Ingredient Profile: The Powerful Potential of Ginseng to Promote Hair Growth

January 27, 2019 | Written by Kathy Watson

When it comes to powerhouse botanicals, it doesn’t get much better than ginseng. Loved for centuries as a traditional natural remedy, ginseng is a powerful ingredient in our Activating Serum because of its unique ability to improve blood flow, strengthen the immune system, and regulate hormones—all important factors in maintaining a healthy scalp.

What is Ginseng?

Ginseng is a perennial plant of the genus panax, derived from the Greek word ‘panakeia,’ which means ‘universal remedy.’ Traditionally used in Chinese and Korean herbal medicine, ginseng is an energizing ingredient that stimulates blood flow and improves circulation—reducing symptoms of high blood pressure, inflammation, and allergies. Its effectiveness is driven primarily by ginsenosides, powerful steroids that are naturally found inside ginseng root.

Why is Ginseng Good for Hair Growth?

Korean red ginseng has a long history as a natural hair growth stimulant in Korea. With deep roots in traditional medicine, ginseng has gained scientific support in modern hair loss research for its ability to regulate hormones, specifically testosterone. Free testosterone is found in both men and women and does not cause hair loss unless it converts to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone created with the help of the enzyme Type II 5α-reductase. DHT is a form of testosterone that can bind to receptors in hair follicles and effectively kill them, causing the hair to fall out. Fortunately, ginsenosides are natural inhibitors of 5α-reductase, which means they can help slow the creation of DHT, allowing hair follicles to maintain normal strand production.

How Ginseng Affects the Hair Growth Cycle

Because it naturally regulates circulation, ginseng may also contribute to an increase in human hair dermal papilla cells (hDPCs), the cells responsible for regulating hair growth. Each independent strand of hair grows in a three-phase cycle: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (shedding) phases. On healthy scalps, the anagen phase lasts 3-5 years on average, and because follicles cycle independently of one another, it is considered normal to lose an average of 80 of your 10,000 strands each day as a result of telogen shedding. In a person experiencing hair loss, the anagen phase is abruptly interrupted, causing increased strand shedding. Some research has shown that because ginseng promotes the proliferation of hDPCS, it may help restore the natural hair growth cycle.

Ginseng is a powerful natural remedy to promote hair growth; some studies even claim that it may be as effective as minoxidil, the leading FDA-approved hair loss treatment. Although it has been praised for centuries as a natural panacea for many ailments, we are excited about modern research reinforcing its powerful results for those struggling with thinning strands. Do you have experience with or questions about ginseng? Hit us up. We’d love to hear if ginseng worked for you.

About Kathy Watson

Over her 10-year career as a journalist, Kathy has worked as a columnist and reporter for both print magazines and digital publications. She started as a beat reporter for her college newspaper covering biosciences and general science. Kathy holds a B.A. in political science. Reviewed by Collective Laboratories' Medical Advisory Board

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