Herbal Remedies for Hair Growth

Does it really work?

Hair loss is a common concern for many men and women. There are many reasons your hair may fall out, from genetics and vitamin deficiencies, to hormone changes. Some medical conditions, such as thyroid disease, may also cause hair to thin or fall out.
There’s no magic bullet for growing hair, but research has shown some herbs may slow hair loss or help promote new growth. It’s important to note however, that much of the research has been done on animals.

Herbal hair oils

Some hair oils include multiple herbs and carrier oils.

Popular carrier oils used to make herbal oils are:

  • coconut oil
  • sweet almond oil
  • walnut oil
  • olive oil
  • mineral oil
  • jojoba oil
  • wheat germ oil

How to use:

Some hair oils are formulated to use as a shampoo or a leave-in hair treatment, so take note of the manufacturer’s instructions. The label will advise you on whether to apply to damp or dry hair.
Using clean hands, massage the hair oil directly to your scalp and rinse as directed.

Polyherbal ointments

Herbal ointments, sometimes called herbal salves, are usually made by combining herbs with an oil like lanolin or petroleum jelly and water. Other ingredients may include beeswax or cocoa butter. Polyherbal ointments typically contain multiple herbal extracts.

How to use:

Polyherbal ointments are usually applied directly to your scalp. With clean hands, massage the ointment into your scalp until absorbed as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Herbal creams

Herbal creams are also made from herb-infused oils and water. They contain less oil and more water than herbal ointments and are easily absorbed by your skin.

How to use

With clean hands, massage the hair cream into your scalp or apply to hair from roots to tips as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Herbal gels

Herbal gels contain herbal extracts in a gel base. They typically don’t contain oil.

Herbs used in herbal gels to support healthy hair may include:

  • Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum): Fenugreek is a member of the pea family. It’s a popular cooking spice with potential hair-growing benefits. According to research from 2006, fenugreek seed extract improved hair volume and hair thickness in men and women with moderate hair loss.

How to use:

Using clean hands, massage the gel into your scalp or apply to your hair from roots to tips as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Cubosomal suspension

Cubosomes are liquid, crystalline nanoparticles.

How to use

Use herbal cubosomal suspensions as directed by your doctor.

Possible side effects and risks
The main risk of herbal hair growth products is allergic reaction. You should always do a patch test to check for an allergic reaction before using any herbs.

To do this:

  1. Apply a small amount of product to the inside of your wrist.
  2. If you haven’t experienced any irritation within a day, it should be safe to apply elsewhere.

If you do develop an allergic reaction, you may experience:

  • rash
  • hives
  • redness
  • itching
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache

Potential side effects of topical herbal hair growth products include:

  • thinning hair
  • increased hair loss
  • dry scalp
  • scalp redness or irritation

There’s not enough information to standardize dosing recommendations.