Looking to Grow Your Hair? Here Are the Best Herbs to Help You

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

In addition to making hair rinses or infused oils, many herbs can be added to recipes and eaten. Used in this way they not only add flavor and fragrance to your dishes, they also deliver many of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function well.

Often the reason for poor hair condition (and poor skin condition) is the poor quality of the diet itself. Garbage in, garbage out, as the saying goes. Hoping to rectify problems linked to dietary deficiencies, by applying substances externally is unlikely to lead to the results that you’re looking for. But by adding some herbs to your diet along with the herbal hair treatments, you can make a big improvement.

Herbs are easy to add to your cooking and they often taste very good made into a health boosting tea.

For an abundant supply of healthy herbs to add to your food and to use on your hair, think about growing a herb garden. Most herbs grow as easily as weeds, happily taking care of themselves with little to no input from you.

As you’ll see from the following list, there are many herbs that can help with hair growth. Some will be exotic and unfamiliar while others will be familiar faces that you may already have growing in your garden, or sitting in your kitchen cupboard.

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe Vera

Containing enzymes that unblock the hair follicles to boost hair growth, Aloe Vera is an effective remedy for multiple scalp and hair conditions. Massage aloe vera gel into your scalp or add some to your shampoo or conditioner. You can also eat the clear inner gel from the leaves of a fresh aloe plant as it is, or mix the gel into a smoothie.

Amla (Phyllanthus emblica)

Also known as the Indian Gooseberry, Amla is rich in Vitamin C which is necessary for collagen production and for neutralizing the free radicals that damage cells. Amla also contains plenty of minerals and other vitamins, making it a great hair growth stimulating remedy. Mash the alma into a paste and massage into the scalp to promote stronger, healthier hair. You can eat amla but they are quite sour, so it’s best to add them to a sweet smoothie.

Aritha (Sapindus mukorossi)

This herb has been used for centuries to prevent hair loss and is recommended by Ayurvedic experts. It contains saponins (natural cleansers) which clean the hair gently and prevent damage, leaving hair healthy. The mild cleanser cleans the scalp, strengthens hair and encourages new growth. Not edible.

Arnica (Arnica montana)

Arnica is a superb anti-inflammatory and can be used to help treat many scalp disorders including dandruff. By acting on the scalp it stimulates hair follicles and promotes hair growth. Not edible.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil is rich in magnesium which helps to prevent hair damage and reduces breakage, it also helps to improve blood circulation to the scalp which encourages hair growth. Steep in hot water and use as a hair rinse. Basil is a very common herb in western cuisine and can be liberally added to many dishes. Grow basil in your summer garden for an abundant supply.

Bhringraj (Eclipta alba)

This ancient Ayurvedic remedy is a great treatment for hair loss as it stimulates the scalp and promotes new hair growth. It also keeps hair looking healthy, shiny and lustrous. Bhringraj is available as a powder and can be mixed with water and massaged into the scalp or made into tonic tea.

Birch (Betula pendula)

A few drops of birch oil mixed with shampoo encourages new hair growth by stimulating the roots. It also acts as a conditioning agent and leaves the hair shiny and healthy looking. Not edible.

Burdock (Arctium lappa)

Containing fatty acids, burdock oil improves blood circulation in the scalp, Burdock strengthens the hair and promotes healthy growth. It also contains silica and phytosterols which help to repair damaged hair. Burdock can also be purchased as a tea that can made into a hair rinse, or simply enjoyed as a herbal tea.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Also known as Pot Marigold, Calendula is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that increase collagen production and blood circulation in the scalp. Calendula helps to promote strong hair growth and also adds a healthy shine to your hair. Calendula can be purchased as an oil to add to shampoo, or as a herbal tea that can be brewed for drinking or made into a hair rinse.

Cassia (Cassia obovata)

Cassia is a no color henna treatment that has antibacterial properties and is helpful for a variety of scalp conditions that cause hair loss. It’s also a natural conditioner that strengthens the hair and promotes new growth. Not edible.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Chamomile

Besides having a lovely aroma which makes hair smell fantastic, Chamomile has many healing properties that soothe the scalp and nourish hair roots. You can purchase chamomile as an essential oil to simply mix with your shampoo or conditioner, or to use with a carrier oil for scalp massage, and you can also buy chamomile flower tea which can be brewed for drinking or used as a hair rinse,

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

Comfrey is an amazing herb! Its roots travel deep down into the soil, mining those deep layers for minerals that other plant roots can’t reach. It’s such a vitamin and mineral rich plant that organic gardeners grow comfrey to make a natural fertilizer.

