Baldness is often purely hereditary; when that is the case, baldness in and of itself is not indicative of imbalance. But baldness can be aggravated by (and sometimes caused by) imbalances in the physiology, which Ayurveda can help remove.
In either case—heredity or imbalance—baldness is generally related to Pitta dosha, the dosha associated with heat, transformation and metabolism. Those with strongly Pitta constitutions are especially prone to baldness. They can aggravate this tendency through overuse of salt, heavily spiced food, fermented foods, tea or coffee, alcohol and red meat. Excess exposure of the head to the sun or to hot water can also increase Pitta. Even anger can have the same effect.
To reduce Pitta imbalances, try to identify aspects of your diet and lifestyle that may be aggravating Pitta. Take Pitta-pacifying steps, such as wearing a hat on hot days, avoiding exercise during the hot time of the day, and following a Pitta-reducing diet. Massaging the head daily with coconut oil or some other cooling oils can have a soothing effect not only on the scalp, but also on the head as a whole.
Increase fresh foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Increase amounts of carrots, alfalfa and green, leafy vegetables, and fresh sweet, juicy fruits. Avoid junk foods and refined sugars. Be sure you are drinking plenty of room temperature water.
There are, of course, other causes for thinning of the hair, such as high stress, thyroid imbalance, high fever, sudden weight loss and certain drugs. If you are experiencing sudden hair loss, you should see a doctor.
Look also to your digestion. According to Ayurveda, hair is the product of the creation of bone tissue (Asthi). Any disturbance in the metabolism of Asthi will affect the health of your hair. Since the quality of the creation of our tissue depends greatly on the quality of our digestion, to some degree, healthy digestion is associated with healthy hair.
Many times poor digestion can be associated with an imbalance in Vata dosha. Imbalanced Vata can also work to “fan” or increase Pitta imbalances.
Premature graying is related to the same Vata and Pitta factors. Some of the treatments used in Panchakarma, the traditional Ayurveda purification and detoxification therapies, can be helpful for grey hair. These include Shirodhara and Nasya.
If you are suffering from graying or thinning hair, a consultation with an Ayurveda expert can help you determine what steps you to manage your symptoms. They can also identify which oils will be best for daily head and scalp massage, and whether a Vata-pacifying or Pitta-pacifying approach will be most helpful.