Education, Health

A Dozen Herbs That Help Your Hair Look Its Best


July 24th, 2018
herbs-hair-health

It’s easy to understand how foods will make your hair grow but herbs are a whole different topic.

Herbs have no calories and no appreciable vitamin or mineral content for the most part so how could they possibly have any effect in the body?

What’s actually quite amazing is that herbs have multiple mechanisms of action in the body.

Often, they multitask a dozen different actions and these actions are occurring in multiple parts of the body simultaneously.

Herbs With Hair Benefits Act in Six Different Ways

Check out the following mechanisms of how herbs could work to improve the condition of your hair:

  1. They increase circulation to the scalp.
  2. They lower the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body that cause male pattern baldness by blocking its synthesis. DHT is formed in the body when testosterone meets up with the enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme is stored in the hair follicles. DHT shrinks the hair follicles, thinning the hair until no hair is produced from the follicle. This then results in baldness.
  3. They restore the original color of the hair.
  4. They kick-start the growth of the hair follicles, increasing the number of active hair follicles, which means thicker hair.
  5. They decrease the toxins (drugs, heavy metals, pesticides) that surround the hair follicle or are taken up by the surrounding keratinocytes (skin cells), blood vessels that feed the hair follicle, and the connective tissues around the hair bulbs. The keratinocytes are a major target for environmental toxins or drugs because there’s a high rate of blood flow around hair bulbs.
  6. They reduce stress, which reduces cortisol levels. Stress induces vitamin and mineral deficiencies that contribute to hair loss.

How the Top 12 Herbs Work in the Body To Give You Beautiful Hair

You may already have your favorite herbs for decreasing hair loss and improving the look of your hair.

However, if you aren’t addressing the real root of the hair loss problem, then it will continue.

Fo-ti

This is one Asian and Chinese herb that you absolutely must know about if you want to keep a full head of hair into your 80s plus never have to dye it.

Polygonum multiflorum, also known as fo-ti, is quite popular in these countries as an anti-aging, insomnia relief, diabetic natural remedy.

If you look really deep into the research databases, you’ll find there are no studies on the herb’s effects on hair.

Despite this, the herb is used to prevent graying of the hair.

The only scientific evidence that the herb could possibly do this is most likely due to its high vitamin E and B vitamin content.

If someone is deficient in any of these nutrients, premature graying occurs. Once the nutrients are put back into the body, the premature graying could go away.

If there’s no deficiency to begin with, you wouldn’t expect any type of changes in the hair from this herb.

Nettle Leaf / Root

Nettle leaf and nettle root increases circulation to the scalp.

Once there’s greater circulation to the scalp, the hair follicles are getting greater amounts of oxygen.

Besides bringing oxygen, this herb is bringing antioxidants to the scalp, which nourishes the hair follicles and prevent aging.

Nettle is also used for its anti-inflammatory properties, so if there’s inflammation in the scalp, it could help.

Chronic inflammation could be due to any type of infection in the scalp, and that includes parasitic infections, which are common in those who have hair loss.

Nettle also blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which results eventually in baldness.

Eclipta alba (false daisy)

This herb has been proven to increase hair density and hair length, according to Korean researchers at Chungnam National University.

In their study, the area covered by hair increased significantly as well in the genetically hairless mice studied.

Their conclusion was that the standardized Eclipta alba extract could be used as an effective, alternative, and complementary treatment against Hair Loss Information & Solutions

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto contains a plant sterol called beta-sitosterol.

This medicinal component inhibits the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT in the prostate, reducing levels by as much as 40%.

Plant sterols in saw palmetto act as anti-inflammatory effects as well.

One medical study found that the herb was equally as effective as the prescription medication used to inhibit this enzyme – but it’s a plant with no side effects.

Since saw palmetto is so effective at blocking the conversion, the herb is used in hair loss shampoos.

Ginkgo biloba

This herb increases circulation the scalp, report scientists at the University of Maryland.

Ginseng

Ginseng is known not only for its anti-aging effects but also for centuries as a hair regrowth herb.

It’s an adaptogen, which reduces the stress response in the body.

Horsetail

The active ingredient in horsetail herb is its silica content.

Silica is one of the most important ingredients needed for hair because it is one of the structural components.

Without silica, hair can’t be strong and will end up breaking off because it’s so weak.

With silica, your hair will attain a length that coincides with your genetic potential for hair length.

It’s possible that your hair is two or more inches shorter than the length your hair will grow once it has all the nutrients it needs.

As a side note, while your hair is actively receiving nutrients from horsetail herb and using them, the overflow is going to your skin and nails.

They’ll start to improve their appearance, too.

Green tea

Green tea is loaded with antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and carotenoids.

These powerful plant nutrients are one of the things that have been used to stop alopecia, create new regrowth of the hair, and keep hair healthy so it won’t fall out again.

Green tea contains medicinal constituents that actually block the formation of DHT, which has been linked to male pattern baldness if its levels are high in the body.

One of the medicinal constituents that surprisingly blocks DHT is caffeine, and there is a bit of caffeine in green tea.

Cuscuta reflexa

Cuscuta reflexa, a little-known Ayurvedic herb now has long been used for the treatment of hair loss.

Studies show that there are two different types of hair loss where this herb restores hair:  baldness or loss of hair from high levels of testosterone and hair loss from chemotherapy.

More than 80% of cancer patients on chemotherapy consider hair loss the most distressing part of their whole cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy disrupts the replication of skin cells that produce the hair shaft. This compromises the hair shaft and the hair then breaks and falls off.

It also causes loss of hair follicles.

The herb works by promoting the proliferation of the hair follicles and preventing hair loss from occurring from chemotherapy drugs.

Ashwagandha

This native remedy from India is an adaptogen that reduces cortisol levels and thereby reduces stress. Stress can deplete the body of the B vitamins – folic acid, vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), and biotin as well as zinc and magnesium.

Rhodiola

This herb is another adaptogenic herb that can contribute to hair growth indirectly by helping you maintain your levels of B vitamins and minerals that are especially important for hair health.

Rhodiola is also used for the control of pain. Of course there’s no physical pain when you notice hair falling out in your brush or on your comb, but there is emotional pain!

Pygeum

This is another herb that works to stop hair loss by inhibiting DHT in the body.

As you can see, there are many herbs you can take to slow down hair loss, nourish the scalp and hair follicles, inhibit substances that interfere with hair growth, and even possibly reverse premature gray hairs.

Your best solution is always a combination of herbs instead of taking a single herb. This way you get the most maximum benefits, and the herbs begin to work synergistically together.

Author: Dr. Donna Schwontkowski

References

Begum, S., et al. Comparative hair restorer efficacy of medicinal herb on nude (Foxn1nu) mice. Biomed Res Int 2014, 2014: 319795. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4247959/

Patel, S., et al. A study on the extracts of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. In treatment of cyclophosphamide induced alopecia. DARU 2014; 22(1):7.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3922840/



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