If you have ever done a web search on hair loss, you’ve probably come across one million and one sites trying to sell you the latest herb guaranteed to solve your problem for good.
Of course, if they were really the miracles they claim to be, no one would be losing their hair. On the other hand, if they hadn’t worked for at least one person no one would have invested the money into the products manufacturing and marketing.
Obviously, some herbs have potential and some don’t. Unfortunately, those herbs for hair growth that work only do so in conjunction with a bigger hair restorative program. Those that don’t work can quickly undo any positive steps you’ve been taking and can even be dangerous.
So, how are you supposed to know which herbal hair growth options work and which don’t? Well, it’s not as challenging as it sounds. I’m going to do the hard work for you. I will research them and share my discoveries with you.
Insights From The Book
At the time I wrote The Hair Loss Black Book, there were already many herbal products being marketed as hair loss solutions. It took several years to research all of the viable options, looking at both statistical data and the experiences of real hair loss sufferers- including myself.
I did not write about every herb I studied in the book, but I did include information about the herbs I found to be effective including dosage information and how to incorporate them into a pro-hair nutrition plan.
I generally recommend Biotin, Tribulus, Spearmint, and herbal Phytoestrogens as a part of a healthy pro-hair regimen. Many of these herbs are effective both internally as a supplement and externally when used as a scalp treatment.
You can learn dosage and usage information in the section entitled “Natural Supplements to Promote Growth”.
I also included information in the book about one of the most popular herbs on the market, Saw Palmetto.
While I explain this in greater detail in the book, I consider Saw Palmetto a very risky herbal hair treatment.
There is no clear right or wrong when it comes to Saw Palmetto, and I believe the unknown has the potential to be dangerous.
The scientific studies are completely divided. Some studies show evidence that Saw Palmetto doesn’t work at all. Obviously, this would mean it is a waste of time and money.
On the other hand, some studies have shown Saw Palmetto to work too well. Not only does it block the 5AR enzyme which creates DHT, it blocks an entire spectrum of related enzymes. This concerns me. Your body produces enzymes, even 5AR, for a reason.
While the 5AR may be causing you some problems, the similar enzymes are maintaining vital functions like fertility and adrenal gland health. If you block those functions, you health will become further imbalanced.
Because there is no clear yes or no regarding this herb, I would recommend avoiding Saw Palmetto. You may want to decide for yourself.
If that’s true, then my advice is to start slowly and at a low dose. And stay vigilant in order to recognize any potential trouble sooner than later.
New Herb Discoveries
As capitalism spreads throughout the world, so does the availability of newly discovered herbs which may (or likely may not) cure hair loss. There were probably already 100 new herbs on the market by the time I published my book.
I doubt there will ever be an end to my studies, but I do plan to keep you updated on my progress and help you decide if each new herb is worth a try.
1. Thorn Apple
Also known as Datura Stramonium, Devil’s trumpet, or Jimson weed
Frankly, I have been shocked when I’ve read supposed “experts” recommend Thorn Apple in their papers, sites, and blogs.
I was even more shocked to see how, in recent months, Thorn Apple has gone viral and people are recommending it throughout hair loss discussion boards.
I don’t know how this happened, but apparently someone who never studied Apple Thorn started this craze and could care less about the danger he or she is putting hair loss sufferers everywhere in.
Thorn Apple has been around for centuries. It is hailed as one of the Chinese herbs for hair loss, but this is the classic pitfall in the Westernization of “Chinese medicine”.
We know so little about true Chinese medicine that we are willing to accept any herb as authentic. In this case, the ancient Chinese only used it medicinally to induce coma. Obviously, that’s not the result we’re looking for.
Thorn Apple is a psychotropic drug that will induce an extreme psychosis which can last for days. It is a poison and even relatively small doses can be dangerous.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food & Drug Administration are pushing for its ban after a family of 6 was hospitalized, and almost lost, after ingesting the herb in a stew they believed to increase vitality.
Do not use thorn apple no matter what hype you read.
Also known as He Shou Wu, Polygonum multiflorum, or Bistort
In contrast to Thorn Apple, Knotgrass may be a great tip handed down by ancient Chinese practitioners. Knotgrass comes in many forms, including the commonly used grain Buckwheat.
In ancient times, knotgrass was consumed during times of drought as a replacement for wheat. In ancient China, it was observed to also have a healing affect on digestive and urinary tract problems.
Overtime, people noticed that their hair’s natural graying and aging seemed to delay when they consumed Knotgrass. Some even saw coarse gray hairs begin to grow in more youthful color and softness when they consumed higher amounts of Knotgrass!
Centuries later, the American Botanical Council clearly recommends it to restore hair color. But what about hair loss? While the council has not addressed this specific issue and no conclusive studies exist, let me tell you what we do know about it.
It is known to correct the enzymes used by the liver and kidneys, effectively treating disorders of both organs. (if you remember your reading from the book, the liver and kidneys are both responsible for producing anti-DHT enzymes and redirecting testosterone use).
Furthermore, naturalists use Knotgrass to increase sperm count and viability and to increase ovulation in women. This is what your body is supposed to be using those extra hormones for, not storing them on your scalp. It is no coincidence that most hair loss sufferers are often infertile.