In the English herbal tradition, comfrey is known as knitbone, because of its ability to speed up the healing of broken bones.

Used on the hair, comfrey will soothe the scalp and stimulate hair growth. Purchase leaves to steep in hot water to make a nourishing hair rinse.

If you want to grow this herb yourself, choose a sterile variety to prevent the plants from taking over the neighborhood. Look for the Bocking 14 cultivar.

Comfrey is a really beautiful plant with lots of tiny blue or purple flowers, growing to about 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. It dies back each winter and makes new growth early in the spring.

Simply wait for it to reach full height then chop the leaves off at ground level. The plant will grow again and you can get 4 or 5 harvests from it each year. Use the comfrey leaves as a nutritious mulch around your other plants or to make a ‘tea’ to fertilize the other plants in your garden as well as your hair. Not edible.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Instead of digging out or poisoning the dandelions that push through your lawn, make use of them instead. Dandelion is rich in Vitamin A and iron which makes it an excellent treatment to stimulate the scalp and relieve conditions like dandruff which damage hair follicles and slow down hair growth. You can eat the leaves and the flowers too. It’s best eaten in spring when the growth is new, as older leaves take on a more bitter flavor. Make an infusion with hot water and use as a hair rinse.

Elderberry Flowers (Sambucus nigra)

Used to soothe a dry irritated scalp, elderberry flowers can be a helpful herbal remedy that promotes healthy hair growth and helps to reduce hair loss. Elderberry flowers also have a very sweet aroma which makes this herbal hair rinse pleasant to use and leaves your hair smelling wonderfully fragrant. Available as tea.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Fenugreek seeds and leaves are full of natural proteins, and fenugreek is known to help stimulate blood flow which nourishes the scalp. The leaves and seeds can be ground to a paste and mixed with water, or they can simply be steeped in hot water to make a hair rinse. Fenugreek is edible.

Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)

Flaxseed is rich in anti-inflammatory Omega-3 which helps to reduce irritation on your scalp and nourish hair follicles. Flaxseed also aids in removing toxins and dead skin cells from the root zone.

Grind flaxseed to make a paste to apply to your scalp, and sprinkle ground flaxseed onto your breakfast cereals, yogurts or smoothies to add its nutritious benefits to your diet.

Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger Root is an anti-inflammatory and will also promote healthy circulation. As more blood flows to your scalp, more nutrients and oxygen get delivered to your hair follicles. And nourished hair follicles produce healthy hair.

As an anti-inflammatory, ginger can help to tackle scalp conditions like dandruff which slows down hair growth.

Steep fresh ginger root in hot water, then let it cool to make a hair rinse. You can also drink the ginger root infusion, and it’s particularly good when made with a grapefruit teabag.

Add fresh ginger to stir frys and indian dishes to get plenty of this amazing herb into your diet.

Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

Ginseng is a Chinese herb that is frequently used as an ingredient in shampoos and hair tonics.

You can take ginseng as a dietary supplement to promote general health and well being, and you can buy the roots which you can grate and then steep in hot water to make a hair rinse.

Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)

Green tea needs little introduction and is a very popular herb with many health benefits. It’s antioxidants combat free radicals and prevent cell death and damage. Its anti-inflammatories promote scalp health, and the tea itself gives a lovely shine to your hair

Obviously you can drink green tea hot or cold, but did you know that you can also add it to smoothies? Make a really strong brew and add it to green smoothies. It goes very nicely with smoothies containing apples. You can also purchase green tea as a powder, or you can simply grind tea leaves in a coffee grinder yourself. Mix this powder with a little warm water to make a paste and apply the paste to your scalp.

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

Horsetail is a traditional remedy for hair loss. It has been used for centuries for its ability to stimulate the blood vessels in the scalp that carry nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles. It also contains quercetin which protects emerging hair from breakage and damage. Purchase horsetail tea bags for drinking and to make a hair rinse.

Lavender (Lavendula officinalis)

With anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties, Lavender can combat many of the problems that cause hair growth to slow down, or that result in hair falling out. It’s one of the few herbs that can directly lower your stress levels and prevent the hair loss that is caused by emotional issues.

Add lavender essential oil to your shampoo and conditioner, or massage it into your scalp. Lavender is safe to use undiluted unlike most essential oils. But test it on a small area first in case you are sensitive to the oil.

