Herbal Hair Loss Remedies
Active Substances Used in Herbal Hair Loss Remedies
SAW PALMETTO is an extract made from the fruits of a small palm tree called serenoa repens, which is endemic to the southeastern US. It is the primary active ingredient in almost every natural hair loss remedy, including Provillus, Procerin, Advecia, Avacor, Revivogen, Scalp Med and many others. Saw palmetto has long been used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is rich in fatty acids and phytosterols and it is often claimed to be able to block dihydrotestosterone (DHT). There are plenty of research papers claiming saw palmetto is beneficial in treating BPH but only one piece of research to prove that it can reduce the level of DHT in the prostate. However, the latest research contradicts this claim by showing that saw palmetto may not have any effect on the plasma concentration of DHT. In addition, one recent clinical study claims that saw palmetto does not shrink enlarged prostates either. Despite the fact that saw palmetto has been used to treat BPH for decades there is no conclusive proof that it is effective.
Saw palmetto has never been clinically tested as a hair loss treatment and its efficacy and mechanism of action are not known. In addition, it is suspected its side effects might be more severe than those of finasteride but they have been poorly documented to date. Given its many suspected side effects, saw palmetto should be used with caution (see also: Can Saw Palmetto Help Treat Hair Loss?).
STINGING NETTLE is a perennial plant and common weed native to Europe, Asia, North America and North Africa that now grows in temperate and subtropical climates throughout the whole world. It is among the most common herbs used in traditional folk medicine. Both the leaves and the root are used in various cures. The nettle root is often found in natural medicines to relieve the symptoms of BPH. It is therefore assumed it could prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT but no clinical studies have been conducted yet on the use of nettle in treating DHT-related hair loss. Although no one is certain whether it really helps against baldness, nettles are frequently used as one of the active ingredients in many commercial hair loss remedies (see also: Use of Stinging Nettle in Hair Loss Remedies).
PYGEUM AFRICANUM is a large evergreen tree found in central and southern Africa. The extracts from the pygeum bark contain several compounds thought to be helpful in prostate health and have been used for decades to treat prostate enlargement (BPH). Like saw palmetto and nettle root, pygeum is also believed to inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase which converts testosterone to follicle-harming DHT. Despite the lack of clinical evidence of any positive impact on male pattern baldness, pygeum can be found in a number of natural hair loss remedies (see also: Pygeum Africanum as a Natural Hair Loss Treatment).
GINKGO BILOBA is a large tree, originally from East Asia, that can be now found in many parks in the temperate zones around the world. The extract is thought to improve blood circulation to the brain and skin and is frequently used as a memory and concentration enhancer. No clinical studies on its efficacy in treating hair loss have been conducted yet. Nonetheless, ginkgo is used as an active ingredient in some commercial hair loss remedies. Given its many suspected side effects, ginkgo should be used with caution.
ELEUTHERO ROOT, also called Siberian ginseng, is a distant relative of Asian ginseng. It is a popular folk medicine in Russia and China. Eleuthero is a herbal antioxidant and it is believed to be anti-inflammatory and to be able to increase endurance, improve memory, boost the immune system and help protect cells from damage due to environmental conditions. Eleuthero is often used as one of the substances in natural hair loss cures, although there is no clinical proof of its positive effect on human hair.
GOTU KOLA is a perennial plant native to Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. It has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years in India, China and Indonesia. It used to be a popular youth tonic and was believed to improve mental clarity. Because of its ability to heal wounds, combat inflammation and treat various skin conditions, it can be found in many natural topical products for treating hair loss.
GREEN TEA is made from the dried leaves of the tea plant. Black tea is made from dried tea plant leaves that have been through a fermentation process. Green tea has been credited with providing a wide variety of health benefits, many of which have not been validated by scientific evidence (e.g. its potential for treating male pattern baldness). It is tasty, it might be healthy, too, but it should not be expected to grow new hair (see also: Is Drinking Green Tea Good for Slowing Hair Loss?).
PUMPKIN SEED OIL is pressed from pumpkin seeds and is rich in iron, zinc and essential fatty acids. It has been used for centuries as a folk remedy for prostate problems as it has been shown to improve the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate due to BPH. Therefore, pumpkin seed oil is believed to be a natural DHT blocker. However, no clinical study exists regarding its potency to block DHT or its effectiveness in treating baldness.
Commercial Herbal Hair Loss Products
Advecia, Avacor, Crinagen, Fabao, Follicare, Hair Genesis, Inhairit, Min New York, Nanogen, Nioxin, Nisim, New Hair, Procapil, Procerin, ProFollica, Provillus, Regenix, Revivogen, Scalp Med, Spectral DNC, ThymuSkin