Thank you for your question and I am sorry to hear of your hair loss after coronavirus.
I wrote a little about hair loss here, but the coronavirus paints a different pathological picture in Ayurveda, so I am going to touch on that here.
An Ayurvedic Perspective of Corona Virus
In Ayurvedic terms, the coronavirus increases each dosha (vata, pitta and kapha), while mainly affecting three of the seven layers of tissues (dhatus) that make up the body. The three dhatus that are effected are: majja (nervous system and bone marrow), rakta (blood) and medas (fatty and fibrous tissues of the body). When each dosha is affected, treatment is more complex, so I do advise you see a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner, but I can give you an overview and some pointers here.
In order to help you understand the hair loss, I need to touch on the function of these three affected dhatus:
- Majja: the nervous system and bone marrow. The function of majja is to fill in spaces (this is called poorana in Sanskrit). Imbalance takes place when this tissue becomes depleted and cannot communicate as clearly and effectively as it is supposed to.
- Rakta: the blood, the function of rakta is to give life (jivanam). Imbalanced blood equals depleted vitality.
- Medas: fatty and fibrous tissues, whose function it is to lubricate (snehana), loss of lurbrication leads to weakness.
The order I mention above is the general chronology of the virus when it gets into the body. As in, first it hits the nervous system, then blood, and then the fatty tissues. You find each of these tissue-types all over the body, and you therefore see why Ayurveda cannot look at things in isolation. Each dhatu has a different function that feeds into the others, one cannot exist without the other, but each has its autonomous function too. This is the tip of the iceberg of the systemic interdependence of the body, mind (and soul) of a human being. This is why health is nuanced and complex.
As In the Body, So In the Cosmos
There is a classic Ayurvedic idiom that goes: pindi te brahmadi, which translates from Sanskrit to mean, as is in the body so is reflected in the cosmos. This is relevant because this virus not only affects the body in the above way, it also affects the collective consciousness. Take majja or nervous system, that wants to fill in minute spaces of the body with clean healthy current and communication, but instead gets filled with fear and confusion. So not only are we dealing with the actual virus, but we are dealing with the collective stress, depression and confusion of our communities and world. This is a lot of stress for a system to handle, and all manner of stress will lead to mental strife and potentially hair loss.
Some After Effects of Covid
This virus also leaves the blood and fatty fibrous tissues of the body (medas) depleted, leading to dryness and increased weakness in the body. Hair, in order to grow healthily, needs vitality (from the blood) and lubrication in the form of healthy medas. The function of medas is snehana, and snehana translates from Sanskrit to mean both lubrication and to give love. So when snehana is depleted, we experience a visceral dryness as well as a lack of being able to connect with that vital aspect of self love that keeps us afloat. Covering ourself in fat is an act of love.
So we need to help you give reassurance and rejuvenation to each of these tissue layers, as well as rebalancing the affected doshas. Your hair will be marvellous and full of life once more once you have addressed these things.
Ayurveda has a whole section of medicine dedicated to the process of rejuvenation. This is called rasayana, it is the means by which we recalibrate imbalanced dhatus and doshas.
- So I would advise you to start with taking chyawanprash, this is one of the most potent and beautiful rasayanas in a jar, lick slowly one teaspoon of it first thing in the morning before you do anything, followed by a mug of warm water, for 40 days.
- I would also advise you to look into a nasya treatment, which is the process of taking oils through the nose. This is a way of giving reassurance to the mind and cranial section of the body. (You will need to speak to a qualified Ayurvedic physician for this).
- Lubrication is not only what the depleted medas is needing, but it is also what gives reassurance to the whole being. This is the opposite of being dry and fearful, so I would suggest you start covering body and hair in oils. Sesame oil (organic, cold pressed, not toasted lol), is great for treating vata, so if you are a cold and a little shaky, then this is a great medicine for it, so please start massaging your whole body with a little warm sesame oil before your morning or evening bath.
- And then give your head and hair massages with one of these oils: Brahmi oil, Bhringraj oil or Amla oil, each has hair revitalising and re-growing properties (amongst other things).
There are various herbs you can take to bolster and support your body and mind, including Brahmi, Aswagandha and Amla, but please speak to an Ayurvedic physician so they can give you a dedicated treatment plan, as well as dosage and timings for these medicines.
By Selina Van Orden