There are a number of plant-derived herbal ingredients believed to have hair-friendly properties, some of which - for example, saw palmetto - include potentially deterring DHT, the hormone behind genetic hair loss in men and women.
These are often found in food supplements designed to support healthy hair growth, including Belgravia's Hair Vitalics range.
However, they are not considered 'hair loss treatments' as there are no natural hair loss treatments available at present that have been sanctioned by any medical regulatory body, such as the MHRA or FDA, as safe and effective for this purpose.
Researchers in Korea are currently trying to develop a herbal hair loss remedy and have published their findings into what they believe may be the best way to deliver this solution in order to promote hair growth.
Known as 4HGF, details of the Gachon University investigations from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences advise this is an "herbal mixture of Phellinus linteus grown on germinated brown rice, Cordyceps militaris grown on germinated soybeans, Polygonum multiflorum, Ficus carica, and Cocos nucifera oil."
Phellinus linteus is a medical mushroom commonly used throughout Asia, whilst Cordyceps militaris is a type of fungus. Ficus carica is the scientific name for the common fig, whilst cocos nucifera oil is coconut oil.
Researchers found benefits to using poly-γ-glutamic acid (γ-PGA)-based nanoparticles as delivery agents for the 4HGF product during a clinical trial, which had its final findings made public on 13th July 2019.
The final study report advises this method was chosen as the delivery vehicle due to the nanoparticles' "controlled release characteristics, low toxicity, and biocompatibility."
Of their study methodology and results, the researchers write: "...we encapsulated 4HGF within PGA-based hydrogel nanoparticles, prepared by simple ionic gelation with chitosan, to facilitate its penetration into hair follicles (HFs).
In this study, we report the hair promoting activity of 4HGF encapsulated with PGA nanoparticles (PGA-4HGF) and their mechanism, compared to 4HGF alone. The average size of spherical nanoparticles was ~400 nm in diameter.
Continuous release of PGA-4HGF was observed in a simulated physiological condition.
As expected, PGA-4HGF treatment increased hair length, induced earlier anagen initiation, and elongated the duration of the anagen phase in C57BL/6N mice, compared with free 4HGF treatment.
PGA-4HGF significantly increased dermal papilla cell proliferation and induced cell cycle progression. PGA-4HGF also significantly increased the total amount of β-catenin protein expression, a stimulator of the anagen phase, through induction of cyclinD1 and CDK4 protein levels, compared to free 4HGF treatment.
Our findings underscore the potential of PGA nanocapsules to efficiently deliver 4HGF into HFs, hence promoting hair-growth. Therefore, PGA-4HGF nanoparticles may be promising therapeutic agents for hair growth disorders."
So which hair loss conditions may this herbal hair growth remedy be used for? The researchers say it may be "promising" for "hair growth disorders" but do not set out precisely what they mean by this.
We believe it is therefore likely to refer to conditions whereby the hair growth cycle is in some way disrupted. These include the temporary hair loss conditions Telogen Effluvium and Diffuse Thinning (also known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium) and possibly Alopecia Areata.
Whether or not it could be of benefit to the hereditary conditions Male Pattern Baldness or Female Pattern Hair Loss - either in addition to clinically-proven treatment as a hair growth supporting product or on its own - is currently unknown.
However, particularly given the safety concerns over Hu Shou Wu, it is necessary for this new remedy to undergo rigorous, wide-ranging testing before it could potentially be made available for any condition.
As such, for anyone worried about hair loss or looking to improve the health of their hair, a consultation with a specialist can point them in the right direction, beit authorised and clinically-proven treatments for a specific hair loss condition, or advice on products that may support healthy hair growth, such as home-use laser devices.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.