Are there any natural remedies for hair loss that work? Here we take a look at the most commonly recommended home remedies for re-growing hair, strengthening the hair you have and preventing future hair loss.
Please note: Whilst we provide links to the medical references used in this article, we always recommend that you discuss your hair loss and the use of ANY remedies with a medical professional.
One of the most important things to establish when looking for a natural approach to reversing hair loss is - what's actually causing the hair loss in the first place?
On our hair loss causes page we look at many of the factors that can cause you to lose your hair, ranging from hormonal imbalance to hairstyles that regularly put your hair under excessive tension.
With so many possible causes of hair loss, it stands to reason that it's impossible to pinpoint a natural solution that will work for everyone.
However, some of the natural remedies for hair loss suggested on this page may be effective in certain situations - and, personally, we like to try to exhaust all the natural (and often cheaper!) solutions to hair loss issues before resorting to more costly treatments!
In cases where there is research to back up any claims about the
efficiency of a particular hair loss remedy mentioned here, we've
included links to the medical studies or referenced the relevant
Although it's reassuring to know that scientific study supports a certain approach, however, it doesn't necessarily mean that we should dismiss out of hand any natural remedies for hair loss that are NOT supported by medical research.
On the other hand, we strongly recommend using discernment when reading the claims made for natural hair loss treatments, particularly when products are touted as 'proven cures', yet there is no evidence to back up those claims!
Many natural remedies for hair loss do not actually trigger the regrowth of hair - instead, they help strengthen and repair existing hair.
But this is no reason to overlook them - if you can improve the condition of your existing hair it will look fuller and healthier - and if you can strengthen it, it will prevent the breakage which can make your hair look even thinner.
As with conventional hair loss treatments, natural remedies take time to work.
It can take a few months to really notice results from whatever regimen you're following - so don't switch from one remedy to another every few weeks, convinced that nothing is working!
Instead, be consistent in your 'plan of attack', even going so far as noting dates you started a particular treatment and the state/condition of your hair at the time. This can really help you see which of your efforts produces the results you're looking for.
Modifying your diet is one of the easiest natural remedies for hair loss
to adopt... and it's also the one most commonly overlooked!
Hair is sometimes described as the body's 'barometer of health' - so it stands to reason that a lack of certain nutrients in your body would make itself known via the state of your hair!
So what SHOULD you be eating to strengthen your hair?
Protein is very important - and if you're vegetarian it's particularly important to ensure you're consuming enough protein to support healthy hair growth.
Meat, of course, is a good source of protein - but so are dairy foods (like milk and cheese), beans, seeds, nuts, fish and eggs.
Omega 3 fatty acids are vital for many functions in the body... and that includes maintaining a healthy scalp, which in turn promotes healthy hair growth.
You can get them from eggs, nuts and seeds (also included in our list of protein-rich foods above). If you struggle to include seeds in your diet, try sprinkling them on your salads (they add great texture), stirring them into the dough when making bread, or incorporating them into your smoothies.
Our favorite 'nutty' source of Omega 3 fatty acids is the walnut. Walnuts are great for healthy hair, and for the body's health in general - try adding a handful of chopped walnuts to your breakfast cereal or even using them to top your desserts. They make a satisfying snack, too... and a much healthier one than that mid-morning cookie!
Another great source of Omega 3 fatty acids (AND protein) is fish. Oily fish like sardines, salmon and tuna are particularly good - and the canned varieties are just as good as fresh, especially when they contain the skin.
Other important nutrients for your hair include iron, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin C, beta-carotene and pantothenic acid.
Low iron can be the culprit in cases of hair loss much more often than you may think! We strongly recommend asking your doctor to check your iron levels if you're losing your hair - this just involves a simple blood test.
If your iron levels DO prove to be low, your doctor may recommend iron supplements. You can also boost your iron by paying attention to your dietary intake - meat is a great source of iron, along with blackstrap molasses, spinach, oatmeal, soybeans and lentils.
An easy way to meet your daily iron requirements is to use the Lucky Iron Fish.
This award-winning solution to worldwide iron-deficiency is both safe and cost-effective. It's also IDEAL if you struggle to include enough iron-rich foods in your diet. Click here to learn more about the Lucky Iron Fish.
Your body absorbs iron much more easily if you consume vitamin C at the same time, so try eating fruit along with your meal or drinking a glass of orange juice. You can also increase your iron intake by cooking your food in iron pots.
In addition to supplying you with iron, lentils are also a great source of zinc, a nutrient you can also obtain from liver, beef, baked beans and - if you're feeling decadent - oysters!
Learn more about how iron levels affect hair loss
Eat plenty of strawberries, blueberries and kiwi fruits to boost your vitamin C and turn to orange foods (like sweet potato, pumpkin and peaches) or dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach) to obtain your beta-carotene.
