If you’ve been looking for traditional ancient herbs for hair growth and thickness, you’ve probably come across this word once or twice: Bhringraj.
Bhringraj, also known as eclipta alba, is a popular medicinal herb used in Ayurvedic holistic healing practices to stimulate hair growth (usually in the form of bhringraj oil or bhringraj powder).
In this article, you will find out if there is any scientific evidence behind such claims.
We will show you 4 studies investigating how eclipta alba / bhringraj powder can help with hair loss and possibly reverse baldness (and include a bunch of before and after photos).
You will also find out how effective eclipta alba is compared to minoxidil for regrowing hair.
First, let’s cover some basics:
What is eclipta alba (bhringraj)?
Eclipta alba, also known as various other names – bhringrai, eclipta prostrata, false daisy, yerba de tago, han lain cao, and finally karisalankanni, is a widespread annual herb residing across the world in warm and humid climates.
Ayuvedic herbs for hair growth: In Ayuvedic medicine, India’s oldest holistic healing practice, bhringrai powder is mainly used for the purposes of detoxifying the liver and stimulating hair growth.
Chinese herbs for hair growth: While many people may not know this, Asian countries, including China and Korea, have also traditionally used eclipta alba as a powerful herb for hair growth and hair darkening effects as well.
Eclipta alba / bhringraj (either in a form of powder or oil) contains various medicinal / therapeutic phytochemicals such as wedelolactone, triterpenoid, saponins, coumestans, glycosides, sterols, and flavonoids.
For instance, studies show that wedelolactone and saponins promote anti-cancer and antioxidiant activities in the body, while β-Sitosterol (a type of sterols) is considered as a potentially effective DHT blocker to fight hair loss.
What are the eclipta alba / bhringraj benefits?
Here are the top 15 bhringraj health benefits and its medicinal properties:
- Stimulating hair growth
- Darkening hair color
- Detoxifying the body
- Protecting the liver
- Improving eye health
- Having diuretic effects (urine production)
- Reducing pain
- Moderating anger
- Reducing blood pressure
- Decreasing cholesterol
- Showing anti-cancer effects
- Promoting antioxidant activities
- Protecting immune system
- Treating eczema
- Enhancing memory
TOP 5 Eclipta alba / bhringraj hair growth benefits
Does bhringraj regrow hair? If so, how does it work?
In other words, what mechanisms does bhringraj (eclipta alba) have to help with hair growth?
Here are 5 direct and indirect ways this ancient medicinal herb may stimulate hair growth:
#1 – Eclipta alba / bhringraj induces the anagen phase
One of the main symptoms of pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is hair follicle miniaturization caused by a shorter anagen phase.
All studies that investigate eclipta alba for hair growth report that the herbal extract appears to extend the anagen phase by expediting the resting-to-active-hair growth transition, whether it’s orally consumed or topically applied in mice.
#2 – Eclipta alba / bhringraj increases hair counts, hair length and dermal thickness
As eclipta alba prolongates the active hair growth period, it allows enough time for hair follicles to stabilize and a dermal layer to increase thickness for new and existing hairs to settle, grow and extend.
#3 – Eclipta alba / bhringraj regulates genes associated with a hair growth cycle
Via immunohistochemistry (immunostaining technique of using certain antigens / proteins), researchers discovered that important hair growth markers such as Shh and FGF7 were upregulated when bhringraj powder extract was topically applied to mice.
#4 – Eclipta alba / bhringraj detoxifies the liver, thus sending out clean blood and nutrition to hair follicles
Studies note that eclipta alba is also effective for protecting liver health.
Specifically, three phytochemicals of eclipta alba – Wedelolactone, desmethylwedelolactone, and flavonoid – exhibited liver protecting (hepatoprotective) effects when taken internally.
Liver and hair growth: The liver plays a crucial role not just for our body, but also for hair follicles as well.
One of its main jobs is to filter the blood and toxins from the digestive tract.
