A plant often used to fight hair loss
in China has been blamed for the tragic death of a young university graduate who had been trying to thicken his hair in the belief it would give him a better chance during job interviews.
According to the South China Morning Post, the man 26-year-old Cui Fei died of liver failure after consuming up to 3kg of He Shou Wu, a plant often prescribed by practitioners of Chinese medicine to treat male pattern hair loss
. The plant, which is also known as Chinese knotweed, is related to buckwheat.
Quoting information gained from another Chinese news organisation, anhuinews.com, the SCMP state that Fei, who lived in eastern China, was first given products containing heshouwu at a local hospital last January. When his thinning hadn’t cleared up after two weeks of treatment, he apparently signed up for more at a second hospital even though he allegedly fell ill during the first round of treatment.
The SCMP states that oral doses of Chinese knotweed had previously been found to be potentially harmful to patients’ livers, and in 2014 a warning about taking the plant was published by China’s Food and Drug Administration - the equivalent of the UK's MHRA
In August of last year, Fei was apparently still taking the natural Chinese medicine
when he was diagnosed with drug-induced liver damage. His liver never recovered and he died on New Year’s Eve.
Not only is Fei’s death tragic and shocking, it is also a very real reminder of the lengths that people will go to in order to preserve their hair when it starts to thin out.
Androgenetic alopecia, better known in men as Male Pattern Baldness, is the most common hair loss condition in the world and many studies and reports have highlighted how damaging the onset of MPB often is to a man’s sense of self-esteem
. This self-consciousness can have detrimental effects on their social life but many men - young and old - also worry that it can affect their career prospects
Feelings of frustration and worry that men feel when they see signs of a thinning crown
or start to notice the beginnings of a receding hairline
are a very natural reaction though many men quickly see a glimmer of hope when they discover that there are a number of options available to them.
These include following a recommended hair loss treatment
course based around either one or both of the clinically-proven, MHRA licensed and FDA approved medications. Supplementary hair growth supporting products
can also be added in as required.
What this Chinese tragedy also highlights is the importance of following a hair loss treatment course featuring proven products exactly as instructed by professionals. While it can be tempting to save money by buying hair loss “cures” online, many of these are not licensed or even what they purport to be. There have been a number of cases in which people buying hair loss tablets were actually buying something else entirely
, though they had no way of knowing this. The UK government’s MHRA has pointed out many times that buying medications from questionable sources, particularly online, could be extremely dangerous.