Herbs and Hair Loss
There is a very heated discussion regarding herbs and hair loss. While many medical doctors are skeptical about the power of herbs to prevent and cure hair loss, many ordinary people, who experience the benefits of herbs on their heads, are optimistic and thankful to Nature for the remedies it is providing. As a matter of fact, recent decades saw a steady increase in the interest in herbs and other natural ways of treatment.
Herbs can be used for prevention and curing of hair loss but the best approach is not to expect miracles. Needless to say, herbs are not a hair transplant, so if you think that using herbs your hair will become like the mane of a tiger, get down to earth – this is not going to happen, especially if your hair loss is due to hereditary causes, rather than stress or dietary disorders.
One of the grounds of the critics of herbal remedies for hair loss prevention and treatment is that in many countries herbal remedies are not regulated by a competent authority (like the FDA - Federal Drug Administration in the US) and therefore their composition and effects can't be proved scientifically. Another argument of the opponents of herbs, although this hardly applies to hair loss remedies, is that even useful substances, like Vitamin A, when overdosed can be harmful and even cause death.
With all this said, the conclusion one can make is that herbs should be applied wisely in hair loss treatment. Yes, there are really effective herbs, for instance saw palmetto, which competes successfully with drugs like Propecia. Besides saw palmetto, which is the best known herb for hair loss prevention and treatment, there are several other herbs and plants that are also used for this purpose. The most popular of them are nettle root, Dong Quai, rosemary, sage, aloe vera, jojoba, henna, pumpkin seeds, etc.
The second most effective herb after saw palmetto in regard to hair loss prevention and treatment is nettle. Nettle root contains a lot of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, several important minerals and lipids that are useful for the hair. Nettle root extract acts as an inhibitor of 5-alpha reductase, which is the main cause for DHT formation, thus helping BPH treatment. Nettle root extract also blocks the formation of the aromatase enzyme, which is responsible for estrogen production. In a sense, nettle root extract is a natural hormones balancer and this is the reason it is considered a herb that can help in the fight with hair loss.
Dong Quai is also considered an effective herb because it contains phytoestrogens that are known for their ability to stop, or even reverse genetic hair loss. Phytoestrogens block the conversion of testosterone to DHT, thus stopping the genetically predetermined process of hair loss.
Rosemary and sage are two other herbs that are known for their positive effect, when used externally. They are used in the form of an extract, which is made when rosemary and sage, together with nettle, burdock and peach leaf are boiled. The liquid is used for daily washing of the hair.
Aloe vera neither prevents hair loss, nor stimulates hair growth directly but it is one of the most used herbs in hair cosmetics because it balances the pH level on the scalp and cleans the pores. Aloe vera can be combined with other herbs and plants, for instance wheat germ oil and coconut milk for better effect.
Jojoba (especially its oil) is also used in hair cosmetics. Similarly to aloe vera, it does not prevent hair loss. However, it stimulates hair growth and contributes to the general healthy condition of the head. Jojoba is also good against dandruff.
Henna is also a natural hair strengthener that helps in healing the cuticle, thus protecting the hairs from breaking.
The oil extract from pumpkin seeds is also believed to affect the levels of testosterone in the body, especially when the hormonal balance is destroyed due to a disease. However, science has not confirmed this yet.