THE MANE ATTRACTION
Herbs for healthy locks
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.
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 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 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 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.