Long before the advent of chemical or surgical hair restoration – people around the world have been using natural remedies to nourish the scalp and keep hair thick and healthy. There are around two dozen common causes for hair loss and hair thinning including (but not limited to) stress, skin infection, medications, age, heredity, and sudden change in diet. Whatever your case may be, the remedies on this list when used regularly can help you to regrow, or thicken, your hair.
Amla fruit – commonly referred to as the Indian Gooseberry – is high in Vitamin C with both anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties. Furthermore, fatty-acids found in amla act as a conditioner to moisturize and strengthen hair and roots. Hair treatments made from powdered, fresh, or dried amla are some of the most popular natural remedies used to prevent hair loss (as well as for masking and preventing gray hair.) Plus there are a number of amla hair oils that help to enrich hair, such as this Dabur Amla Hair Oil.
Reetha, the saponin-rich fruit of Sapindus mukorossi has been used by people in the eastern and western world for thousands of years to make soap – giving the tree its nickname: “soapnut.” The natural cleansers made from reetha have both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties which may help to heal scalp ailments that cause hair loss. For more information on making your own soapnut cleansers, check out this great article.
Shikakai, a shrub native to warmer regions of Asia, has been used for thousands of years as an herbal hair cleanser and hair loss preventative. All aerial parts of the plant can be ground into powder or dried for later use. By itself, shikakai powder added to water or oil can be massaged into hair and scalp to promote new growth, strengthen roots, and clear up skin conditions like dandruff which may cause hair-loss.
Shikakai, reetha, and amla can also be combined to create a moisturizing, nourishing natural cleanser. Check out this recipe to learn how.
4. Egg Whites
Eggs are rich in protein, sulphur, iron, zinc, and selenium – all of which our bodies need for the production of hair. Extra virgin olive oil is a great natural moisturizer high in Vitamin E traditionally used for all-around skin health. One egg white mixed vigorously with one teaspoon of olive oil creates a great natural scalp treatment that can help to reduce hair-loss by nourishing the scalp, as well as increasing blood flow and oxygen supply to hair follicles.
Sweet-smelling fenugreek is a plant with an ancient background as both culinary seasoning and natural remedy. Soak fenugreek seeds in water overnight then grind into a vitamin-rich paste which can be applied directly to the scalp to improve circulation and stimulate hair follicles. Alternately, you can mix fenugreek paste with Greek yogurt or strained yogurt for added exfoliating power. Leave either mixture on the scalp for thirty minutes before washing with an all-natural cleanser such as amla, reetha, and shikakai.
The seeds of the flax plant are well-known for their dietary health benefits on the mind and body. Full of fatty-acids and anti-oxidants, ground flax seeds boiled in water will form a soothing gel that can be applied to scalp and hair to moisturize skin, eliminate dandruff, stimulate new growth, and improve the strength of existing hair. For a guide on making flax seed gel, check out this article. Flax oil can also be taken as a supplement or try adding ground flaxseed to food to improve scalp health and circulation, among a long list of other benefits.
7. Onion Juice
While you may initially cringe at the idea of applying onion juice to your scalp – or any of your skin for that matter – consider that it is one of the best natural remedies for combating hair loss. Onions are packed full of sulfur which stimulates the production of collagen in your skin. Lack of collagen is one of the biggest causes of thinning hair, so think twice before you turn down this revitalizing albeit pungent scalp treatment. Check out this blog for a couple of excellent recipes.
8. Protein-rich Diet
A diet high in protein helps the body to synthesize keratin, the key structural component of hair, skin, and nails. To combat hair loss and promote new healthy growth, add protein-rich foods such as poultry, fish, lean beef, eggs, soy, yogurt, and nuts to your weekly shopping list.
9. Herbal Rinses
The following herbs can be steeped in boiling water, strained, then cooled to room temperature to create an herbal rinse for the treatment of hair loss.
Basil has anti-inflammatory properties, strengthens hair against breakage, and improves circulation in the hair follicles to stimulate new growth. Try this recipe for a basil-infused herbal rinse.
Bhringraj is an ancient Ayurvetic herb considered to be one of the best natural remedies for revitalizing dormant hair follicles. Bhringraj powder mixed with water (or an oil base such as coconut oil) can be prepared into a treatment for scalp and hair.