You can also steep lavender flowers in hot water to make a fantastic smelling hair rinse. Grow lavender in your garden for a fresh supply all summer long, and dry the flowers for use in the winter.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is a very effective general hair tonic and can also be used as a remedy for hair loss. Lemon Balm essential oil possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties which will help to soothe the scalp, and an infusion made with the leaves has the same properties but to a lesser extent. Add the essential oil to your hair products or purchase the tea bags to brew an infusion.

Maidenhair Tree (Ginko Biloba)

Ginko biloba has so many uses and it’s available in many forms. This popular herb increases blood flow to the scalp and reduces inflammation.

You can add this herb to your diet by using it in supplement form or by drinking the tea. It also comes as a liquid which you can add to shampoos and conditioners or simply massage into your scalp.

Moringa (Moringa oleifera)

Moringa is a miracle herb. It’s actually a tree and is referred to as the tree of life in many parts of the world because of its high nutritional value.

A serving of moringa contains 7 times as much vitamin C as oranges, 4 times the vitamin A of carrots, 4 times as much calcium as milk, 3 times the potassium of bananas and twice the protein of yogurt.

Make a paste with moringa powder and water and massage it directly into your scalp to nourish hair follicles, also add the powder to drinks, smoothies and yogurts for a powerful nutritional punch.

Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Nettle has a good reputation when it comes to remedying hair loss as it stimulates the scalp, improves blood circulation and protects against further damage and breakage. Nettle can be taken in the form of pills or can be steeped in hot water to make a rinse.

Nettles are one of the most nutritious greens. Wilt young growth in hot water and the sting is completely eliminated. Nettles tastes really good too, with a flavor similar to spinach. You can also keep the cooking water and use it for tea or as a soup base. If you see nettles growing when you’re out and about, don a pair of gloves and cut a bunch of the leaves (not from polluted roadsides though), for free nutritious herbs.

You can also grow nettles in a large pot at home. Don’t grow them out in your yard though unless you’ve got a huge space. Uncontained they will spread and take over.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, parsley helps to promote keratin and collagen production in the scalp which in turn promotes healthy hair growth. Parsley is a great addition to salads and you can chew fresh leaves to freshen your breath. This is a really easy herb to grow and it can even be grown in a pot on your kitchen window ledge.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

With a fresh and very pleasing aroma peppermint is a delight to use on your hair. A peppermint infusion made from fresh leaves or the dried herb can be used as a hair rinse that stimulates blood flow to the scalp. You can also use peppermint essential oil and add that to your shampoo or conditioner.

The oil also has the ability to cool and soothe an irritated and inflamed scalp, which can help to combat the problems that interfere with hair follicles.

Peppermint can be eaten, and the fresh or dried leaves make a tasty addition to yogurt and salads and also make a delicious and refreshing tea. If you decide to grow peppermint or any other mint, make sure that you grow it in a pot to contain its spreading tendencies.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rich in vitamins and anti-inflammatories, rosemary is a very effective treatment for scalp conditions. It encourages nourishing blood flow and calms irritation. Steep rosemary in hot water to make a hair rinse, or use rosemary essential oil and add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner. Rosemary is a well known culinary herb and can be added to lots of dishes. It’s also another common addition to a herb garden.

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage is another common herb most often found in the kitchen, but it has plenty of medicinal uses too. It’s rich in antioxidants, magnesium, zinc and potassium and makes a great treatment for scalp conditions that are hindering healthy hair growth. It’s easy and inexpensive to make an infusion with the leaves, or you can simply add a few drops of sage essential oil to your hair care products. Sage is a very attractive plant to grow and is very hardy in temperate climates.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is rich in magnesium, potassium and selenium and can help to stimulate the hair follicles and promote new hair growth. Make an infusion with the dried or fresh leaves and use as a hair rinse. In addition to using this herb in a range of dishes you can also drink it as a tea.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow is a nourishing herb whose anti-inflammatory properties can help to treat scalp problems like eczema. Yarrow also works well as a conditioner that leaves hair soft and manageable.

Yarrow is available as a liquid extract, a dietary supplement and as a tea.

Yucca (Yucca schidigera)

This herb contains steroidal saponins which gently cleanse the hair and strengthen new growth. The saponins in yucca are considered to be one of the most powerful natural anti-inflammatories available and will soothe scalp conditions to promote hair growth. Mixed with water, yucca can be used to prevent and treat dry scalp, and to eliminate scalp irritations such as psoriasis and dandruff.

Yucca is available as a liquid extract, a dietary supplement and as a tea.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.