Herbal preparations for the treatment of hair loss


Though hair does not serve any crucial physiological function in modern humans, it plays an important role in our self-esteem. Androgenic baldness (androgenic alopecia) and circular/spot baldness (alopecia areata) are the most common forms of hair loss. Many active ingredients of synthetic origin are available for treatment; however, they have a number of limitations. Their effectiveness and safety are questionable and the amount of time needed to achieve the effect is both long and unclear. This has increased interest in finding an alternative approach against hair loss using preparations containing plants and/or their isolated active ingredients. A number of studies (mostly randomized, placebo-controlled) of plants and preparations made of plants have been performed to confirm their effectiveness in treating hair loss. The plants with the most evidence-based effect against alopecia are Curcuma aeruginosa (pink and blue ginger), Serenoa repens (palmetto), Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin), Trifolium pratense (red clover), and Panax ginseng (Chinese red ginseng). The assumed mechanism of action is predominately inhibition of 5α-reductase, with enhanced nutritional support and scalp blood circulation playing a role as well.

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A.Z.Š. and S.K. conceived of the review article idea. A.Z.Š. and N.P. selected and reviewed the literature. S.K. encouraged A.Z.Š. and N.P. to investigate the article’s topic and supervised the findings A.Z.Š. and N.P. made substantial contributions to the conception and design of the article. N.P. prepared an English translation of the article. N.K.G. and S.K. participated in drafting the article and revised it critically for important intellectual content. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Nina Poljšak.

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Zgonc Škulj, A., Poljšak, N., Kočevar Glavač, N. et al. Herbal preparations for the treatment of hair loss. Arch Dermatol Res 312, 395–406 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00403-019-02003-x

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  • Alopecia
  • Androgenic baldness
  • Circular baldness
  • Hair loss
  • Herbal preparations