Whether you’re looking to stimulate hair growth for a fuller head of hair or simply longer locks, hope may be on the way in the form of herbal treatments.
There are prescription and over-the-counter medications like minoxidil and finasteride for hair regrowth, but fans of alternative medicine want to know their other options. Here’s a look at some of the relevant herbs being used today.
What popular herbs for hair growth should I be aware of?
Since the first century AD, aloe vera has been used in herbal medicine. The plant can help stimulate blood circulation, promote hair growth and fight against baldness.
Scientifically known as oenothera, evening primrose is native to the Americas. The herb can stimulate hair follicles by enhancing blood circulation. The alternative medicine solution also has a high content of an essential fatty acid related to fostering hair growth for even better results.
This woody, fragrant herb has been used in mice experiments to effectively help regrow hair. Rosemary can stimulate and nourish the scalp to help restore proper functioning.
As a stimulant, sage can enhance hair growth and can also help restore balance when it comes to the oils on your scalp. As a topical treatment, sage may also help with graying hair problems as well.
In testing, this hardy plant has been shown to have some similar properties as finasteride, a prescription medication that can promote regrowth and stop further hair loss and thinning. More evidence is still needed, but the future seems promising with saw palmetto at hand.
This herb is often used in hair care products such as shampoos and conditioners as a hydrating agent, but stinging nettle may also be able to block hair loss, increase blood circulation and promote regrowth.
The essential oil of thyme may help treat baldness when applied to the scalp. The anciently-used ingredient also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help clear up a variety of related scalp and skin problems.
What should I know about herbs & herbal supplements before I try using anything?
You should do your research on brands and products
Just because you don’t need a prescription for a herbal hair treatment doesn’t mean everything available is actually safe. Avoid any black or grey market purchases, which come unregulated and can contain harmful contaminants and concentrations. You want to stick to healthy options that come from trusted companies that are transparent about having proper manufacturing and labeling practices.
A medical professional can help you avoid making dangerous mistakes
When looking into herbal treatments and supplements, you should talk to your doctor if you are taking any medications or have any pre-existing health concerns. Herbal supplements can interfere with other medications and can present certain risks when combined.
Once you and your doctor settle on what particular herbal hair growth treatment may be right for you, ask your doctor about what side effects you should watch for. Don’t hesitate to make a follow-up call or appointment, as needed, down the road. Even if you feel silly about talking to your doctor about something as cosmetic as hair growth, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Too much of a good thing can be very bad
Even though there are a variety of herbal treatments and supplements that you can try, mixing and matching them on your own can produce harmful side effects if you overdo it. Even if you stick to taking only one herbal supplement, you can still have too much of the substance running through your body if you’re not careful.
Don’t try to accelerate results by doubling recommended dosages or taking multiple products at once that are intended to be stand-alone solutions. In regards to topical treatments, you still can run the risk of applying too many herbs onto your scalp if you’re not cautious. For healthy results, be conservative and be patient.
Results aren’t really guaranteed
Okay, so the product you pick out may have a “guaranteed or your money back” sales pitch, but that silverlining is about recovering your costs. At the end of the day, none of these herbal treatments may end up working for you. There are plenty of studies that have shown positive results with these kinds of herbs and there are also plenty of studies that showed no statistically-significant difference between using certain herbs and using placebo treatments for hair growth.
Hopefully you’ll be able to locate something that helps your situation, but it’s also realistically possible for you to try one of these herbs out and to be disappointed. You can certainly continue to work with your doctor and other specialists about possible alternatives, but there is no real promise that any particular herb will solve your personal problem.
What additional strategies will enhance my hair growth results?
Be good to the hair you do have
For success with growing your hair out, don’t aggravate your hair anymore than you have to. Use organic hair cleansing, conditioning and styling agents that are free of harsh chemicals and detergents. Minimize the use of hot tools and avoid tight updos that pull on the hair.
You can’t change your genes, but you can change your habits, which also have a huge affect on your body’s ability to grow strong, luscious locks.
Managing your stress level is key for the proper functioning of your body
If you want to use herbal treatments or take relevant supplements to help your hair grow, make sure you’re helping your body do its best by working to keep your anxiety at bay.
Physical and emotional stress can cause hair loss so you’ll have the best chance of success if you can work out any serious issues that are weighing you down. Talk with a counselor or spiritual leader and get any outside help you need in order to make sure your mental and emotional states of health are exactly where they need to be.