10 Herbs For Hair Growth & Thickness You Should Know [UK] 2023
Herbs are the oldest form of medicine. They have been repeatedly championed for being idyllic and having minimal side effects compared to lab-based medicine.
Suppose you are looking for effective herbs for hair growth with proven track records. In that case, several options are at your disposal, including rosemary, lavender, peppermint, Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, Aloe vera, and Chinese hibiscus.
However, each remedy has unique benefits, and you may need more than one herb to address all your hair issues.
10 Natural Herbs For Hair Growth
These 10 natural herbs for hair growth promote the active growth of healthy, strong hair while also nourishing the scalp.
- Aloe Vera.
- Chinese Hibiscus.
- Bacopa Monnieri.
- Coat Buttons.
- Stinging Nettle.
- Nardostachys jatamansi.
Are Herbs Really Good For Hair?
Yes. Herbs good for hair growth and improving thickness have been used for thousands of years as hair treatments to nourish the scalp and condition hair. Although many share similar benefits, none offers a holistic solution; hence, combining two or more is necessary.
Due to their natural state, most herbs have minimal side effects, but the potential benefits are highly satisfying. Some shared benefits include preventing fungal infections, moistening the scalp, and promoting blood circulation.
These benefits have been scientifically established through studies on humans, animals, and laboratory methods.
Best Herbs For Hair Growth
There is no one best herb for hair growth. Here is how each contributes to new hair growth and overall health.
Aloe vera is a versatile natural remedy that has been used in the treatment of both internal and external body conditions.
It has been used to protect the skin and hair from the harsh sun and to fight infection. Aloe vera gel has components such as fatty acids, essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and plant steroids responsible for its hair benefits.
In a 2019 study, Aloe vera offered antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immuno-modulatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, anticancer, and skin-protective properties. It was beneficial for hair loss, dryness, irritation, itching, and dandruff. Aloe gel balances scalp pH and acts as a hair conditioner.
Lavender oil has been linked to numerous benefits, including increased hair thickness, healthy scalp, and hair density.
Lavender oil offers consistent hair health benefits when mixed with different carrier oils such as jojoba and minoxidil.
Research has demonstrated skin samples with an increase in hair follicle number and depth and an increase in dermal layer thickness. Olive oil showed a significant reduction in inflammatory cells compared to a placebo group.
Peppermint has been used over the years as an anti-gas, gastric stimulant, skin conditioner, and fragrance in cosmetics.
When mixed with saline, minoxidil, and jojoba in different concentrations during a 4-week animal-based study, pure peppermint oil resulted in greater dermal thickness, follicle depth, and follicle number. Researchers also observed an increase in growth factor and hair cycle enzyme activity.
The study demonstrated peppermint to be an effective hair growth stimulant. Based on these results, many manufacturers claim that the herb reduces scalp irritation and effectively treats fungal infections.
Rosemary is an anti-inflammatory that also improves blood circulation and promotes nerve growth. It could promote hair health by transporting nutrients to the scalp and moisturizing it to prevent dandruff.
In a human-based study, rosemary effectively remedied androgenic alopecia — AGA. The herb showed a significant increase in hair count after six months of application.
When tested against minoxidil, rosemary produced less scalp itching.
Some rosemary products have also been advertised for preventing premature graying, but this does not constitute evidence.
In animal research, applying red ginseng oil to shaved mice supported hair regeneration by inducing an early growth phase in the hair cycle. During the experiment, researchers observed a significant increase in hair thickness and the density of hair follicles.
They concluded that compounds such as the β-sitosterol and linoleic acids in ginseng were responsible for the increased hair growth.
Ginseng also induces cytoprotective systems and reduces inflammation and apoptosis, i.e., cell death, amassing a protective layer of skin to protect against UVC-induced damage.
Also known as Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Chinese hibiscus, often taken in tea, is one of the oldest Chinese herbs for hair, increasing hair follicle count and size and promoting healthy hair growth.
In a study that compared the effectiveness of the leaves and flowers of hibiscus in promoting hair growth, ethanol extract from hibiscus leaves and flowers was applied to shaved rats, and hibiscus leaves showed significant effects on hair growth.
Besides promoting hair regrowth, Chinese hibiscus has also been used to counter scalp infections and to condition the scalp.
Brahmi, the extract of Bacopa monnieri, has been used for both hair and skincare for thousands of years.
Some of its most popular applications include treating Alopecia Areata and stimulating hair growth. The herb’s alkaloids activate proteins linked to hair growth, countering hair loss.
But in regular daily hair products, Bacopa monnieri is mainly included to treat and prevent dandruff.
Coat buttons have been used in Indian and Ayurveda medicine as a hair tonic and growth stimulant. They are rich in antioxidants, which enhance healing. The herb has several compounds that support hair health in different ways.
