Natural and Herbal Hair Loss Treatments

Natural and herbal treatments are becoming increasingly popular solutions for hair loss. But even though they are increasing in use, they are still relative unknowns in the world of hair loss treatment. Reputable research has never been carried to determine if any herb, plant, fruit or root alone can curb hair loss or encourage hair growth. However, there are some natural hair loss treatments that, when used in combination with medications such as Rogaine® and Propecia®, may boost the effectiveness of the medications, as well as creating a more hospitable environment in which hair can grow.

Beware of products that claim to be “Nature’s answer to” Rogaine or Propecia, or an “all-natural” DHT blocker. Such things simply do not exist. Individuals who are considering adding a natural or herbal treatment to their hair loss prevention routine should always discuss these options with their physician. The physician will inform the patient on any potential side effects, or rule out any allergies. It’s important to remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean safe.

With that said, here are some of the more popular natural and herbal treatments. Remember that education, moderation patience, and common sense are key to success use of these treatments.

Aloe Vera

Topical aloe vera has long been used to help heal burns and abrasions, and is known to contain enzymes that help skin recuperate more quickly from superficial wounds and sunburns. Aloe’s healing properties may help promote a healthier scalp in balding areas as well. Aloe balances the skin’s pH levels, as well as cleanses the pores, which optimizes the potential for hair growth. A shampoo containing aloe can be used, or aloe gel straight from the plant can be used and easily massaged into the scalp.

Avocado and Avocado Oil

Avocados are not only a food, but one of the most popular fruits to incorporate into a beauty regimen. High in Vitamins B and E, avocados are commonly used to maintain healthy skin and hair, as well as promote cell growth. It’s not surprising then that avocados are included as an ingredient in so many shampoos, conditioners and skin products. As a hair loss treatment, advocates say that it helps to moisturize the hair and scalp, while replenishing balding areas of vitamins and other nutrients whose absence may have contributed to their hair loss. The avocado is usually mashed and then mixed with mayonnaise or olive oil to create a slick paste that is applied to the balding areas. Avocado oil is just as high in nutrients and perhaps easier to use: users mix it with a bit of warm olive oil and massage it directly into the scalp.

Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed extract is a fruit-based compound that has been garnering a lot of attention in recent years. The OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) and Vitamin E found in grape seeds are believed to inhibit the production of DHT and promote scalp health. Some believe that the OPCs specifically may stimulate hair follicles and promote healthy hair growth. Some people, who have used grape seed extract as a supplement to their hair loss regimen, felt they had grown thicker hair as a result. There have been a few small studies done which suggest that the extract may have stimulated hair growth in mice, but its overall effectiveness on human hair loss is still not proven.

Green Tea and Green Tea Extract

Green tea has historically been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine as everything from a diuretic to an astringent. More recently, green tea has been used to help in the prevention of hair loss. Antioxidants found in green tea or green tea extract may help boost the immune system and encourage healthy circulation, which in turn, carries nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles. Since follicular miniaturization (the shrinking of the hair follicles) is known to be a culprit in androgenetic alopecia, drinking green tea may help open and increase blood flow to the follicles. If an individual doesn’t enjoy the taste of green tea, warm green tea bags or a strong diffusion (2 bags per cup of warm water) of green tea can be applied directly to the scalp.

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto, the extract of the fruit Serenoa repens, is widely promoted as “Nature’s alternative” to Finasteride, the active ingredient in Propecia®. In fact, saw palmetto is so touted as an organic alternative to Propecia® that many products market themselves primarily on the fact that saw palmetto is one of the ingredients. Because there is a possibility that saw palmetto may alter the DHT levels in users, it is strongly cautioned to avoid using it until a physician has been consulted. Taking the extract is not recommended for women in general, and pregnant or nursing women should not come into contact with saw palmetto at all. Take only the daily dosage recommended by a physician, and never assume that exceeding the dosage will lead to quicker, better results.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has long been used by people wanting cleaner, stronger hair. It has also been known as a very effective treatment for dandruff and infant “cradle cap.” It’s important to remember that pure tea tree oil is not recommended for direct use on the scalp, as it may cause a burning sensation. Users advise diffusing a drop or two of tea tree oil to shampoo or conditioner, in order to lesser its strength.  Because tea tree oil is a natural astringent, anti-fungi, and is thought to help treat dandruff, users believe the oil may help to thoroughly clean the scalp. They feel it clears any build-up around the hair follicles, which encourages oxygen and blood flow to damaged follicles. This, in turn, helps create an environment where hair growth becomes more probable.

Wheat Germ Oil

Wheat germ oil is made from the heart of a germ of wheat, contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and is rich in Vitamin E. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in brain function, reduce inflammation, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamin E is known to protect cell membranes, promote heart health, and improve circulation. While there is no conclusive evidence that wheat germ oil prevents further hair loss, shampoos containing wheat germ oil may help direct much-needed vitamins and nutrients directly to the scalp. This helps create a more hospitable environment for follicles to open and grow hair. Because it contains Vitamin E, Minoxidil users have said wheat germ oil helps soothe the dry, itchy scalp that they sometimes experience as a side effect.


The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s website is a great first step in researching natural hair loss treatments.