Hair Loss And Herbs
All individuals across the world are identified by distinct physical attributes, which are unique to each one of them. The hair on a person’s head is a very important distinguishing physical attribute in this regard. However, a human hair is susceptible to the onset of many problems and can easily lose its luster over a period of time. It may also thin out or fall off resulting in baldness. Hair loss is one of the most common complaints around the world, with baldness being seen as in a distinctive negative light in most cultures and people placing a premium on having good hair. Baldness tends to affect more males, but females are not immune to this disorder – however, males and females tend to suffer from distinctly different patterns of baldness. In fact, as people grow older, the greater is the chance that they will be affected by the male or female pattern of baldness, which is due to hereditary androgenic alopecia or AGA. The age is a very important determinant of hair loss, with older people showing greater loss of hair in general. Some types of herbal extracts may stem this problem in such people, where other attempts to reverse the hair loss have failed. Since hair loss is considered to be such a nuisance, it is perhaps best to understand first, what actually lies behind the phenomenon of hair loss and baldness – so as to develop treatments for it.
Hair and Hair Loss:
Hair grows from follicles arising on the scalp on the head. Every follicle of hair has a small bulb-shaped structure known as a dermal papilla at its base where it comes out of the scalp. This bulb-like structure is extremely sensitive to physiological stimulus from many types of hormones and is also affected by other chemicals that are secreted by the body or ingested in medications – the action of hormones or chemicals affects hair growth and health in various ways. Male pattern balding, for example, has a hormonal cause in many cases.
Men are most susceptible to a receding hairline – the classic form of male pattern baldness, and many of them have a genetic predisposition to this phenomenon though some women may also show such signs of balding in rare instances. There are two main ways in which hair loss occurs with age in most people. In the type of hair loss most common in men, the hairline recedes; on the other hand, in the type of hair loss most commonly seen in women, the hair follicles tend to thin out over larger areas of the scalp – resulting in a patch of baldness. In both these cases, the thinning of hair or receding hairline is induced by hormonal changes brought on by the actions of testosterone affecting enzyme present in the dermal papilla – this enzyme is known as 5-alpha-reductase.
The major biochemical action of this particular enzyme is the conversion of the male hormone testosterone into a secondary product known as dihydrotestosterone – DHT in short, which is far more potent than testosterone inactivity. As more DHT is converted biochemically from testosterone, they attach to receptor sites in the hair follicles in greater numbers, as hair follicles have a larger number of androgen receptors to which the more potent DHT molecules can attach themselves. This overproduction of DHT from testosterone over a long period of time starts to affect the hair follicles, especially in men. Hair growth is affected as this compound degrades and shortens the active phase of the hair on the scalp, the results are the steady thinning out of hair and the final loss of hair on the scalp. All chemical compounds and products that have the intrinsic capacity to inhibit the action of this enzyme have the greatest chance of preventing and slowing down or even completely reversing the loss of hair on the scalp.
Preventing Hair Loss:
Herbal extracts can help stem hair loss. In fact, a new ingredient found in some hair care products currently on sale is an extract of the lignans present in flaxseeds. This particular extract has very high amounts of a phytoestrogen compound simply known as SDG. The compounds found in these plant extracts strongly inhibit the activity of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme. Plant-based extracts that have chemical compounds capable of removing excess cholesterol from the body may also be beneficial in the prevention of hair loss. This primary sterol is the chemical building material for the male hormone testosterone; any inhibition of testosterone will also curb excess DHT production and may prove beneficial.
In addition, the metabolization and effectiveness of these herbal extracts are increased by the use of a mixture of B vitamins, including folate, and the vitamin biotin. The addition of these nutrients will increase the bioavailability of the compounds in the herbal extracts. The addition of the nutrients also strengthens the hair and results in better-looking hair and a healthier scalp. The actual effectiveness and efficiency of various herbal compounds on hair growth is currently being studied in many laboratories around the world.
While herbal treatments may be effective, the results do not always show immediately and patience is required. This is because human hair grows at a rate of about a centimeter every month, the reduction in hair loss may only be apparent in three months’ time. Any new growth of hair could take four to six months to be noticeable to the person. The rate of hair loss and the balding pattern will gradually fall back to the same state when or if the treatment is halted for any reason.
A Few Herbs that Could Help:
The silicon-rich horsetail herb keeps hair very strong and adds luster to hair. The Chinese dong Quai herb is rich in phytoestrogens that can even help reverse baldness and hair loss. Herbs like the nettle, aloe vera and the leaves of the birch help clean the skin and promote the growth of hair on the scalp. Saw palmetto may have the ability to actively inhibit DHT production, therefore stopping hair loss due to hormonal changes.
Human hair along with the nails is the only non-living tissue in the human body. Hair like nails is composed mainly of a fibrous protein known as keratin, its composition chemically is nearly identical to that of the material making up the fingernails and nails on the feet. New hair is continuously sprouting as keratin builds up in the scalp, the health of hair is maintained by a plentiful supply of essential nutrients from the nutrient-rich blood which reaches the hair follicles along the scalp via numerous blood vessels-follicles are areas from which hair sprouts anew. The growth of hair is a continuous process and takes on average, the human hair grows approximately half an inch in a single month this corresponds to the growth of nails. When hair falls off, another new growth usually replaces it, though it is not rare for people to shed up to a hundred hairs in a given day people with hair loss problems can lose much more hair in a day then the replacement and baldness may result in such individuals. Normally hair problems begin when the hair becomes dry or brittle due to problems with the scalp, it can stop growing back altogether in some cases, hair can become flecked with a lot of dead skin from the scalp called dandruff. This common phenomenon is brought about by the excessive flaking and shedding of skin on the scalp due to various reasons.
