Natural Remedies

Recent clinical trials proved the effectiveness of a non-drug, DHT-inhibiting treatment for androgenic baldness (hereditary male pattern baldness). The formula contained saw palmetto berry, plant sterols and other botanicals and was shown to be a viable natural alternative to prescription hair-loss drugs in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the April 2002 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Palmetto is used in some of the remedies outlined below.

The following are some examples of natural remedies: Ultra Hair (Nature’s Plus), for example, contains organic sulphur to promote healthy hair, while Thin-to-Thick (Jason Natural Cosmetics) features biotin for gentle cleansing. Viviscal, contains a concentrated marine protein that showed effectiveness against alopecia areata and androgenic hair loss in studies, including one published in The Journal of International Medical Research in August 1992. Shen Min, derived from the eastern wild rose, contains substances that inhibit DHT and 5-alpha reductase–the enzyme that causes DHT formation.

Revivogen is another natural product that contains promising DHT-inhibiting substances such as zinc and azelaic acid, while Shen Min contains the very popular Chinese anti-aging tonic herb, “fo ti”, also known as “he shou wu”, which is prescribed widely in traditional Chinese medicine to combat pre-mature aging and greying hair. Published research on “he shou wu” is limited, however, other than confirmed cholesterol-lowering effects and test-tube studies that suggest immune-protective activity.

There are also a number of follicle formulas which assist follicle health by acting as a relaxant. Formulas based on a “nitro” compound called NANO (3-carboxylic acid pyridine-N-oxide) known as the “natural” minoxidil. The active ingredient in the synthetic, over-the-counter product Rogaine.

Some products also include L-arginine as a hair-growth-promoting substance. L-arginine has several characteristics that may benefit hair follicles. It boosts nitric oxide levels, promotes circulation and aids in the release of human growth hormone. These products, like all herbal remedies, typically take several months to slow or stop hair loss, and several months more to show regrowth. If a follicle has died, it cannot be revived. But resting or sluggish follicles that produce increasingly thin or short-lived hairs can often be stimulated or saved from further damage if the cause is properly identified.

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto, is a prostate-protecting herb that prevents the conversion of testosterone into one of the androgens that causes hair loss. A product containing this herb, FolliGro, from Denmark, has been trialled with 65% of participants reporting moderate improvement in hair regrowth, and 18% a clear improvement. The treatment is a two-pronged approach: a spray containing saw palmetto and capsules made of fenugreek, which promotes better circulation to the scalp along with B vitamins to “feed” the hair follicles.

FolliGro available through Victoria Health (0800 413596).

Alopesan 400 by Vitamust works by stimulating growth, nourishes follicles and roots and maintains suppleness of the scalp. Maxilene works by boosting micro-circulation. See

Other natural solutions:

Nature’s Best Maxihair which contains iron, lysine, vitamin c, B12, brewers yeast tablets. the average time before noting a reduction in shedding is 16 weeks.

Urticalcin homeopathic calcium by Bioforce.

Phytologie’s Phytocyane with Phytologie dietary supplement Phytophanere

Chinese herbal medicine and Ayurvedic head massage.

Aloe vera cream and yiang yiang essential oil which can be massaged into the scalp.