Information and Solutions for Men and Women

Natural Treatment Options for Alopecia Areata

Onion juice and garlic gel are two of the natural treatment options that may help alopecia areata.
Table 23: Topical Herbal Treatment Options for Alopecia Areata

TOPICAL HERBAL TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR
ALOPECIA AREATA, ALOPECIA TOTALIS, AND ALOPECIA UNIVERSALIS

AGENT

HOW IT WORKS
EVIDENCE OF BENEFIT
SIDE EFFECTS

RECOMMENDED
DOSAGE OR USE

AZELAIC ACID
  • A topical medication, azelaic acid is a natural compound found in whole grains and also produced in the body from oleic acid. It is a potent 5-alpha reductase inhibitor.134
  • In a comparative clinical study involving patients with patchy alopecia areata, azelaic acid induced complete hair regrowth in over 53% of participants, comparable to those who were treated with the topical immune-modulatory drug anthralin.138

Possible adverse side effects include:134
  • hypopigmentation
  • rash
  • skin inflammation
Daily application of
topical cream (20% concentration)138
GARLIC GEL COMBINED WITH BETAMETHASONE VALERATE
  • Garlic gel combined with corticosteroid; garlic is known to have immune-modulating effects.139
  • Results from a 3-month randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial involving 40 adult patients with alopecia areata suggest that phytochemical constituents in garlic may be an effective treatment. Of those treated with the combination steroid betamethasone valerate and garlic gel cream, 19 of 20 had moderate to good regrowth, and it was significantly better than regrowth induced in the participants who used the cream containing the steroid alone.139
Garlic gel, 5% with betamethasone steroid; applied twice a day139
ONION JUICE
  • Sulfur-containing crude onion juice; thought to modulate immune response.140
  • Produced significant hair growth in both men and women in a two month placebo-controlled clinical trial. Results were significantly better in male study participants.140
Topical liquid applied twice daily141
THYME OIL
  • Antibacterial, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.118
  • In one randomized, controlled clinical trial the topical use of thyme oil mixed with other essential oils improved hair growth in patients with alopecia areata.118
Standardized extracts containing 0.6-1.2% of volatile oil118

Other herbs that have traditionally been used to treat inflammatory hair loss include:

  • Drynaria – Large tropical ferns, drynaria are also known as basket ferns. The rhizomes (horizontal underground stems) are used in tinctures or scalp lotions to stimulate hair growth and improve hair strength.79, 142
  • Ginkgo – The long-living Ginkgo biloba trees are found in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Leaves are dried and milled for herbal formulations that are known to increase circulation to scalp, are rich in antioxidant flavonoids, and also exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. The recommended dosage for ginkgo supplements to help with hair loss is 40-60 mg tablets 2-3 times a day.79, 143

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Whole wheat has other health benefits too, such as anti-tumor effects.