Hair loss is caused by a variety of factors, these can include the presence of excessive emotional stress, it can result from following a diet very poor in essential nutrients, and it can also be due to hormonal changes such changes as which accompany a term of pregnancy-pathogens and diseases can also induce hair loss and chemotherapy drugs can induce hair loss as well. Hair loss problems can also arise due to the presence of certain types of nutritional deficiencies in the person, they can also come about due to environmental circumstances, they can result from an underactive thyroid gland, due to immune disorders, or at times due to certain genetic factors inherited by the person.
Supplements and Herbs:
All of the herbs and herbal remedies along with the recommended supplements can be used to treat hair loss problems these can be used in the form of combination therapy. The use of these supplemental measures may help hair grow stronger and turn healthier-these supplemental measures directly nourishing the follicular roots of the hair. These supplements must not be considered as miracle remedies which guarantee a lush head of hair, they are intended to strengthen hair and some improvement in the hair will become apparent within six months of continuous use this is the normal time frame during which new hair has time to grow on the head.
A lot of beneficial effects are brought to hair by the use of supplements that contain many of the essential fatty acids such as herbal supplements include the oils of the flaxseed and the evening primrose herb. Hair is often very dull looking and dry without enough omega-3 fatty acids in the body, flaxseed oil contains these fatty acids in the abundance-the use of these fatty acids will restore life to lifeless hair. The use of supplemental flaxseed oil will also reduce the itching and flake from the scalp which results in dandruff. This oil can also be very useful in the treatment of eczema and psoriasis affecting the scalp. The scalp and the hair are moisturized by regular topical use of the evening primrose oil as the massage oil on the scalp.
Hair loss is also slowed down by the consumption of many vitamins and minerals, including important ones like zinc, these supplemental measures will also promote the healthy growth of hair growth in individuals affected by the loss of hair over a long period of time. The use of the essential mineral zinc can also result in the boosting of impaired thyroid function, this supplemental is thus of great importance in treating brittle or thinning hair arising from underactive thyroid-all individuals affected in this way must take regular supplements of the mineral. Supplements of the essential mineral zinc need to be combined with the essential mineral copper when taken in regular doses. This is suggested so as to maintain the proper balance of the minerals within the body of the individual. Another very important function is served by the mineral copper in the biochemistry of the body. Copper is an essential component of the skin pigment known as melanin, this chemical pigment is the compound responsible for coloring hair and skin on the human body. Thus, these supplements may also help in reversing the graying of hair which may be due to a deficiency of the mineral copper in the body. Hair may also be strengthened by both the vitamin biotin and the vitamins of the vitamin B complex, these two may condition the hair and the scalp they can thus aid in the prevention of excessive hair loss in a person. Hair loss may also be restored by supplements of the vitamin biotin-this will only be in those cases where the hair loss arises because of a deficiency in the biotin content.
Hair loss can also be prevented by supplemental use of the compound called PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid); this chemical compound may also protect the hair follicles and encourage their growth. The restoration of gray hair to normal is often dealt with using supplements of this compound. Such a supplemental restoration may only work if the deficiency in PABA or other B vitamins is the cause of the graying of hair. Healthy growth of hair may also be promoted by the mineral selenium-supplements of this mineral can also be used on a regular basis over a long period of time.
Additional Ideas That May Help:
At all times, you must practice sensible eating habits and follow a healthy dietary regimen. Make sure that you do not follow any of the fad diets such as dietary regimens may deprive you of many of the essential nutrients necessary for proper health. Use a mild shampoo to wash your hair at all times. Use a towel to gently dry hair and apply a leave-in conditioner after washing it to follow this exercise on a regular basis. You must protect your hair from excessive wear and tear and, therefore, try avoiding contact with harsh chemicals; this can include the chlorine in swimming pools, and the high heat from common blow dryers or the heat of curling irons. Wear a hat when out in the open to protect the hair and the scalp from the harsh sunlight. A weekly scalp massage must be an essential component of your everyday life. This will lead to the stimulation of blood flow to the scalp; in addition, it will also help relieve stress a factor known to contribute to hair loss problems in many people.
- Evening primrose oil, 1,000 mg three times daily. It can be replaced with 1,000 mg borage oil one time daily.
- Flaxseed oil, 1 tbsp. of flaxseed oil daily. Take it every morning with food.
- Vitamin B complex, one pill two times daily with the meal. Look for a vitamin B-50 complex with 50 mcg biotins and vitamin B12; 400 mcg of folic acid; and 50 mg of all other B vitamins.
- Biotin, 1,000 mg daily. Should be taken with vitamin B complex.
- PABA, 100 mg daily.
- Copper / Zinc, 2 mg copper and 30 mg zinc daily. When you use mineral zinc longer than 4 weeks, add copper.
- Selenium, 200 mcg two times daily. Higher doses of selenium may be toxic, so do not exceed 600 mg of this mineral a day.
Other Beneficial Herbs:
- Jojoba Oil
- Mamey Sapote
- Tamanu Nut Oil
- Vietnamese Cilantro
- White Birch
- 2 ounces unscented massage cream
- 3 drops rose otto essential oil
- 5 drops sandalwood essential oil
Combine essential oils with an unscented cream. To damp hair -massage oil into the scalp and work through the strands, covering all hair completely. For long or thick hair, use 1-2 teaspoons of the oil mixture, and for fine or short hair, use a 1/2-1 teaspoon of the mixture. Cover hair with a shower cap and sit under heat or a warm towel for a minimum of 20 minutes and no longer than 2 hours.
Once done, shampoo blend out and style hair as normal. This recipe can also be used to condition after shampooing.