Horsetail stimulates blood vessels in the scalp, promoting growth of new hair. Horsetail also acts as an anti-allergen and anti-viral. Furthermore, the abundance of silica naturally present in horsetail helps to repair damage, strengthens new and existing growth, and imparts a healthy shine to hair. To make prepare this remedy, steep one part dried horsetail in two parts water for at least one hour.
Licorice root contains several chemical compounds which are greatly beneficial for preventing hair loss, treating dandruff, healing fungal infections, and reversing chemical damage of the hair and scalp. To make this cleanser, add one tablespoon of dried licorice root per three cups of boiling water. Steep licorice roots for at least one hour for best results.
Stinging nettle stimulates growth of new hair while at the same time inhibiting the production of DHT – the hormone primarily responsible for male- and female-pattern baldness. Nettle is also frequently used to remedy hair-loss in people with alopecia areata. Check out this recipe for making your own hair tonic using dried nettle leaves.
Watercress is richly packed with vitamins and minerals including zinc, iron, and biotin – all of which have proven benefits for scalp and hair health. To make a watercress rinse, check out the recipe in this article.
NOTE: All of the above herbs are available to buy from this page on Mountain Rose Herbs – the world’s best supplier of quality, organic herbs.
10. Oil Treatments
Finally, there are a wide array of essential oils that contain nutrients which may help to prevent and reverse hair loss.
Burdock root is an anti-inflammatory rich in fatty-acids. Burdock root oil can be used alone or combined with other herbs such as rosemary, lavender, or sage to improve scalp health and stimulate new hair growth.
Ginger root oil may be applied to the scalp and hair on its own or combined with another oil (argan, olive, coconut, jojoba.) Ginger increases circulation, combats dandruff, stimulates hair follicles to promote growth of new and existing hair. A good recipe for preparing ginger root can be found here.
Gotu kola, also known as brahmi, is an ancient herb used in traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of internal and external maladies. Gotu kola extract added to olive oil can be massaged into the scalp to improve circulation and encourage new hair growth.
Hibiscus flowers – either fresh or dried – can be added to coconut oil and ground into a fine paste. When applied to scalp and hair regularly, this mixture works to reverse hair loss, as well as to prevent premature greying and reduce dandruff. This treatment works best if allowed to soak into scalp and hair for two hours or more.
Hops flowers are widely recognized for their ability to stimulate hair growth as well as to strengthen existing hair and reduce breakage. Hops flower oil is also a natural anti-septic which can help to prevent hair loss caused by microbial infection of the hair follicles.
Lavender oil is all at once anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-septic making it one of the most useful topical treatments for treating hair loss and other scalp ailments. Lavender oil increases circulation, promotes new hair growth, and helps to balance natural oil production of the scalp. Add lavender oil to olive or jojoba oil, or try this Bulgarian Lavender Hair Butter from Alteya Organics.
Peppermint oil is moisturizing, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. When applied to the scalp, peppermint oil moisturizes skin and soothes irritation caused by chemical, microbial, and environmental damage. Peppermint also increases blood flow and stimulates follicles to grow new hair at an accelerated rate. Try this recipe for a refreshing peppermint and jojoba scalp treatment.
Rosemary oil is by far one of the most popular and effective treatments for hair-loss as well as a handful of other scalp ailments. For best results, try massaging one to two teaspoons of rosemary oil directly onto areas of the scalp where hair-regrowth is desired. While this treatment may take several months, persistent use of rosemary oil is one of only a few natural methods proven effective for reversing hair-loss in individuals with alopecia areata.
As a side note, rosemary is often used in combination with sage to create an herbal rinse for promoting overall scalp health and as a natural remedy for grey hair.
Thyme is known to have anti-septic and anti-fungal properties, adding this herb to the list of treatments for damaging scalp ailments. Just add twenty to thirty drops of thyme oil to one ounce of your favorite moisturizing oil (jojoba, olive, almond, etc.) or create a thyme-infused oil by adding a handful or two of dried thyme to an eight ounce jar of oil. Seal the jar and store it in away from heat and light for at least three months (longer is better) before using.
Yarrow is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent herb making it an ideal remedy for treating scalp conditions which can cause hair loss. Add a few drops of yarrow oil to a carrier oil such as jojoba or olive to help stimulate new hair growth.
NOTE: All of the herbal and essential oils mentioned above can be purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs.