Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is a common condition where parts of the body that naturally have hair experience thinning or bald patches. It mostly occurs on the scalp but it can also be on your beard or limbs where hair grows. This is caused by a variety of reasons ranging from stress to side effects of cancer treatments.
Alopecia areata is a kind of hair loss disease that occurs at certain spots or areas. It is an autoimmune disease which means that it is caused by the immune system treating hair follicles as bacteria so they attack it. You would know if you have alopecia areata when you start seeing follicular papules or small circular red spots from your hair follicles.
On the other hand, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at alopecia differently. It views alopecia as a deficiency of the body caused by low blood circulation. When low blood circulation occurs, the hair pores would be lacking in nutrients and so they open up. When they are open, wind goes inside these pores and start causing hair loss. TCM also views hair loss as an effect of certain mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety wherein they produce internal heat that makes the pores open. Hair loss that takes TCM’s view of hair loss suggests the following Chinese herbs to use to prevent it.
Fo-Ti, also known as He Shou Wu or Polygala vine, is the most common Chinese herb to use to prevent hair loss. It is an herb that focuses on hair restoration by improving kidney function and blood circulation. To add to that, Fo-Ti is known to fight the signs of aging in the hair specifically graying hair. It acts to restore your hair’s original color.
Why is a healthy kidney important in preventing hair loss? According to traditional Chinese medicine, kidneys play a huge role in developing the body. When the kidneys are functioning well, the hair strands and follicles are stronger and they are silkier and smoother to touch.
2. Reishi Mushroom
Reishi mushroom focuses on taking care of the kidney. It helps restore proper functioning so that blood circulation will also improve. It is known to be the “mushroom of immortality” because it has a number of benefits: preventing hair loss is just one of them.
This herb also fights the formation of follicular papules that are the first signs of hair loss. It is important to get rid of these at an early stage because follicular papules make the hair itch and susceptible to hair fall.
Ginseng is a common Chinese herb even in the Western parts of the world. Known for its many health benefits, ginseng is even included as an ingredient for several shampoos and conditioners.
There was a study in 2012 carried out by Professor Sang-Wook Son that sought to know the effects of using Korean Red Ginseng in treating alopecia areata. After 12 weeks of observations, the group that received ginseng had improved hair density and thickness which will aid in preventing hair loss.
4. Gotu Kola
This Chinese herb is especially useful as a relief for anxiety and insomnia that increase hair loss. It also improves the body’s blood flow and reduces blood pressure.
A study was conducted in 2011 at the Pranav Institute of Pharmaceutical Science & Research showing that when applied in rats, it increased hair density and thickness. Although it still doesn’t say if it does the same for humans; many hair products already have Gotu Kola as their main ingredient.
5. Wu Wei Zin
Wu Wei Zin focuses on treating the scalp so that it stays healthy. When the scalp isn’t in good condition; it will be unable to provide the nutrients needed for strong and healthy hair strands. Wu Wei Zin is known to be a good herb to use in fighting baldness.