This is a guest post written by Stacey Chillemi, Founder of The Complete Herbal Guide.
There is no sure-fire way to prevent all hair loss; however, there are some methods that have been used that work on some people. In addition to the dietary improvements and suggestions already offered, there are some naturopathic remedy suggestions. Massage and aromatherapy have been used with some success. In minor cases of temporary hair loss, hair growth can be stimulated by massage, since blood and oxygen flow to the scalp must be healthy in order for hair to grow.
Massage & Aromatherapy
A blend of six drops each of lavender and bay essential oils in a base of four ounces of either almond, soybean or sesame oil massaged into the scalp and allowed to sit for 20 minutes has been used by aromatherapists to stimulate the scalp.
Once the mixture is in the scalp for 20 minutes, wash your hair and scalp with your normal shampoo mixed with three drops of bay essential oil. Massaging the scalp in general for a couple of minutes a day can stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles and in mild cases stimulate some hair growth. Of course, one must be careful to be gentle when massaging and not tug at the hair or use the fingernails when massaging the scalp.
If one is concerned about fingernails getting in the way due to extra long fingernails, there are several options. One is a flat-handed massage, which while not as effective as the finger massage can provide some circulatory benefits and results.
There are several electric massagers on the market that have an attachment for scalp massaging as well. An oriental method called Qi Gong (pronounced Chi Kung) has been used to increase circulation to the scalp and face also. The fingers should be placed at the center of the skull base and then begin to tap approximately 30 times.
Work your way outward toward the ears continuing to tap gently. After reaching the ears go back to the center of the skull a little higher up and work your way around to the ear
region. Keep going up about eight levels, each time repeating the process.
There is a definite connection between the prostate and hair loss for men, and therefore a connection between breakthroughs in BPH treatments developed and their effectiveness in restoring hair growth.
There have been some herbalists that have experimented with the herb Saw Palmetto in order to block the production of DHT in treating BPH. Although most studies of Saw Palmetto have been for the treatment of prostatic disease, more recent studies have been conducted on its effectiveness in treating loss.
The herb has been found to work infighting benign prostatic disease by lowering levels of DHT, which is a known cause of androgenetic alopecia. Studies have shown Saw Palmetto extract is an effective anti-androgen and therefore there is a promise for its effectiveness as an effective treatment for hair loss prevention. Women who take Saw Palmetto should cease doing so when taking oral contraceptives or hormone therapy.
Nettles are rich in vitamins A and C, several key minerals and lipids that can be beneficial to the hair. Nettle Root Extract has been used successfully in Europe as an inhibitor of 5-alpha reductase in treating BPH. As mentioned earlier, 5-alpha reductase is a key component in turning testosterone into DHT, the substance that causes the atrophy of hair follicles. Therefore there is great promise in its use as a component in natural hair loss treatments. Nettle Root Extract is available at health food stores over the counter and has few side effects.
Rosemary and Sage
Rosemary and sage are two herbs that have shown benefit traditionally when used externally. It is suggested that to promote a clean scalp, stimulation of the hair root, and thickening hair one should boil together in water rosemary, sage, peach leaf, nettle, and burdock.
Then strain the loose herbs from the liquid and use the liquid to wash the hair daily. Also recommended is steeping one ounce of ground rosemary, two ounces of ground sage, and a half-ounce of ground nettles in one pint of ethyl alcohol for a week, straining the solution and adding one ounce of castor oil and one ounce of water to the liquid. This is said to make a great hair lotion to apply at night before bed or just before shampooing.
If one is predisposed to seborrhea, eczema, psoriasis, or dandruff, one might consider the use of jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-ba) oil. Mexicans and southwestern Native American nations have used jojoba oil traditionally for centuries to promote hair growth and the control of dandruff.
