Say you are brushing your hair and every time you do that, a lot of hair comes out. As time will pass, things may get worse. This is extremely frustrating for young people – especially if such hair loss isn’t common among peers. The overall experience becomes traumatic, leading to a mental breakdown (1) and is hard to move on. There are several solutions in the market that will help you regain those locks. But we recommend that you stick to more than one way as no method is guaranteed to help you.
Chinese medicine has been present for thousands of years, and sometimes Chinese herbs are used as remedies for hair loss and allergies. That is why today, we will take a look at some of the best Chinese herbs and how they can be used to treat hair loss.
Reasons for Hair Loss
According to Chinese medicine, the primary reason for hair loss is a lack of proper blood circulation. Chinese medicine practitioners believe that a healthy liver and spleen will ensure that blood flows properly to your hair follicles so that your hair becomes healthy and shiny.
They also believe the kidney is responsible for keeping your hair black. A weakened kidney can lead to unhealthy and premature grey hair.
Another common reason for hair loss is blood heat. Since youngsters are always full of energy, any anger or stress can lead to blood heat which generates wind and causes hair to fall out of the scalp.
If you have just recovered from some common or severe illness, you may face increased hair loss. This is because qi and blood cannot ascend to the top of the body, leading to a lack of hair development. (2)
If you overeat fatty or sweet food, that can be the main reason for hair loss. If the spleen and stomach fail to transform and transport, your body generates damp heat, which causes a rise in steam within your body. You will experience sticky and greasy scalps, leading to the loosening of your scalp. Other symptoms include a red tongue with a greasy yellow coat and a slippery and rapid pulse.
How do Chinese Herbs Work?
Chinese herbal medicine believes that lack of blood flow is primarily responsible for hair loss, but they focus more on strengthening hair roots and the overall health of the scalp.
These herbs treat the liver and kidney ‘yin’ (a part of the energy twin which regulates the normal functionalities of our body) deficiency, which may stimulate the hair follicles leading to the renewal of hair fibers.
Chinese medicine practitioners try to remove any buildup of toxins using the strong detoxifying properties of Chinese herbs. This may cause the hair follicles to activate, which promotes hair growth.
Chinese herbs may also help in improving blood circulation through the scalps. This might provide sufficient nutrients and oxygen to the roots, which causes regrowth and strengthening of hair.
The Best Chinese Herbs to Treat Hair Loss
Observe the symptoms to understand the type of hair loss you are suffering from and use herbs accordingly. You can try multiple herbs for better results. These herbs may help in treating hair loss and restoring its natural pigmentation.
1. He Shou Wu (Tuber Fleece flower Root)
It is one of the most popular herbal remedies for treating hair loss. Chinese practitioners have been using this herb for thousands of years.
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners use this herb to prevent aging effects like premature greying of hair. They also claim it helps improve the health of the kidney and liver. This will cause blood to flow properly through your scalp and help detoxify your body, which may help prevent further hair loss.
It not only boosts blood circulation but also helps in nourishing the roots, which might cause the strengthening of the roots and bringing back the natural color of hair.
It is a very versatile herb, and laboratory tests show many other health benefits. That is why He Shou Wu is classified as a tonic herb according to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). (3)
The safe dosage for this herb is highly dependent on age, health status, and the reason for consumption. Further tests are required to declare an effective dose. As for now, the safe dosage of this herb is unknown.
Even though this herb has been used as a remedy for several ailments for thousands of years, some side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain have been observed among people who consume this herb. So, make sure to follow the instructions given by the manufacturers.
2. Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum)
Found in hot and humid areas in Asia, this mushroom has been a staple in all forms of Eastern medicine and is known as the ‘mushroom of immortality in Chinese medicine. You can either eat them as a whole or consume them in powdered form.
These mushrooms are highly nutritious and low in calories, making them a good food for people who are losing hair due to excessive heat buildup in the body.
This herb is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to cure folliculitis (an ailment where boil-like white colored structures are formed around the roots of hair strands) and alopecia.
It is highly popular for its immunity-boosting capabilities. In addition, several tests show that Reishi mushrooms can positively affect your white blood cells.
The antioxidants present in it might prevent any free radical damage to cells, while the alkaloids will cause the blood vessels to dilate – which will cause blood to flow freely to your hair roots. This may help provide nutrients to your hair and promote growth.
Other benefits include antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, and antiviral properties. In addition, Reishi mushrooms have the potential to improve heart health and blood sugar control.
The effective dosage of Reishi mushroom can be dependent on the type of product – whole or powdered or extract. Therefore, it is important to know the type and consume this fungus accordingly. The mushroom itself contains high doses, while powders and extract contain lower dosages. (4)
There have been some questions regarding the safety of Reishi mushrooms. However, people who have consumed these mushrooms for months have claimed them to be safe. Nevertheless, excessive consumption may lead to dizziness, dry mouth, or stomach upset.
3. Nu Shen Zi (Ligustrum Lucidum)
Nu Shen Zi is a Yin tonic of liver and kidney and is claimed to help remove toxins from your body. The medicine is made from the ripe fruits of this plant.
