Hair loss is part of the natural hair growth cycle. However, too much of it and you’ll start to notice. Here’s one supplement shown to promote hair growth.
The hair cycle
Hair loss and hair thinning occur when the growth cycle – consisting of three stages: anagen, telogen and catagen – is disrupted.
The anagen phase is the growing period of a hair follicle. Typically, the hair grows around half an inch a month.
On average, the anagen phase can last between three to five years. If left to continue growing, the hair can reach between 18 to 30 inches long.
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By the end of the anlagen (growing phase), the hair enters the catagen phase.
The catagen phase is a short, transitional period, that usually lasts around 10 days.
During this phase the hair follicle prepares itself for the resting phase, with the deeper portions of the hair follicle beginning to collapse.
The telogen phase is the resting phase where the hair is released and falls out.
The follicle then remains inactive for about three months before the hair growth cycle is repeated.
Each hair follicle is independent and goes through the hair growth cycle at different times, otherwise all of the hair would fall out at once.
On a healthy head of hair, somebody can shed up to 80 hairs per day.
One herbal supplement has been proven to help promote hair growth – what is it?
Red ginseng, which can be taken as a supplement, has been shown to promote hair growth.
Researcher Young Choi from the Department of Pharmaceutical Science and Engineering, at Seowon University, looked into this further.
Choi recognised that the normal hair-growth cycle is “repeated about 20 times”.
However this “can be modified by hormones, stress, concurrent disease, exposure to pollutants and smoking”.
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Changes in the growth cycle leading to hair loss is typical when the anlagen phase shortens and the telogen phase lengthens.
Early hair loss is medically known as alopecia, and “approximately 10 million” people in the world are suffering from this condition.
Ginseng is said to contain “a wide variety of bioactive constituents, known as ginsenosides”.
Choi commented: “There has been mounting evidence suggesting that ginseng and its major bioactive constituents, ginsenosides, promote hair growth.”
It’s thought ginseng promotes hair growth by “enhancing proliferation of dermal papilla”.
It also “prevents hair loss via modulation of various cell-signalling pathways”.
In basic terms, this means that ginseng has been shown to regulate the expression and activity of major proteins involved in the hair cycle phases.
Ginseng helps to induce the anger (growth) phase and delay the catagen (hair loss) phase.
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