5 Health Benefits of Saturday Oil Bath | Sesame Oil Bath | Ayurvedic Oil Bath | Ennai Kuliyal | Indian Head Bath

 Traditional oil bath is called with different names in India:
Saturday Oil Bath | Sesame Oil Bath | Ayurvedic Oil Bath | Ennai
Kuliyal in Tamil | Gingelly Oil Head Bath | Oil Bath in Tamil Nadu & Indian Head Bath, but they mean the same thing. It is the practice of massaging the head with sesame oil heated with spices. It is usually done weekly twice and here in Tamil Nadu, it is a ritual we religiously follow. Ayurvedic South Indian gingelly oil bath has many health benefits: 1. Regular practice of having oil bath relaxes and rejuvenates us. 2. Oil bath removes the heat from our body, especially during hot summers. 3. It helps us get a deep sleep, as we feel relaxed after an oil bath. 4. It prevents hair loss, especially if done with good quality oils. 5. It helps to reduce the redness in the eyes, especially people who spend a lot of time staring the computers will greatly benefit from oil bath. In Tamil Nadu, usually every Fridays women have their oil bath (ennai kuliyal) and men have their oil bath on Saturdays in South India. It is an ayurvedic tradition for women to have oil bath on Fridays and then visit a Temple. You can use this oil bath for babies too. Traditionally sesame oil is heated with spices and then when the oil comes to lukewarm temperature, the oil is massaged well into the scalp. After an hour we have our bath with arappu (arappu is a powder made from leaves of arappu tree). In our home we always use garlic, dry ginger, pepper corns and cumin seeds. Some people don’t like the smell of garlic in the oil, they can skip garlic and add the rest of the ingredients. It is so common in our place to find small children being chased by their mothers for massaging this oil on their scalp. When I was younger they used to chase me for massaging this oil, now I am chasing my son. For best results the temperature of the oil should be lukewarm and should be massaged well into the scalp. One feels really refreshed and relaxed after a hot oil massage. I think in this fast pace of life, we should try to include these kind of age old traditions to keep us relaxed. Because we add spices like dry ginger, this oil can be safely used even in winter to be massaged into the scalp


 1.First pound the garlic and dry ginger coarsely in a mortar and pestle. Please don’t crush it too fine, just pound it once and that is enough.

2. Heat sesame oil in a small pan.

3.Once the sesame oil is hot, first add the cumin and peppercorns.

4.Then add pounded garlic and dry ginger and let it fry in the oil for few seconds and switch off. Don’t let the spices burn.

5.Cool down to lukewarm temperature and massage it in your scalp and let it soak for an hour before having your hair wash.


  • If you don’t have time to wait for 1hr, at least wait for 15 minutes before washing it off.
  • Though some people might not like the smell of garlic in the oil, I would strongly suggest adding it to the oil.
  • Some people use only peppercorns for this oil, but we always make the oil this way.


  1. Anonymous
    March 25, 2014 / 7:27 am

    Feels good to see this oil 🙂

  2. Anonymous
    August 2, 2014 / 4:55 pm

    your blog is very useful … thanks a lot ..Way to Go!! All the best

    • Anonymous
      March 10, 2018 / 9:54 am

      Then why not contribute some money?

  3. Anonymous
    September 14, 2014 / 6:12 pm

    Thanks a lot to giving such a great tips ……:)

  4. Queen Anele
    December 14, 2014 / 9:11 am

    I am liking this blog. Nice tips.

    • Anonymous
      February 24, 2015 / 9:07 am

      I like this comment.But needs correction 🙂

  5. Khushbu Merchant
    July 11, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    wow….heard of a spicy hair oil first time. tempts me to try 🙂

  6. Anonymous
    November 25, 2015 / 3:07 pm

    We even use small onions instead of garlic with the rest of the above mentioned.