The liver then processes necessary minerals and nutrition and sends out the clean blood back to the body. The portion of the filtered blood then gets transported to the dermal papilla region, so that hair follicles can receive proper nutrition and grow.
#5 – Eclipta alba / bhringraj shows anti-inflammatory activities
The higher level of DHT is closely associated with chronic inflammation in the scalp.
As many of you probably know, DHT is a hormone that was originally testosterone, but is converted due to an 5a-reductase enzyme.
The more inflammatory reaction occurs in the scalp, the higher DHT level is seen in the balding scalps, provoking a vicious cycle for pattern hair loss sufferers.
This is when eclipta alba / bhringraj oil may come in handy.
According to a 2005 study (1), the researchers report that eclipta alba was able to reduce inflammation.
When tested in mice with a carrageenin-induced paw edema (swelling), eclipta alba was able to reduce inflammation up to 55.85% after 3 hours of the treatment.
Now, let’s delve into eclipta alba / bhringraj hair growth studies and their new discoveries:
4 Studies on using eclipta alba / bhringraj for hair growth
Eclipta alba hair loss treatment clinical data: Here are four studies that have investigated eclipta alba specifically for the purpose of regrowing hair.
Study #1 – Comparing ancient hair growth herbs (including elipta alba) to test their true effectiveness
A 2014 study (2) reports a significant hair growth effect of bhringraj powder extract.
A group of Korean researchers investigated the efficacy of several oriental medicinal herbs that are known to contain hair growth stimulating properties.
A total of 5 nude mice were involved in this experiment. Each mouse was randomly assigned to one of the following herbs.
- Mice 1: Control
- Mice 2: 2% minoxidil
- Mice 3: Asiasari radix (wild ginger)
- Mice 4: Eclipta alba (false daisy / bhringraj)
- Mice 5: Panax ginseng (red ginseng)
The researchers topically applied the assigned substances on the back of nude mice daily for two full hair growth cycles (16 days) and measured hair density and hair length during the experiment.
Let’s start with the bhringraj oil before and after photos as well as other groups:
It’s very clear to see that the eclipta alba / bhringraj treated mouse had the most significant hair growth compared to any other mice groups.
Also, if you look at hair length and hair density in close-up photos, the eclipta alba treated mouse once again had a superior outcome compared to the rest.
Eclipta alba (bhringraj) vs. asiasari radix (wild ginger) vs. panax ginseng (red ginseng) for hair growth
There are numerous research studies on asiasari radix (wild ginger) and panax ginseng (red ginseng) for their hair growth promoting effects.
Interestingly, this wasn’t the case here:
The side by side comparison shows that asiasari radix and panax ginseng treated mice initially showed steady hair growth, but somehow the reversal effect followed which led back to hair loss at the end of 2nd hair growth cycle.
Meanwhile, the eclipta alba mouse had the steady hair growth from the beginning to the end of the experiment.
Eclipta alba (bhringraj) vs minoxidil
If you compare the hair growth results of eclipta alba (bhringraj) and minoxidil, the winner also becomes obvious.
The researchers note that while hair density between eclipta alba and minoxidil treated mice were somewhat similar, the minoxidil mouse had “irregular and deformed” hairs.
Eclipta alba treated mice, on the other hand, showed thicker and straight hairs with stabilized follicles penetrating the epidermal layer.
Bhringraj powder for hair growth reviews: Researchers note that not only the topical application of eclipta alba / bhringraj powder extract can increase the number of hair follicles and their sizes, but it can also improve disordered keratinization condition and normalize to the “fully formed visible” hair follicles.
Study #1 summary:
Eclipta alba / bhringraj extract works better than minoxidil, asiasari radix, and panax ginseng for stimulating hair growth
Study #2 – Comparing the hair growth efficacy between eclipta alba and minoxidil
Another study also reports the effectiveness of eclipta alba extract for hair growth promotion activity.
This 2008 study (3) has more sophisticated and detailed design for an effective comparison of eclipta alba (bhringraj powder extract) and minoxidil at different strengths.
