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Do Herbal Hair Loss Treatments Work?

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Treating Hair Loss With Herbs And Supplements!

The problem of hair loss has been around for about as long as there was hair on people’s heads to lose in the first place. Throughout history, people have tried all sorts of odd salves and concoctions to cure their hair loss. Greeks like the famous Aristotle and Hippocrates used goat urine and pigeon droppings to treat baldness. Some Chinese made use of ground-up herbs and animals to keep their hair from falling off. Cleopatra even tried a mixture of deer marrow, bear grease, and ground-up mice and horse teeth to keep Julius Caesar’s hair on his head; while other ancient Egyptians made use of goose, snake, goat, or crocodile fat. Funny and odd as their remedies may seem to us now, they may have had a point, way back then: what we need to treat hair loss might just be found in nature. Androgenic Alopecia


If you feel averse to using conventional medicinal treatments for hair loss –whether it’s because you’re unable to take them due to drug intolerance or allergies, find the organic and natural route more appealing, or for just about any other reason– there are several natural and herbal products available that have similar effects which you may consider trying.


While these products’ efficacy for treating hair loss might not necessarily be approved by the Food and Drug Administration like the more popular Rogaine and Propecia, a number of them are still supported by scientific research and clinical studies to ascertain their efficacy and safety. It would be good to get yourself informed about them if you ever consider using these products in the future; and getting informed opinions about them from doctors and professionals wouldn’t hurt, either.

Dihydrotestosterone Inhibitors

Just like the more conventional medical treatments finasteride and minoxidil, many of today’s more popular herbal and natural remedies for hair loss were serendipitous discoveries. Most of these treatments were originally intended for curing other ailments, but as luck would have it, they exhibited anti-hair loss properties.


Examples of such natural products are extracts from saw palmetto, nettle root, and pygeum. Curiously, all of these products were traditionally meant as remedies for prostate problems –specifically prostate enlargement or inflammation (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Not only that, but they all seem to combat hair loss through a similar mechanism: by acting as dihydrotestosterone inhibitors, suggesting a link between prostate problems and androgenetic hair loss.


DHT is the primary cause of androgenetic alopecia. Though it is a naturally occurring by-product of our growth processes –being the resulting androgen from the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase’s conversion of testosterone- it also has an unwanted tendency of attaching to and accumulating at our hair follicles. This interrupts our hair’s growth processes, causing them to shrink and eventually fall out –resulting in baldness.


Products like nettle root and saw palmetto extract fight against hair loss either by preventing the formation of DHT or by restricting the absorption of it in our bodies (or both, for some).


Saw palmetto extract is quite possibly the most popular and most studied natural treatment against hair loss. It is taken from the fruit of the small palm tree, Serenoa repens, which is endemic to the south-eastern United States, and has been used as a folk cure for a variety of ills such as urinary tract infections and prostate inflammation for many years. In fact, the extract has been marketed in liquid and pill form as a remedy for BPH and is available as an over-the-counter medication in certain countries like Germany. Considering its quality as an effective anti-androgen for treating prostate conditions, it’s speculated that this same quality is what gives it its properties as a hair loss treatment, combatting the effects of androgenetic alopecia. Studies show that saw palmetto extract is effective against moderate amounts of hair loss.


Through infrequent, cases have been reported wherein the use of saw palmetto extract caused certain adverse effects, ranging from mild gastrointestinal distress and muscle pain to reduced sexual performance and bleeding. For the former, it’s suggested that saw palmetto extract be taken with food in order to minimize the occurrence of such incidents; the latter suggests that further study is needed to develop and ascertain saw palmetto extract’s safety and efficacy.


Pygeum is an herbal remedy taken from the bark of African evergreen trees known as Pygeum africanum, used to alleviate the inflammatory effects of BPH. As a treatment for prostatic disorders, it is sold under brand names such as Pygenil and Tadenan. It prevents 5-alpha-reductase from converting testosterone into DHT, stopping the chain of events which lead to increased cell growth in the prostate –thus preventing hair loss caused by DHT in the process as well.


