Did you know that hair loss and alopecia can be reversed with natural remedies? Research states that the ancient Ayurvedic herb gunja has magical hair benefitting abilities.
Hormonal fluctuations, environmental damages, health problems and nutritional deficiencies can all impact your hair health. Alopecia is becoming a frequently experienced problem with people in the early twenties.
However, early prevention with natural remedies that work holistically to fix your hair concerns can save you money and time spent on expensive hair treatments. Read on to know all about gunja’s ability to revive damaged hair and how to best include it in your hair care routine.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“The first pharmacological effect of Gunja, described in Bhavaprakasha is Keshya. Both kinds of Ginja varieties white and red, exert a positive effect on hair growth.”
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
Ayurvedic View Of Gunja Plant
The gunja plant (Abrus Precatorius), also known as Rosary pea, is a powerful ‘keshya’ herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various hair conditions especially ‘Indralupta’ or alopecia areata. The plant is toxic to humans and needs to be used only after the purification process.
The seeds, leaves and roots of the gunja plant can be both internally consumed and topically applied as herbal lepas. Gunja is mainly available in two types- sweta (white) and rakta (red). It is an effective tridosha balancer and can serve as a cure for hair loss, cough, arthritis, and mouth ulcers.
Dr. Zeel, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix says that, “The first pharmacological effect of Gunja, described in Bhavaprakasha is Keshya. Both kinds of Ginja varieties white and red, exert a positive effect on hair growth. The Sutras also highly value its use in treating Indralupta (Alopecia areata). Once Gunja is purified of its toxic nature, it can be employed for various diseases that need Pitta Vata balancing effect.”
Ayurvedic Properties Of The Gunja Plant
Tikta (bitter), Kashaya (astringent)
Benefits Of Gunja Seeds For Hair
1. Promotes Hair Growth
The gunja plant is rich in alkaloids such as abrin that are known to activate proteins which accelerate hair growth. Further, the presence of terpenoids and steroids in this herb show hair growth promoting abilities that are almost equivalent to minoxidil,  a vasodilating medication used to treat alopecia. Thus frequent application of gunja can give you long, voluminous hair in no time.
2. Treats Alopecia
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks healthy hair follicles, causing patchy hair loss. The condition is also referred to as ‘Indralupta’ in Ayurveda. According to a research carried out on 20 patients, lepa (hair pack) prepared with gunja seed powder showed new hair growth in almost 50% of the patients .
3. Regulates Sebum Secretion
Excess sebum production can lead to various oily scalp problems. According to Ayurveda, a vitiation of the kapha dosha is the primary cause for oily scalp. Gunja being an excellent kapha pacifier, regulates sebum production on the scalp and prevents your hair from appearing limp. It also keeps various scalp issues at bay.
4. Promotes Follicle Health
Gunja is known for its immense therapeutic benefits and may increase blood flow to your hair roots thereby improving follicle health. It ensures better nutrient absorption and prevents your follicles from drying up, which can lead to hair thinning and hair loss.
5. Prevents Dandruff
Gunja, according to Ayurveda, helps pacify the vata and pitta doshas, which can cause dandruff if aggravated. It keeps your scalp moisturized and prevents dry skin and itchiness.
As per modern medicine, an overgrowth of malassezia yeast is considered one of the primary causes of seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. Gunja’s anti-fungal properties help treat such fungal conditions, keeping your scalp clean and healthy.
6. Prevents Scalp Infections
Gunja has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties that help treat various scalp infections such as ringworm, folliculitis, scalp psoriasis, dandruff and others. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory abilities that relieve inflammation and soothe your scalp, further aiding the healing process.
7. Prevents Premature Graying
Premature graying of hair or ‘Akala Palitya’ occurs when melanin producing cells (melanocytes) in your hair follicles are gradually reduced. Applying gunja seed oil regularly has shown to prevent hair graying significantly.
8. Detoxifies Your Scalp And Improves Hair Health
Gunja is an excellent tridosha pacifier and helps regulate the effects of the dosha on your hair health. It helps remove harmful ama toxins, which prevent proper nutrient absorption leading to hair loss.
9. Prevents Split Ends
Gunja is an extensively used herb in various herbal hair packs and oils for its ability to treat split ends and hair damage. The phytochemicals and amino acids in this herb help strengthen the hair shaft, hydrate and prevent breakage. By mending the split ends, gunja gives you less reasons to cut your long locks.
