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Having your hair fall out is no fun, but can happen for a multitude of reasons. These reasons can include genetics, hormone changes, lack of certain vitamins, or medical conditions like thyroid disease.
Luckily, there are plenty of natural remedies to prevent thinning hair and breakage at the hair roots. Prioritize a healthy scalp with the nourishing nutrients it needs, and grow gorgeous tresses with the 16 best herbs for hair growth described below.
Causes of Hair Loss
There are many causes of hair loss (alopecia), the most common ones being hereditary factors, hormonal imbalances (e.g. polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), medical conditions (e.g. Alopecia areata, a disease where the immune system attacks the hair follicles), and in extreme cases even stress. Treatment for cancer (chemotherapy or radiation) also often results in hair loss. Hair loss or thinning is most common in men, but can happen to both men and women.
Did you know there is even a connection between gut health and hair health? According to studies, a dysbiotic microbiome—i.e. imbalanced microflora—can impact functions that are vital to the regulation of the hair cycle, such as supplying nutrients, synthesizing certain vitamins, and regulating aspects of the immune system and can even contribute to hair loss. Keep your gut healthy by avoiding processed/junk foods—focusing instead on a diet rich in fruits, veggies, and fiber—limiting your antibiotic use, and reducing stress. You can also take a high-quality, spore-based probiotic supplement to further strengthen your microbiome and digestive health.
Nourish Your Mane with the 16 Best Herbs for Hair Growth
Once you start losing hair, it may feel like the situation is bleak, but the good news is, in many cases, you can take steps to help prevent or slow hair loss, or even regrow hair by natural means. The herbs and oils listed below are all wonderful for supporting healthy hair and scalp. Let’s take a closer look at the 16 best herbs for hair growth and health.
One of the most potent natural herbs for hair growth and thickness is rosemary. As an extract or oil, it can help new growth by improving blood circulation or blood flow toward the hair follicles and the scalp.
It can also enhance the quality of hair care by leaving the strands shiny. Moreover, rosemary can reduce scalp irritation such as dandruff because it’s rich in antioxidants.
2. Bhringraj Powder
Eclipta alba or bhringraj powder is a common fixture in Indian medicine, especially Ayurveda hair care. One of its primary benefits is in helping regrow hair for people with androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness.
As one of the Ayurvedic herbs for hair growth, it can reduce the time between the phases of hair regrowth.
3. Aloe Vera
Grab any shampoo, and you’ll probably find aloe vera among the list of ingredients. What makes this one of the best natural herbal remedies for hair growth?
The answer is nutrients. It has both folic acid and B-complex vitamins that decrease the risks of balding (alopecia areata).
Like rosemary, aloe vera can boost blood circulation, allowing the scalp to receive the nutrition it needs.
4. Stinging Nettle
If you have damaged hair or you want to encourage hair regrowth, then consider using stinging nettle.
The prickly weed actually has antioxidant properties to help remove free radicals. In turn, it creates a thriving environment for the hair.
It’s also one of the best herbs for hair growth due to its vitamin A and C contents. These make stinging nettle a possible treatment for dry tresses.
Another effective herb for hair growth and hair loss remediation is moringa. A native in many Asian countries, this plant is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which can thicken the hair.
It also has amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. This macronutrient, meanwhile, makes up the bulk of your hair strands.
Moringa can stimulate hair growth by lowering oxidative stress. What makes it even better is you can use it in different ways—as shampoo, hair mask, and herbal rinse.
Do you find coconut oil to be too thick for a hair conditioner? You can use moringa as a substitute.
6. Oat Straw
Also known as the milky oats (since you harvest the plant while in their milky stage), oat straw is a fantastic herbal rinse.
This is because it leaves the hair shiny, smooth, and soft. That’s not all, though.
Oat straw contains minerals such as magnesium and silica. These can both strengthen the hair, preventing hair loss.
Lavender is an herbal medicine wonder for the hair. It has antibacterial properties, so it treats scalp irritation.
When it comes to promoting hair growth, lavender is a calming agent. It has anti-inflammatory properties that may help drive follicle production.