Nettles are perennial plants found growing in various locales in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Besides treating prostatic conditions, the plant has been traditionally used as a diuretic as well as a cure for other ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, and coughs. It has also been used as a food source, with a taste and nutritional content comparable to spinach. Studies show that in high concentrations, nettle root extract can inhibit 5-alpha-reductase’s ability to convert testosterone into DHT. It is commonly used in conjunction with other natural products like saw palmetto and pygeum for increased potency.


Adverse effects from making use of nettle root extract are usually limited to allergic reactions for individuals who are sensitive to the plant.

Hair Growth Augmenters

There are other natural products that combat hair loss through other means besides blocking DHT. Some of these include extracts from ginkgo biloba, aloe vera, and capsaicin, from cayenne pepper. Instead of preventing the effects of DHT, they promote the growth of healthy hair by improving blood circulation and by supplying more nutrients to the hair. Poor blood circulation in the scalp can cause our hair’s roots to degrade and become weaker, making them more susceptible to the effects of DHT.


Ginkgo biloba is a unique non-flowering tree, originally found in East Asia, but later introduced to other parts of the world. Extracts from its leaves have been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of complications such as cramps, depression, and problems related to poor blood flow. It also boasts antioxidant and nootropic properties, besides its ability to promote blood circulation.


By improving blood circulation, ginkgo biloba allows more nutrients can be delivered to the hair follicles, encouraging the growth of healthy hair.


Side effects which may result from the use of ginkgo biloba include gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches, dizziness, and heart palpitation. Allergic reactions to the plant are also possible.


Aloe vera is a succulent plant found mostly in the arid areas of the world such as North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but has also been cultivated in other areas due to its numerous medicinal, cosmetic, and culinary uses. Besides its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties used to treat burns and other skin conditions, the plant also has anti-bacterial and nourishing qualities –as well as an ability to improve blood circulation.


Applied topically, extracts of the plant can stimulate hair production by providing an ideal environment for hair to grow in, keeping the scalp clean, moisturized, and well-nourished.


For individuals who are allergic to aloe vera, skin rashes might occur as an allergic reaction to the plant. Discontinuing use of the product is recommended in such cases.


Capsaicin, a chemical extracted from cayenne peppers, has a curious effect of causing irritation and redness when it comes to contact with skin. Given these properties, it’s no wonder capsaicin has been used as an active ingredient for things such as pepper spray and pest deterrents! Strangely enough, the chemical is also used in topical ointments to relieve muscle pain, nerve damage, arthritis, sprains, and other complications. What explains capsaicin’s seemingly contradictory quality?


Capsaicin’s method of action, whether in causing pain or taking it away, is through the manipulation of blood as a cardiovascular stimulant. As an irritant, the chemical interacts with neurons and draws blood into the affected area, resulting in redness and a burning sensation. For alleviating pain, the chemical promotes blood circulation, reducing congestion and inflammation, as well as interacting with neurotransmitters responsible for the recognition of pain and heat, reducing the painful sensations felt.


Capsaicin’s blood-flow-improving qualities is precisely what makes it effective in promoting hair growth, allowing more blood to flow into the scalp to deliver nutrients to allow the growth of healthy hair.


In case you find that these treatments feel too natural for you, yet at the same time, still feel uncomfortable using the purely medicinal treatments for hair loss, there are other hair loss treatments available which make use of one or a combination of various natural ingredients. Natural products such as Procerin, Provillus, and Pofollica contain some of these natural DHT inhibitors and hair growth augmentors as active ingredients, providing an effective alternative to the harsher chemicals found in conventional drugs for dealing with alopecia.


Remember to keep your options for hair loss open –while at the same time keeping yourself informed about them in order to treat it in the best possible way.

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