Nobody – man or woman – wants to deal with hair loss.
Many of us suffer from hair loss, which can make a person feel self-conscious about their appearance and can even damage their self-esteem and self-confidence.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the most common cause of hair loss is a medical condition called hereditary hair loss.
About 80 million men and women in the United States have this type of hair loss, which is also known as male-pattern baldness, female-pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia (1).
There are several other factors that also can contribute to hair loss, such as emotional or physical stress, starting a new medication, autoimmune diseases, nutritional deficiencies, excessive smoking, excessive use of hair styling products, improper hair care, poor diet, thyroid issues, anemia, pregnancy and chemotherapy, to name a few.
Instead of reaching for products with harsh chemicals to treat hair loss, consider using some natural herbs to fight this dreadful problem.
Giving herbal home remedies a try is safer, less expensive and an excellent way to stimulate hair growth. A healthy head of hair will make you feel confident and beautiful.
Here are the top 10 herbs that can help fight hair loss.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is an effective herb that will help fight hair loss while stimulating hair growth.
Aloe vera promotes blood flow to your scalp, which means more nutrients reach the hair follicles. It also contains vitamins A, C and E that contribute to cell turnover, promoting healthy cell growth and shiny hair.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research notes that the enzymes in aloe vera protect the scalp against many diseases. This, in turn, promotes healthy hair growth (2).
Aloe vera even helps fight dandruff, which can cause hair loss. A 1999 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment found that aloe vera helped resolve scalp inflammation caused by dandruff (3).
- Cut open an aloe vera leaf and gently scoop out the gel.
- Apply the extracted gel on your scalp.
- Gently massage it for a couple of minutes.
- Leave the gel on your scalp for a few hours.
- Wash it off using a mild shampoo.
- Repeat this twice a week.
Rosemary also stimulates hair growth. It improves blood circulation to the scalp, which brings more nutrients to the hair follicles and encourages hair growth.
This herb also helps prevent premature graying and dandruff. In addition, it can help treat a dry or itchy scalp.
A 1998 study published in the Archives of Dermatology reports that rosemary aromatherapy can be used for treating alopecia areata. Furthermore, its antibacterial quality gently cleanses hair and prevents itchiness and dandruff (4).
A 2013 study published in Phytotherapy Research found that rosemary leaf extract (different from the essential oil) stimulates hair growth (5).
Also, a 2015 study published in Skinmed gives evidence that the efficacy of rosemary oil in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia is better as compared to its effects with minoxidil 2% (6).
- Add a handful of fresh rosemary sprigs to 2 to 3 cups of hot water and allow it to steep for 15 minutes. Remove the herb and let the water cool down. Use the infused water as a hair rinse a few times a week.
- Alternatively, add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to 2 tablespoons of warm olive or coconut oil. Massage your scalp with it, then shampoo your hair after 45 minutes to an hour. Repeat 2 or 3 times a week. You can even add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to your shampoo before washing your hair.
Hibiscus is another herb that can help prevent hair loss. Also, this herb is rich in vitamins A and C as well as amino acids that help combat hair loss and promote hair growth.
Plus, it adds shine to dull hair while also keeping gray hairs at bay.
A 2003 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that hibiscus leaf extract, when compared to its flower extract, exhibits more potency on hair growth (7).
Another study published in 2013 in the Egyptian Dermatology Online Journal found that ethanolic extract of hibiscus leaves possess effects against androgenic alopecia in male rats. Hence, it may be used in the future as a hair-restoring agent for men suffering from alopecia (8).
- Add 10 Chinese hibiscus leaves and flowers to 2 cups of extra-virgin coconut oil.
- Heat the solution until the flowers turn black.
- Strain the oil and allow it to cool.
- Apply the oil on your hair before going to bed and do a thorough massage.
- Wash your hair in the morning.
- Repeat this 2 or 3 times a week.
4. Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, has long been utilized as an important ingredient in shampoo and hair oil to promote hair growth. Indian gooseberry is rich in vitamin C and other minerals that promote hair growth, strengthen hair roots and increase shine.
In a 2009 study published in the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, researchers looked at the ability of amla and other herbal hair oils to improve hair health and found that amla oil is better than other oils (9).
A 2017 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that Indian gooseberry is used as a hair tonic in traditional recipes for enriching hair growth and pigmentation (10).
- Use amla oil to massage your scalp a few times each week to enjoy healthy and strong hair. You can leave the oil in your hair for at least 40 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Another good option is to mix equal amounts of amla pulp and lemon juice, and use it to massage your scalp and hair thoroughly. Leave it on for a few hours, then shampoo your hair. Do this once a week to control hair loss.
5. Indian Lilac (Neem)
Indian lilac, also known as neem, improves blood circulation to the scalp when applied topically, which in turn promotes hair growth. Neem oil is also helpful in tackling thinning hair and premature graying.
