Can Herbs Prevent Hair Loss?

Roughly 90% of your hairs grow while others rest. We “shed” one hair and another replaces it unless something interrupts this process. Heredity, disease, medication or even stress can cause hair loss.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other herbal practitioners see hair loss as a symptom of bodily imbalance – a disease. Thus, treatment entails targeting what’s causing it. Anecdotal evidence of success for herbal treatment, while unproven, is compelling because it treats the underlying causes.

Why Not Just Use a Commercial Hair Loss Product?

In a word, side effects:

• Finasteride (Propecia) has difficult or permanent side effects like birth defects, so is not appropriate for women. Any allergic reaction like hives, difficulty breathing, swollen face, lips, tongue, or throat is an emergency. Disconcerting side effects include: abnormal ejaculation; dizziness/weakness/fainting; headache; impotence or sexual problems; runny nose; skin rash; swelling hands or feet; or breast swelling or tenderness.

• Minoxidil (Rogaine) may cause skin irritation, headaches, heart or circulatory problems. Emergency medical treatment is required for: allergic reaction; chest pain; dizziness/fainting; irregular or racing heartbeat.

• Other products, including some all-naturals like Profollica or Procerin, may cause side effects from minor scalp irritation to easily sunburned skin or digestive interactions.

What Herbs Treat Hair Loss?

According to Chinese Herbal Medicine, Erzhi Wan can address the problem at its source. It is actually two herbs: eclipta alba and ligustrum lucidum, called the “two solstices pill” because the herbs are harvested during winter and summer solstices. It is believed to cool the blood, help the liver, darken hair color and promote hair growth.

He Shou Wu (polygonum multiflorum) or fleece flower, addresses the kidney and liver, plaque build-up in the arteries, and other circulatory conditions. This and Gotu Kola are thought to clean blood and improve circulation to stimulate hair growth.

Swerta showed evidence of preventing hair loss in 80% of subjects in one study. Related to gentian (violet) and Gentax (a Japanese product containing geraniol, an essential oil), it is available in Japan and the US.

Ginseng has been used for hair loss and ailments that cause it including diabetes, obesity, stress, metabolism, sexual disorders, and more.

Commonly used remedies for hair loss also include these herbs:

• Indian Gooseberry strengthens hair’s roots, promoting growth

• Acacia Concinna disinfects and increases pigment (color)

• Neem controls dandruff promoting the healthy environment for growth

• Henna repairs and seals the cuticle and is a detangling conditioner

• Aloe Vera is an anti-inflammatory and conditioner

• Citrus Limon provides antioxidants for proper blood and oxygen flow

• Rosemary can stimulate circulation and hair growth, and also provides powerful antioxidants that are necessary to prevent hair loss.

• Aloe Vera is an anti-inflammatory and conditioner

• Saw Palmetto, also useful in preventing prostate problems, can unblock hair follicles by reducing DHT levels. It has been shown to be more effective than pharmaceutical drugs.

• Horsetail extract contains large amounts of hair-healthy silica, and can be helpful in strengthening hair follicles and stimulating new hair growth.

• Chamomile Extract offers many health benefits and can revitalize as well as condition the hair and scalp.

What is the natural approach to hair loss?

Herbal practitioners, like conventional ones, would first try changing brands and (unless life-threatening) reducing or stopping medication, shampoos, gels, cosmetics, herbs or foods that chemically interact. This approach goes directly to the potential main causes of thinning hair.

Herbal practitioners treat inherited male or female pattern baldness or alopecia by keeping organs and circulation healthy to inhibit hair loss. Diet and stress reducing therapies help correct problems due to lifestyle: coronary artery and heart disease, systemic disorders, depression, malnutrition, or drug and alcohol abuse.

Some practitioners include the herbal treatments listed above, massage and acupuncture together. If you plan to use natural herbs to treat hair loss, coordinate any conventional care with your practitioner. In China, both TCM and conventional medicine are practiced in collaboration, so:

1. Use natural herbs under the supervision of a professional.

2. Do not try to treat yourself or use herbs alone as a replacement for your doctor’s advice.

3. Tell all your health care providers about each other and every treatment you use. Give them the whole picture to assure compatible, safe care.

Learn more about on our general health page, or return to our HSG home


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