Total 72 mice were in were involved in the experiment.
The mice were first divided into two groups (Minoxidil and eclipta alba), then further sub-divided at various strengths.
Group A – Minoxidil group:
32 mice were randomly divided into four groups (so 8 mice in each sub-group):
- Group A-1: control
- Group A-2: vehicle (propylene glycol, alcohol, and water mix) of minoxidil
- Group A-3: 1% minoxidil
- Group A-4: 2% minoxidil
Group B – Eclipta alba / bhringraj powder extract group:
40 mice were randomly divided into four groups (so 10 mice in each group):
- Group B-1: control
- Group B-2: vehicle (propylene glycol and DMSO) of eclipta alba extract
- Group B-3: eclipta alba extract at 1.6 mg/15 cm2 concentration
- Group B-4: eclipta alba extract at 3.2 mg/15 cm2 concentration
Mice in all groups were applied with the assigned substances on their backs for 10 days.
The researchers report that group A-4 and group B-4 (mice groups that received the strongest concentrations of either minoxidil or eclipta alba extract) showed the highest anagen (hair growth) transformation which were 87.5% for both groups.
When it comes to hair count and skin thickness, group A-4 (2% minoxidil treated mice) showed more hair count, while group B-4 (eclipta alba extract with 3.2 mg/15 cm2 concentration) had twice more skin thickness.
Here are the specific results for hair counts and skin thickness:
- Group A-4:
- Mean follicle count: 73 +/- 8.2
- Average skin thickness: 253.25 +/- 6.6 nm
- Group B-4:
- Mean follicle count: 66 +/- 7.3
- Average skin thickness: 480.4 +/- 41.2 nm
Elevated hair growth markers: The researchers also note that hair growth markers – FGF7 and Shh – were shown increased, while a telogen hair resting marker, BMP4, was downregulated using the extract of brhingraj oil for hair growth via immunohistochemical analysis.
Study #2 summary:
The higher the concentration of eclipta alba / bhringraj extract is, the better it works for accelerating hair growth. Elevated hair growth markers – FGF7 and Shh – are the clear indicators of eclipta alba’s hair growth promoting properties.
Study #3 – Finding out if oral consumption of eclipta alba is also effective for hair regrowth
Unlike the other two studies, this research (4) focuses on using eclipta alba / bhringraj for hair growth with internal consumption.
24 mice were divided into three groups (so 8 mice in each group):
- Group 1: Eclipta alba extract (oral)
- Group 2: 3% minoxidil (topical)
- Group 3: Vehicle (oral)
The above substances were either topically applied or orally fed everyday for 13 days.
Let’s start with the extract of bhringraj oil before and after photos:
As you can see, group 1 (eclipta alba / bhringraj treated mice) shows the highest hair growth rate by day 13.
Just like the first study, the eclipta alba / bhringraj treated group shows more prominent hair regrowth than the minoxidil mice group as well.
The researchers further performed immunohistochemical analysis and confirmed that expressions of FGF-7 (anagen phase indicator) in dermal papilla region were upregulated, while FGF-5 (telogen phase indicator) were downregulated on the eclipta alba treated mice group.
Study #3 summary:
The immunohistochemical analysis confirms again that eclipta alba / bhringraj increases hair growth marker expressions and decreases hair follicle resting gene expressions
Study #4 – Using different solvents to extract eclipta alba to find out what’s most effective for hair growth
This 2008 study compares different eclipta alba / bhringraj powder extraction methods.
Albino mice were divided into 6 groups:
- 2% minoxidil
- Control (ointment base only)
- Petroleum ether extract of eclipta alba (2% ointment)
- Petroleum ether extract of eclipta alba (5% ointment)
- Ethanolic extract of eclipta alba (2% ointment)
- Ethanolic extract of eclipta alba (5% ointment)
The assigned substances were applied to the mice daily for 30 days.
It turns out that the type of solvent matters for stimulating hair growth.
