Human hair has been a perennial focus of individual identity, a symbol of charm and affluence, a sign of virility in men and youth in women. The loss of hair has been associated with old age, unattractiveness, and even a basis for ridicule. Consequently, maintaining a healthy, full head of hair and avoiding baldness has been a steady human preoccupation that transcends societies, and from the earliest recorded civilizations, treating hair loss with natural hair growth supplements has been an important issue.
The ancient Egyptians, renounced as the earliest cosmetologists, had unique reverence for hair. They were interested in developing 'cures' for hair loss and several interesting recipes have been recorded by Egyptologists. One of the oldest cures dates back to around 4,000 BC and is credited to the mother of King Chata of Egypt. According to historian Wendy Cooper, the recommendation calls for an energetic application of emulsified dates, dog's paws and donkey hooves. Still additional recipes proposed massaging the fat from lions, goats, geese and also snake oil on balding spots to avoid hair loss and improve hair growth. Plant based solutions were also typical with a form of lettuce, evergreen leaves, ground walnut shells, castor oil and fenugreek seeds being particularly preferred.
The Greeks and Romans continued this preoccupation with treating baldness and continuing with the theme of using natural supplements to promote hair growth despite the active ingredients altered. Around 400 BC, the famous Greek Hippocrates, recognized as “the Father of Western Medicine”, wrote down the following cures: a mix of opium, rose water, wine and olive oil and for the more severe cases a bizarre mix of cumin, horseradish , nettles and pigeon droppings. Many additional 'treatments' from the Romans called for the combination of animal urine, ashes, earthworms, tar and sulfur.
In ancient China the use of natural herbs was more popular, with the savory Rosemary being the most popular choice for balding males and females. This was combined with additional natural herbs thought to have medicinal properties, plus safflower oil. People experiencing hair loss were encouraged to stand on their heads to improve blood circulation and hair regeneration. This was also typical in India, where coconut oil, sage leaves and a natural herb called bhringaraj (Eclipta prostrate) were widely used on the scalp to address baldness.
During the Middle Ages, so-called medicines for baldness made from mandrake roots, horse fat, burned barley and wine were combined with incantations and special prayers. In the New World, early European settlers borrowed Native American practices of applying Bear grease or oil to their hair to protect against hair loss, leading to the conclusion that Grease was the Word long before John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.
Old and new treatments for hair loss continued to be utilized in the eighth and nineteenth century as more tons, oils and various techniques we used. Still working on the principle of natural supplements to promote hair growth, many of these included scalp irritants to make the individuals scratch their scalp, which was thought to improve blood circulation. Sometimes this is the origin of giving someone something to scratch their head about.
In the region now Thailand (formerly Siam), natural supplements to stimulate hair development were developed as part of Thai Traditional Medicine. These consist of active ingredients such as ginger and other natural herbs that stimulated blood flow to the hair roots, kaffir lime that assisted in the battle some of the physical causes of hair loss, in addition the medical practitioners found a mysterious active ingredient that proved advantageous in lessening hair loss– consequently located by modern-day scientific discipline to be a substance that assists blocking the naturally occurring hormones that are a primary cause hair loss.
Throughout history attempts to redress the loss of hair offer us colorful and often surprising examples of Man's efforts to maintain youth and beauty associated with thick, lustrous hair. Many of these remedies had no clinical basis and some were even dangerous substances. Yet even in modern-day times, the hair products industry remains very lucrative and constantly in search of the next big 'cure'.
But more and more professionals are beginning to argue that this 'next big breakthrough' is in fact the rediscovery and resurgence of natural supplements to promote hair growth: supplements that have actually been known and successfully used for generations have been sidelined in favor of the promises and revenues (although unknown long term repercussions) of brand-new drugs and chemicals.
Increasingly, focus is turning back to the time-honored natural supplements to promote hair growth that have been used for centers particularly in Asia.