If you have experienced or are experiencing hair loss, you know how disheartening this is. You may be wondering what you are doing wrong.
Hair loss is your body’s way to say that there is an internal issue that needs to be addressed.
Alopecia is a blanket clinical term for all different types of hair loss and can include hair loss caused by chemotherapy and ageing and patchy hair loss. You may notice hair fall in certain areas that might develop into patches that are completely bald. In a previous blog article, I wrote about the different types of hair loss. Approximately 50% of black women experience some form of hair loss in their life.
What are the causes of alopecia
There are many factors that contribute to Alopecia such as:
Nutritional deficiencies – A lack of vitamins and minerals, imbalance diet (lack of protein, dieting. Some types of dieting like intermittent fasting can contribute to hair thinning etc.
Mechanical damage due to excessive styling with heat tools and tight protective styles.
Hormonal imbalance– Women who are in pre-menopausal and menopausal stages experience hair loss. Women who have recently given birth experience postpartum shedding which if not controlled can lead to alopecia.
Other causes are stress, medications, medical conditions, medical treatments such as chemotherapy, anxiety and lack of enough sleep.
Treatment for alopecia
Traditionally synthetic drugs such as Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride which have been approved by FDA for the treatment of hair loss have been used for years to treat alopecia. Some patients are also prescribed Corticosteroids in the form of topical application to treat hair loss.
Many side effects have been associated with these synthetic drugs such as irritation and redness of the skin, dryness of the scalp as well as flaking, contact dermatitis and impairment of sexual function that is found with the use of Finasteride. However, they do not provide the expected results for patients. Moreover, they need to be used for a prolonged period and once the treatment is abandoned the patients experience hair loss again.
How to treat Alopecia naturally
Recently, herbal therapies with Ayurvedic herbs have proven effective in the treatment of hair loss.
Ayurvedic herbs have been used in hair care traditionally in Indian medicine for the treatment of hair loss for thousands of years. However, due to the lack of well designed clinical studies, it may be difficult to prove the efficacy of these herbs at a broader level.
Below are the best herbs for treating hair loss the natural way without the side effects of synthetic drugs:
Aloe Vera Aloe barbadensis
Rich in Vitamin A, C, E and B12, as well folic acid and choline and 20 minerals such as calcium, copper, manganese etc. as well in amino acids.
Aloe Vera can be used in different forms, juice, gel, powder, oil and has a lot of benefits for your hair.
It improves scalp health, boosts shine and conditions the hair, tames frizz, stimulates hair follicles and blood flow to the scalp, keeps hair hydrated and moisturized and relieves from dandruff.
Amla – Emblica officinalis
Amla also known as Indian gooseberry is a rich source of antioxidants and various phytoconstituents like polyphenols, tannins, alkaloids, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins and fibers. Being rich in Vitamin C, Amla is a health treasure known to be very effective to help combat free radicals.
Conditions hair naturally
Prevents premature graying of the hair
Strengthens hair naturally
Enhances the hair color when added to herbal dyes like henna and indigo.
Bhringraj – Eclipta alba
Known as “the king of the hair”, Bhringraj is rich in proteins, antioxidants and vitamins. This herb makes an excellent scalp cleanser combined with Aritha (soapnuts) and Shikakai.
Prevents premature graying, hair loss and dandruff
Promotes hair growth, restricts hair fall, controls premature graying and prevents hair thinning plus baldness by providing the most excellent micro nutrients to the scalp.
Moisturizes the scalp, lessens the dryness and itchiness.
Brahmi – Bacopa monnieri
This herb is a rejuvenating tonic for the body, mind and soul. Brahmi also reduces stress and anxiety as it decreases the levels of cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone.
Applying Brahmi oil to the scalp regularly prevents early graying and hair fall as well as reduces dandruff.
Brahmi strengthens hair roots when applied as a tonic.
Burdock root – Arctium lappa
This herb is rich in minerals and vitamins such as iron, manganese, Vitamin A & B12, potassium and thiamine as well as in essential fatty acids such as omega 3 and omega 6.
The dried root is used in Ayurvedic hair care to solve issues such as psoriasis and eczema and dandruff.
Stimulates hair growth and strengthens hair.
Fenugreek – Trigonella foenum-graecum
This Ayurvedic herb is rich in many vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, K, C, potassium,calcium and more. Read more here.
Thickens hair giving it the appearance of volumized hair
Adds shine to your hair
Reduces hair fall
Strengthens hair root
Ginger – Zingiber officinale
This powerful rhizome contains gingerol which is an anti-inflammatory. Its pungent, spicy, and aromatic smell can be attributed to the presence of essential oils and phenolic compounds such as gingerols and shogaols, which contribute to reduce hair loss.
Relieves dry, itchy and flaky scalp
Stimulates hair follicle and increases blood flow to the scalp.
Apply ginger essential oil diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond oil helps to relieve dry, itchy scalp and dandruff.
Gotu kola – Centella Asiatica
Gotu Kola is rich in vitamins and minerals especially manganese, sodium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin A.
An oil extract is said to promote hair growth and prevents hair loss. Gotu Kola when applied to the scalp will reduce the telogen phase also known as the resting phase where our hair stops growing.
Fortifies your hair strands.
