Hair issues can cause some people endless agony. It might be nice if we were all bald like those Remulak aliens in the movie, Coneheads. Then no one would ever have to be frustrated over a bad-hair day, and we wouldn’t have to spend money on hair products and salon services. But in reality, only some humans are naturally granted gorgeous heads full of hair whereas the less lucky ones have to confront their balding scalps every day in the mirror. If baldness is natural, why not use herbal remedies from nature to defeat it? Hair thinning can be reversed with the help of beneficial dried herbs and essential oils. Before learning about those hair-enhancing herbs, it is wise to understand the possible causes of hair loss first. Believe it or not stress can cause hair loss, too!
Causes of Hair Thinning and Baldness
Everyone loses about 50 – 100 hairs a day. That is natural and usually does not lead to baldness, as we constantly grow new hairs to replace them. But if we regularly lose over 100 hairs a day without adequate hair regrowth, noticeable hair thinning and baldness will occur. And then, in most cases, loss of self-confidence will promptly follow. Not everyone experiences hair loss for the same reason. Let’s see what the typical causes of hair loss are:
Genetic – Some people call this type of baldness “the ancestors’ curse.” The culprit of genetic balding is the male hormone, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which not only causes excessive hair loss but also miniaturizes hair follicles. As a result, those follicles become too small to grow new hair. Genetic hair loss is common among men. Some men in their twenties may already start experiencing Male Pattern Balding, where hair thinning occurs in the front and on top of the head only. In women, however, genetic balding usually causes hair thinning all over the scalp.
Hormonal Imbalance – Abnormal fluctuation between male and female hormones may lead to hair loss in women. That is why hair thinning is one of the common issues older women experience after menopause.
Medication side effects – Certain drugs including blood thinners, anti-depressants, birth control pills and medicines for high-blood pressure may trigger hair loss in some patients. However, the hair thinning problem usually goes away pretty soon after the patients stop using the medication or switch to another medicine.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency – Poor nutrition is another reason that can cause hair thinning in both men and women. The important nutrients for healthy hair include biotin, copper, essential fatty acids, vitamin B5, Riboflavin and zinc.
Stress – Yes, stress! Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin of Mayo Clinic wrote that extreme stress can cause the white blood cells to attack hair follicles and accordingly obstruct hair growth. Unlike genetic balding, this type of hair thinning does not take place only in the front and on the crown of the head, but appears in the form of patches all over the scalp.
How to stop hair thinning using Naturally
According to Mary Beth Janssen, the author of “Naturally Healthy Hair“, you can concoct your own herbal treatment to minimize hair loss and encourage hair growth by combining 1 cup of base oil with 4 teaspoons of a dried herb of your choice (see the list below) in an airtight container. Then let it stand for about a week before straining the oil and discarding the herbs. Keep the oil in a dark glass bottle. Its shelf life is about 3 – 4 weeks. Use this herbal oil to massage your scalp once a day. After massaging, wrap a damp warm towel over your head or cover it with a plastic cap for about 30 – 60 minutes. Then rinse it off thoroughly with gentle shampoo. Good base oils for the hair and scalp are jojoba, castor, laurel, walnut and wheat germ. The following is a list of beneficial herbs you may use to stop hair thinning:
* Basil – This aromatic herb is famous for its soothing effects. For centuries, herbalists have used it to relieve anxiety and headaches. But that is not all it can do. Basil can also add luster to dry hair and stimulate hair growth by increasing blood circulation to the scalp.
* Burdock – It is one of the most effective herbs for reversing hair thinning. Rich in essential fatty acids and phytosterols, burdock can promote hair growth by improving the scalp condition and hair strength. Due to its nourishing and antibacterial effects, many anti-dandruff shampoos contain burdock as one of the main ingredients.
* Horsetail – What this herb can do to your hair is make it more resilient. Packed with phytosterols and silica, horsetail prevents excess oil from building up on the scalp and accordingly helps maintain healthy hair follicles.
* Stinging Nettle – This herb is highly beneficial for those who are experiencing genetic hair thinning. It has proven to battle Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the male hormone that causes hair loss and follicle shrinkage. In addition, stinging nettle has anti-fungal properties and can stimulate blood circulation on the scalp as well.
Hang on! Don’t just grab an essential oil and rub it directly on your scalp. Essential oils contain volatile chemicals and should not be used “neat” or undiluted. The very first thing you should do before buying an essential oil is test it for allergic reactions. Mix one drop of essential oil with one drop of base oil, then dab it on your wrist. If no undesirable effect occurs within 24 hours, then it is safe for you to use. To use essential oils for hair growth, combine 2 tablespoons of base oil with about 20 drops of essential oil of your choice (see the list below). Then gently massage your scalp with it, cover your hair for up to an hour and carefully rinse it off with shampoo. Here are some good options of essential oil for stimulating hair growth:
* Cedarwood – Known for its soothing and rejuvenating effects, cedarwood oil has been used among herbalists to promote hair growth and strengthen hair follicles, as it promotes oxygen flow in the scalp. Another wonderful thing about this oil is that it’s not too harsh even on sensitive skin and can be applied to all scalp conditions.
* Rosemary – This sweet-smelling oil is said to rejuvenate hair roots and speed up hair growth. In addition, it can increase moisture on a dry scalp and get rid of dandruff. Due to its hair-darkening properties, rosemary oil can be a natural dye for people with premature grey hair as well. However, rosemary might not be appropriate for everyone. If you have high blood pressure, consult your doctor before using this oil or try to apply it in moderation.
* Sage – Sage oil has been acknowledged as an effective hair remedy throughout history. Arab women in the old days, for example, used sage to keep their hair thick and dark. Pedanius Dioscorides, an ancient Greek botanist, mentioned in his book “De Materia Medica” that sage was a miraculous tonic for combatting hair loss. The volatile chemical in sage oil can stimulate hair growth by increasing blood circulation to the scalp, and like rosemary oil, it also prevents the hair from turning grey.
* Ylang-Ylang – People with stress-related hair thinning might find this essential oil very helpful, as it simulteneously promotes hair growth and relaxes the nervous system. Due to its ability to normalize sebum production, ylang ylang will also keep your scalp and hair healthy in the long run. People with any scalp condition can benefit from it.