I have had an increase in patients with hair loss, men and women equally. Everyone wants a quick fix, but quick fixes are not the solution as one patient has learn’t and explained to another last weekend. We need to get to the root of why hair loss occurred in the first place. The state of our hair whether its shine or texture, to greying has a lot to do with your internal health. Many people believe hair problems are age or genetics, but in TICM, we look much more closely to your follicles. Take a look at many Chinese elders who still have pitch black glossy beautiful hair. My TCM doctor certainly does with not a grey in sight. TICM doctors believe that the main cause of hair loss is Blood deficiency. Hair will grow well if there is sufficient blood in the body, and blood in the body is governed by the Spleen and Liver. A well functioning Spleen and Liver will allow healthy hair growth and shine.
The Kidneys govern the essence of the body, and this Kidney essence is needed to keep one’s hair black. Weakened kidney energy and a lack of essence may cause hair to turn grey. Conversely, healthy hair reflects healthy energy in the Liver, Spleen and Kidneys. That means that just by looking at a person’s hair, a TICM doctor can get an idea of a person’s overall health. Dry and brittle hair, for example, might indicate a ‘yin’ deficiency or ‘heat’ in the blood, while hair growth in abnormal places, such as the chin, might indicate that blood is not flowing properly. While hair type and volume are determined by our genes, overall hair condition is determined by our lifestyle. Many factors both external and internal can affect the condition of our blood, and consequently, the state of our hair. These include stress, anxiety, an unhealthy diet, lack of sleep and some medications.
Clinically, common treatments include medication, minoxidil is the drug of choice along with steroidal injections and surgical options, like hair transplant or surgical restoration. TICM approaches hair loss differently. Maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and sufficient sleep.
Regular scalp massages and acupuncture can help increase blood circulation on the head, which helps maintain a healthy scalp and hair growth. Sleeping early, before 11pm, helps the Gallbladder and Liver to detox and rest. You should also not go to bed with wet hair, see previous post.
To maintain a healthy Spleen, eat less cold, fried, oily, and sweet food. To prevent premature greying, eat foods that nourish the Kidneys: black bean, black sesame, mulberry and blackberry. The Liver organ system is vital for hair because Liver is the source for blood and Liver Blood nourishes the head, hair and scalp. He Shou Wu, then, is considered a blood tonic in TICM. In research studies, it has demonstrated the ability to regrow hair in a majority of test subjects within three months. Herbal formula: formula’s that tonify Qi (energy), Liver Blood and Kidney Jing to help bring this harmony back. Powerful herbs include; Dang Gui is known as a blood tonic, and for good reason. The herb contains iron, a mineral associated with improved oxygen absorption in the bloodstream. The herb's blood boosting properties also means high quality, nutrient filled blood will reach your hair follicles. Gou Qi Zi boasts the ability to boost liver function and thereby helps us in getting rid of oily hair. Carotene, which is a primary agent found in Gou Qi Zi, helps in supplementing vitamin A, a vitamin known for promoting hair growth. Hei Zhi Ma (Black Sesame) has been traditionally used to treat grey hair. It is good to add into the diet to support hair health. Black Sesame is rich in calcium, protein, phosphorous, iron and magnesium, it helps to keep hair black and shiny. And not forgetting the old ginger which contains circulatory agents that stimulate the flow of blood on the scalp, increasing blood circulation, which triggers the hair follicles and encourages new growth. This way, it strengthens the hair from the root to the tip. Ginger has essential fatty acids, which prevent your hair from thinning. I have recently made a ginger paste from ginger powder and use as hair grease to give my hair volume.