Traditional Chinese Medicine for Hair Loss
From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, hair growth is closely related to the health of the blood, both amount and circulation. People often lose hair due to physical or pathogenic conditions that they lose much blood, such as long-term illness, big operations and chemotherapy.
Chinese medicine can be effective for hair loss and the underlying conditions which cause hair loss. Traditional Chinese medicine for hair loss focuses on creating balance and harmony in the body by strengthening the blood, balancing hormones, restoring qi and directing blood to the scalp. That is to say, you should care about the quality of your blood and its circulation if you want to have healthy hair.
Causes of Hair Loss
TCM suggests that the liver stores blood and circulates blood to the sides and top of the head. If the liver is stressed or under pressure, it will dysfunction and decrease blood flow to the head, causing hair thinning and grayness in these regions.
Kidneys dominate the growth and development of the body including hair. If someone has a strong kidney essence, hair is shiny, thick, strong, healthy, and they will have fewer gray hairs as they get older. For hair loss, TCM practitioners often recommend Chinese herbs and dietary plan that is rich in essential fatty acids, proteins and minerals.
Chinese Herbs for Hair Growth
1) He Shou Wu (Fo Ti) is classified as a tonic and is taken in Chinese medicine to slow the signs of aging especially premature graying of the hair and hair loss. TCM practitioners believe that it has a restorative property essential to the kidney and blood. A study confirms that it can stimulate hair growth as well as restore the color and sheen of the hair (1).
Where to buy (amazon link): He Shou Wu Extract
How to use: He Shou Wu is available in many different forms including tea, liquid extract, powder, capsules and shampoo.
2) Ren Shen (Ginseng) is the classic Chinese herb and is now widely known in the West. It is believed to stimulate blood circulation and promote cell metabolism. This means that it can increase blood supply to hair follicle cells. Not only will these cells be well nourished, it also improves their efficiency leading to new hair growth and regenerates damaged hair roots (2).
Where to buy (amazon link): Ginseng Oil
How to use: Apply natural oils infused with ginseng on your hair and scalp. Or, you can use hair growth oil which contains ginseng.
3) Ji Xue Cao (Gotu Kola) can be used for hair loss, it improves blood circulation while reducing blood pressure. It also provides relief from anxiety and insomnia and can even improve memory. It is used for promoting hair growth especially in people experiencing male pattern baldness or alopecia caused by the onset of old age (3).
Where to buy (amazon link): Gotu Kola
How to use: Gotu Kola can be used in the forms of liquid extract, powder and capsules.
4) Xun Ma (Stinging Nettle) is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Urticaceae. It is effective for male and female pattern baldness. Extract can be taken from the leaf or roots of the plant.
5) Wu Wei Zi (Five Flavor Berry) is known to cure baldness. It helps in hair growth and gives you soft and silky hair. It enhances the quality of the skin on the scalp and improves blood flow in microvessels.
Acupuncture for Hair Loss
Acupuncture can increase blood circulation to the scalp which stimulate the hair follicle cells, deliver essential nutrients and encourage hair growth. TCM practitioners often offer acupuncture combined with herbal formula. Some studies have shown acupuncture to encourage hair growth. Some claim that acupuncture is effective for hair loss due to alopecia areata only.
Some of the acupuncture points which help to stimulate hair follicle cells are located on the head. If you want to give Chinese medicine a try, but have a bit of hesitation about having needles inserted into your head, you can try to use only Chinese herbal formula first. Also, you can try stimulating acupressure points for hair loss on your own.