It is common to notice your hair turning grey as you grow older. Unfortunately, it is also possible for you to develop premature grey hair before you turn 30. Typically, this hair disorder can be attributed to genetics. In contrast, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners believe that a weakened liver or kidneys causes premature greying. Which begs the question: Is it possible to reverse grey hair?
Long answer short, yes, it is! However, people with premature grey hair are more likely to treat the problem with tips from a hairdresser instead of a doctor.
“While in rare instances it could be cause for concern, a young person going grey is more likely to present themselves to their hairdresser than their doctor. Although we have patients coming in for other conditions mentioning their grey hair, they do not specifically seek treatment for it,” says TCM physician Alicia Lim.
Here are the primary causes of premature grey hair and the steps you can take to reverse this disorder.
Depletion of Kidney Essence
The kidneys are responsible for doing away with toxins in the body and storing jing. Your jing is the essence of who you are, where you come from and where you are going. To put it simply, it is a substance that comes naturally from your parents. This directly influences your development right up to adulthood.
Unfortunately, kidney jing will deplete as you age. It also increases your risk of health problems like lower back pain, poor quality sperm, infertility or impotence, and poor memory and concentration. Similarly, undernourished kidneys may also cause your hair to thin or grey prematurely or appear dry and brittle.
Apart from producing glutathione, the liver is also responsible for maintaining hair health by absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, detoxifying oestrogen, and regulating glucose production. In TCM, the liver is also responsible for circulating blood and supporting qi regulation.
It is worth noting that qi is also the driving force for blood, which is especially crucial for healthy hair. Excessive or prolonged stress, anxiety, anger, and emotional trauma can all lead to liver qi stagnation. This will cause the colour and condition of your hair to deteriorate.
Steps to Reverse Grey Hair Naturally
The best way to reverse grey hair is to consume food or herbs that help to invigorate your liver and kidneys. You should also adopt the practice of a healthy lifestyle.
“Aside from the herbs and treatments we provide to patients, creating a general sense of well-being through a healthy lifestyle is very important to restoring balance to the body, which also helps maintain hair health and colour,” adds physician Lim.
Consuming kidney and liver-nourishing foods or herbals
The consumption of blackberries, mulberries, walnuts, black beans or sesame seeds can help to strengthen the liver and kidneys. In turn, this will prevent hair greying. In the same way, the consumption of fleece flower root (He Shou Wu) herb is effective in improving deficiencies in the liver and kidneys.
Fleece flower root has also demonstrated the ability to regrow hair in most test subjects within three months. This ability can be associated with a few of the herb’s mechanisms. They include activating hair follicle activation during the resting phase (telogen), mitigating the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) — a byproduct of testosterone — and preventing further hair loss. Consuming a herbal beverage that contains ingredients like red dates and longan can also promote a healthy flood of blood and qi whilst inducing a calming effect on the mind.
Going to bed and waking up early
Not getting enough restful sleep can cause hair loss, breakage, or damage. A reduced blood flow to the hair follicles is a direct result of insufficient sleep. It will cause hair strands to become weak or prevent them from growing optimally.
Therefore, you should go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Getting eight hours of sleep between 10 PM and 6 AM is the standard prescription by TCM practitioners. This is based on the notion that adequate rest will help support a healthy production of blood and qi, which is the foundation of healthy hair. Combining an essential oil blend and a diffuser which plays calming sounds can help promote good sleep.
Regular exercise can improve blood circulation and support the healthy production of melanin pigments. They are directly associated with a person’s hair colour. Yoga is a type of exercise that can help tone your physique and increase flexibility whilst also helping to keep your hair black by increasing blood circulation to the scalp.
Alternatively, millions of Chinese people practised. Qi Gong. It’s a type of exercise based on a repetitive yet very precise set of movements and is particularly designed to benefit a person’s health on various levels.
Specifically, Qi Gong aims to promote the movement of qi in the body. This is done by opening certain ‘gates’ and stretching and twisting energy channels. You should also relax your body and pay close attention to how you deep breathe during Qi Gong, as both are integral to a healthy flow of qi.
To reverse grey hair, it is essential to practice a healthy lifestyle. Identifying deficiencies in the organs is also necessary. It can enable a TCM practitioner to prescribe you remedies to promote a healthy circulation of blood and qi and improve your overall health.
- Health in Flow Chinese Medicine. 2016. What to Eat to so we can Nourish our Jing, our Life Essence. [Accessed 28 July 2021]
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