When a child of 8 sees a few grey hairs appearing, it is bewildering for him. If he or she is a pree-teen or a teenager, it can result in emotional trauma. Yet these few strands of grey just signify a case of premature greying and not ageing, as feared by most. Typically grey hair first develops at age 34 -- 44 years in Caucasians while for black people the average age of onset is 44 - 54 years. . Premature greying is a morbid condition and it makes even the young look older.
 Causes of premature greying
Premature grey hair runs in families. The time and speed of the onset of grey hair is in most cases determined by a person's genes. However, factors such as additional stress, constant tension, smoking and certain medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, vitiligo, vitamin B deficiency and anaemia can also cause premature greying.
- Thyroid disorders -- Conditions such as Grave's disease, Hashimoto's disease, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism have been linked with premature grey hair.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency and anaemia -- A diet low in vitamin B12, which is found mainly in meat, eggs, and milk, can lead to premature greying. This can also be precipitated if the stomach can not absorb vitamin B12 for some reason (surgery, diseases such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, fish tapeworms, or small intestine bacterial overgrowth affecting the small intestine, or a lack of protein called intrinsic factor).
- Vitiligo -- A person sufffering from vitilgo, a condition in which the skin loses melanocytes, resulting in very light patches of skin and possibly premature grey hair.
- Early menopause
- Smoking -- Cigarette smoking has been linked to premature grey hair.
 Herbal treatment for premature greying
There are no scientifically proven treatment for premature greying or arresting the greying process. Scientists in fact dismiss the claim that there is a cure for greying or premature greying.
Indian Gooseberry -- The Indian gooseberry has been found to be a valuable hair tonic for enriching hair growth and hair pigmentation.
- The fruit should be cut into pieces, dried in shade and then the pieces should be boiled in coconut oil till the solid matter becomes like charred dust. This darkish oil should be applied regularly to arrest premature greying.
- Massaging the scalp every night with a teaspoonful of Indian gooseberry juice, mixed with a teaspoon of almond oil and a few drops of lime juice, is effective in preventing and treating premature greying of hair.
Amaranth -- Regular application of the fresh juice of the leaves of amaranth arrests and prevents premature greying.
Curry Leaves --Boil curry leaves in coconut oil and apply it regularly on the scalp to stimulate hair growth and bring back hair pigmentation. Eating currly leaves in some form or the other is also helpful.
Ribbed Gourd -- Dry chopped pieces of ribbed gourd in the shade; soak these pieces in coconut oil and keep it aside for three or four days. Boil this oil till the solid is reduced to a blackened residue and massage the scalp regularly with this oil.
Butter -- Massage the scalp twice weekly with butter made from cow's milk.
Almond oil -- Massage the scalp with almond oil.
Vitamins -- Vitamins -- pantothenic acid, para-aminobenzoic acid (paba), inositol are considered useful in guarding against premature greying of hair. These could be taken under the guidence of a certified medical practitioner and in dosage and frequency suggested by him/her.
- Eat sufficient quantity of yoghurt daily along with a tablespoonful of yeast before each meal is an excellent remedy for the prevention and treatment of premature greying of hair.
- In consultation with a doctor, calcium supplememnts can also be taken.
 Dietery tips for those having premature grey hair
- Take a diet rich in nutrients.
- Avoid refined, processed and synthetic food and beverages such as refined wheat flour, refined sugar and all products made from them, soft drinks, pastries, jams and jellies.
 Did You Know?
- As a rough guide, 50% of the population in the US and Europe have 50% gray hair by age 50.
- Premature Greying of Hair
- The ABCs of Premature Graying
- Causes of Grey Hair and Baldness
- Premature Graying Can Be Genetic, Signal Health Problems