Ayurvedic Twist on Bentonite Treatment - For Clarifying and Strengthening

So for those of you who follow my posts, you will remember my bentonite treatment (here).  Well to kick off my ayurvedic series (actually my post on the cleansing with shikakai was the first post in this series), I am going to share something new.  Instead of the traditional recipe of mixing bentonite with a mildly acidic liquid like a citrus juice, apple cider vinegar, I am sharing my bentonite mix made with an herbal tea.

A lot of people use a regular herbal tea like chamomile - and I have used jasmine - to mix the bentonite (you can get creative with it).   But, as a part of incorporating time-tested ayurvedic herbs used for generations to care for hair, I mixed my bentonite powder with brahmi tea.  Brahmi is known to strengthen and condition hair. And I know what you're asking next:  'What do you mean by strengthening? What does brahmi actually do?'

Brahmi is the name of two types of herbs - which, I know, makes it confusing.  The brahmi I refer to here is also called gotu kola.  When not taken internally for memory-enhancing effects, it is primarily used as a treatment for hair loss and is known to stimulate hair growth.   It works as a 'strengthener' by smoothing and temporarily protecting the hair cuticle.  The effect is less tangling and theoretically hair that's less prone to breakage.  Because these results are of course temporary the reviews are that if you consistently use brahmi you will notice less breakage over time.
So between the clarifying benefits of the bentonite and the strengthening benefits of the brahmi, I get a clarifying and strengthening treatment in one!
Here goes:

Bentonite Treatment with Brahmi Tea


2 cups water

1/4 cup brahmi powder

1 tspn ginseng powder

1 tspn aloe powder

1/2 tspn honey

1/2 cup bentonite clay powder

3 tspns marshmallow root powder (finely ground to prevent bits getting stuck in hair)

(The recipe is similar to making the shikakai tea).
Bring water to a boil.  Once boiling, add brahmi powder, mix in and reduce heat to simmer.  Let simmer 5-10 minutes.  Bring mixture to boil again and once boiling, add ginseng  powder, reduce heat again and let simmer 2-3 minutes.  Bring mixture to boil a third time and as soon as mixture has begun to boil, add aloe powder.  Shut off heat.  Mix well and leave mixture covered for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Warning: My experience with aloe powder is that it is bitter and somewhat camphorous when boiling. So after I add aloe, I cover the pot, make sure my stove fan is on and remove mixture from heat right away. Expect a bitter smell in your kitchen for the first few minutes after adding aloe.

After mixture has been allowed to cool at least 4 hours, strain mixture and discard solids.  This recipe may make more than you need for your treatment (I got about two treatments out of it), so place mixture in a closed container and refrigerate what you do not use.
In a separate container, mix bentonite powder with marshmallow root powder.  Slowly, while mixing, pour in brahmi tea mixture.  Pour enough to get a soft mushy consistency (bentonite mix should be thick, slippery and soft for easy application, without being runny. See pics below). 
Add 1/2 tspn of honey and mix until treatment is smooth. Apply mixture soon after mixing because it will dry out.

My experience:  The marshmallow root powder I got, was not finely ground and I did not notice until after I had used this mixture for the first time.  The result was bits of straw-looking pieces in my hair after I rinsed.  Very annoying.  So my advice is to either make sure you get one that is finely ground (inspect it) or sift it through a sieve to hopefully get all the bigger pieces out.

I co-washed first (or you can shampoo, its up to you), detangled in the shower and applied the mixture.  The most important thing is to get it on your scalp and roots of your hair - its supposed to be a scalp/skin detoxifier (how it clarifies).  I gently massaged the mix unto my scalp and put on a shower cap because I did not want the mix to dry out on my hair.  All this is done while I am still in the shower. Once I am out of the shower, I leave the mix and my shower cap on for another 5 to 10 minutes and rinse with cool or if you can stand it, cold water - to help close/smooth the hair cuticle.

Remember, clay/mud mixes will dry out.  I recommend wearing a shower cap to prevent this and allow longer conditioning time.  If you choose not to wear a shower cap, rinse as soon as you feel the mixture getting sticky.

My hair felt squeaky clean after I rinsed but to get that slip, I briefly massaged a small amount of my commercial-brand deep conditioner through my strands and rinsed again with cool water.  After applying my homemade moisturizing mix, the result was super-soft hair and a cool-feeling scalp.  Here are some helpful pics:

Brahmi tea

Strain tea and discard solid portion

Pour tea (liquid) into sealable container

Apply tea to bentonite powder mix

Add honey to mixture

Ready to use

I really liked this spin on my bentonite clarifying treatment. I also found that I didn't need  to add oil like I usually do when I use citrus juice, to counter the drying effects of citrus. 
Oh, of note, I did massage my scalp with some oil before my co-wash. I think it was amla oil but I'm sure any oil would do.

The marshmallow root powder probably also had something to do with it because it acts as a humectant to hold moisture so the treatment did not dry out as fast. I'm going to continue using brahmi tea for my bentonite treatments in the next couple months and let you know if I notice unusual growth or reduction in breakage.