Eclipta Alba has been used for centuries in the treatment of many minor ailments and disorders. However, more current research has also backed its use as a hair growth promoter.
In this post, I’ll introduce you to E. Alba. This includes its components and mechanisms. In addition, I’ll show you three ways to easily incorporate this herb into your hair care routine.
What Is Eclipta Alba?
Eclipta Alba, also known as Bhringaraj and False Daisy, is an herb found in India, China, Thailand, and Brazil.
The herb has been used for thousands of years as part of many cultural medicinal practices.
In India alone, E. Alba is used for gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory tract disorders, hair loss, liver disorders, and more.
Why is this herb so popular? Take a look at the herb’s constituents:
Including alkaloids, flavonoids, sterols, and phenolic acids, this herb has much to offer in health and nutritional support.
How Effective is Eclipta Alba for Treating Hair Loss?
I’ve mentioned above that E. Alba has been used traditionally to treat hair problems. Let’s take a closer look at how the herb is effective in treating hair loss.
It Promotes Hair Follicle Neogenesis
It was once believed that hair follicles – the structure which hair grows from – were unable to regenerate. However, decades of research have proved this theory otherwise.
Essentially, hair follicle neogenesis is the regeneration of previously ‘lost’ or dead hair follicles. Neogenesis can happen as a result of micro-injury (such as through microneedling) or through the use of a growth-maintaining culture.
Another way to regenerate hair follicles is through the use of natural supplements, including E. Alba.
When applied to the scalp, E. Alba can stimulate hair follicles. This was seen in a research study on nude mice (which we’ll get into below).
It Induces Anagen Phase Hair Growth
Within the hair follicle, three main phases of hair growth occur. They are:
Through this process (which typically takes a number of years to complete), the hair buds from the follicle, grows, and then sheds. Unfortunately, this shedding can sometimes take place prematurely, and this is known as telogen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium can occur as a result of stress, illness, or injury. It can also happen as a result of hair follicle miniaturization, wherein the follicles are too small to properly grow the hair strand.
According to a 2014 study performed by Begum et al., E. Alba and similar medicinal herbs can actually promote the transition from telogen phase to anagen. This is clearly seen when E. Alba treated mice are compared to the control group and the minoxidil-treated mice.
In fact, E. Alba promoted hair growth even better than minoxidil!
And, as mentioned above, this process also involved the generation of new hair follicles in the nude mice.
It Reduces Inflammation
If you have Male-Pattern Baldness (MPB), you may already know the cause of hair follicle miniaturization is related to DHT. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
DHT is a hormone that’s naturally produced when testosterone (the male sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (5AR) (an enzyme), interact. This is a normal (and, actually, necessary) process within the body.
Unfortunately, those with MPB have hair follicles (typically on the hairline and crown) that are sensitive to DHT. This sensitivity leads to inflammation and, eventually hair miniaturization. As a result, hair thinning occurs (and it can become permanent if not treated).
The blocking of DHT within the body can lead to some unpleasant side effects (including sexual dysfunction). So, instead, we can counteract the ill effects that DHT has on the follicles.
One way to do so is by treating the inflammation. This can prevent hair miniaturization from taking place, which will ensure the hair follicles stay healthy.
In 2005, researchers in India tested the anti-inflammatory properties of E. Alba against Indomethacin, a commonly used NSAID, in rat models. Inflammation was first induced through both histamine and seratonin (acute), as well as cotton pellets (chronic).
The rats, which were split into five groups of six, where then treated with different solutions. These included control (no solution), 50, 100, or 200 Mg/kg of E. Alba extract, or Indomethacin (10 mg/Kg).
In the treatment of acute inflammation, these were the results:
While not exactly as effective as Indomethacin (61.30%), the 200 mg/kg dose of E. Alba was highly effective (55.85%) in inhibiting inflammation. Similar results were seen in the treatment of chronic inflammation:
In this case, the 200 mg/kg actually was more effective (55.23%) at treating inflammation than Indomethacin (53.48%).
It Treats Bacterial and Fungal Infection
While not a common problem for those with MPB, bacterial and fungal infections can be another cause of hair loss altogether. This means their prompt treatment is crucial to protecting your locks.
Of course, for many infections, antibiotics are prescribed. However, frequent use of them can lead to its own set of issues (including antibiotic resistance and digestive upset). Instead, when possible, I recommend you take a more natural approach.
An effective one, as proven by a 2011 study on the topic, is E. Alba. In particular, it was most effective against the strains Klebsiella pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida albicans.
Are There Side Effects?
The use of natural supplements – while better for your overall health – can sometimes come with side effects. These may be minor (rash at site of application) or more serious (hives, shortness of breath, etc.). If you experience a severe reaction, stop use immediately and seek medical help.
Prior to supplementation, you should speak with your physician to learn of any possible drug interactions or restrictions.
If nursing or pregnant, consult with your obstetrician prior to use.
Availability and Cost
E. Alba is most commonly sold under the name Bhringraj. You can purchase capsules and tablets, and even the plant’s leaves online and at many health food stores.
For example, you can purchase 60 capsules from Amazon for $8.99 (plus $4.49 shipping), or you can purchase 8 ounces of bhringraj leaf powder for $11.49.
For better deals and a larger variety, I also recommend you check out any health food stores or asian markets in your area.
3 Ways to Add Eclipta Alba to Your Hair Care Routine
Fortunately for you, E. Alba is really easy to incorporate into your regular routine. Let’s take a look at just three ways you can begin using it today.
1. Use It As a Dietary Supplement
For centuries, herbs such as E. Alba have been added as a supplement to the diet. Typically, this was done by incorporating the herbs into meals and teas, but you can now do so with capsules and tablets.
As shown above, these supplements can easily be purchased online.
You can take in the morning with breakfast (this helps it to absorb more fully). Or, you can break the capsule and add it to a cup of water.
2. Incorporate It Into Your Shampoo
Perhaps the easiest way to add an herb to your regular hair care routine is by adding it into your homemade shampoo.
Here’s a simple recipe I recommend to get you started:
- Liquid castile soap (1/2 cup)
- Maple syrup (2 tablespoons)
- Carrot seed essential oil (5-10 drops)
- Castor oil (10 drops)
- Bhringraj (1 capsule, or 1 teaspoon extract)
Combine the ingredients in the container of your choice, and mix well before use. Pour onto wet hair, and massage for 2-3 minutes. Leave in for an additional 2-3 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
Of course, you can add E. Alba to just about any homemade shampoo recipe you create. Get creative!
3. Apply It Directly
If you’ve already got your shampoo routine down pat, or you’d just like to experience more direct results, I recommend applying the herb directly.
This can be done in a few ways.
Second, you can get your E. Alba leaves fresh. This will be difficult if you aren’t in a country where they grow. However, once obtained, you can then crush the leaves yourself (with a mortar and pestle) and apply as a paste.
Third, you can purchase E. Alba supplement capsules. You can then break open the capsules, and add them to oils or homemade scalp treatments.
E. Alba isn’t a magical cure for pattern baldness. However, it is an plant-derived treatment method with a number of research-backed benefits but making use of this herb is more complicated. You’ll need to use it daily to see any benefits and even then the results will be small.
However it might be worth it since there are no apparent downsides.