Beta-sitosterol reduces hair loss, saponins promote antifungal and antibacterial activity, tannin may convert gray hair into black hair, Gluco luteolin reduces dandruff and prevents breakage, and flavonoids offer antioxidant effects.
Stinging nettle has been used to manufacture shampoos and bathing soaps for hair restoration. Some of its most acclaimed benefits include reducing itchiness and countering dandruff.
Stinging nettle carries sulfur and silica, which can strengthen the hair shaft to prevent hair loss. Other sources say that the herb inhibits DHT production, the hormone derived from testosterone whose excessive production causes thinning hair.
Stinging nettle also promotes blood flow to the scalp, nourishing the hair follicles. It has anti-inflammatory effects that can improve hair health and reduce hair loss.
Jatamansi is a popular Ayurvedic remedy used for its antispasmodic and laxative properties, as well as for disorders such as digestive, circulatory, neurological, urinary, and skin. Jatamansi contains antifungal and anti-bacterial properties that protect the scalp against infections and dandruff.
The remedy has also been used to support follicle health, promote growth, increase volume, extend the growth phase, and improve hair texture, color, and strength.
How To Use Herbs For Hair
Different herbs have different formulations that result in various usage recommendations, but most products for hair are either ingested or applied topically.
Most natural herbs that encourage hair growth are mixed with a carrier, such as coconut and jojoba oils, to dilute them into the optimal potencies for effectiveness. Other common carrier oils include olive, mineral, sweet almond, and wheat germ.
Some of the standard application rules across different herbs include washing your scalp with shampoo to eliminate contaminants that may react or reduce the effectiveness of herbs. However, you should read every manufacturer’s instructions, as some herbal products should not be mixed with certain shampoo types. Also, some herbs must be applied on damp hair, while some work better on dry hair.
Upon application, you must massage the oil into the scalp for adequate absorption. Finally, rinse your scalp and apply any other complementary steps as instructed.
Side Effects & Precautions
As is true with many hair supplements, herbal remedies may have mild to severe side effects depending on their chemical compositions and application methods.
The side effects vary but are characterized mainly by irritation and inflammation. Luckily, most organic herbal products on this list are free from severe side effects.
The method of administration also varies across different herbs, and consuming those that are strictly designed for topical application can lead to adverse side effects.
While you may ingest herbs such as stinging nettle, rosemary, and aloe vera, most should only be applied to the scalp.
Therefore, we recommend you investigate each individually.
The Bottom Line
Herbs for hair growth increasingly attract attention in the beauty industry by providing safer substitutes for prescribed pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs.
Although they may have fewer or less noticeable effects than supplements or medication, ongoing studies reveal additional benefits and better ways to use herbs for your hair.
It is only a matter of time before full-fledged natural products rival the effectiveness of their artificial counterparts.
+ 9 sources
Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here
- Kumar, R., Singh, A.K., Gupta, A., Bishayee, A. and Pandey, A.K. (2019). Therapeutic potential of Aloe vera—A miracle gift of nature. Phytomedicine, [online] 60, p.152996. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2019.152996.
- Lee, B.H., Lee, J.S. and Kim, Y.C. (2016). Hair Growth-Promoting Effects of Lavender Oil in C57BL/6 Mice. Toxicological Research, [online] 32(2), pp.103–108. doi:https://doi.org/10.5487/tr.2016.32.2.103.
- Oh, J.Y., Park, M.A. and Kim, Y.C. (2014). Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs. Toxicological Research, [online] 30(4), pp.297–304. doi:https://doi.org/10.5487/tr.2014.30.4.297.
- Panahi (2015). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed, [online] 13(1). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25842469/#:~:text=A%20standardized%20professional,treatment%20of%20AGA.
- Truong, V.-L., Keum, Y.-S. and Jeong, W.-S. (2021). Red ginseng oil promotes hair growth and protects skin against UVC radiation. Journal of Ginseng Research, [online] 45(4), pp.498–509. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jgr.2020.12.008.
- Putra, I.B., Jusuf, N.K. and Sumantri, I.B. (2020). The Potency of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn. Leaves Ethanol Extract as Hair Growth. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, [online] 8(A), pp.89–92. doi:https://doi.org/10.3889/oamjms.2020.4211.
- Jing, W., Xiaolan, C., Yu, C., Feng, Q. and Haifeng, Y. (2022). Pharmacological effects and mechanisms of tannic acid. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, [online] 154, p.113561. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2022.113561.
- Journal of Experimental Pharmacology. (2023). A Systematic Review of Ethnobotanical, Phytochemical, and Ethnopharmacological Studies of Urtica simensis (Stinging Nettle). [online] Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.2147/JEP.S404506
- Sahu, R., Hemant Dhongade, Pandey, A. and Kashyap, P. (2016). Medicinal Properties of Nardostachys jatamansi (A Review). [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303531421_Medicinal_Properties_of_Nardostachys_jatamansi_A_Review