The petroleum ether based eclipta alba extract (especially the 5% strength) resulted in the most noticeable hair growth than the rest in terms of faster hair growth initiation, faster anagenic phase transition, the length of hair follicles, and even for the better hair texture.
Interestingly, compositions of eclipta alba between the petroleum ether extract and the ethanol extract showed very different phytochemical compounds:
- Petroleum ether extract: wedelolactone and sterols – b-sitosterol (showed the best hair growth results)
- Ethanolic extract: carbohydrates, flavonoids and glycosides
The researchers note that b-sitosterol and wedelolactone appear to be the major contributors for promoting hair growth effects. In the case of b-sitosterol, it was completely absent in the ethanolic extract of eclipta alba.
Study #4 summary:
The petroleum ether based eclipta alba / bhringraj extract significantly induced more and faster hair growth than the ethanol based extract version. The petroleum ether extract even worked better than 2% minoxidil for stimulating hair regrowth.
What’s the best bhringraj for hair growth?
When it comes to adding eclipta alba / bhringraj as a part of your natural hair loss regimens, there are two ways you can go about it: topical or internal.
The topical route:
This bhringraj oil appears to be a decent option for a topical use for hair growth.
The best bhringraj oil for hair growth: We found one research study that carefully formulated a very effective hair growth mixture with bhringraj powder and a couple of other herbs. See our bhringraj oil for hair growth recipe section below for details.
The internal route:
Surprisingly, it isn’t easy to find eclipta alba supplements which are USDA organic certified.
The closest we found is this herbal supplement (in capsules) which includes eclipta alba as one of the ingredients and has a USDA organic certification.
If you prefer drinking it as a tea, consider this bhringraj powder for hair growth which is also USDA organic certified.
Eclipta alba recipe – How to make bhringraj hair growth recipe
This special bhringraj powder for hair growth recipe is based on a 2009 study (6).
The researchers carefully formulated the mixture and tested them at various strengths to find out the most effective version to promote significant hair growth.
- Herb #1: Eclipta alba / bhringraj powder 40g
- Herb #2: Hibiscus rose sinensis powder (Hawaiian hibiscus) 40g
- Herb #3: Nardostachys jatamansi powder (spikenard) 20g
- Coconut oil 100ml (100g)
- Eclipta alba juice 400g
You can also buy bhringraj leaves instead and use an electric herb grinder to grind it into a powder.
- Mix all 3 herb powders (bhringraj, hibiscus rose sinensis, and nardostachys jatamansi) and add a little bit of juice to make a thick paste
- Heat coconut oil in a pot
- Once coconut oil melts, add the paste and mark the level
- Add the rest of the juice into the pot
- Heat it on medium until the liquid boils down to just above where you originally marked
Eclipta alba / bhringraj oil side effects:
Eclipta alba is considered as likely to be safe.
The bhringraj hair growth studies note that there are no adverse effects of using eclipta alba extract whether it’s a topical or oral form. Further toxicity tests of bhringraj also confirmed that its extracts are safe to use.
Conclusion – Can I use eclipta alba / bhringraj for hair growth?
According to a number of studies, the answer is definitely yes.
Eclipta alba / bhringraj leaves transform the resting hair follicles to the anagen (active hair growth) phase and increases the number of hair follicles and skin thickness by elevating expressions of Shh and FGF7 hair growth markers.
Some of the studies even note that eclipta alba extract may work better than minoxidil for stimulating hair growth when tested in mice.
It’s also important to note that whether eclipta alba / bhringraj was used as a topical treatment or oral consumption, in all cases from the studies, the herb was able to initiate the early onset of the anagen (hair growth) phase.
If you are looking into using bhringraj product as a part of natural hair loss regime, it would be a good option to consider a topical extract oil, supplement, or a powder to drink as herbal tea or to make your own topical mixture.
Have you tried bhringraj oil or bhringraj powder for hair loss? Share your experience here with readers in the comment!Source
(4) LK Hyun, Pusan University – Eclipta prostrate L. promote anagen induction in C57BL/6N mice