Information and Solutions for Men and Women

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Hair Loss

The volatile oil from Biota orientalis, also known as Chinese Cedar, is used by TCM to help treat hair loss.

Thousands of years old, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) seeks to treat the whole person by balancing yin and yang, complementary forces that are balanced when the person is healthy. TCM also takes into account natural elements, which are related to the function of different organs, and energy flow (chi) in the body.66

In keeping with this whole-body approach, where the hair loss occurs on the scalp can indicate a nutritional deficiency:5


Table 75: Traditional Chinese Hair Loss Remedies


Food or Formula

Active Ingredients & Constituents

How it works

Thujone volatile oil 252

Also known as Biota orientalis or Chinese Cedar, biota is grows in both a tree and shrub form native to China, Japan, North Korea and Iran. The seeds and leaves have anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties, and can be used in ointments or liquid tinctures to thicken hair and prevent further baldness to treat alopecia.79, 251

Historically used orally for its stress relieving, hormone-regulating, and pain-relieving properties; topically as a hair tonic.252

Do not use if pregnant or lactating; may be a uterine stimulant.252


Topical formula containing 8% herbal extracts:66

  • Chinese angelica root
  • pseudolarix bark
  • ginger root
  • hawthorn plant fruit
  • mulberry leaves
  • saffron flowers
  • sesame leaves
  • skin and fruit of various pepper plants
  • stemona root

In a double-blinded, 6-month clinical trial involving 396 patients, the Dabao-treated group showed a statistically significant increase in terminal (vs. vellus) hairs when compared to the placebo-treated group.66


(Angelica sinensis)

Topical application for men253

4.5 g/day oral supplement for women to treat menopause symptoms253


Traditionally used to stop hair loss and regrow hair, dong quai phytosterols can reduce the formation of the androgen DHT.10

Antioxidant effects.253

Anti-inflammatory properties.253

essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids for hair growth.253

Do not use with anticoagulant drugs (e.g., warfarin) as it has been shown to increase the antiplatelet effect (as measured by INR).253


Oral supplement containing:79

Is especially helpful if other symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, and palpitations.79


(Eclipta alba)

Used in TCM and Ayurveda (bh??gar?ja) to treat hair loss; often used with other TCM herbs such as Polygonum multiflorum (he shou wu), Rehmannia glutinosa, and dong quai to treat premature balding.254

Helps regulate immune system response.62

  • Roasted 2
Believed to inhibit hair loss and stimulate regrowth. 2

Oral supplement containing:(79)

  • amaranth
  • cuscuta
  • dong quai
  • hoelen
  • lyceum
  • psoralea
  • sesame seeds (steamed and dry-heated)
  • Solomon’s seal

DHT blocker.79

Helps reduce inflammatory immune response in hair follicles.79

As an added benefit, also treats premature greying.79

Sometimes using TCM herbals to treat certain health conditions are found to be as effective as pharmaceutical treatments, without the adverse side effect of hair loss. One example is combining Tripterygium wilfordii extracts with prednisone to treat relapsing primary nephrotic syndrome in children. In a randomized controlled clinical trial involving 80 children, patients were treated for 3-6 months with either the TCM herbal formula and prednisone or cyclophosphamide and prednisone, and then followed up with for 3-7 years.255

Those treated with the TCM/prednisone combination had the same relapse rates as the control group, but with fewer side effects (e.g., hair loss and gastrointestinal problems).255 Like many chemotherapy drugs, cyclophosphamide is known to cause hair loss.198

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Also referred to as qi.
May cause photosensitivity.
Licorice should be avoided by people with Cushing’s disease or syndrome because it can mimic the effects of the hormone cortisol and may worsen the condition.
Called shu di huang; has hypoglycemic effects and could help those with insulin resistance.
Contains natural psoralens--a photosensitizing agent used to treat alopecia areata. Phototherapy Medical Treatment Options for Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis, and Alopecia Universalis