Herbal Treatments for the Hair, Part Seven – “She’s So Unusual”


Oh Yes! You are in for a visual treat here, as well as some interesting results. I found the following concoction referenced in more than one place, most notably THE COMPLETE HERBAL GUIDE TO NATURAL HEALTH & BEAUTY by Dian Dincin Buchman. Even though this book was written in the early ’70’s (1970’s that is) it has a very down to earth approach, with many personal ancedotes by the author as well as traditions from her grandmother. This recipe is so unusual that I had to include it here.

Parsnip Hair Conditioner
Take 1 parsnip root, scrub clean, trim, then chop small and simmer in 1/4 cup almond oil; toss in a pinch of parsnip seed if you have it. (What I actually did was chop up a few small roots and covered with plenty of oil, because I wanted to save some for later.)

Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

It is my first impulse to add garlic to any simmering oil, but this is neither the time nor the place!

After simmering, strain and press out as much oil as possible from the root.

Since I didn’t do the treatment right away, I decanted the cooled oil back into the oil bottle and refrigerated it. The small amount of oil that didn’t fit  and didn’t get refrigerated (I used one-and-a-half bottles) went rancid after a month. So let that be a lesson to you.

When I was finally ready to apply the treatment, I placed the opened bottle of oil into a small pan of water on simmer for maybe 15 minutes, just to take the cold out of it. The method for applying to the scalp and hair is as a “hot” oil pack – the oil isn’t really hot, just a bit warm. Part your hair as you go, getting the scalp most importantly.

Wrap your hair in plastic wrap and then a towel. How glamorous!

What do you think of the results?
When I do the oil treatment again next time (which is likely since I have been experincing a bout of “adult cradle cap” and the oil feels soothing) – and what I didn’t say in my book THE WILD  & WEEDY APOTHECARY – I will definately concentrate on the scalp more, and less on the hair… Why? I washed my hair three times with Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, to try and be more “natural”, and still had oily hair. Then I used Nature’s Gate Tea Tree Shampoo, and the oil was gone from my hair… which made me wonder…
Other books I use as reference for my work include Jeanne Rose’s Kitchen Cosmetics, and A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve and originally published in 1931.  You could certainly simmer other herbs in oil and apply the same way. Please refer to earlier blogposts in this series, or get a copy of my book for this and other ways to use herbs and other plants for safe and readily available body care.
This blogpost is dedicated to Gramma Lil, with whom I will forever associate the rare and humble Parsnip.

This is where I get my parsnips: