Dandruff = Scaliness of the Scalp
The term dandruff generally refers to the condition of the skin wherein shiny, silver)’ scales separate from the scalp and collect amidst the hair. The condition can become troublesome when the skin gets infected.
Causes and Symptoms
When the hair is combed or brushed, or when the scalp is scratched, the scales from the scalp fall like snowflakes and settle on the eye brows, shoulders, and clothes. These scales sometimes appear as lumps or crusts on the scalp. Often there is itching as well and the scalp may become red from scratching.
The main causes of dandruff are impairment of general health, development of a toxic condition mainly due to taking of wrong foods, constipation, and a low vitality due to infectious diseases. Other factors contributing to this disorder are emotional tension, harsh shampoos, exposure to cold, and general exhaustion.
Fenugreek Seeds: The use of fenugreek seeds is one of the most important remedies in the treatment of dandruff. Two tablespoons of these seeds should be soaked overnight in water and ground into a fine paste in the morning. This paste should be applied all over the scalp and left for half an hour. The hair should then be washed thoroughly with soap-nut (ritha) solution or shikakai.
Lime: The use of a teaspoon of fresh lime juice for the last rinse, while washing the hair, is another useful remedy. This not only leaves the hair glowing but also removes stickiness and prevents dandruff.
Green Gram Powder: A valuable prescription for removal of dandruff is the use of green gram powder. The hair should be washed twice a week with two tablespoons of this powder mixed with half a cup of curd.
Beet: Beets have been found useful in dandruff. Both tops and roots should be boiled in water and this water should be massaged into the scalp with the finger tips every night. White beet is better for this purpose.
Snake Gourd: The juice of snake gourd has been found beneficial in the prevention and treatment of dandruff. The juice should be rubbed over the scalp for this purpose.
Other Remedies: Dandruff can be removed by massaging the hair for half an hour with curd which has been kept in the open for three days, or with a few drops of lime juice mixed with amla juice every night, before going to bed. Another measure which helps to counteract dandruff is to dilute cider vinegar with an equal quantity of water and dab this on to the hair with cotton wool in-between shampooing. Cider vinegar added to the final rinsing water after shampooing also helps to disperse dandruff.
Diet plays an important role in the treatment of dandruff. To begin with, the patient should resort to an all-fruit diet for about five days and take three meals a day of juicy fruits. Citrus fruits, bananas, dried, stewed, or tinned fruits should not be taken. After the all-fruit diet, the patient can gradually adopt a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on raw foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Further short periods of an all-fruit diet for three days or so may be necessary at monthly intervals till the skin’s condition improves.
Meats, sugar, white flour, strong tea or coffee, condiments, pickles, refined and processed foods should all be avoided.
The foremost consideration in the treatment of this disorder is to keep the hair and scalp clean so as to minimise the accumulation of dead cells. The hair should be brushed daily to improve the circulation and remove any flakiness. The most effective way to brush the hair is to bend forward from the waist with the head down towards the ground, and brush from the nape of the neck towards the top of the head. The scalp should also be thoroughly massaged everyday, using one’s finger tips and working systematically over the head. This should be done just before or after brushing the hair. Like brushing, this stimulates the circulation, dislodges dirt and dandruff, and encourages hair growth. Exposure of the head to the rays of the sun is also a useful measure in the treatment of dandruff.
During the first five days of the treatment when the patient takes an all-fruit diet, a warm-water enema should be taken daily to cleanse the bowels. Simultaneously, an attempt should be made to keep the body in good health.