  7. Alexandra
    March 18, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    Can I use fresh ginger?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 21, 2016 / 12:27 pm

      We have always used only dry ginger and since this recipe has been in our family for many years, I continue to follow the same. But you can give fresh ginger a try…

    • Vaishali
      December 19, 2016 / 4:20 am

      Should we filter the oil before applying? Or can we apply it directly?

    • Anonymous
      March 30, 2017 / 7:55 am

      Not necessary to filter the oil…can be applied directly…proper washing of hair during bath will do the needful

  8. Alexandra
    March 21, 2016 / 3:16 pm

    Thank you so much for your response.

  9. Anonymous
    April 9, 2016 / 6:16 pm

    Good information but still some missing. The 5 should need heat 1,sun should be there. That is morning after sun rise 2.stomach should be empty.3.hot water only to be used for whole Body. 4.head oil should be warmed before apply and at least soaked for 30 minutes. 5.sigaikai (Acasia) should mixed with warm water.Thus 5 should in warm conditions.

    April 14, 2016 / 9:32 am

    if we prepared oil then how long we can use that oil?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      May 30, 2016 / 1:08 am

      We always make this oil fresh each time before having oil bath and I would suggest the same…

  11. naga
    June 12, 2016 / 2:00 pm

    Keep writing such articles, a way to bring our tradition to the age of internet

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 13, 2016 / 2:29 pm

      I am glad you like the articles…

  12. Naline Wong
    September 2, 2016 / 11:35 pm


  13. Chandralekah Velu
    September 11, 2016 / 6:17 am

    Nice tips..Thnx

  14. Anonymous
    September 12, 2016 / 10:26 pm

    Can we use coconut oil instead of sesame oil?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 15, 2016 / 2:17 pm

      Traditionally only unrefined sesame oil was used for oil bath and I continue following it:). But if you don't want to use unrefined sesame oil then try using unrefined coconut oil…

  15. Jagpreet
    September 15, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    The way you have described it, I am really tempted to try this out now! And in today's world where every household item available in market revolves around just making easy money, we certainly need to keep our old traditions alive. And you are doing a wonderful job through this blog!

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 24, 2016 / 2:46 pm

      Thank you for taking your time to comment and I agree to what you said 100 % about holding on to our traditions…

  16. Anonymous
    October 24, 2016 / 3:58 am

    I heard from another blog that the oil should be leave there for 5min only and add 1 minute each week until maximum of 2 hour which will be almost a year and a half after starting practising oil bath. Also, something like three days after menstruation……please comments on these. Thanks a lot!

  17. MountainGoat
    November 26, 2016 / 8:12 am

    I add curry leaves as well. They work wonders for the hair.

  18. Anonymous
    March 20, 2017 / 9:08 am

    Thanks for the quality update about oil bath… I have never tried this before . i would like to know even after crossing 30s one can start this practice as new.. i have heard from my mother about sesame oil is nalla ennai kolla ennai… it will cause side effects if we are using it for the first time. since it ,makes the body very cool.

  19. bhuvi
    May 16, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    Just I want to know if we did this process regularly,whether it remove dandruff??

  20. bhuvi
    May 16, 2017 / 3:28 pm

    Just I want to know if we did this process regularly,whether it remove dandruff??

    May 29, 2017 / 3:43 am

    Tried it a week ago. Fantastic feeling. Hope to continue at least once a week.This improves quality of sleep, eyesight,keeps the body cool, reduces body, neck, knee and hip pain, improves blood ciculation, Very economical and cost effective health care with multiple benefits. Thanks for sharing. Rgds

  22. pandiyan thandayuthapani
    September 18, 2017 / 1:54 pm


  23. Anonymous
    October 11, 2017 / 5:43 am

    Thanks for the blog. Can we use the same oil for body as well?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 26, 2017 / 3:17 pm

      Though it will not do any harm, we use this blend only for hair…

  24. Unknown
    October 28, 2017 / 6:17 am


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