally seen as a supplement to the whole therapy needed for treating alopecia. Specific suggestions of Panchakarma therapy are shirodhara (head massage with medicated oil) and Ksheera vasthi, which includes medicated enema (injecting liquid or gas into the rectum, to take out the harmful contents like toxins).
- Nasya: This therapy is characterized by the ayurvedic intake of medication through your nasal cavity which then eliminates the impurities from there. It is a very effective therapy for treating the signs of alopecia.
- Ayurvedic Diet: Ayurvedic diet is considered an essential treatment method for alopecia. Certain food products must be included or increased in the diet. These include:
- Food with astringent properties (making skin less oily and reducing bleeding from minor abrasions), sweet and bitter.
- Lentils, leafy green vegetables and pulses.
- Herbal tea like liquorice tea and peppermint tea.
- Seeds and nuts like soaked almond, sesame seed and sunflower seed.
- Egg white, turkey, chicken, and fish.