Hair loss or alopecia is a normal part of aging for both men and women. Hair loss can also occur when someone goes through a serious medical condition. A lot of it has to do with symptoms of the condition, loss of appetite, loss of nutrients, excess medication, and/or a combination of the above. Even though I suffered from severe pneumonia for just a few months, I lost half of my head of hair. Fortunately, much of it is growing back. I have wisps of hair all around my head that make me look like I have a halo surrounding my face. But, it is not the angelic looking halo you might think of. Rather, it is the wind-swept, have-not-combed-my-hair type of halo from hair that is at unintentional varying lengths and that makes my face look twice its size.
Even though much of it is growing back, a lot of it is not. As you can imagine, I have been researching natural solutions for hair loss. I came across a lengthy article that describes 12 natural solutions for hair loss (Hartfield, 2015). The website for the article prompts you to take a quiz to determine whether or not your hair loss is preventable, and if it is, then only does the article make sense.
Some of the solutions the article provides are for topical remedies that you can apply directly on your head, and the article suggests your try these at least 2 times per week for at least 6 weeks. Other solutions are for internal remedies, suggesting foods or herbs that you can consume to help support hair loss. I am highlighting 3 natural remedies that the article provides.
1. Reishi Mushrooms
I recently wrote an article on the health benefits of reishi mushrooms, Ganoderma lucidum. Prior to coming across the hair loss revolution article, I did not realize that reishi mushroom had the added benefit of supporting hair loss. Hartfield sites a study conducted in 2005 in which several mushrooms were tested on their effect of preventing hair loss, and states that reishi mushroom was found to be the most effective in that study (2015). Hartfield provides a recipe for a hair mask that includes reishi, in addition to avocado, vanilla essential oil, cherries, stinging nettle, and chamomile. Stinging nettle has its own effects in the treatment of hair loss (Hartfield, 2015). In the case that you do not like the scent of vanilla, my recommendation would be to replace the vanilla essential oil with essential oils of rosemary, lavender, clary sage, or cedarwood, as these have also been shown to support the treatment of alopecia (Axe, Bollinger, & Rubin, 2016).
2. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, was included within the topical hair mask recipe with reishi mushrooms, but it is mentioned several times in the article, and recommended in other topical uses, as well as internal consumption. Stinging nettle, as it names suggests, causes a skin reaction when the skin comes in contact with the raw plant. But, cooking or drying the plant removes the components that cause this irritation (De la Forêt, 2017). Thus, if you are going to use the raw plant, make sure to use gloves when handling it, and make sure to cook the herb before consuming it. Internally, the article suggests taking an herbal supplement of the herb (Hartfield, 2015). It can also be taken as tea or as a tincture, and in addition to supporting healthy hair, it supports healthy bones, teeth, and immune system, amongh others (De la Forêt, 2017).
3. Balancing Acid & Alkaline In Your Body
I while ago I wrote an article on the acid & alkaline diet. Hartfield (2015), claims that in addition to the benefits of I describe of an acid alkaline balance, this diet is the key to any hair loss treatment. Having a pH in the body that is as close to its natural state, at around 7.4, can encourage hair growth. The article explains that when there is too much of an acidic condition in the body, either through poor diet or through illness, as is what happened to me, the growth of new hair slows down. In addition, there is a loss of hair color, hair strength, and hair thickness.
Even though I did not mention this in the article I wrote about the acid and alkaline food balance, one of the sources for the article, Christopher Vasey, also mentioned hair loss as a result of too much acid in the body, stating that acidification causes the body to lose minerals, which weakens hair (Vasey, 2006). Thus, by creating a more alkaline environment in the body, these effects are reversed or corrected and the body naturally encourages hair growth (Hartfield, 2015; Vasey 2006).
Hartfield (2015) goes into a lot of detail of the specific effects that alkaline and acidic diets have on hair loss and I encourage you to read this in more detail if you are interested in following an alkalizing diet. As a general recommendation, some of the more alkalinizing foods are fruits and vegetables, although Vasey (2006) suggests focusing on vegetables over fruits. In fact, the only fruit Vasey recommends to be alkalizing are bananas, dates, raisins, and sweet apricots. Other alkalizing foods include almonds, Brazil nuts, chestnuts, greens, corn, potatoes, raw milk, egg yolk, and other naturally occurring foods (Hartfield, 2015; Vasey, 2006). In addition, it is essential to remove acidifying foods, such as processed foods, processed sugars, meats, legumes, most condiments, and caffeine (Vasey, 2006).
Although I provide just a few of the natural remedies that the article lists, I encourage you to look at the article for other remedies that may resonate with you.Keep in mind that not every remedy works for everybody, so you may need to spend some time trying out different options or a combination of options to determine what works best for you.
One other note, Minoxidil, commonly known as Rogaine, is the only drug approved by the FDA to treat hair loss both in men and women. However, there have been reported unpleasant side effects of taking this drug. This article on the website explains more, and provides 3 natural alternatives.
If there is one takeaway that you can have from any of the information I provide, and certainly from this article on treating hair loss, it is that you have to determine what will work for you and your individual needs and conditions. Just because I say or you read somewhere that something worked for someone, it does not mean that it will work for you. Each and every one of us is unique, and we have to test and try different options to determine what will work best for us.
It is still too early to tell which combination will work best for me, but I know that following a more alkalinizing diet has helped me resolve several other health issues in the past, and I am hoping that a combination of that with reishi mushroom and stinging nettle is going to be successful in supporting my hair to grow back.
Axe, J., Bollinger, T., & Rubin J. (2016). Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine. USA: Axe Wellness LLC.
De la Forêt, R. (2017). Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Heal. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House Inc.
Hartfield, W. (2015). The 12 best natural DHT blockers in the world. Hair Loss Revolution. Retrieved on May 22, 2017 from https://www.hairlossrevolution.com/best-natural-dht-blockers/?inf_contact_key=50ccc55e14f5ea278c46f5690bc89d1ae005108823c257b7f5353d6916c2cfa5
Vasey, C. (2006). The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.