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners use Nu Shen Zi to promote hair growth and darkening of hair. In addition, its antiviral properties may help promote scalp health and cleanliness. Also, its detoxification properties may help your blood to get purified and circulate properly, which will cause the blood full of nutrients to reach the scalp.
Nu Shen Zi might be useful against other ailments like palpitations and insomnia. However, further tests are required to prove its effectiveness against hair fall and other ailments.
There has been no solid data about its effective dosage, but it mostly depends on factors such as the user’s health and other conditions. Therefore, consume this only after some practitioner recommends you and strictly follow the doctor’s or manufacturer’s instructions.
It is safe for most adults if consumed in the right amounts. Some people may have some allergic reactions to it. However, we still do not know whether it is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid the use of this herb during this time. Also, if you are allergic to the pollen of plants present in the olive family, then consume it only after checking with your healthcare provider.
4. Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)
Panax ginseng can be found in areas of Korea and Northeastern China. There are several other ginseng variants like American ginseng, Blue Cohosh, etc., so do not confuse them.
The root of Chinese ginseng is used as a medicine. It effectively reduces stress levels, which might help reduce the blood heat amongst youngsters and eventually reduce hair fall.
You can also consume this herb for increasing mental performance. If your nose reacts violently to anything you are allergic to, ginseng can help you to reduce it.
The best thing about ginseng is that you can safely consume it in different ways. For example, you can either eat it raw or steam it to make it soft. (5)
Or, you can add it to several other dishes like tea, soups, etc. Ginseng is also available in the form of powders, tablets, and capsules.
As for medicinal use, consume 200-400 mg of a specific ginseng extract once daily or divide it into two doses for up to twelve weeks. In some situations, 200-960mg is also used. Consult your physician before consuming ginseng.
Ginseng appears to be safe and sound and does not have any severe side effects. However, children, pregnant women, or breastfeeding women should avoid consuming ginseng.
Consuming this root may reduce the effectiveness of some drugs, so consume it after you confirm with your physician.
5. Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica)
It is known for its health benefits and its positive effects on hair growth. It is also called the ‘herb of longevity.’
Gotu kola has several benefits which might help reduce hair fall.
Some researchers found out that this herb can help reduce anxiety and stress. This may help in preventing hair fall due to stress. Some say it is even helpful in treating acute anxiety, but further research is required.
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses Gotu kola to treat alopecia in males to improve blood circulation and stimulate hair growth.
Consume 500 mg of Gotu kola extract twice a day for 14 days to treat anxiety. You can increase the dosage up to 2000mg in case of extreme anxiety. However, it is better to consult a physician. (6)
Our body can tolerate Gotu cola, but overconsumption can cause headaches, stomach upset, and dizziness. Start with smaller doses so that your body gets habituated with it.
Don’t consume this herb for more than six weeks at a time. Take a break for two weeks before you continue consuming Gotu kola.
Make sure to buy from reputed sources as herbs not monitored by the FDA may contain dangerous levels of heavy metals.
Don’t use this herb if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have some disease. Also, do not consume it if you are below 18.
When applying Gotu kola on your skin, make sure to do a spot test on your skin to ensure that it does not cause skin inflammation.
Excessive hair fall is a problem a lot of people suffer from. It can lead to a lack of confidence and other mental problems. There are several remedies out there, but you will need to undergo treatment for the long term, and results are not guaranteed. That is why it is better to try some alternatives like Chinese herbs. Practitioners believe that these herbs help in removing toxins from the body and increase the blood flow in our scalp. The herbs might be helpful as these two are the primary reasons behind excessive hair fall.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Chinese medicine help with hair loss?
Chinese medicine focuses on maintaining the proper flow of blood via various techniques of acupuncture and herbal medicines. Since a primary reason for excessive hair fall is improper blood circulation, it may be helpful.
What herbs stop hair loss?
Chinese herbs like Ginseng, Gotu kola, Nu Shen Zi, Reishi mushrooms, etc., might help prevent excessive hair fall.
What stimulates hair growth naturally?
A proper massage, the applications of oils like coconut and fish, and herbs like ginseng can help promote natural hair growth.
What helps in preventing thinning of hair?
Besides Chinese medication, women can rely on other medication like minoxidil, which is helpful in some specific forms of hair loss. In addition, injecting platelet-rich plasma is another treatment for hair loss that has surfaced recently.
Which foods promote hair growth?
Other than herbs, eat eggs, berries, spinach, fatty fish, and nuts to promote hair growth.
Is female hair loss reversible?
Sadly, no. Using proper treatment can prevent further hair fall and help in regrowing some lost hair. Treatments can take as long as 12 months to show some effect. You need to keep on undergoing treatments for the long term to prevent further hair loss.
- “The psychological impact of alopecia” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Qi” – wikipedia.org
- “He Shou Wu (Fo-Ti): Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects” – healthline.com
- “6 Benefits of Reishi Mushroom (Plus Side Effects and Dosage)” – healthline.com
- “Panax Ginseng” – webmd.com
- “Everything You Need to Know About Gotu Kola” – healthline.com