To talk about nails in the ayurvedic scheme of things, one first needs to talk about hair. The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians explains why — hair and nails are seen in ayurveda as originating from the same source.
Human hair, say ayurvedic physicians, is of three kinds:
- Kesh: the hair on your head
- Lom: fine arm or leg hair
- Samasru: other hair, including that in the pubic zone
Each kind of hair, of course, has its own texture and qualities. Of these, kesh or head hair is generally given the most importance in terms of beauty and as an indicator of general health. Kesh and nakh (the Sanskrit word for nails) share the same origin points. That is, they are formed from the same kind of bone tissue transformation.
The Council has another surprising revelation to make about hair and nails, as seen by ayurveda. They say these two components are actually considered malas, or body wastes. But like all other forms of waste, hair and nail health is not to be ignored, because they are indicators of overall well-being. Ayurveda believes that "dosha dhatu malam moolam hi shariram" — that is, not only tissue and energy, but also wastes and by-products — all of these are important for the body to function in a healthy manner. That is why the quality and quantity of urine, stool, sweat and other wastes is always given close attention in the ayurvedic approach to healing a person.
Imbalances in the bone tissue that forms nails often show up in the form of patches, ridges, and spots. All of these indicate that the health of the bones in general is compromised. As a first step toward healing the bones, The Council recommends rethinking the kind of fats you are eating. The raw material for bone formation, says the vaidya, is fat. If fat tissue is not pure and is laden with toxins, then nails are bound to suffer. So if you have been eating a fat-free diet and your nails are not in the best of health, it is time to switch to moderate amounts of good-quality fats like ghee and olive oil in your diet.
Further, The Council recommends nourishing bone tissue with good calcium and Vitamin D. Specifically, they say, calcium should be lead-free and its molecules should be small, so that it is assimilated by the body with ease. Pearl and coral are therefore good sources of calcium. Remember, it is the quality, and not the quantity, of calcium that is really important.
Supplementing your calcium intake with liver-supporting herbs is also a good idea. These, again, assist in the absorption of calcium, besides endowing you with their healing benefits. Some examples: Phyllanthus niruri and Heart-leaved moonseed (Indian tinospora).
Diet-wise, The Council's advice is to include coconut milk, walnuts, spinach, kale, chard, root vegetables, asparagus, milk, fresh yogurt, sesame seeds and other such calcium-and-vitamin-rich foods in your meals.
Also, give your hair and nails some targeted support with the Healthy Hair & Nails nutritional supplement from Maharishi Ayurveda. This time-tested formula fortifies and balances the metabolic processes that govern hair and nail growth and health. It also helps develop resistance to stress, which can be damaging to both nails and hair. The formula includes Winter Cherry (Ashwagandha), which is one of the star herbs in ayurveda and is well-known as an adaptogenic.
If you have neglected the health of your nails too long, then the ama in the bone tissue could have grown to such an extent that you suffer from nail fungus, some signs of which are discoloration and a foul smell. In this case, you should consult a qualified ayurvedic physician, who will suggest the right approach to detoxifying bone tissue and restoring nail health.
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