Thursday, 11 June 2009

Reader Questions Week: Garlic for hair growth?

Avril asks, 'Question, if water can enter the cortex of the hair and moisturize it, then would water infused with herbs benefit the cortex of the hair? eg. like how you would make tea. I do know of some persons who swear by tea rinses

Also does garlic really help with hair shedding?'


My instinct was to dismiss this is as an old wives tale but the scientific process does demand that I look for evidence and I am actually shocked!!

Garlic has been shown to stimulate hair growth in those suffering from alopecia areata! Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss which does not scar the skin. One study says that garlic gel applied to the head led to an increase in hair growth. Unfortunately the study is published in Arabic, which I cannot read , therefore I cannot give more details (Journal of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, pg 9-15, 2006).

A second study says that patients responded better to a mixture of garlic gel and a steroid cream compared to those who just got a steroid cream . Steroid creams are the standard starting treatment for this type of hair loss. (Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, pg 29-32, 2007)

Interestingly onion juice (yep, just plain old crushed onions) also enhanced hair growth compared to tap water. Meaning in the absence of steroids, crushed onions could stimulate hair growth for alopecia areata (Journal of dermatology, pg 343-346, 2002).

The reason why crushed garlic and onion are thought to have an effect is not precisely known. Scientists think this could be linked to

1. This form of hair loss is caused by the body attacking itself and garlic/onion juices contain chemicals that can help slow or stop the immune system from doing this.
2. Garlic extracts have antifungal properties (International Journal of Dermatology, pg 285-287, 2009). This action may help create a suitable hair growth environment.

I really didn't think I would find anything but clearly it is necessary not to be biased and just look for an answer.

I have not found anything more regarding tea rinses directly but I'll keep looking. I would say that the studies were specific to a hair loss condition not for people who just wanted more hair and had a healthy/normal growth pattern. Nonetheless, consider me shocked!!

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21 comments:

  1. very interesting. the smell won't help my dating game, but this might be worth trying in the future.

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  2. I take odourless garlic supplements because they are supposed to reduce hair loss. I think they do work because I don't lose a lot of hair.

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  3. Very Interesting

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  4. Really cool information. I take garlic supplements (Kwai) to reduce hair shedding. Nice to know at least one bandwagon is actually based on scientific research and facts. I still shed but I rationalize it and assume I would be shedding a whole lot more if not for the supplements. Not sure I would apply it to my head though. There has got to be an easier way, LOL!

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  5. Hi Sunny - Thank you for your comment. I do not post comments which I regard as advertising. If you would like to, feel free to resubmit without the link

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  6. I love organic cosmetics. It is great that there are many herbs available to treat hair loss we are towards beginning to become green.

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  7. I had surgery back in March, 2010 to remove a Pilar Cyst on my scalp. I was told that hair will no longer grow at the site of the cyst and that the surrounding hair should be used to cover the remaining bald spot. Having nothing to lose, I tried the onion juice/garllic combination. Now, as of June, 2010, there is hair growing in the site. I've been using this treatment for approx. 2 months and I am convinced it's working,.at least for me. I have no hidden agenda here other than to say I think it actually works.

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    1. hello,happy to knw tht ur hairs regrow.how often u applied it,can u tell me how you used garlic n onion mixture.waiting for ur reply.have a nice time.

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  8. Do you drink the onion juice/garlic mixture or do you put it directly on the area of your head where hair is not growing? (i.e. temples)

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  9. Sorry for the late response, the onion or garlic juice is applied directly to the scalp.

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  10. I've heard that the onion/garlic partially due to the sulfur contained in them.

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  11. Is this to be applied everyday? how do u beat d smell d next morning when u go 4 work...even d strongest smelling shampoo cant mask d smell...
    Was thinking is instead of everyday, applying it on d weekends (twice a week) wud help...
    plz reply

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  12. It is usually done daily babushka. You can try whatever makes you happy and observe what happens. If it does not work then perhaps you should try the daily method.

    I cannot guarantee any results either way as I am reporting only the science findings.

    Anon - I have not seen any papers reporting the effect with sulphur alone. I have only seen the onion and garlic papers.

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  13. Garlic does stop shedding. I take the odorless capsules (2) once a day. I barely shed anymore.

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  14. Hi there
    Can we use home made powdered garlic instead of fresh crushed garlic cloves?
    Thanks :)

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  15. There is a much easier solution....
    There are actually garlic shampoos & conditioners availible where the garlic scent is deodorized!!! amazon has a few. The shampoos still have a scent of baby powder to them, but its better than smelling like garlic! Dont forget to order the conditioner for added benefit. :)

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  16. the active ingredient IS smelling. buying non-smelling garlic products will not succeed as far as i know. decide - hair or temporary odor?

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  17. you can rinse your hair with apple veniger after shampoo to get rid of the smell. A saudi beautician adviced me thus. :)
    Apply garlic juice on your scalp n leave it for an hour covered with a shower cap so it doesnt dry (it stings btw)
    shampoo and then as a last rinse put 2 capfulls of apple vinegar in a mug of luke warm water n rinse. The smell goes completely n it really works :))

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  18. you deleted my comment that corrected the error and are ignorant enough to read and find where mazandaran university is and what language they speak and publish in !! your website sucks and will be reflected on other social networks !!

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    1. I really wish I knew why you are ranting, what comment did I delete, did you have a link in it? What error are you talking about? It is all a mystery to me. Good thing that atleast 6000 to 7000 people disagree with you and come to my site every day :)

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  19. The language is Farsi not Arabic

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