Natural plants provided the luster for indigenous hair before so-called ‘modern’ gadgets and products
Have you ever wondered why Native Americans had resilient indigenous hair? Or ever asked why, when you see the old pictures of their ancestors, not too many of the older people had gray hair? Or why their hair was so long? Or why even the men had such healthy hair?
The answer is pretty simple and applies to every aspect of who American Indians and Alaska Natives are. As a people, our ancestors saw their indigenous hair as a part of their identity. It was an embodiment of how they lived, just like everything that surrounded them. They gave respect to everything in nature, as you probably already know from history lessons.
For one they never used all these so-called “modern” hair care gadgets and products on their indigenous hair. They took pride in their hair and different indigenous hairstyles represented different things in their life. Their hair was of great spiritual importance to them, and they took great pride in it. They had many natural hair care practices that kept their indigenous hair strong, thick, shiny and long. These include herbs, roots, teas, oils, and infusions. Some of these are as follows:
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a great natural moisturizer that was used in everyday Native life for protecting the hair and the body from the sun and other harsh weather conditions and also keeping the hair soft and silky. This was one of the main ways that they used to keep indigenous hair healthy. Aloes are also edible and very good immune boosters and toxic cleansers. They also ate this in their daily lives to help them stay fit. These are just a few of the benefits of using aloe vera, but for an even longer list of uses… there is a pretty good article here that lists some 40 different uses. Although that article is pretty current, it seems that many Native Americans were already familiar with many of them.
2. Saw Palmetto
This herb is indigenous to the Native lands and it formed part of their nutritional diets and also has very good medicinal value. The fruit Saw Palmetto is a scarlet red berry; they would dry it in the sun for days then grind it and infuse it into tinctures, teas, and ointments which were applied to their hair to help strengthen it and also prevent scaly scalp – dandruff. Saw Palmetto also has properties that suppress the hormone that causes baldness, so taking it orally and as a topical application is one of the ways the indigenous hair was kept so beautiful.