Gunja (Abrus precatorius Linn.) is one of the world’s most beautiful but deadly seeds. (1) It is also known as rosary pea or Indian licorice and is available in two variants, red and white, which are both beneficial for the hair. (2)
Gunja seeds are considered highly poisonous, as recorded in ancient Ayurvedic scripts, since they are abundant in albumotoxin and abrin, which give them a toxic effect. (3)(4) Gunja contains 0.15% of the toxic protein abrin.
Science-Backed Evidence to Use Gunja for Hair
Scientific research on gunja for hair shows that it is effective when applied topically to the hair and scalp as a herbal mask. (5) Gunja seeds, leaves, and roots all have hair growth-promoting activities at a dose of 300 mg/kg. (6)
Gunja can also be consumed orally (5)(6)(7)(8) but with proper precautions since it is toxic. (3)
A small 2013 study confirmed that gunja is used in many herbal formulations for hair growth. (9)(10)
How Can Gunja Seeds Help in Hair Growth?
Gunja seeds are rich in alkaloids including abrin, (7) which can activate proteins that help in hair growth. Their terpenoid and steroid content is almost equal to that of minoxidil, a vasodilating medication used to treat alopecia. (8)
Thus, gunja seeds can help in hair growth and can help you get long and voluminous hair.
Hair loss occurs for various reasons, such as alopecia areata, where hair loss happens in patches on the scalp.
One small 2019 study showed that hair growth was possible in people with alopecia areata after gunja seed paste was applied to their scalp. (5)
A paste made from gunja seed powder was used on their scalp topically two times a day for 56 days, and the results showed that 40% of the cases had hair regrowth. Gunja seeds can activate the hair follicles and stimulate hair growth. (5)
How to Use Gunja Seeds for Hair Growth
You can reap the hair benefits of gunja by doing the following.
1. Gunja seed oil
Dandruff can be an annoying scalp disorder due to its associated constant itching, dryness, skin redness, and hair loss. This condition is caused by a fungus called Malassezia furfur.
If gunja seed oil is applied to the affected areas of the scalp, it can prevent dandruff and hair loss. (11) Using gunja oil on the scalp once a week can also help in hair growth.
How to use:
- Take 1 teaspoon of gunja seeds and grind it.
- Add this to 1 tablespoon of bhringraj juice and stir well.
- In a pan, add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and the mixture.
- Simmer till the oil remains.
- Allow it to cool and store it in a glass bottle.
- Take some of the gunja oil and apply it to the scalp.
- Leave it overnight and wash it off the following day.
2. Gunja seed powder + bhringraj + brahmi + triphala + coconut oil hair mask
How to use:
- Take ½ teaspoon of gunja seed powder in a bowl.
- Add 1 teaspoon of bhringraj powder, brahmi, and triphala powder.
- Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to make an herbal pack.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water.
- Apply this herbal pack twice a week.
3. Gunja seed mask
How to use:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of gunja seed powder and 2 tablespoons of water to make a paste.
- Apply this paste to your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Wash it off with tap water.
This paste is effective for people with bald spots on their heads to relieve them from baldness. It helps to stimulate hair regrowth and new hair formation.
Precautions When Using Gunja Seeds for Hair
Gunja seeds are toxic and need to undergo detoxification, or else they can cause severe vomiting and stomach problems.
When using gunja seeds, take these precautions:
- Before orally consuming gunja seeds, first consume a tiny amount to check for side effects.
- Gunja seeds are unsafe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Consult an Ayurvedic doctor before giving gunja seeds to your children.
- If you’re already on some medication, check with your doctor before using gunja seeds as they may interact with your medication. (12)
General Queries Related to Gunja Seeds for Hair
How often can gunja seeds be used for hair growth?
The recommended frequency of using gunja seeds to achieve hair growth is purely dependent on your hair type.
Generally, you can apply gunja seed packs to your hair twice a week. However, check with an Ayurvedic doctor before using gunja seeds for hair growth.
Are gunja seeds poisonous for humans?
Yes. Gunja seeds are poisonous but are used in Ayurvedic medicine after detoxification.
Gunja seeds that are purified and have reduced toxicity can be used for therapeutic purposes without causing adverse or toxic effects. Gunja seeds and roots are used to treat hair fall. (13)
How is the gunja plant helpful to humans as a whole?
The roots, seeds, and leaves of the gunja plant are known for their purgative, emetic, tonic, aphrodisiac, and hair growth-promoting properties. (12)
How toxic are gunja seeds for consumption?
Consuming gunja seeds and leaves in more than the prescribed quantities can be fatal for animals and humans. (14)
Are gunja seeds safe for consumption?
Gunja seeds are known to possess toxic elements, but researchers have concluded that subjecting the seeds to certain heat processing techniques can lower their poisonous effects and make them safe to consume. (14)
Hair loss can leave you feeling drained out physically and emotionally and can happen to anybody at any age. But thanks to ageless Ayurvedic treatments (15) and recent scientific studies, gunja seed oil can be a potent hair growth agent.
Gunja seeds are also effective in treating dandruff due to their antifungal properties. If you intend to use gunja seeds to reduce hair loss, consult your physician before doing so.
- Roy S, Acharya R, Shukla VJ. Comparative physico-chemical profile of Gunja (Abrus Precatorius Linn.) seeds processed through water and Nimbu Swarasa (lemon juice). Ayu. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3968706/. Published October 2013.
- Gunja (Abrus Precatorius Linn.) A precious toxic plant: A Review. https://www.plantsjournal.com/archives/2020/vol8issue4/PartD/8-4-31-903.pdf.
- (PDF) effect of shodhana on toxic principle of Gunja Beeja with … https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319543773/.
- Home. NOPR. http://nopr.niscpr.res.in/.
- A clinical study to evaluate the efficacy of Gunja seeds as a local … https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343245391/.
- Sandhya S, Chandrasekhar J, David B, Vinod KR. Potentiality of hair growth promoting activity of aqueous extract of abrus precatorius linn. on wistar albino rats. Journal of Natural Remedies. https://www.informaticsjournals.com/index.php/jnr/article/view/31.
- (PDF) phytochemical investigation and characterization of abrin protein … https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284654823/.
- Upadhyay S. Efficacy of abrus precatorius (Gunja) seeds oil as a hair growth promoter [Keshya Rasayan] in female wistar albino rats -. Annals of Ayurvedic Medicine. https://www.bibliomed.org/?mno=42197. Published January 1, 1970.
- World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research SJIF Impact Factor 8. https://wjpr.s3.ap-south-1.amazonaws.com/article_issue/1585909686.pdf.
- Original research efficacy of abrus precatorius (Gunja) seeds oil as a … https://www.bibliomed.org/mnsfulltext/70/70-1375687331.pdf.
- A clinical study on Gunjataila and Tilataila … – researchgate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314216182/.
- Barve KH, Ojha N. Effective detoxification of Abrus Precatorius Linn. seeds by Shodhana. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737451/. Published April 2013.
- IJSR – International Journal of Scientific Research: World Wide Journals. World Wide Journal – IJSR. https://www.worldwidejournals.com/international-journal-of-scientific-research-(IJSR)/.
- Abrus precatorius (rosary pea) medicinal uses and toxicological overview. http://www.agriindiatoday.in/July%202021-1-3.pdf.
- A clinical study of Bhringrajadi Rasayana with and without … – iamj.in. http://www.iamj.in/posts/2017/images/upload/1515_1521.pdf.