Pantothenic acid - which you see listed all the time on hair product labels - is a B vitamin found in yogurt and cereals. And you can boost your B vitamins further by eating egg yolk (you'll notice eggs crop up a LOT as a good food for your hair!), plus liver, cheese, avocado and raspberries.
Dr James A Duke PhD, an expert on healing herbs and author of 'The Green Pharmacy' refers to burdock - the roots and leaves of which can be eaten as a cooked vegetable - as useful for minimizing hair loss.
More About Nutrition and Hair Loss...
Foods to avoid if you have an existing thyroid problem
Taking Dietary Supplements - a Warning
If you find it difficult to consume enough of the 'right' foods, you may feel tempted to take dietary supplements. But do speak to your doctor first - there's evidence that too much supplementation can CAUSE hair loss, particularly vitamin E and folic acid (source: Nutritional Factors and Hair Loss).
Washing it All Down
Remember to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and flush out any toxins in your body.
Listed as a folk remedy for hair loss by the National Institutes of Health, along with the warning that there is insufficient medical evidence to support its popularity, saw palmetto has long been favored as a natural remedy for female pattern baldness.
It is believed that saw palmetto might block an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase from converting testosterone in your body into dihydrotestosterone. It is dihydrotestosterone that can lead to baldness.
Whilst some clinical studies do seem to confirm that saw palmetto may
block 5-alpha-reductase, there are none to show that saw palmetto can
cause hair to regrow.
Nevertheless, a small study of a group of 10 men using saw palmetto did actually show an improvement in hair loss, but such a small scale test is not considered significant.
And 'Dr Duke' Essential Herbs' author Dr James Duke PhD, an expert on healing herbs, says that he has 'collected a number of uncontrolled case studies' indicating that saw palmetto does, indeed, trigger the regrowth of hair. Both he and Dr Andrew Weil MD, advocate of integrative medicine and best-selling author, suggest taking a standardized extract of the berries (160 mg, twice a day).
Poor styling techniques can be a secondary - and sometimes even a primary - cause of hair loss. Problems with styling usually cause hair breakage rather than the loss of hair from the scalp itself, although if the damage is bad enough you may think that the hair is falling out from the roots.
The exception, though, is traction alopecia. If your hair is tied back a lot, or you wear hair extensions or a weave, please see our Traction Alopecia page to learn more about the steps you can take to resolve the problem.
Other styling issues that can trigger hair loss are the use of harsh chemicals (dyes, straighteners etc) and too much heat (from hairdryers, flat irons etc).
| RELATED: Do Rollers Damage the Hair?
You can improve the condition of your hair to prevent further damage and hair loss by avoiding these styling techniques as much as possible, in order to let your hair regain its natural equilibrium.
..both of which are gentle on the hair and allow it to recover.
If your hair loss is very bad and your scalp is showing, you can try changing your hair style, using clip-in hairpieces, or wearing hats to disguise the hair loss.
Body boosting products are good too and can add a lot of volume to existing hair to make it look a lot thicker than it really is.
Get your hair trimmed often to prevent it splitting from the ends upwards and avoid brushing it when it's wet, because that's when it's at its most fragile.
And try using a silk or satin pillowcase instead of cotton - it really makes a difference!
'Me' time may sound like a luxury that many of us women cannot afford - yet it's so important to our overall health.
By finding time for ourselves we relieve some of the stress that can build up in our busy lives, which in turn can have a positive effect on hair loss.
Stress levels can certainly impact our hormonal balance. As we explain on this page, an imbalance of hormones can trigger hair loss. It's essential, then, to learn to manage stress in whatever way works best for you - with dedicated 'quiet' times, massages, warm baths, or even meditation.
Scalp massage is often recommended as a technique for triggering hair regrowth. Whilst it may be helpful in some respects - it would certainly help alleviate stress and would increase blood flow, promoting a healthy scalp - it's doubtful that it massage alone would actually cause hair to re-grow.
However, massaging the scalp with particular oils may, in fact, be be one of the few natural remedies for hair loss that actually prompts hair growth - a fact borne out by scientific study.
Research conducted in 1998 by Isabelle C Hay MRCP, Margaret Jamieson SRN and Anthony D Ormerod FRCP, and published in the Archives of Dermatology, concluded that "aromatherapy was found to be a safe and effective treatment for alopecia areata".
In the study, 86 people with alopecia areata were split into two groups. The first group massaged their scalps daily with essential oils (thyme, rosemary, lavender and cedarwood) in a mixture of carrier oils (jojoba and grapeseed). The second group used only the carrier oils for their daily scalp massage.
The interesting results were that 44% of the first group showed an improvement, compared to only 15% of the second group - demonstrating that treatment with an essential oil was "significantly more effective" than with the carrier oil alone.