8. Yucca Schidigera
This flowering plant native in Mexico is an effective herb for hair growth due to its vitamin C content.
This vitamin increases the absorption of iron, which increases the production of hemoglobin, a protein. The hair needs hemoglobin for proper growth.
Another of the many possible natural hair growth remedies, horsetail contains selenium. Selenium is a mineral that promotes the production of selenoproteins.
Selenoproteins can influence the production of keratin, the hair’s structural protein. In fact, studies suggest a link between abnormalities in the hair and deficiency of the mineral.
10. Dong Quai
Dong quai is a Chinese herb for hair growth. It can help address unbalanced hormones that contribute to both hair thinning and hair loss.
Although its nickname is female ginseng, dong quai can still serve as a natural remedy for men’s hair. It can block DHT or dihydrotestosterone.
DHT is an androgen and a byproduct of testosterone. It can exacerbate hair loss in men susceptible to the condition by binding to follicle receptors.
Eventually, the follicles of the hair will shrink and even begin to die. That’s why fighting the good fight against DHT is so important.
11. Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla or Phyllanthus emblica, provides many wonderful benefits to the tresses.
Per the name, this herb originates from India, and it has high levels of vitamin C that encourage better blood circulation. It also helps with the production of collagen.
Collagen is a protein that helps create structure and gives the hair a thick and voluminous appearance.
It also stimulates the production of new hair cells and prevents split ends. This way, the strands continue to feel and look healthy.
12. Licorice Root
Licorice root is a perfect moisturizing herb for people with dry scalp, a condition which encourages itchiness, flakiness, and makes the scalp prone to infection.
What licorice does is retain as much moisture or sebum as possible on your scalp and hair to promote healthier locks.
13. Italian Senna
Also called cassia obovata (neutral henna), this plant can provide you with glossy and thick hair without any stains commonly associated with henna.
It also has anti-fungal properties that help prevent harmful microorganisms from thriving in the scalp and damaging the follicles.
The menthol present in peppermint doesn’t only leave your scalp and hair feeling cool and fresh, it can also promote natural hair regrowth.
It can lead to vasodilation, a condition wherein the blood vessels widen. Like in other herbs, this can improve blood circulation in the scalp.
Also called bacopa, this is an herb used in Ayurveda medicine (one of the world’s oldest holistic medicines). It contains alkaloids that have been shown to activate proteins that promote hair growth.
Fenugreek seeds are often used to treat thinning hair and dandruff, as they have moisturizing properties. In many cultures, fenugreek is purported to be the secret to growing thick, shiny hair. Fenugreek is rich in iron, calcium, and protein which are key elements in healthy hair growth.
There are also a variety of hair oils, or hair tonics, that can be used for natural hair loss treatment. These are extracts that are mixed with a carrier oil base. Some of these carrier oils are olive oil, coconut oil, and mineral oil.
Some herbs used in hair oils that have been known to give users a gorgeous head of hair include:
- Saw palmetto
These oils are used as a leave-in treatment or shampoo. Just follow any listed instructions to achieve the desired result.
Herbal ointments, also called polyherbal ointments, combine herbs with petroleum jelly or water. They may also contain beeswax or cocoa butter. The most popular herbs for ointments include:
- Holy basil
- Gotu Kola
- Aloe Vera
Herbal Creams and Gels
You can also treat your hair in the form of a cream or gel. These contain less oil, and in the case of gels, no oil and more water. They also absorb into the skin in a more direct way.
Some good herbs for creams are:
- Bitter apple
- Giant dodder
- False daisy
Herbs typically used in gels include:
- Marking nut
Just be sure to do a patch test before using hair oils, creams, ointments, or gels as they can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Just apply a small amount to the inside of your wrist and wait 24 hours before using a larger amount of any of these treatments.
Everybody wants healthy, shiny, and thick hair. You can now achieve beautiful locks with these best herbs for scalp health and hair growth.
You can drink some of them as tea or use their extracts and essential oils. If you want something easy and quick, without the need to search for these herbs, you can try taking a potent greens blend supplement, too! Give your hair and scalp the care it deserves by replacing standard hair products with natural herbal ones.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 3, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy on June 14, 2021.