Green tea – Camellia sinensis
Green tea is rich in antioxidants and packed with vitamins. The epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) of green tea helps prevent cell damage and reduce the formation of free radicals in the body.
Green tea blocks the DHT hormone that causes female and male pattern baldness as well thinning hair.
Helps reduce excessive hair shedding. That is why doing a herbal tea rinse with green tea will benefit your hair and reduce hair shedding.
Keeps hair smooth and shiny.
Hibiscus -Hibiscus sabdariffa
Hibiscus is rich in amino acids, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron and alpha Hydroxy acids along with other nutrients.
The dried flowers are used as a hair tonic, in conditioners in hair rinses and other cosmetic products for the hair.
Strengthens hair root.
Conditions hair and make it bouncier.
Combats hair loss and reduces excessive shedding.
Horsetail– Equisetum arvense
This herb is rich and selenium, aluminum salts, alkaloids, selenium, and aconitic acid, in addition to the others listed earlier. It is particularly high in silica, which contributes to the strength and health of hair, skin, and nails alike.
Promotes rapid hair growth.
Improves texture and natural sheen.
It’s also a perfect natural remedy for thinning hair and for those experiencing alopecia.
Jatamansi- Nardostachys jatamansi
Also known as spikenard, The properties and effects of Jatamansi have been praised in Ayurveda for growing black and thick hair.
Strengthens the hair: Jatamansi penetrates deep in the follicle and makes the hair root and strands stronger.
Prevents premature graying of the hair with regular use of Jatamansi.
Boosts volume : With regular use of Jatamansi, hairs become thicker and denser resulting in the much longing volume of your hair.
Licorice root – Glycyrrhiza glabra
The root of this herb is rich in vitamins and minerals (including magnesium, silicon, chromium, cobalt, iron, and niacin) as well as in B-complex vitamins, choline, phosphorous, potassium, phytoestrogens, flavonoids, amines, essential oil, protein, and fat.
Helps keep the scalp moist and hydrated.
Strengthens the hair shaft and provides natural shine to your hair. In addition, licorice root is very useful in skin conditions like dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
Boots also hair volume.
Peppermint – Mentha piperita
There are different types of mint but Peppermint especially has been using as a traditional medicine for years dating back to the Egyptian pyramids. Peppermint essential oil has many properties as it is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti -nausea, antiseptic, analgesic.
Due to its many properties, stimulates the hair follicles and increases blood flow to the scalp.
Relieves headaches and stress especially as it one of the major factors leading hair loss.
Balances the pH, creating a healthier environment that is more conducive to hair growth
Despite its benefits, peppermint essential oil should be used with caution in children, people who are very sensitive to allergens and with pregnant women.
Neem – Azadirachta indica
This Ayurvedic herb has broad spectrum function due to its astringent, antiparasitic, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties.
Neem is beneficial in treating dandruff, ringworm, eczema, psoriasis
The oil helps to get rid of head lice and keeps the scalp healthy
Increases hair growth
Nettle – Urtica dioica
This herb is rich in minerals (including silicic acid, calcium, potassium, iron), vitamins A, B, C, K, minerals (including iron, calcium, chromium, magnesium, and zinc). A combination of Horsetail, Burdock and Nettle works effectively at reducing hair loss. These 3 herbs are the key ingredients in restorative hair treatments for people suffering from thinning hair and hair loss
Soothes dry and itchy scalp.
Has anti-dandruff, anti-seborrheic properties which is perfect for oily scalp.
Strengthens and promotes hair growth.
Adds shine to dull hair.
Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary contains many active constituents like flavonoids which are good in antioxidants, tannins (especially rosmaricine which helps reduce pain) and phenols (notably rosmarinic acid) which helps fight off inflammation.
Herbal tea rinse with dried rosemary leaves keeps your hair shiny and treats dandruff.
Rosemary essential oil has been shown to stimulate hair growth. According to clinical studies conducted on some patients with rosemary essential oil, showed that this essential oil was just effective at treating hair loss like Minoxidil 2%. You can read more here.
Saw Palmetto – Seronoa repens
Saw palmetto contains vitamins and minerals. It has very high amounts of zinc, a mineral often used to treat prostate problems and contains phosphorus, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, silicon, and thiamin.
Approximately 85-90% fatty acids and sterols found in saw palmetto extract are used in the food, pharmaceutical, medical, and cosmetics. Make sure to consult with your physician before taking saw palmetto supplements to treat hair loss.
It is a natural DHT blocker which works by inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase activity, which minimizes the conversion rate of testosterone to DHT. The treatment of alopecia involves reducing DHT’s impact on the hair follicles
Makes an excellent hair tonic when combined with horsetail and licorice root.
Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum
Tulsi has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful rejuvenative herb that has adaptogenic properties. It is rich in antioxidants and restorative phyto-chemicals which act as a natural antiseptic.
Detoxifies and purifies the scalp
Soothes itchy and irritated scalp
Prevents hair loss
Prevents premature graying of hair.
Tulsi is a revitalizing tonic for the hair. When used as a hair mask, Tulsi fights dandruff and gets rid of excess sebum production. Thus keeping the scalp healthy to promote hair growth.
If you are experiencing hair loss and want a natural treatment to grow your hair, these Ayurvedic herbs will serve as a guideline in choosing the herbs that will work effectively at treating alopecia and other scalp conditions you may have.
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Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice but for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options.