Also, neem has high antibacterial and antifungal properties that help treat an itchy, dandruff-prone scalp.
- Boil a handful of neem leaves in 4 cups of water for 10 minutes. Set it aside to cool, then strain it. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo, then pour the neem infused water through it as a final rinse. Do not rinse your hair further. Do this after every wash.
- Alternatively, warm up a few tablespoons of olive oil and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of neem oil to it. Use it to massage your scalp in circular motions. Leave it on for 1 hour before shampooing your hair. Do this 2 or 3 times a week.
Lavender is another well-known herb that will help boost hair growth and reduce baldness. It is known to have antibacterial properties that help fight infections on the scalp and is very effective in treating dandruff and a dry and flaky scalp.
A 2016 study published in Toxicological Research found that lavender oil was able to generate faster hair growth in mice. However, more research needs to be done on humans (11).
- Mix 4 or 5 drops of lavender oil into 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil. Apply it directly on your scalp. Leave it on for at least 20 to 30 minutes before washing it out. Shampoo your hair as you normally would. You can do this 2 or 3 times a week.
- You can also add a little lavender oil to your shampoo, conditioner or another hair product.
Peppermint is another herb that you can use to treat hair loss and improve your hair health. It stimulates blood circulation to the scalp that helps stimulate hair follicles and thus promotes hair growth.
However, in the case of peppermint, it’s the essential oil that is more effective.
A 2014 study published in Toxicological Research suggests that peppermint essential oil induces a rapid anagen stage and could be used for a practical agent for hair growth without a change of body weight gain and food efficiency (12).
- Blend 5 drops of peppermint essential oil into 2 tablespoons of lukewarm coconut or olive oil. Massage the oil into the scalp and leave it on for 20 minutes. Shampoo your hair. Repeat twice a week.
- Another option is to add 2 or 3 drops of peppermint essential oil to your regular shampoo and use it as usual.
When it comes to herbs for hair growth, sage is another important herb that must be included in the list.
Being rich in nutrients like vitamins B, A and C and potassium and calcium, sage stimulates hair growth and fights hair loss.
Also, this herb promotes estrogen balance, which is important for strong hair follicles. It can also help manage scalp infections, which can cause hair loss in women.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add 4 or 5 drops each of sage, rosemary and lavender essential oils.
- Massage your scalp with this oil blend before going to bed.
- The next morning, wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
- Repeat this remedy 2 or 3 times a week.
9. Holy Basil
Holy basil is also good for hair growth.
Massaging the scalp with basil oil helps stimulate blood circulation, which leads to improved hair growth. It also has eugenol and magnesium, which are good for hair health.
- Dry a handful of holy basil leaves in the sun.
- Grind them into a fine powder.
- Mix the basil powder into slightly preheated 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Sieve the oil in a muslin cloth.
- Use the oil to massage your scalp and hair for 10 minutes.
- Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Wash the oil out with shampoo.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a week.
10. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle is another possible herb you can use to stimulate hair growth. This herb helps prevent the conversion of testosterone hormones into dihydrotestosterone, one main cause for hair loss in men.
- Put a handful of stinging nettle leaves in a jar containing 1 cup of olive oil.
- Keep the sealed jar in a cool place for about 3 weeks.
- After 3 weeks, you can apply the homemade oil on your scalp and massage regularly to see visible hair growth.
Stinging nettle can also be consumed in the form of pills.
- Hair loss. Ringworm | American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-and-scalp-problems/hair-loss.
- Aloe vera : A Potential Herb and its Medicinal Importance. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research. http://www.jocpr.com/articles/aloe-vera–a-potential-herb-and-its-medicinal-importance.pdf.
- A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of an Aloe vera (A. barbadensis) emulsion in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Taylor & Francis. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09546639909055904.
- Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Archives of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9828867. Published November 1998.
- Promotion of hair growth by Rosmarinus officinali. Phytotherapy Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517595. Published February 2013.
- Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25842469.
- In vivo and in vitro evaluation of hair growth potential of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn. Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics. http://www.edoj.org.eg/vol009/0902/005/01.htm. Published August 13, 2003.
- Effect of ethanolic fraction of Hibiscus rosa sinensis l., leaves in androgenic alopecia. Egyptian Dermatology Online Journal. http://www.edoj.org.eg/vol009/0902/005/01.htm.
- Preparation, evaluation and hair growth stimulating activity of herbal hair oil. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research. http://www.jocpr.com/articles/preparation-evaluation-and-hair-growth-stimulating-activity-of-herbal-hair-oil.pdf.
- Preclinical and Clinical Studies Demonstrate That the Proprietary Herbal Extract DA-5512 Effectively Stimulates Hair Growth and Promotes Hair Health. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5429933/. Published 2017.
- Hair Growth-Promoting Effects of Lavender Oil in C57BL/6 Mice. Toxicological Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843973/. Published April 2016.
- Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs. Toxicological Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289931/. Published December 2014.