Herbal remedies are in demand for a host of conditions, including hair loss. A number of Mexican herbs, some with a history of use dating as far back as the Aztec and Mayan civilizations, are finding their way into shampoos and other Mexican herbal remedies to treat hair loss.
Aloe Vera and Avocado Oil
Aloe vera from Southwest America and Mexico has been used since ancient times to treat a variety of skin conditions, including hair loss. Aloe vera gel can soothe scalp skin and act as an anti-inflammatory. Aloe restores the proper pH balance of the scalp and nourishes hair.
Avocado oil is a natural plant used in conditioners to nourish dry hair. The high vitamin E content in avocados deeply penetrates hair and stimulates circulation in the scalp. The essential fatty acids in this Mexican fruit can relieve skin conditions that contribute to hair loss.
Capsaicin, Cat’s Claw and Cacahuanche
Cat’s claw, or uncaria tomentosa, is a woody vine once known as the Inca’s “holy vine.” There are over 60 varieties of cat’s claw and some of the species in Mexico have toxic properties. Shampoos that contain cat’s claw are formulated for people with allergies and sensitivities that make them prone to hair loss. Cacahuanche fruit oil was used by the Aztecs to treat hair loss. It is said to strengthen hair roots and stimulate the hair follicles. The chili used is from the jalapeno peppers. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot peppers, is thought to stimulate the scalp and hair growth. Capsaicin has been found to stimulate the production of an insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1. A combination of capsaicin and soy isoflavones triggered hair growth in 64.5 percent of men with hair loss and significantly helped 88 percent of the men with androgenic alopecia. The study was published in the 2007 journal “Growth Hormone & IGF Research.”
Sapote, Sarsaparilla and Saw Palmetto
The sapote tree grows in Southern Mexico and the seeds of this fruit are used to treat hair loss. The oil from the seed kernel is believed to stop hair from falling out; in Mexico, the kernels are combined with castor oil. The University of California found that sapote oil can prevent hair loss caused by seborrheic dermatitis. The woody vine sarsaparilla is another component of Mexican herbal remedies for hair loss. Sarsaparilla has been used in Central America for a number of skin conditions and is a popular ingredient in hair loss remedies. Saw palmetto berries are a common herbal remedy for prostrate problems, but the berries, which grow in the Southwest and Mexico, are also finding their way into hair loss remedies. Avacor and Nioxin are two such remedies said to preserve and promote hair growth.
Lavender, Rosemary and Sage
Lavender oils stimulate circulation in the scalp, which can prevent hair loss. Lavender oils are often used as antiseptics and for stress-related conditions. Preliminary studies suggest lavender oil in herbal remedies can help prevent hair loss associated with alopeicia areata, a condition in which patches or total hair loss occurs anywhere on the body. Rosemary is another herb historically used in Mexican herbal remedies for hair loss. Rosemary can promote growth in the scalp by keeping hair follicles clear of scalp oil build-up. The herb also contains antibiotic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents that may help reduce hair follicle injuries and infections. A Scottish study published in the Archives of Dermatology found that a daily scalp massage with an herbal blend of rosemary and other oils promoted hair growth in 44 percent of the participants. Sage is commonly used in Hispanic communities to prevent hair loss, according to Dr. Nancy Neff of Rice University. Sage is a popular ingredient in herbal remedies for hair loss conditions such as Native Remedies Regrow Scalp Massage Oil.
Sumei FitzGerald has been writing professionally since 2008 on health, nutrition, medicine and science topics. She has published work on doctors' websites such as Colon Cancer Resource, psychology sites such as Webpsykologen and environmental websites such as Supergreenme. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Connecticut where she also studied life sciences.