Jojoba oil is great for hypoallergenic skin by being a great moisturizer and mimicking the scalp’s own sebum. It absorbs readily into the scalp and helps remove deposits of sebum from the hair follicles, neutralizes acidity, and nourishes the scalp with all the B vitamins, vitamin E, silicon, copper, zinc, chromium, and iodine.
Aloe Vera has been used by Native Americans, Indians and many in the Caribbean to promote healthy hair and prevent hair loss. Aloe’s positive effects on the skin are well known, and likewise, it can help the scalp by healing it and balancing the pH level of the scalp while cleansing the pores.
A common preparation of Aloe Vera gel with a small amount of wheat germ oil and coconut milk is used as a shampoo and has traditionally shown great benefit. Of course, if you do not want to go through the trouble of concocting your own formulas, similar products or products containing these ingredients may be found in the health food store if one does some searching.
While Henna will not promote hair growth, henna is excellent for the maintenance of healthy hair. Henna is a natural clay conditioner that can help heal the hair shaft by repairing and sealing the cuticle, protecting hair against breakage and loss of shine. Henna comes in a variety of colors to safely color or highlights the hair temporarily, or one can obtain neutral henna if one does not desire color changes to the hair. Cleansing should be a major part of your regimen to maintain and grow hair.
Many scalp related diseases are directly the result of toxemia, while toxins in the body adversely affecting the body’s systems indirectly affect other conditions. Cleansing should be performed through oral means regularly and occasionally by enema or colonic irrigation, and the colon is the key to health and the root of nearly all of the body’s illnesses.
A clogged colon blocks the ability of the body to absorb nutrients from foods you consume, therefore causing possible malnutrition of the hair. When the colon is clogged, toxins are harbored that harm the body. Excess toxins send the body into a panic and overwork other organs of the body when the colon cannot eliminate them.
Commonly overworked organs are the liver and the kidneys, however, the trickle-down effect actually causes the adrenal glands to overproduce testosterone, leading to increased levels of DHT.
Fiber is vital to cleansing, and most North American diets are deficient in natural fiber. Psyllium husk is a bulking laxative agent that can be used to safely move waste through the colon. Psyllium is a very good substance as it gently scrubs the walls of the colon to remove waste that is stuck to the walls. Activating agents such as the herbs cascara sagrada, senna and cayenne help activate the peristaltic waves of the intestines to push clogged waste through the colon and out. It would be best to consult an herbalist, naturopath or purchase a prepared herbal tea containing the aforementioned herbs.
However, the psyllium can be obtained from any health food store and mixed with water. Be sure to drink the psyllium as soon as you mix it as it will begin to turn into a gel-like substance that will be harder to swallow. Psyllium has no taste, and although many do not like its gritty feeling, the benefits far outweigh the unpleasantness.
Steam baths are extremely beneficial, yet your body will lose a large amount of water and salt, so you want to be sure to consume extra amounts of water and salt before going into the steam bath, and keep some sports drinks on hand in case you feel depleted. Of course, if you have any medical conditions that affect your stamina, endurance, blood pressure, or breathing, consult your physician before engaging in steam baths.
Finally, although exercise does absolutely nothing directly to grow hair, most holistic practitioners when questioned about hair loss recommend it. The reason was stated earlier, that being the fact that the body is a complete system, and neglect of the system can cause chain reactions of which one result may be hair loss. Take some time to exercise daily if only for a few minutes. This will improve blood flow, the delivery of oxygen to the cells of the body, and help the digestion of foods, all things that aid the health of hair follicles.
If you have access to seawater, swimming is one of the most complete exercises available. It exercises the entire body with little stress on the joints, and the seawater helps wash away toxins. However, beware of swimming in chlorinated water such as found in most pools, as chlorine can have negative effects on the hair.
Bicycling is also another low-impact beneficial exercise that can be done in one’s neighborhood or on a stationary bicycle, as is walking. Whatever method of exercising you choose, simple exercise to improve overall health. In combination with the other methods presented here, exercise will only help your condition.
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