THE MANE AT­TRAC­TION

South African Garden and Home - - Contents -

Herbs for healthy locks

ALFALFA

Used as a medic­i­nal plant for thou­sands of years, alfalfa is rich in sil­ica, which im­proves hair that splits eas­ily or is thin­ning.

: A peren­nial, it’s eas­ily Grow­ing tips grown from seeds or seedlings in full sun. Drought re­sis­tant and hardy, it dies back in cold ar­eas in win­ter, but springs up in warm weather, quickly reach­ing a me­tre high. The pur­ple f low­ers at­tract ben­e­fi­cial in­sects, par­tic­u­larly bees.

: Drink an in­fu­sion of leaves and Uses f low­ers twice a day. Make a paste from blended leaves and f low­ers mixed with jo­joba oil and use as a hair con­di­tioner.

GOTU KOLA

One of the many ben­e­fits of this re­mark­able herb is that it for­ti­fies hair fol­li­cles by strength­en­ing blood ves­sels and im­prov­ing cir­cu­la­tion.

: Once es­tab­lished, Grow­ing tips this spread­ing, semi-hardy peren­nial with kid­ney-shaped leaves needs lit­tle at­ten­tion. It’s an ideal ground­cover as it forms a dense water-re­tain­ing mat. It sur­vives light frost, but needs pro­tec­tion against se­vere cold. Grow from seedlings or prop­a­gate from run­ners.

Many herbs can be used both in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally to im­prove the health of your hair. Jane Grif­fiths has these tips on how to grow and use them

: Drink an in­fu­sion of leaves once Uses a day. Don’t overdo it – ex­ces­sive use can lead to headaches and itchy skin. Use in­fused oil as a hair con­di­tioner and leave on for 6–12 hours.

NET­TLE

Net­tle is an ex­cel­lent hair tonic and growth stim­u­lant as it con­tains high lev­els of cal­cium, mag­ne­sium, phos­pho­rous and sil­ica.

: Net­tles grow eas­ily Grow­ing tips in any soil and pre­fer semi-shade. Seedlings are available from herb cen­tres or can be prop­a­gated from a piece of root. They spread eas­ily, and to pre­vent them be­com­ing in­va­sive, cut back reg­u­larly or grow in a con­tainer. In late au­tumn, cut down to the ground and mulch lightly.

: Drink an in­fu­sion made from Uses leaves and f low­ers once a day. Use as a con­di­tioner to pre­vent hair loss and en­cour­age growth. : Use gloves when

Tip har­vest­ing – it’s not called sting­ing net­tle for noth­ing.

PARS­LEY

Pars­ley has a very high vi­ta­min and min­eral con­tent, and was used medic­i­nally long be­fore it be­came a culi­nary herb. It helps strengthen hair and keeps it shiny and healthy.

: Pars­ley takes ages to Grow­ing tips ger­mi­nate and is eas­ier grown from seedlings. When sow­ing seeds, soak them in warm water overnight, be­fore plant­ing. Pars­ley likes fer­tile soil, full to par­tial sun and plenty of reg­u­lar mois­ture. It comes in two main va­ri­eties: flat leaf (or Ital­ian) and curly leaf. Both are rich in nu­tri­ents. Al­though a bi­en­nial and hardy enough to sur­vive mild frosts, plant new seedlings each year as leaves from sec­ond-year plants be­come tough and bit­ter. Leave some to f lower the fol­low­ing sum­mer as they at­tract ben­e­fi­cial in­sects.

: Drink an in­fu­sion twice a day Uses to strengthen hair. Sim­mer leaves for a few min­utes un­til soft­ened. Blend into a paste and rub into the scalp as a con­di­tioner to help con­trol hair loss and pre­vent dan­druff. Cover with a towel and leave on for an hour.

ROSE­MARY

Rose­mary is an ex­cel­lent herb for strength­en­ing hair, pre­vent­ing hair loss and treat­ing scalp prob­lems.

: Rose­mary is a large Grow­ing tips peren­nial that lives for many years. Al­though its pre­ferred cli­mate is hot and dry, it does well in more tem­per­ate zones. There are many va­ri­eties, some trail­ing, oth­ers bushy, with f low­ers rang­ing from pale mauve to dark pur­ple. It’s dif­fi­cult to grow from seed, so rather buy seedlings or prop­a­gate from an ex­ist­ing plant, us­ing lay­er­ing or cut­tings. Cut back in late spring.

: For shiny hair and to keep the Uses scalp in good con­di­tion, use an in­fu­sion of leaves as a rinse. Add es­sen­tial oil to con­di­tioner to en­cour­age growth.

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