Ashwagandha for Hair: Strengthen and lower hair loss
Ashwagandha is an herb well known for having multiple health benefits, but did you know it’s also great for your hair?
In this article, we’ll be exploring the impact Ashwagandha has on hair health and how you can add it into your morning (or night time) routine!
What is Ashwagandha?
If you’re not familiar with Ashwagandha, then take a seat and get ready to have your mind blown because this is one powerful herb!
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, Indian Ginseng, and Winter Cherry, is an ancient herb popular in ayurvedic medicine spanning thousands of years.
The herb is native to India, Northern Africa, and the Middle East, but due to its many health benefits, Ashwagandha supplements are becoming more and more popular worldwide.
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Some health benefits of Ashwagandha include:
- Testosterone regulation
- Lowering blood sugar levels
- Lowering inflammation
- Brain function and memory
And that’s just to name a few!
You can read all about the science behind the effect Ashwagandha has on the above here.
But for now, it’s time to explore what Ashwagandha can do to encourage healthy hair.
What Effect Does Ashwagandha Have on Hair?
Ashwagandha is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in beauty products such as shampoo and lotions.
The addition of the herb isn’t there to just appeal to natural beauty lovers; it’s actually because Ashwagandha may help with:
- Improving scalp circulation
- Strengthening hair
It’s not uncommon for a beauty product to list an endless amount of promises, so no wonder we’re often dubious. So without further ado, let’s see how much science supports these claims!
Ashwagandha, Scalp Circulation and Hair Loss
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, the name given to a family of plants that have stress-reducing abilities.
High levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, can impact many different body areas, which can then affect day-to-day life.
Studies have shown that the impact of stress on hair could lead to poor scalp circulation and the prevention of hair growth. This change isn’t just physical; it can also lead to a lack of confidence and negatively affect mental health.
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Ashwagandha’s adaptogenic properties mean it can help reduce any stress hormones that are active in hair follicles; as a result, it may have a positive effect on preventing hair loss.
In 2012 a 57-year-old woman suffering from scalp hair loss, irritation of the scalp, and excessive scalp dryness took part in a study to examine the effect Ashwagandha had on her symptoms. After taking a 400mg Ashwagandha supplement twice daily over eight months, the patient experienced a reduction in scalp hair loss.
While research is limited, so far, it suggests that Ashwagandha could help improve scalp circulation and prevent hair loss.
Ashwagandha and Strengthening hair
Ashwagandha contains powerful antioxidants which can potentially help strengthen the hair.
Antioxidants help protect cells against something called ‘free radicals’ Free radicals are unstable, cause damage and ultimately harm the body.
Well known for helping us maintain healthy skin, nails, and hair, antioxidants simply help protect and repair our body.
Other hair benefits antioxidants may have include:
- Protection from sun damage
- Help prevent split ends
Research shows that antioxidant activity can have a positive effect on how our hair behaves!
Ashwagandha and Preventing Premature Greys
Melanin is a pigment that determines your hair color that naturally reduces once we hit 30, by as much as 20% every year!
If melanin begins to reduce at a younger age, it can cause the hair to prematurely grey.
Research shows that Ashwagandha can help promote melanin production, which means Ashwagandha may help you retain your natural hair color for longer!
An Ashwagandha extract may naturally help keep those grays at bay without adding chemicals found in hair dyes.
Does Ashwagandha Work on a Particular Hair Type?
There is currently no evidence to suggest that Ashwagandha is more effective on a particular type of hair.
Likewise, there is no evidence to suggest Ashwagandha should not be used on a specific hair type.
How do I take Ashwagandha?
An Ashwagandha supplement is typically available as either a capsule, powder or a liquid extract to be taken either morning or evening.
Consuming an Ashwagandha capsule is the most common way to take it, but there are a couple of other options which include:
- Adding a couple of drops of liquid extra to a glass of water or cup of tea
- Creating a paste by adding some water and then applying to the scalp or/and hair
- Adding into a shampoo to use when washing the hair
Do be aware that you will need to consistently take/use Ashwagandha to see a noticeable difference. Taking one capsule isn’t going to transform your hair overnight!
Ashwagandha supplements should be taken orally; while there is no single recommended dose, studies have safely given participants 250-600mg.
If using a product with Ashwagandha extract, read the label for instructions on the amount to use and apply it.
Are there any side effects of Ashwagandha?
Side effects of Ashwagandha are uncommon in small doses and, if occur, are typically mild.
Potential side effects include:
- Upset stomach
While current studies suggest that Ashwagandha is safe to take over the short term, the side effects of long-term use are unknown.
Do not use Ashwagandha if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Also, use caution if you have a hormonal imbalance (it may correct hormonal imbalance, but that depends on the type of imbalance you have), stomach ulcers, high or low blood pressure, or an auto-immune disorder.
If you have any concerns, speak with a medical healthcare professional.
Ashwagandha has been a big part of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and for a good reason.
If you’re looking for a natural way to give a bit more life to your hair or looking to promote hair growth, an Ashwagandha supplement may well be the answer you’re looking for!