Nothing can accentuate the natural beauty of a woman like a thick, strong, and shiny bunch of ‘Rapunzel hair’. But no matter how much you take care of your locks, getting an enviable length can be tough. Even the most expensive hair care products can also fail to stimulate hair growth at times. Thankfully, there is one natural and super effective remedy that can give you the desired results. Yes, we are talking about flax seeds. This simple and easily available kitchen ingredient can actually promote the growth of your mane like never before. So, if you are yet to try flax seeds for hair growth, read on to know more.
What Are Flax Seeds?
Flax seeds are scientifically named Linum Usitatissimum and commonly known as linseeds, alsi, or jawas. These are tiny seeds of the annual flax plant, which is mostly cultivated across the world for obtaining textile fiber and nutrition. The glossy brown or golden-yellow seeds of flax fruits have a beautiful nutty flavor. They are also pretty rich in short-chain omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibers, vital vitamins, and essential minerals. These inexpensive and easy to find natural ingredient can either be pressed into flaxseed oil (or, linseed oil) or consumed directly for their health and medicinal benefits. If used properly, flax seeds can give you lustrous locks too (1).
Why Use Flax Seeds For Hair Growth?
Not only flax seeds are good for our overall health but also they are the answer to long and healthy-looking locks. Before digging deep into how they can be used for maximum hair growth, let us take a look at why we should rely on them. Here are the reasons why flax seeds are beneficial for the health and growth of our hair:
1. Packed With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Flax seeds are loaded with short-chain omega-3 fatty acids called ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid), which are very much necessary for maintaining the health of our hair follicles. They help in increasing the elasticity of hair fibers by nurturing the follicles, thereby making the hair healthier, stronger, shinier, and less vulnerable to breakage.
2. Loaded With Vital Nutrients
According to scientists, flax seeds are a great source of vital nutrients, such as proteins, minerals (calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, and selenium, etc.) and vitamins (especially vitamin B and vitamin E). It makes them a superfood for hair. Regular intake of these seeds can nourish both the scalp and the hair, keep them hydrated, stop premature greying, prevent split ends, and encourage healthier new growth.
3. Reduce Scalp Inflammation
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have great anti-inflammatory properties. This makes flax seeds highly beneficial for reducing inflammation caused in various scalp conditions like dandruff, itchy scalp, cicatricial alopecia (a medical condition in which the growth of healthy hair stops due to the scarring of follicles), etc. The essential fats keep the skin of the scalp well-moisturized, thereby reducing flakiness and promoting the growth of new hair.
4. Protect Hair From Thinning
Flax seeds are significantly high in lignin, a fiber-like organic substance that works as a potent antioxidant. It slows down the normal aging process of the hair cells, which often leads to serious hair loss. The estrogenic properties of lignin also help in reducing hair thinning caused due to hormonal imbalance as well as menopause.
5. Strengthen Hair From Within
Being a concentrated source of high-grade soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, these seeds can enhance the digestive procedure and boost metabolism by regularizing bowel function, which is essential for maintaining good gut health. As the internal system works fine, the hair cells can absorb a sufficient amount of nutrients and the hair can grow more efficiently.
Flax seeds are considered as an excellent natural dietary supplement for vegans. It is not only a rich plant-based source of omega acids but also comprise a small amount of plant-based protein. It is a ‘concentrated and healthy nutritional supplement’ even for non-vegeterians.
How To Use Flax Seeds For Hair Growth?
Flax seeds can be consumed orally and/or applied topically for long and beautiful hair. Here are the ways to include them in your daily hair care routine for encouraging new hair growth:
(A) Add Flax Seeds To Your Diet
- Snack on a spoonful of crunchy flax seeds every day whenever you feel the need.
- Add whole flax seeds to your regular meals. You just need to shake a little bit of them over the stir-fried vegetables. It will not only increase the nutritional values of the food but also give it a new flavor.
- Drizzle your favorite salads with some flax seed oil. It can truly be an amazing dressing.
- Reduce some flax seeds into smooth fine powder and store in an air-tight container. It can be added to almost anything and everything, such as salads, sandwiches, chutney, smoothies, shakes, cookies, muffins, stuffed parathas, yogurt, dips, and many more. It gives a wonderful nutty flavor while making the food crispy.
(B) Apply Flax Seeds Topically
- Prepare flax seed hair gel right at your home. Start with boiling 2 cups of water. As soon as the water begins to boil, add 4 tablespoons of organic flax seeds to it. Cover the pot with a lid and lower the flame. You have to simmer the whole thing for the next 15 to 20 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and strain the infusion. It would become a bit thick and sticky. Apply it all over your scalp with your fingertips every day for reducing hair loss and promoting hair growth to a great extent.
- Warm 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil and massage it into your scalp gently before working it through your hair. Wrap your hair with a warm towel so that the scalp also gets covered completely. Wait for half an hour and then, wash it off with a mild shampoo.
Side Effects Of Flax Seeds
While flax seeds come with loads of goodness, they need to be included carefully in the daily diet. You will end up inviting adverse effects by consuming too much of these seeds. It is always advised that you do not take flax seeds more than the recommended dosage. Here are some minor and major negative impacts of flax seeds:
- Being a good laxative, it can trigger abdominal discomfort, frequent bowel movement, and even diarrhea. You can also end up developing serious health conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
- Flax seeds can impact your blood clotting time negatively. Clotting may take too long than usual and blood may also come out during vomiting or with stool.
- High doses of flax seeds can obstruct intestines, thereby causing intestinal blockage.
- It also contains cyanogen, which induces neurotoxic effects in the body.
- Even though flax seeds are effective in preventing arterial chronic inflammations, consuming it above permissive levels can actually make your inflammatory conditions worse.
- It introduces lots of alpha linoleic acid in the body, which can put you at a higher risk of macular degeneration.
- Flax seeds are not safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers as they have a strong impact on our hormonal system.
- You can even develop rashes. itchiness, acne, and shortness of breath if you are allergic to flax seeds.
Dosage Of Flax Seeds For Hair Growth
There is no specific dosage of flaxseed consumption for promoting the growth of hair. Usually, 1-2 tablespoons of seeds are recommended a day. However, it is always good to consult your physician if you are planning to use it orally for hair growth. Otherwise, stick to the topical use of the seeds as it will be completely safe and you will also experience incredible results.
How To Consume Flax Seeds Safely?
When taking whole flax seeds orally, make sure that you dry roast them in a pan for at least 5 minutes in order to eliminate anti-nutrients that prevent mineral absorption as well as increase chewability. You can also soak the seeds overnight to improve their nutritional value. Also, take flax seeds with enough water so as to reduce their sliminess and increase their mobility in the gut (2).