Although researchers, scientists and haircare professionals have yet to find that one single “magic” substance that can guarantee faster, stronger hair growth there are a number of natural products that have been found to really help accelerate the hair growth process as well as prevent hair loss. Some have been heavily studied while in the case of others it is simply years and years of use by generations of people that has proved they can help. Here is some information about the most effective of those natural products:
*Aloe – Aloe has a number of uses in the world of beauty and health care and the fact that it can help promote growth of hair is perhaps less well known than the fact that it can ease the pain of a nasty sunburn.
Aloe is a plant that is native to Africa. It is Aloe Vera juice that is used in hair products, and in home treatments, that are designed to promote health growth and hair health. Traditionally aloe was used as a natural treatment for alopecia – unusual balding – but it is also effective in helping reduce general hair loss and improving scalp health in general, something that will then in turn lead to faster hair growth. Aloe is also an soothing and antibacterial agent that decreases excess sebum production, which something that can lead to damaged hair follicles.
How you use aloe vera is a matter of personal choice. Pure Aloe Vera juice or gel, which can be found in most health food and even drug stores, can be applied directly to the scalp, especially to areas showing significant hair loss or you can opt for an aloe vera shampoo.
A number of companies do sell shampoos “infused” with aloe vera but you can also make your own at home by combining aloe vera gel with castile soap and distilled water.
*Bergamot – Bergamot oil is derived from an exotic citrus fruit called the bergamot orange and is most commonly found growing in Italy as well as along the Ivory Coast. It is used in a number of different kinds of cosmetic products because it has a cooling, soothing effect and can be very effective in treating skin conditions like psoriasis.
When it comes to promoting better hair health bergamot can soothe an inflamed scalp and has even been shown in some controlled scientific studies, conducted in mice, to increase the rate of hair growth quite significantly.
Another use for the oil which has been reported to the FDA, but not yet approved, is as an anti irritant for reddened skin, a property that may help those with a damaged scalp.
Many store sell shampoos contain bergamot oil or you can purchase it as an essential oil at your local health food store and add a few drops to your shampoo. There are also a number of bergamot “hairdressing creams” available that can be used as a deep conditioning treatment.
*Ginseng – These days ginseng is associated with energy and vitality in most people’s minds as it is a major component in all the energy drinks that are so popular right now. The people of the East have known for centuries though that it is also very good for your hair. A number of Western studies, including one conducted at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore in the US, have found that ginseng can stimulate blood circulation , essential for healthy hair growth, as well as help reduce production of the stress hormone cortisol. Stress is a factor commonly acknowledged to contribute to hair loss.
Because it has so many health benefits, including the ability to encourage healthier hair growth, most people benefit from taking a ginseng supplement but there are also a number of commercial hair care products formulated with ginseng available as well.
*Ginkgo Biloba – Ginkgo Biloba is another herb that is constantly mentioned in ancient Chinese medical texts as one that can promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. Like ginseng it stimulates blood circulation. Ginkgo Biloba can also be taken in supplement form or even taken as a tea. Specific hair care products like conditioners are also sometimes formulated using its extract.
*Henna - Henna has been used for centuries (all the way back to ancient times) as a hair colorant but it also has the ability to strengthen hair and encourage healthier, faster hair growth. The proteins found in natural henna help strengthen hair as it grows and can even help prevent split ends. To use henna you do have to be looking for a hair color change as well as better hair health but as a way to achieve both healthier and shinier hair and a beautiful new hair color it is great.
*Hibiscus Extract – Hibiscus has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a hair treatment both to promote hair growth and reduce hair loss as well as a way to halt premature graying, another problem that many people struggle with. Most people use hibiscus oil – primarily red hibiscus oil – as a part of a home deep conditioning treatment although it is also an ingredient added to many of the organic shampoos that are becoming so popular.
*Hydrangea - Although many people have this beautiful flower growing in their gardens because it has such great aesthetic appeal they might never think of it as something that could also be good for their hair. Extract from the plant has been shown to inhibit hair loss and strengthen hair follicles so that new hair growth is achieved more quickly and the new hair is stronger and healthier. Hydrangea extract is another ingredient you will find in many organic and herbal shampoos as well as in some deep conditioning hair treatments and hair masks.
*Illicium - Also known as the anise tree comes in 42 different varieties and the extract from these plants have been found to have the natural ability to increase hair’s strength and volume, both things that can contribute to faster hair growth. It also has similar antiseptic properties to some other essential oils like tea tree oil and some people choose to use it as a part of a deep conditioning oil treatment.
*Proanthocyanidis – Better known as grape seed extract this is another substance that has been used to promote healthier skin and hair for centuries by people all over the world. There has been a great deal of research done into the properties of grape seed extract in general over the last several years although the uses for it reported to the FDA have yet to include as a haircare product (they were for the skin). However it is believed that grape seed extract can strengthen hair follicles to promote stronger, faster hair growth. It also contains natural anti oxidants to protect hair from the damage caused by the increasing number of free radicals in the general environment.
Those wishing to try grape seed extract can choose to take it in capsule form or to buy a liquid supplement to add to a home hair treatment. It is also an ingredient being added to a number of commercially available shampoos.
*Sophora – The family of sophora plants are actually pea derivatives and a number of recent studies have shown it to be effective in helping to prevent hair loss and in promoting new, healthy hair growth. This is a natural hair care product that is still quite hard to find though. The extract is being added to some of the more expensive organic shampoos but a supplement is not something that is commonly sold at the moment.
- “Hair Growth and Disorders” By Ulrike Blume-Peytavi