Bhringaraj: Getting to Know Your Herbal Allies
Here at Banyan, one of the most common questions we get from our customers is how to support healthy and beautiful hair. Luckily, there is an herb in the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia that does just that, and much more!
Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba), also called eclipta, is well renowned for its ability to support strong, healthy hair growth as well as enhance the natural color and luster of the hair. In fact, it is so well known for its affinity with the hair that it often goes by the name, kesharaja, or “king of the hair.”1
As wondrous as this herb is for addressing all things head and hair-related, its benefits don’t stop there. The cooling nature of bhringaraj makes it an excellent herb for soothing the skin, calming the mind, and cleansing the liver.2
It is also one of the best overall rejuvenatives for pitta dosha, known to strengthen and support the bones, teeth, nails, sight, hearing, and memory, protecting the body from premature aging and tonifying the tissues of the body and mind.3
What a valuable ally. If you aren’t familiar with this herb already, you (and your hair) will be happy to make its acquaintance.
Bhringaraj in the Landscape
Bhringaraj is an annual that grows up to about a foot in height. It has a small white flower with many tiny, thin petals. While the flowers are quite delicate, the slightly curly leaves are strong and thick, with a layer of spiky hairs that can cause the skin to itch when touched. When crushed, the leaves produce a dark greenish black liquid.
Although bhringaraj often grows as a weed in paddy fields and marshy areas, it can also be cultivated and farmed. In fact, this was one of the herbs we introduced this year at the Banyan project farm in Oregon, and we were happy to see that it thrived! Over the course of its growing season we were able to harvest 350 pounds of the dry herb, all of which will be used in our products in the year ahead.
It was also amazing to see this hearty plant live up to one of its other names, the “bee ruler.” This name is the direct translation of bhringaraj (bhring=bee, raja=king), and with fields full of the flowering plant, we could see exactly how this name came about. The bees LOVED the tiny flowers and brought a joyful, buzzing vibrancy to the entire field.
The Many Benefits of Bhringaraj
Although this herb gets a lot of attention for its powerful effect on the hair, its gifts extend far beyond a head of luscious locks. Combining the bitter and cooling properties of the herb with its action as a rejuvenative tonic, bhringaraj brings a host of benefits to the rest of the body as well.
For example, the bitter quality works to cleanse the liver by clearing excess pitta and increasing bile flow.4 This action in the liver extends to support the tissues of rasa and rakta, the lymph and blood, helping to maintain calm, glowing skin and strong, healthy blood flow.5
The cooling and tonifying effects of bhringaraj also work wonders on the mind and the nervous system. It simultaneously calms pitta and vata in the region of the head and fortifies majja dhatu, the tissue of the nerves.5 This combination serves to calm the mind, alleviate tension and stress, and even support deep and restful sleep.6
The ability to clear excess heat and agitation from the crown of the body also helps to explain why bhringaraj is the ideal herb to support lustrous, healthy hair growth and prevent premature greying—according to Ayurveda, the more heat that lives in the head, the more prone we are to loss of both color and moisture in the hair!
Speaking of hair, did you know that Ayurveda considers it to be very closely connected to the bones, teeth, and nails? We can’t move on from this herb without mentioning that as a rejuvenative, bhringaraj restores and strengthens asthi dhatu (the bones), including our teeth and nails.
Finally, because of its pungent vipaka (post-digestive effect), bhringaraj is excellent for the lungs, helping to clear excess kapha accumulation and maintain healthy function of the respiratory tract.7 It can also be used to support the health of the reproductive organs in both men and women.8
Incorporating Bhringaraj in your Routine
Bhringaraj is excellent for internal and external support. The powder can certainly be used for your own DIY hair and beauty recipes, and it can be taken as a tea (although the taste may make this option less than appealing to most!).
It can also be found in many of our products, making it easy and convenient for daily use. Here are a few ways you can use bhringaraj in your daily routine.
Bhringaraj for Healthy Hair
If you, like so many of our customers, are looking for a product to support healthy, abundant, voluminous, and beautiful hair growth, or just need a little extra moisture in your mane, we offer a handful of products specifically for this purpose.
Our Healthy Hair tablets deliver bhringaraj, along with a few other pitta-pacifying herbs, to support robust and healthy hair growth from the inside-out, while also cleansing the liver, detoxifying the body, and removing excess pitta from the system as a whole.
Healthy Hair tablets can be used in conjunction with Healthy Hair Oil for full-body support.
Healthy Hair Oil is made with a moisturizing base of coconut and sesame oils, and it brings together a dream team of hair-enhancing herbs, including bhringaraj, amalaki, and brahmi/gotu-kola. This powerful trifecta cools, cleanses, and rejuvenates in order to strengthen and nourish all hair types.
Be sure to take some time to gently massage the oils into your scalp to stimulate the hair follicles and allow the deeply nourishing herbs and oils to penetrate to the roots of your hair.
Bhringaraj Oil is another option. This traditional herbal oil combines all of the amazing qualities of bhringaraj with a rich and nourishing sesame oil base, for a product that is simple yet powerful in its effect on the hair, scalp, and mind.
Bhringaraj for the Mind and Nervous System
If you are more interested in bhringaraj’s ability to calm the mind, promote memory, and strengthen and nourish the nervous system, Tranquil Mind tablets and Mental Clarity tablets will offer significant support.
Using Bhringaraj Oil or Healthy Hair Oil will also support the mind and nervous system.
Bhringaraj for Sound Sleep
Other Uses for Bhringaraj
Lastly, bhringaraj can be found in our Liver Formula tablets, which help to detoxify and rejuvenate the liver, and in Healthy Pitta tablets, which support overall health and well-being by cooling the system and maintaining a proper balance of pitta dosha.
Ayurveda is unique in that it truly views the body as one whole system. And with bhringaraj, like so many of the herbs in the Ayurvedic pharmacy, it is easy to see that connection—by targeting one part of the body it will offer its gifts to the other systems as well.
So if your goal is to cleanse your liver, you may also begin to notice an extra reward of more healthy, gorgeous hair! Or if you choose to use an oil for your hair and scalp, you will likely experience the bonus effects of a tranquil mind, a more settled nervous system and a restful night of sleep.
With all of these powerful effects on the body and mind, bhringaraj truly is an herb to get to know.