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The Complete Guide to Natural Healing Newsletter - FRIDAY FUN FACTS

Natural Healing, Health & Well-BeingApril 10, 2015
6 Natural and Herbal Ways to Eliminate Dandruff

White Flakes Pose No Health Risk

Dandruff isn't contagious. So how do you get it? Doctors aren't sure, but one theory is that it may be due to an overgrowth of a fungus. Other possible risk factors include oily skin, stress, obesity, cold, dry weather, and having eczema or psoriasis. Although it's embarrassing -- and the itching can be bothersome -- dandruff isn't harmful.
To decrease the buildup of dandruff's dead skin cells, try using an antidandruff shampoo daily. Leave shampoo on for 5 minutes, then rinse well. You may need to try several dandruff shampoos to find one that works best for you. If one stops working, try another. If that doesn't help, call your doctor.
Yellow Dandruff
If the dandruff flakes you see are greasy and yellow, you may have seborrheic dermatitis. It's an inflammatory skin condition that can occur where there are lots of oil glands, like the scalp and face. Though seborrheic dermatitis is related to hormones, fungus, and even some neurological problems, it's treated the same as dandruff: with antidandruff shampoos. Severe cases may need a prescription steroid or antifungal medicine.
Curing Dandruff Naturally
You may not realize it, but you are constantly shedding dead skin cells from all over your body. It's the skin's natural way to rejuvenate itself. In fact, you get a whole new suit of skin about every 27 or 28 days. The old stuff just sort of flakes away. You just don't tend to notice the tiny skin cells dropping off your arms, your legs, and even your scalp. Dandruff results from the same shedding of skin cells. But if the shedding process is normal, what happens to make dandruff so embarrassingly noticeable? Scientists have discovered that dandruff occurs when a yeast-like fungus called malassezia goes wild on your scalp. The microscopic malassezia fungus, a normal inhabitant on a healthy human head, feeds on the fatty oils secreted by hair follicles in the scalp. But sometimes, for reasons that are as yet unclear, the fungus grows out of control, causi ng irritation that actually speeds up cell turnover on the scalp. As a result, the normal process of cell turnover, which usually takes a month, may take less than two weeks when out-of-control malassezia has irritated the scalp. So many dead cells are shed at the same time that, when they mix with the oil from the hair follicles, they tend to form greasy clumps big enough to be clearly visible to the naked eye. The oil also makes the clumps more likely to get stuck in your hair (and on your shoulders), rather than floating quickly away.
1: Shampoo each day to keep it away
Hair care
What easier way to get rid of dandruff than to wash it down the drain? Getting rid of excess oils (which may contribute to the overgrowth of malassezia in the first place) and flakes through daily shampooing may be the easiest way to tame your mane.
2: Switch Shampoos
If your regular shampoo isn't doing the trick, even with daily washing, it's time to switch to an antidandruff shampoo. Check the ingredients in over-the-counter dandruff shampoos, and look for one that contains zinc pyrithione, which can reduce the fungus; selenium sulfide, which can limit cell turnover and possibly even decrease the amount of fungus; salicylic acid, which works as a sort of scrub to slough off dead skin; or ketoconazole, which works against a broad array of fungi.
3: Go for three
Rotate your dandruff shampoo to prevent resistance to the active ingredient.
Variety of spray bottles and pumps Your favorite dandruff shampoo may stop working after a while, and those little flakes may return. Don't blame the shampoo. You simply may have built up a resistance to its active ingredient. To prevent this, try rotating three brands of dandruff shampoo (each with a different formulation), using each for a month. In other words, use one shampoo for a month, then switch to a second brand for a month, then to a third brand for a month, then back to the original shampoo for a month, and so on. 
4) Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia. It has been used for centuries as an antiseptic and anti-fungal agent. There are many tea tree oil shampoos available in health food stores and some drug stores, and many people report these products help with dandruff. There has been little research on the use of tea tree oil for dandruff. One study involved 126 people with mild to moderate dandruff. They used either a five percent tea tree oil shampoo or a placebo daily for four weeks. At the end of the study, the tea tree oil shampoo significantly reduced dandruff. No adverse effects were reported. Although promising, this was not a double-blind study (which means that the researchers knew which participants were using tea tree oil and which were using the placebo), so it cannot be considered solid evidence that t ea tree oil works
5) Apple Cider Vinegar
A home remedy for dandruff is to mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and spritz it on to your hair and scalp, being careful to avoid the eye and ear area. Wrap your head in a towel. After 15 minutes to an hour, remove the towel and wash your hair. This is generally done once to twice a week.
6) Biotin
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that helps to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It is sold in supplement form and is also found naturally in foods. Food sources of biotin are egg yolk, liver, milk, soy, barley, brewer's yeast, and royal jelly. Biotin is also produced naturally by bacteria in the intestines. Eating raw egg whites and prolonged use of antibiotics are thought to be causes of biotin deficiency.
Related articles
9 Ways to Naturally Get Rid of Dandruff
Dandruff is a common scalp condition characterized by white flakes on the scalp. Dandruff is also known as seborrheic dermatitis. With dandruff, there is inflammation of the superficial layers of the skin, causing scales on the scalp and other parts of the body. The mild scalp inflammation is caused by the body’s reaction to the Pityrosporum yeast and to products that break down oils.