10. Improves Your Natural Shine
Constant exposure to pollution, UV rays and changing weather conditions can rob your hair of its shine. This can make your hair look dull and lifeless. Gunja protects your hair from environmental damages, seals your cuticles and brings back your hair’s natural shine.
Vedix Tip: Apply gunja leaf juice on areas experiencing hair fall to stimulate the growth of new hair.
How To Use Gunja Seeds/Oil To Treat Various Hair Problems?
1. For Premature Greying Of Hair
Add a tablespoon (about 10 gms) of purified gunja seed powder and a tablespoon of amla powder to cold pressed coconut oil. Soak overnight and heat the mixture in an iron kadai the next day. Once the oil becomes thick and changes colour, remove from heat and cool it to room temperature. Filter and use regularly to prevent premature hair greying.
2. For Hair Regrowth
Mix half a teaspoon of purified gunja powder, 1 teaspoon each of bhringraj powder, brahmi and triphala powders. Add a few drops of coconut/ sesame oil to make a herbal lepa (hair pack). Apply 3-4 times a week. Wash off after 30 to 40 minutes with lukewarm water.
3. For Dandruff
Prepare an anti-dandruff gunja hair pack by mixing 1 teaspoon of purified gunja powder, and 1 teaspoon each of hibiscus, triphala and neem powders. Add a few drops of coconut oil to make a paste and apply on your scalp and hair. Leave it on for an hour and wash off with lukewarm water.
4. For Scalp Infections
Mix 1 teaspoon of purified gunja seed powder, 1 teaspoon gunja leaf juice, and 1 teaspoon each of haritaki and neem powders. Add a few drops of coconut and tea tree oil in equal parts. Mix well to make a paste and apply on the affected areas. Wash off after an hour with lukewarm water.
5. For Oily Scalp
Prepare a hair pack made with 1 teaspoon each of gunja seed, hibiscus and amla powders. Add aloe vera gel/ buttermilk/ fermented rice water to make a paste. Apply on your scalp and wash off with lukewarm water after 30 to 40 minutes.
According to a research performed on diabetic rats, the gunja seed was found to have powerful anti-diabetic properties. It could effectively reduce blood sugar levels without any toxicity.
Precautions To Be Followed While Using Gunja Seeds
Gunja seeds can be toxic if not gone through the ‘shodhana’  or detoxification process properly. It can cause severe vomiting and stomach problems. Therefore, while using gunja seeds, take the below mentioned necessary precautions:
- Buy gunja seed powder from a reputed Ayurvedic store only.
- For internal consumption, check first with a small amount to avoid side effects.
- Gunja seeds are generally considered unsafe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Consult your doctor before giving gunja seeds to children.
- These may interact with your medicine. Hence, inform your doctor regarding your ongoing medications before using the gunja plant.
Frequently Asked Questions On Gunja Seeds For Hair
1. Is Gunja Poisonous?
The Gunja plant is a poisonous herb  used in Ayurvedic medicine for its therapeutic properties. Its seeds contain a toxin called abrin which can cause certain health hazards if consumed. This is why gunja seeds are first purified before using for medicinal purposes.
2. How Often Can We Make Use Of Gunja Seeds On Hair?
Gunja seed oil made with 10 gms of gunja seed powder added to 100 ml of carrier oil, can be used regularly for healthy hair growth. As for hair packs, using it two to three times a week is good for scalp and hair. However, it is advisable to consult your Ayurvedic doctor to know the exact dosage of gunja in your hair care routine as per your prakriti and hair type.
The Last Word
Despite being poisonous, the gunja plant has amazing health and hair benefits. With proper detoxification, this magical herb can be included in your regular hair care routine. Using it according to your hair type can not only bid farewell to your hair concerns but also leave you with thick, long, beautiful tresses.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Phytochemical Investigation And Characterization Of Abrin Protein With Gel Electrophoresis From Seeds Of Abrus Precatorius, 2013 April
2. Efficacy Of Abrus Precatorius (Gunja) Seeds Oil As A Hair Growth Promoter [Keshya Rasayan] In Female Wistar Albino Rats, 2013
3. A Clinical Study To Evaluate The Efficacy Of Gunja Seeds As A Local Application In The Management Of Indralupta, 2016 January
4. Effective Detoxification Of Abrus Precatorius Linn. Seeds By Shodhana, 2013 Apr- Jun
5. Are Rosary Peas Poisonous?
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