Saw Palmetto for Baldness
This herb has the ability to inhibit 5-a-reductase, the same enzyme that Proscar and Propecia affect. In several double blind studies, saw palmetto has been shown to improve symptoms of benign prostate enlargement. One 3 year trail comparing saw palmetto with Proscar showed significantly greater improvement with the herb than with the prescription drug.
If saw palmetto can prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT by blocking enzymatic activity, then there is a reason to believe, that this herb could be at least as good as Propecia in growing hair.
Some people think that aromatherapy is sniffing aromatic herbs. The Scottish dermatologist who did the research with this treatment says that aromatherapy "involves the use of essential oils and essences derived from plants, flowers, and wood resins, which are generally massaged into the skin."
They point out that "Cedarwood, lavendarm thyme, and rosemary oils have hair growth-promoting properlytied These oils have been anecdotally used to treat alopecia [baldness] for more than 100 years.
People in the study had been diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition in which hair loss occurs in patches. It may affect as many as 1% of people in Western countries and is not limited to male or female, old or young. In many instances, hair growth recurs at any time, but treatment is difficult and the condition can be psychologically damaging.
For this study, 84 people were randomly assigned to either of 2 groups. One group of people received a placebo mixture of 3 ml of jojoba oil and 20 ml of grapeseed oil and were told to massage it into the scalp each night for 2 minutes. The head was then wrapped in a warm towel to enhance absorption of the oils, with the addition of essential oils of thyme, lavender, rosemary, and cedarwood. The study lasted for 7 months.
Follow-up was done with photographs and computer analysis of tracings of bald patches at 3 months and again at 7 months. Of those using the essential oil mixture, 44% had measurable improvement, while only 15% of those using the placebo oil improved. This difference was statistically significant. They even provided before-and-after photos that were nothing short of amazing .
None of the people in this study experienced negative effects from the oils. This gives the aromatherapy treatment a better safety record than the pharmaceuticals often used to treat this condition. That does not mean such a concoction is safe for everyone. Some people may be sensitive to one or another of these essential oils and experience a rash or dermatitis.
Although this study focused primarily on alopecia areata, one of the individuals in the study also had male pattern baldness, known medically as androgenic alopecia. This is the most common form of hair loss. The researchers noted "some moderate regrowth of hair loss." Whether other men with this problem would benefit remains to be determined.