Monday, 11 September 2017

Ayurvedic herbs for hair you didn't know were locally grown

If you use African Naturalistas products, you would know that stinging nettle is one of the major ingredients in most of our hair products. If you don’t use African Naturalistas products, what are you waiting for?

Stinging nettle is an ingredient you find in many products manufactured for natural hair outside Nigeria. If we are not careful, we might begin to assume that ingredients like these are not available to us in Nigeria, since we don’t find them in our own locally made products.

If only we knew

I mean, Nigeria has 60% of Shea butter in the world. Can you imagine that? Out of all the countries in the whole world, we have 60% while some other few scramble for the remaining, yet the company called Shea moisture is not even a Nigerian company, lol.

Anyway, back to the discussion, many herbs useful for hair care can be found in Nigeria, but language barrier and ignorance have ensured that we are not aware of this fact. And what then happens, we go all the way to India to import ayurvedic herbs to sell here, or worst case, USA.
With all the aloe Vera plants around us, I have not seen made-in-Nigeria aloe Vera powder.

So if the popular aloe Vera is suffering this fate, what of lesser known herbs like nettle and neem?
We have on one hand, the traditional herbalists who know these herbs, what they look like, and their local names, and then people like us who know the scientific and English names. Many of us don’t even know what the plants look like. We just know that the powder that comes from these leaves and roots are good for our hair… at least, that is what the internet says.

dongoyaro
Neem leaves - Dongoyaro (source)

There is the need to bridge the generational and knowledge gap, so this knowledge doesn’t end up perishing with our fathers’ fathers.

How do we do it? For example, when I began to suspect that nettle leaves might be available in Nigeria, I went online to research for the Yoruba name. I then went to a local traditional herbalist to ask her for the herb, which I got easily. I compared it to the picture online, and they were the same, only that mine was the dried one (herbs are mostly sold in the dried form because they need to be preserved over time). Some of these herbalists are also taught the English name of the herbs when learning their trade.

There are some existing, which I can’t even trace their local names, such as lavender, but they are here, live in Nigeria.

Below are some herbs easily available to us in Nigeria, which are beneficial to our hair, their local names (mostly Yoruba)and their uses. You can use them for your own hair care by


  • Getting essential oils from them
  • Dehydrating the leaves, grinding them, and making your own ayurvedic powder from them
  • Making your own extracts from them


Is someone getting a business idea from me? So here it goes


  1. Henna plant – Laali, Lali: Treats gray hair, Excellent hair conditioner, Strengthens hair from root to tip, Prevent hair loss, hair fall and breakage , Makes hair stronger and thicker, Natural hair dye
  2. Neem – Dongoyaro: Acts as Anti-bacteria, anti-fungi which keeps scalp healthy, Encourages hair growth
  3. African sandalwood – Osun, Irosun: Combats hair dryness, has astringent and antiseptic properties which rids the scalp of excess sebum secretions
  4. Lemon grass - Kooko-oba: improves scalp conditions, strengthens hair follicles
  5. Tumeric - Ata Ile pupa: Prevents hair loss, scalp issues, dandruff, eczema and dermatitis, and acts as hair dye
  6. Aloe vera – Ahon-erin: Promotes shine and moisture, Prevents hair loss and dandruffs, Acts as pre-pool treatment, Acts as gel, shampoo and conditioner, Encourages hair growth
  7. Clove Basil - Efirin in Yoruba, Nchanwu in igbo: Prevents hair loss, grey hair, and alleviates dandruff issue
  8. Mint leaf - Na’a Na’a in Hausa, Ewe Taniloju in Yoruba: Keeps the scalp clean free from dandruff and inflammation, Acts as an excellent coolant by keeping scalp refreshed, smells extremely nice, Balances healthy PH of scalp
  9. Stinging nettle – Ewe esinsin: Combats hair loss, effective treatment for dandruff
  10. Castor oil plant – Laa funfun: Stimulates hair growth, thickens hair strands
  11. Parsley – Isako: Encourages hair growth, Scalp stimulant, Promotes healthy hair
  12. Sage - Kiriwi, Babaluaye, Obatala: Treats hair loss, stimulates hair growth, tea rinse for shiny hair, darkens hair
  13. Hibiscus – Zobo: Excellent hair conditioner, Natural hair dye


Do you know of any herbs for hair care, and their local name? let’s know in the comment section.

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