Symptoms of Dandruff

Dandruff develops gradually. White or yellow (greasy) flakes appear on the hair and scalp.  Your scalp may become itchy and redness may occur. There is no hair loss. 
People with the severe form of this condition may have yellow or red scaling pimples on the hairline, behind the ears, in the ear, or in the creases beside the nose. Things that worsen dandruff are:
Genetics -  Dandruff tends to run in families
Stress - Emotional and physical
Climate – Dandruff is worse in the winter

The worst foods to eat if you have dandruff – foods to avoid

You should avoid fried foods. Reduce intake of fats, dairy products, sugars, chocolate, seafood, and peanuts. Increase your intake of the foods listed below:
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Raw foods
  • Eat a whole foods diet​
Vitamins and nutritional supplements and herbals that help get rid of dandruff
  • Biotin - Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that helps to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It is sold in supplement form and is found naturally in foods. Food sources of biotin include brewer's yeast, nutritional yeast, whole grains, nuts, egg yolks, sardines, liver, cauliflower, bananas, and mushrooms.
  • Vitamin B Complex, especially vitamin B1 and B2
  • Vitamin A
  • Omega Fatty Acids, especially Omega-6
  • Zinc
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract – Add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to shampoo.
  • Tea Tree Oil – Look for a tea tree oil shampoo or add a few drops of tea tree oil to shampoo.
  • Selenium-Based Shampoo – Selenium acts as an anti-fungal agent.
  • Flaxseed Oil or Vitamin E Oil – Apply these oils to the scalp nightly and wash off in the morning. They can soothe and nourish the scalp. Use an old sheet or towel to protect your pillow.
Remember, dandruff may continue or be associated with development of psoriasis. People with neurological disease such as Parkinson’s, or HIV may have severe dandruff or other forms of seborrheic dermatitis.  In this case it may be wise to see a doctor for advice.
The Health Benefits of Valerian
The smell of valerian reminds people of old socks. Nevertheless, cats go wild over valerian and so do rats. According to legend, valerian was used by the Pied Piper to clear rodents out of Hamelin. Today, the herb is lauded for its ability to soothe anxiety and relax active minds that do not allow for restful sleep. Various medicinal species of the herb are native to Europe and western Asia and grow wild in North America; several species are native to the U.S. You may find valerian in grasslands, damp meadows, and along streams.
If you can ignore this herb's stinky smell, you'll find it's very useful when included in herbal remedies for insomnia and stress. Odor aside, it may help you relax!

Benefits of Valerian

Valerian is a lovely flowering plant used to relieve anxiety and relax muscles. Despite what some people have come to believe, valerian is not the source of the drug Valium, though it is an excellent sedative and hypnotic (sleep inducer). Valerian also has an antispasmodic action and is used for cramps, muscle pain, and muscle tension.
Valerian is commonly used for insomnia, tension, and nervousness. It's useful in simple cases of stress, anxiety, and nervous tension, as well as more severe cases of hysteria, nervous twitching, hyperactivity, chorea (involuntary jerky movements), heart palpitations, and tension headaches. Valerian preparations are highly regarded for insomnia. Several studies show that valerian shortens the time needed to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep. Unlike commonly
used sedatives, valerian does not cause a drugged or hung-over sensation in most people.
The relaxing action of valerian also makes it useful for treatment of muscle cramps, menstrual cramps, and high blood pressure. Valerian relaxes the muscle in vein and artery walls and is especially indicated for elevated blood pressure due to stress and worry.
Valerian is used as a general nervine, meaning a substance that has a tonic effect on the nerves, restoring balance and relieving tension and anxiety. In the study of herbs, a nervine is classified as stimulating or sedating. Stimulating nervines are used in cases of sluggish mental activity, depression, or poor ability to concentrate; sedating nervines are used to treat anxiety, turmoil, restlessness, and insomnia.
Some herbalists consider valerian to be both stimulating and sedating, depending on the individual and the situation in which it is used. Occasionally, for example, people who use valerian to relax or improve sleep find that it worsens their complaints. Valerian is somewhat warming and stimulating, and perhaps the adverse reaction occurs in those who are already overly warm or stimulated.
Valerian is best for treating depression caused by prolonged stress and nervous tension.
Valerian is mildly stimulating to the intestines, can help to dispel gas and cramps in the digestive tract, and is weakly antimicrobial, particularly to bacteria.
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