Do Herbal Hair Loss Treatments Really Work?

The hair loss treatments most frequently prescribed by dermatologists and hair loss clinics around the world are Propecia, or some other form of finasteride, such as Proscar, and Regaine/Rogaine, or its generic form - minoxidil. Some doctors will also recommend you to use supplementary vitamin and mineral pills, special shampoos, such as Nizoral, and perhaps a laser comb. But very few dermatologists and hair loss clinics will recommend their patients buy herbal hair loss treatments. But there are so many of them out there and most of them claim that they work better than Propecia or any other medicinal treatment prescribed by your doctor, while being free of potential negative side effects so typical of prescription medicine. And some of the manufacturers seem to be so convinced about the effectiveness of their product as to offer you a full money back guarantee. Or is it a catch?

First, one needs to differentiate between medical practice and the pharmaceutical industry on one hand and the cosmetics industry on the other. The medicinal and pharmaceuticals fields are strictly regulated in almost every country in the world, ensuring patient’s safety. Doctors can only prescribe permitted medications for certain conditions and the safety and efficacy of such medications has to be approved by the national health supervisory authority. Such products are considered safe and clinically proven to help treat the given condition. If your doctor recommends you some other, unproven herbal hair loss product, they will be taking the risk of supporting a treatment that has not been subjected to any rigorous clinical examination. Most doctors would not dare to do that since they have no guarantee that such a product would be beneficial to their patients and recommending a bad product could hurt their reputation.

Although some of the active ingredients in herbal hair loss products may pose a health risk, despite the common belief that they are safe, this is not their main controversy. The principal question is whether the herbal hair loss remedies are effective in treating hair loss. They might be effective to a certain degree since some of them also contain minoxidil, the only existing, clinically-proven and FDA-approved, topical medicine for treating hereditary baldness. Additional components, besides herbal extracts, usually include minerals, vitamins, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Most of these substances are either essential to ensuring healthy growth of hair and skin or they have been shown to promote new hair growth, mostly in small studies conducted on rodents. They have never been clinically tested for treating hereditary baldness and thus their effectiveness and mechanism of action are unknown. They may or may not help promote hair growth but since no clinical proof of their efficacy exists, the only way to find out is to buy them and try for yourself. And should they fail to work as promised, you may find out that the generous money-back guarantee, after deducting their incurred costs, only applies to a small fraction of the original price. This is the way some herbal hair loss product manufacturers earn their money.

In summary, no herbal hair loss remedy has ever been clinically proven and independently verified to effectively treat hereditary baldness. This does not necessarily mean that all herbal hair loss remedies are ineffective as they might work for some of us. However, they are usually overpriced and should at best be expected to maintain your existing hair rather than grow new hair from a bald patch.