Knotgrass definitely has potential. However, as it is not extensively studied for side affects, I recommend starting slowly.
I also recommend you buy it from a Chinese medicine shop in its original root form sold as He Shou Wu. Otherwise, you will be getting an over-processed bottled version which will probably not help.
Once again, don’t expect this to be a miracle pill. Getting in shape, reducing stress, nourishing your body, and scalp care are the real solutions to your problem but this herbal hair treatment could probably facilitate your healing.
In the meantime, I will keep you updated as I learn more about this very interesting and very hopeful herb.
3. White Peony
Also known as Paeonia or Bai Shao
I was curious when I came across Peony extract in a botanical article last year. I had previously encountered Peony while researching the seemingly unrelated topic of rashes and eczema.
I knew it was a good antioxidant and astringent. I also knew it had the ability to promote immune system health.
Aside from helping allergies it is clear how PEONY would also help your sick scalp heal. That was logical and self explanatory.
What surprised me was how many times I saw peony extract listed in mainline scientific studies regarding women’s hormones.
I was even more surprised when I read countless papers by Dr. Joseph L Mayo, a noted medical doctor and scientist specializing in hormonal disorder, where Dr. Mayo endorsed using Peony to restore hormonal balance.
Specifically, Dr. Mayo emphasized how it helps alleviate the symptoms of menopause when a woman’s body is thrown out of balance and is flooded with unusually high amounts of testosterone with no estrogen to counteract it.
Furthermore, it is being used to relieve PCOS which occurs when fat is stored on the ovaries and induces menopause like symptoms onto women in their prime reproductive age.
Hmmmm, are you wondering why that sounds familiar? It is because PCOS is the main cause of androgenic hair loss in women. It is because a body flooded with testosterone loses hair, no matter if it is a woman’s or a man’s.
In a 1994 study, hormonally imbalanced women being treated with a combination of White Peony and licorice were found to have a substantially reduced amount of testosterone and increased amounts of estrogen. The changed happened within 4 weeks and at as little a dose as 7mg a day.
There is a lack of data regarding the affects of Peony on men. Men do need testosterone and do not need estrogen, so it is possible this would be counterproductive to men.
However, it is clear this might be one of the more powerful natural herbs for hair growth in women.
General Thoughts On Herbal Trends
Before you run out and start trying these herbs or other new herbs you find, there are some general words of advice I would like to impart on you.
You trust me to show you how to correct your hair loss. While it is unsaid, I also know you are depending on me to keep you healthy while you do it.
That being said, my first warning is to proceed cautiously and slowly. There are no reliable labels for herbs. They have not been tested on the mass population the way most commercial vitamins and prescription drugs have been.
If you have a side affect from the herb, chances are the average doctor will not recognize its signs.
Of course, millions of people take herbs for hair loss and other ailments with no side affects. Most herbs are probably safe when administered correctly; others (like Thorn Apple) are unsafe no matter what.
So, start with a slow dose and keep a journal of any potential side affects you may have. Stay on top of your herb usage and you will stay ahead of any potential problems.
Next, herbs are useless in a commercialized form.
To be able to buy an herb sitting on the shelf of an average drug store, it will have been cooked, dried, minced, probably mixed with colors and additives to make it look appealing, and then plopped in a plastic bottle with a two year expiration date. Surely you don’t expect to get any benefits there.
Instead, find the herbs in their purest form. For Chinese herbs, seek out a Chinese healer who sells herbs and has a license to do so. Otherwise, check out natural stores where herbs are typically sold from bins, fresh from the farm or the woods.
Keep in mind, herbs in their natural state are much more potent and you will have to be that much more diligent in monitoring your health.
Along those same lines, avoid pills marketed as “herbal supplements”. Obviously, these are over-processed versions of the original herbs and you will not get the true benefit from the herb.
More importantly, you have no control over what you are ingesting. You are consuming someone else’s recipe for herbal hair loss treatment.
What if some ingredients counteract other ingredients, which happens quite frequently in commercial supplements? What is there is too little of one herb and too much of another?
Chances are a commercial herbal supplement is a combination of any and all herbs which have ever been linked with hair growth, but not necessarily helpful herbs.
You are surrendering control over your health when you take someone else’s herbal supplement. It is more work to make your own recipe, but it is a lot more work to correct the damage from someone else’s recipe gone wrong.
If your only choice is a commercial herbal supplement, chances are you would be better off skipping herbs all together.
Finally, do not expect any herb to be a magic pill. You are not going to see any benefits if the only change you make is to take an herb. An herb may be able to jumpstart restoration; it cannot restore your body all by itself.
In the Hair Loss Black Book, I showed you how to incorporate herbs, vitamins, and minerals into your regular anti-DHT, pro-hair program.
Herbs like White Peony and Knotgrass could be just as easily, but carefully, incorporated into this program.
You can use the instructions in the book as a guide to using these herbs, and other new herbs we discover along the way, as part of your routine.
Herbs alone will not re-grow your hair. That will require changes on a whole-body scale. But herbs can be a growth catalyst and boost your efforts to achieve a hormonal balance internally.
It isn’t magic, but herbs just may help your hair loss program become more productive more quickly.