Dr James Duke PhD, author of 'The Green Pharmacy' agrees, and recommends mixing one part rosemary with two parts of almond oil, then using as a nightly scalp massage.
Scalp massage with warm oils is also recommended as a Ayurvedic remedy for hair loss.
Less popular in the western world, but one of the more common natural hair loss remedies in ayurvedic medicine, Amla oil comes from the Indian Gooseberry and is usually applied directly to the scalp. It contains essential fatty acids and is believed to not only nourish the hair, but to strengthen the hair follicles themselves.
You can use it instead of conditioner - just smooth it over your hair from root to tip, then leave for around 30 minutes (to intensify the effect, cover your hair with a shower cap). Finally, rinse with warm water.
Both coconut oil and coconut milk are commonly recommended as natural remedies for hair loss, although it's likely that any benefits from coconut milk actually come from the oil it contains!
Coconut products were initially popular in Southern India, but have recently gained a lot of fans in the west - and, as far as coconut oil is concerned, with good reason!
Whilst there may not actually be any scientific evidence that coconut oil can make the hair grow back, there is strong evidence that it can truly improve the condition and strength of your existing hair - and, as we mentioned earlier, that's an important point to take into consideration when it comes to enhancing your thinning hair and preventing further hair loss.
Research involving coconut oil, sunflower oil and mineral oil (oil from a non-vegetable source) showed that coconut oil was the only oil that could 'remarkably' reduce the loss of protein from both damaged and undamaged hair when it was used as a pre-wash and post-wash hair care product.
Green tea has become one of the more popular natural remedies for hair loss, but there's no conclusive proof that it's effective.
The UK's Belgravia Centre explains that one particular study into the effects of green tea did actually show that it prevented hair loss and actually triggered hair growth in mice. It's likely, then, that it was THIS research that gave rise to its current popularity as a natural hair loss solution.
However, the Belgravia Centre goes on to point out that this research was conducted on mice - not humans - and that the green tea they were given contained extremely high concentration levels of polyphenols. Essentially, this means we'd need to drink cups of green tea virtually one after another to receive the same 'dose'.
Nevertheless, there seem to be lots of other health benefits to drinking green tea, so it certainly doesn't hurt to give this remedy a try for yourself!
Integrative medicine expert and best-selling author Dr Andrew Weil MD recommends both blackcurrant oil and evening primrose oil as natural hair loss remedies. He explains that both contain the essential fatty acid GLA (gamma linoleic acid). As we mentioned earlier in this article, essential fatty acids are important for maintaining strong, healthy hair.
There is some evidence to show that ginseng can act as a natural remedy for hair loss. One study has suggested that fructus panax ginseng has the ability to trigger hair generation - and other tests have noted that ginseng radix (the dried root of panax ginseng) can trigger hair regrowth in mice.
Biotin has certainly become one of the more popular natural hair loss remedies recently, but is it really effective?
Well, it seems that if you really want to take the 'natural' route in treating your hair, then the best option would be to look to your diet, as biotin is simply a water soluble B vitamin that you can easily obtain through food.
Biotin, which helps turn calories into energy, is available in egg yolk, cheese, liver, yeast, avocado and raspberries. Although a biotin deficiency may CAUSE hair loss, it seems that a deficiency of this B vitamin is rare.
Source: Dr David Katz
Nevertheless, if you want to optimize your biotin levels, you can make sure your diet includes plenty of the foods mentioned, and avoid eating raw egg whites, which contain a compound that stops your body absorbing biotin efficiently (cooking them actually deactivates the compound).
Unlike vitamins A, D, E and K, which are fat soluble and can build up to dangerously high levels in the body i you take too much, biotin supplements are considered safe because they're water soluble. This means your body simply absorbs what it needs, then flushes out the rest through your kidneys.
We love apple cider vinegar for all sorts of things and it certainly seems to have some benefits for the hair.
The way in which it works to promote hair growth is by creating a healthy scalp - it tends to deter dandruff and fungal infections like tinea capitis (scalp ringworm).
Dr Frank Lipman recommends diluting 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar (ACV) in 4 cups of water, then pouring it over the hair after shampooing (please note that this does not have to be done on a daily basis).
That vivid green juice is all the rage among those looking for natural routes to good health, but is there any evidence that it can help hair loss?
Well, not directly - but wheatgrass is undoubtedly a rich source of nutrients and we can personally attest to the fact that it boosts vitality and promotes an overall sense of well-being. Since the hair is a barometer of the body's general health, it makes sense that some women feel their hair is improved by regular wheatgrass consumption.
Wheatgrass is beneficial when juiced raw and consumed immediately. But please do speak to your doctor before taking it, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or have a compromised immune system. Because it's consumed raw, there's a possibility that it can be contaminated by bacteria in the soil in which it's grown.
