HOW CHINESE HERBS HELP PREVENT HAIR LOSS
Edited version. Original by: Leo Akin; Via: progressivehealth.com | 华文
For centuries, humans have used Chinese herbs as ingredients to many powders, potions, ointments, drinks and solutions to aid with various ailments. Today, we call this approach by many names – alternative, natural or herbal – as it is a more natural approach that uses ingredients that are less likely to cause harmful side effects. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many people rely on Chinese herbs in an effort to reduce their hair loss and attempt to stimulate regrowth.
The Chinese use herbs extensively in their traditional medical practice, and for centuries they have treated hair loss with some of these herbs. Chinese herbs address what practitioners of Chinese medicine believe to be the three fundamental root causes of hair loss:
- The Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency – The Yin is one part of the energy twin believed in Chinese medicine to drive the functioning of the human body. The liver and the kidney are known to process everything coming out of or leaving the body. Chinese herbs used to treat this deficiency are also believed to contribute to the rejuvenation of hair through the stimulation of hair follicle cells.
- Toxic Heat – Toxic Heat is the term used to describe the buildup of toxins in the body. This buildup can result from poor diet, infections, environmental pollution and medications. These toxins result in inflammation and increase the acidity of the blood. Herbs that detoxify the body are believed by the Chinese to promote hair re-growth since this toxin buildup also affects the cells of the hair follicles.
- Reduced Blood Flow – Chinese herbs that improve blood circulation will increase the distribution of needed nutrients and oxygen to the cells of the hair follicles, thereby, stimulating the growth of new hair.
While these beliefs are not totally accurate, they are not far from the truth too. In fact, poor diet and toxins are known causes of hair loss. Even in modern medicine, hair loss is commonly treated with supplements of essential vitamins and minerals.
Similarly, antioxidants protecting the cells of the hair follicle from oxidative damage by free radicals and vasodilators that increase blood flow especially in the capillaries supplying papilla cells with nutrients are known to reverse hair loss and improve the anagen phase of hair growth cycle.
How Chinese Herbs to Help Prevent Hair Loss Work
Many Chinese herbalists believe that hair loss is caused by the lack of sufficient blood flow and circulation, especially in relation to the hair follicles.
Of course, this is the same theory that traditional medicine follows. Chinese herbalists, however, feel it is even more connected to the overall health of the scalp and the roots of the hair.
In other words…
- Qi stagnation – There are many things that can affect the Qi, which in turn impacts the flow and blood circulation. Stress, poor diet and other factors can cause stagnation in the back, shoulders, neck and head, which takes its toll on the scalp, hair follicles and overall growth. Taking better care of yourself, using herbs for better health and relaxing the body can help.
- Blood vacuity – Blood that lacks the nutrients needed to reach optimal health is likely to suffer lower levels of healthy, natural flow causing poor circulation. Not to mention the blood needs to be at its optimal health levels to cause the body, including the scalp, to be healthy. Fleece flower root is a popular choice for improved blood health.
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Alopecia and Chinese Herbs
According to Eastern medicine, problems such as alopecia are seen as a condition that could be caused by stress or problems with the thyroid glands.
Herbalists work to correct blood deficiencies and other deficiencies with a combination of herbs including peony, jujube, citrus and raw rehmannia.
Pros and Cons
One con for the use of Chinese herbs for the treatment of hair loss is that there is no FDA approval which many consumers are leery of.
The benefits of Chinese herbs used for hair loss like Dong Quai cannot accurately be evaluated by the FDA therefore risks or benefits are not actually known.
Yet on the positive side for herbs like Dong Quai or He Shou Wu there are no reports of known side effects.
One of the pros for He Shou Wu or Fo Ti is that it can be administered in a capsule. Or, for those who prefer a more natural approach they can drink a version of this as tea.
The bottom line is that herbal approaches for any type of ailment are generally more popular with those who are already working with herbs and other natural remedies for health issues.
A number of Chinese herbs are commonly used for the treatment of hair loss. These can be used singly or in combination with other herbs. These Chinese herbs include:
4 Chinese Herbs for Hair Growth
- Ginseng is the classic Chinese herb and is now widely known in the West. It is believed to stimulate blood circulation and promote cell metabolism. This means that it can increase blood supply to hair follicle cells. Not only will these cells be well nourished, ginseng also improves their efficiency leading to new hair growth.
- He Shou Wu is also called Fo-Ti or Polygala Vine. Chinese believe this herb has a restorative property essential to the kidney and blood. Fo-ti is classified as a tonic and is taken in traditional Chinese Medicine to slow the signs of aging especially premature graying of the hair and hair loss. It is confirmed to stimulate hair growth as well as restore the color and sheen of the hair. He Shou Wu is known to promote the growth of terminal hair rather than the baby-like vellus hair growth stimulated by drugs such as Minoxidil.
- Gotu Kola is one of the most successful Chinese herbs used in treating hair loss. Gotu kola improves blood circulation while reducing blood pressure; it also provides relief from anxiety and insomnia and can even improve memory. This herb is used for promoting hair regrowth especially in people experiencing male pattern baldness or alopecia caused by the onset of old age.
- Sang Ji Sheng is also called Taxillus. The Chinese believe this herb treats liver and kidney yin deficiencies. While its exact active ingredients and mechanism of action are unknown, it has shown positive results in people who use it to treat hair loss.
Other Chinese herbs that work by addressing liver and kidney yin deficiencies include Chinese wolfberries and Ligusticum wallichii.
Apart from these whole herbs, there are oils used in Chinese Medicine to treat hair loss. One such is Huo Ma Ren or Hemp seed oil. The oil is removed by pounding the herb. It is then directly rubbed on the scalp and allowed some time before it is washed away.
Ce Bai Ye or Platycladus is another Chinese herb whose oil is useful for stimulating hair growth. The oil is available as a tincture. It can also be prepared as a decoction. This herb promotes skin health and is used to treat itchy scalp. When applied regularly to the scalp, the oil can stimulate hair regrowth.
Chinese herbs are generally safe and work well with other supplements used for hair loss such as Vitamin C.
Healthy diet is an important complement of herbs in Chinese Medicine, and as such, foods that help detoxify the body are recommended when taking Chinese herbs.