Chamomile and Lavender are popular ingredients in hair and body formulations, and many are aware of their benefits. There are several other flowers that might not be as well known, which are also beneficial to your hair and scalp, such as Hibiscus, Calendula, Tiare, and Arnica.

One of the most common flowering trees of India is the Hibiscus tree. Hibscus is part of the Malvaceae, or the Mallow, family of flowers. Both cotton, and the original ingredient used to make marshmallows, come from this group of flowers. Okra is also a mallow.

Ancient woman of India used Hibiscus extracts as hair treatments. Both the leaves and flowers of the tree are included in Ayurvedic therapy, and used in cosmetic formulations. The flowers and leaves contain many properties that benefit hair and scalp, and help in the treatment of dandruff and hair loss.

Hibiscus has a soothing and cooling action on the scalp. It is beneficial to those who suffer from the scalp condition seborrhea because of its astringent properties which help to reduce oil-gland secretions and excessive oiliness in the hair and scalp. Hibiscus also helps to reduce scaling, itching, and redness, and reduces clogged pores, thereby improving overall hair health.

Hibiscus flowers and leaves can be steeped in boiling water overnight, then strained and used directly on your scalp as a final rinse and left in your hair.

Calendula officinalis, or marigold, has been used for medicinal
purposes for centuries. Calendula contains a high amount of falconoids, which are plant-based antioxidants that protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals.

Calendula has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial effects, and Calendula powdered extract soothes irritated scalp, and improves the condition of the scalp. Calendula flowers can also be steeped in boiling water overnight, strained and then used directly on your scalp as a final rinse and left in your hair.

The Tiare (tee-a-ray) flower, or Gardenia tahitensis, is from the Rubiaceae family. It is Tahiti’s national flower.

The combination of coconut oil and Tiare flower makes up the popular Monoi de Tahiti oil. The oil can be created by soaking ten Tiare flowers, which must come from French Polynesia, in one litre of refined coconut oil for a minimum of ten days. In Polynesia, the flowers are soaked in refined copra oil (virgin coconut oil) for a minimum of 15 days. The process of soaking allows the flowers to release their essence into the oil, thereby producing the wonderful Monoi fragrance.

Monoi oil can be applied daily to improve hair texture. It smoothes the hair cuticle, and penetrates the hair shaft, to add moisture and shine, and aids in detangling. Monoi oil can also be applied after washing—or used on dry hair as a hair mask. Just apply the oil, cover your hair with a plastic cap for about 30 minutes, then rinse and wash.

Arnica, a.k.a Arnica Montana, is a member of the Daisy family. Arnica in herbal form is primarily restricted to topical use because it can cause serious side effects when taken internally.

Arnica’s antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties treat scalp infections. Arnica rejuvenates the scalp, stimulates hair follicles, strengthens hair, promotes hair growth, and helps with premature hair loss and graying. It also nourishes the scalp and controls dandruff by limiting sebum production.

Arnica Chamonesis looks very similar to Arnica Montana, but its flowers
are somewhat smaller. Arnica Chamonesis can be very toxic even if used
in very low doses. Always use in a diluted form—infused with a carrier
oil. Arnica extract can be safely used in hair preparations at a concentration of 1 to 2 percent.

Prolonged use may irritate the skin, causing eczema, peeling, blisters,
or other skin conditions. Arnica should not be used on broken skin or
open wounds. Do not use if pregnant or breast feeding.

For more information:
American Botanical Council
UMM Medical/Calendula
Hub Pages Monoi de Tahiti

– Laquita Thomas – Banks

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