Aloe Vera is another of those natural remedies for hair loss which many users will swear by, but whose effectiveness isn't backed up by any scientific evidence.
It does seem that aloe vera can play a big part in promoting a healthy scalp, which in turn can help maintain healthy hair and prevent hair loss. It has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and helps balance PH levels, preventing an itchy scalp and dandruff. It can also prevent seborrheic dermatitis.
If you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis, then your scalp produces too much natural oil called sebum. This extra oil combines with dirt and patches of scaly build up begin to form, blocking hair follicles and causing them to swell. Subsequently, the scalp begins to itch and this irritation can inhibit hair growth or even cause hair loss.
Aloe vera, then, with its ability to prevent both dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, may be an effective hair loss remedy where those conditions are present.
The unproven theory behind gingko biloba's reputation as a hair loss remedy is that it increases blood flow to the brain, thereby triggering hair growth by providing the hair follicles with extra nutrients.
Another of the natural remedies for hair loss noted by Dr Duke is stinging nettle. Although Dr Duke isn't aware of any scientific research supporting its use as a home remedy for hair loss, he refers to a recommendation of tincture of nettle made by German herbal physician Dr Rudolf F Weiss MD, whose opinion Dr Duke respects.
Stinging nettle is believed to work by preventing testosterone in the body being converted to the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which triggers hair loss, and for this reason its' commonly found listed as an ingredient in shampoos. It's also listed as a hair loss remedy by WebMD, although the site does point out that there is insufficient evidence to support its use.
Please note that you shouldn't use stinging nettle if you're pregnant, nursing, or taking blood pressure medication.
Herbal medicine expert Dr James Duke PhD refers to safflower as a home remedy for hair loss and - interestingly - research showed that an extract of Carthamus tinctorius (the scientific name for safflower) promoted the growth of hair growth in mice.Dr Duke notes that Safflower Oil can be taken in capsule form. Alternatively, you can make a tea from it - simply steep the dried herb in a cup of hot water, adding sugar to taste.
Dr Duke also states that safflower is not suitable for children and you should avoid it if you have kidney disease or heart disease.
Another of the natural remedies for hair loss recommended by Dr Duke is horsetail, which is a good source of silica.
The reishi mushroom, also known as ganoderma, is considered to be hugely important in Asian healing and has begun to gain a reputation as a useful tool in the battle against hair loss.
This Healthline article shows that there are scientific studies that demonstrate ganoderma can reduce inflammation in the skin, but there is no specific evidence supporting its use as a hair loss cure.
Nevertheless, as we've stated throughout this article, a healthy scalp goes 'hand in hand' with healthy hair growth, so it may be that the reishi mushroom's benefits for the scalp that prompt its users to find it helpful in reducing their hair loss.
WebMD warns that you should not take reishi mushroom if you are on blood pressure or anticoagulant medications.
As we mention often on our site, your hair reflects your overall health and is often the first place where medical issues tend to 'show up' and make themselves known.
In addition to the good nutrition and hydration we've already mentioned in this article, there are two other simple steps you can take to improve your general health and - in turn - your hair health.
1. Stop smoking. Among the many other negative effects smoking has on the body, smoking depletes useful nutrients in your system. the lack of the nutrients that you need for good health will eventually impact your hair (please see our smoking and hair loss page for more information).
2. Get plenty of exercise. Exercise, of course, carries a multitude of benefits and can make a vast improvement to your overall health. One of the big benefits for your hair is that it boosts the blood circulation, which should improve the condition of your scalp and prompt healthy hair growth.
Though we haven't found a lot of information supporting their effectiveness, other natural remedies for hair loss referred to by 'Green Pharmacy' expert Dr Duke include...
Emu oil is also gaining a reputation as a hair loss remedy. Whilst it might not be quite as effective as it's sometimes claimed to be, there ARE some benefits in applying emu oil to the scalp.
You can read more about emu oil here
Another - perhaps rather unusual remedy - that seems to be giving some people good results is onion juice.
Read more about using onion juice to treat hair loss and achieve a healthy scalp
If you use central heating, air conditioning or live in a dry climate, you may want to think about using a humidifier.
Recent headlines have revealed a link between caffeine and improved hair growth.
Find out more here...
Bamboo plants grow quickly and are strong and flexible.
So can bamboo leaf tea provide the same benefits for our hair?
Finally, you may have heard that research has proven hair plucking to be useful in making more hair grow back.
Here's an article all about that research, and why plucking your hair might NOT be a good idea.
Please do remember - as you try these remedies for yourself under your doctor's guidance - that it may take several months to see the results in your hair (although improvements to the condition of your scalp may be visible in just a couple of weeks).
We hope your found our guide to natural remedies for hair loss informative and useful, and that you are able to discover a natural solution that works for you.