The hair loss industry is rife with countless stories and testimonials of natural hair loss cures and treatments and natural hair growth products miraculously regrowing hair (or reversing grey hair). For the most part, such testimonials are bogus scams to promote various products. I have been following the hair loss world fairly regularly for over 12 years. During that time, I have reached the conclusion that natural hair loss cures virtually never regrow hair that has been lost for a long time. In the most miraculous of cases, you might bring back some peach fuzz in totally bald areas.
However, there is solid evidence that certain natural products can improve the quality of existing hair and significantly reduce shedding and hair loss rate. Some natural products keep hair in anagen (growth) phase longer, others directly impact growth factors and signaling pathways. In this post, I will discuss natural hair loss treatment products that have some solid scientific backing. You should assume that none of these natural products will bring back hair in totally bald areas. It is quite surprising to me how many of the below mentioned studies have come out in 2014 through 2016.
This was big news last year when a new study came out, and I covered it in on this blog in a detailed post. Propolis is a product made by bees, and it has anti-inflammatory properties that result in healthier hair in mice. For more, see the published study from Japan on propolis and hair growth in mice. Several hair products with bee propolis in them have good reviews on Amazon, including Iden Bee Propolis Treatment and Iden Bee Nourished Shampoo & Conditioner Duo Pack.
Saw Palmetto berry extract comes from a plant native to the United States. For years it has been claimed that Saw Palmetto reduces DHT levels resulting in less enlarged prostates and more scalp hair (just like the drug Finasteride, but a lot weaker). Although the proof of effectiveness on hair growth is far from certain, there is enough anecdotal evidence and research work to warrant including this plant in this post about natural cures. This best selling hair loss shampoo on Amazon includes Saw Palmetto as one of its key ingredients.
Oleuropein (Olive Drupe)
We keep reading about the miracle of olive oil and a Greek/ Mediterranean diet’s positive impact on human lifespan. Now there is yet one more reason to buy olives: a study from earlier this year from South Korea found that topical application of oleuropein induces anagen hair growth in mice. The study is quite technical and it seems like oleuropein stimulates the critical Wnt10b/β-catenin signaling pathway (which is also crucial when it comes to human hair). Oleuropein also upregulates IGF-1, KGF, HGF, and VEGF gene expression in mice. Amazon has a highly rated oleuropein supplement for sale.
Procyanidin B-2 (Extracted from Apples)
There are a number of studies that tout the benefits of Procyanidin B-2 (derived from Apples) for hair growth. DS Labs Revita Hair Growth Shampoo is probably the most famous product that contains Procyanidin B-2, and it has great reviews on Amazon.
Many shampoos include caffeine in them, including the popular one that I mentioned earlier in the Saw Palmetto section. This 2014 study suggests that caffeine really does have a beneficial effect on human scalp hair. And this 2017 study from India also comes to a similar conclusion. The best selling hair loss shampoo on Amazon includes caffeine as one of its key ingredients.
Yet again in mice. Apparently peppermint oil 3% results in better hair growth than Minoxidil 3% according to a 2014 study.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
A rare human study from 2014 finds that pumpkin seed oil is beneficial to hair growth on men with androgenic alopecia.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) from Green Tea
EGCG (usually derived from the dried leaves of green tea) has attained a stellar reputation worldwide for its purported health benefits and weight reduction properties. There is not enough proof of many of these benefits, but green tea in general has become synonymous with good health. So it is no surprise that there are several studies that have concluded EGCG to have a favorable impact on mouse hair as well as on human hair.
There are some reports that epilobium inhibits DHT just like Saw Palmetto, but I am not entirely convinced by the evidence. Nevertheless, numerous people on hair loss forums have tried this natural product so I am including it here.
In recent years, turmeric has garnered significant interest as a miracle cure for all kinds of ailments ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. While curcumin clearly has anti-inflammatory properties, proof regarding major health benefits is still limited. However, the following article and anecdotal reports made me want to include turmeric in this post for now.
Cuscuta Reflexa (Dodder Plant)
Several studies suggest seaweed extracts are beneficial to hair. One detailed study from South Korea touts the benefits of Grateloupia elliptica (a seaweed native to Jeju Island, Korea) on scalp hair growth. This same strain of seaweed as well as several others seems to also reduce inflammation in mice.
Topical methyl vanillate (a plant derived natural ingredient) increases hair count and hair mass index by inducing Wnt10b mRNA expression in the scalp. According to the study, methyl vanillate has recently been shown to activate the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, which has become a key target in the treatment of androgenic alopecia by numerous researchers in recent years.
Laminaria Japonica and Cistanche Tubulosa
This study from 2015 portends favorable to the above combination treatment.