Considered to be an auto-immune condition, alopecia areata arises when the hair follicles are attacked by the immune system of the body, particularly the white blood cells, resulting in hair loss in the scalp or in any part of the body.
In a lot of instances, alopecia areata causes the hair to fall out in round small patches, roughly the size of a 25-cent coin. Each year, the condition strikes around four million Americans regardless of sex, age, and background. Due to its unpredictable effects on a person’s appearance, alopecia’s effects are especially disturbing both emotionally and socially. However, it is not painful nor life threatening.
Several types of Chinese herbal remedies are available that can help treat this condition. One substantial advantage Chinese medicine has over Western conventional treatments is that the former addresses the root cause of the problem while the latter only masks the symptoms. Chinese medicine helps bring back balance in the body, causing the symptoms to dissipate eventually and curing the condition. In alopecia areata, Chinese medicine believes that there are two patterns responsible for the symptomatic loss of hair. One pattern is a deficiency of Kidney and Liver Yin. This means that there is a deficiency in the energy that normally nourishes the hair follicles. Hair starts to grow back when herbs that nourish the Yin of Kidney and Liver are used. The other pattern is the accumulation of Toxic Heat in the body, which means that there is inflammation in the body caused by its exposure to toxins or pollution, excess acidity stemming from a poor diet, or infection. Most Alopecia areata sufferers usually have both conditions.
It‘s important to nourish the cooling yin energy of the body that, in turn, nourishes hair growth while decreasing acidity and inflammation in the body.
An herb known as He Shou Wu, Fo-ti , or polygonum can help people with alopecia areata. In China, polygonum has been a traditional treatment for premature hair loss and graying hair. This herb can serve as a tonic for both the brain and the body, and can boost the quality of hair growth on the scalp. To attain its full benefits, use polygonum for three to six months. It is also used as a longevity tonic by the Chinese.
Eclipta and ligustrum are a couple of Chinese herbs that can tonify the Kidney and Liver Yin of the body and therefore can be useful in nourishing hair growth. Chinese researchers have revealed that eclipta and ligustrum can promote hair growth in people with alopecia areata.
Another herb that that is used as a tonic is Chinese wolfberry. This herb is known to boost blood flow to the hair follicles on the scalp. It works well when used alongside the herbs listed above.
Honeysuckle, dandelion, and mint herbs can be used in combination to help remove the acidity and inflammation that can set off alopecia.
When combined with Chinese herbs, certain supplements can be beneficial for alopecia. These include nettle tea, flaxseed oil, and vitamin C. These supplements all possess detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties that can help restore hair growth. Eating black sesame seeds and black beans alongside Chinese herbs can also help.
Chinese herbs are effective, natural, safe, health-promoting ways to boost hair growth and cure alopecia areata.
Steven Goldfarb, L.Ac. is a board certified and licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Goldfarb Chiropractic and Acupuncture Center in West Orange, NJ.