Glycosides, triterpene saponins, and flavonoids naturally occurring in licorice root work to nourish the scalp and heal damage caused by fungal infection, eczema, environmental allergens, and chemical exposure. To make a licorice root cleanser, add one tablespoon of dried licorice root to three cups of boiling water. Allow the roots to steep for an hour or more on low heat (simmer.) Strain and cool the infused liquid to room temperature before applying to hair and scalp.
The roots of Althea officinalis, or common marshmallow contain lauric acid, the medium chain fatty-acids present in coconut oil which give the fruit its outstanding list of health benefits. Marshmallow root is also rich in mucilage, a natural hair detangler. Boil dried marshmallow for about fifteen minutes then strain to extract mucilage which can then be combined with your favorite natural conditioner.
17. Oat Straw
Oat straw, Avena sativa is another herbal source of silica and magnesium which promote scalp health and hair growth. Create an herbal rinse by steeping oat straw for an hour or more. Alternately, you can reap the benefits of oat straw by drinking it as a tea.
Easy to grow in most climates, Petroselinium crispum – common garden parsley is full of vitamins and anti-oxidants which increase keratin and collagen production in the scalp, increase circulation, promote healthy hair growth, and protect skin and hair from damage by free-radicals. Parsley also contains zinc and copper which work together to regulate metabolism and synthesize melanin, the pigment that protects skin and hair from sun damage. Create an herbal rinse by steeping parsley in boiling water or grind fresh parsley mixed with water or oil into a fine paste to be applied to scalp and hair. Parsley can also be added to tea and salads, however pregnant women should avoid ingesting large amounts of parsley as the herb can potentially cause miscarriage.
The moisturizing oil contained in peppermint leaves is anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. When applied to the scalp, peppermint oil can help to heal chemical, microbial, or environmental damage while also stimulating growth by boosting circulation and stimulating hair follicles. To prepare peppermint oil as a healing scalp treatment, try this recipe.
20. Rose Hips
The fruit of Rosa canina, the wild rose is one of the best sources of vitamin C (containing around fifty percent more than oranges) making rose hips a powerful herbal stimulant for hair growth. Simmer or soak rose hips in water until they become soft enough to crush. Mix with a moisturizer to form a paste that can be applied to the scalp and hair.
Avoid over-cooking rose hips as vitamin C is heat-sensitive and denatures when boiled.
Rosemarinus officianalis is an evergreen herb that is easy to grow in most climates. Rosemary oil is vitamin-rich, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, and by far one of the most popular and effective herbs for scalp health and hair growth. Massage one to two teaspoons of rosemary oil directly into the scalp or mix with other oils to create a conditioning scalp treatment. For a great article on how to prepare rosemary for hair, check out this article.