In Oriental medicine hair is associated with blood. If there is blood deficiency, then there may be hair loss too. The spleen-pancreas and kidneys are said to be in charge of our blood and also the quality of our hair.
Americans have the greatest rate of baldness of any culture. Typically, the high-fat, high-protein and sugar rich American diet causes acidic blood. The Yellow Emperor’s ”Inner Classic” of medicine states that too much salt and too much sweet flavored food damages the blood and makes the hair fall out. In the Five Element Theory the salt taste is related to the kidneys and the sweet taste to the spleen-pancreas.
Certain foods are traditionally used in China to help prevent gray hair: hijiki seaweed, blackstrap molasses (in moderation), nettles and wheat grass. These foods are rich in iron to build the blood, and nettles and wheat grass are also concentrated in chlorophyll, which make them good for preventing hair loss. The well-known Chinese herbal blood tonic Ho shou wu (polygonum multiflorum) helps with hair quality but is thought to be too warming and tonifying for the liver of most meat eating Westerners, and long term use can lead to depression and anger. Black sesame seeds can be used for gray hair but caution is needed as they are a laxative.
It is generally known in China that worry will make the hair turn gray! Excessive thinking, worry and anxiety will injure the earth element and spleen-pancreas, and in turn will affect the assimilation of nutrients and blood production. Hair quality then suffers.
So – if you are having a bad hair day, and you want hair that is thick and lustrous, strengthen your spleen and kidneys with a relaxing simple healthy meal!
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