Is your hair falling out, getting thinner, or losing condition? Standing by as your crowning glory becomes a shadow of its former self can be extremely confronting – after all, many of us consider our hair a core part of our identities. So why does this happen? And what can you do about it?
Losing up to 100 hairs from your scalp every day is normal and nothing to worry about. It happens because your hair continually progresses through a cycle that takes several years to complete, with each of the thousands of strands on your head being at its own phase of the cycle.
The hairs that fall out are from follicles in the resting phase of the cycle, called the telogen phase, during which there is no blood supply to the hair follicle. Without the nourishing blood supply, a strand of hair is no longer ‘attached’ to the head, and either falls out by itself or is pushed out once a new hair starts to form beneath it.
This signals the start of the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle, in which blood supply is restored and hair growth continues for the next 2-7 years, usually at the rate of about a centimetre per month.
Then, before moving back into its resting phase, the hair follicle undergoes a short transitional phase called the catagen phase, during which the blood supply to the hair follicle is lost. This removes the access to nourishment, and changes it from being a ‘living’ hair to a ‘dead’ one (called a club hair), moving it back into the telogen (resting) phase again. The resting phase lasts a few months, after which another hair growth cycle begins.
However, sometimes the hair follicle becomes withered due to age or other factors (which may include stress, agerelated hormonal changes and general poor health), and the emerging strand of hair becomes progressively fi ner, shorter and thinner until eventually the follicle ceases to produce new hair at all.
Chinese herbs for healthy hair
From the perspective of Chinese medicine, the growth and development of the hair depends on the health of the Kidney and Liver organ-meridian systems, with Kidney energy (called Jing) governing the growth of the hair, and Liver Blood providing nourishment to the scalp and hair follicles.
According to this philosophy, deficiency of either Jing or Liver Blood may have detrimental effects on the hair, leading to conditions such as dryness, brittleness, premature greying, and alopecia or hair loss including spot baldness, general thinning, male and female pattern baldness (sometimes called androgenic alopecia) and hair loss of unknown causes.
In many instances traditional Chinese herbal hair tonics work by nourishing the Liver Blood and replenishing Kidney Jing to activate the circulation, improve blood flow to the scalp and revitalise the hair follicles to promote normal healthy hair growth, colour and condition.
One example is Phytofol®, a proprietary extract of the Chinese herb Fallopia multifl ora that’s been developed by Australian company Fusion® Health. In traditional Chinese medicine, this herb is used to nourish the Liver Blood and replenish Kidney energy (Jing) to promote healthy hair follicle function.
Phytofol® may help regenerate resting hair follicles to increase the percentage of normal healthy hair follicles in the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle. In turn, this promotes healthy hair growth and condition including strength, volume, colour and lustre, and may assist in the management of alopecia, hair loss, and both male and female pattern baldness.
Phytofol® combines well with other herbs traditionally used in Chinese medicine to nourish and invigorate Blood, and strengthen Kidney Jing to revitalise hair follicles and promote healthy hair, including white peony, dong quai, ligusticum, rehmannia, cuscuta and psoralea. Together, this combination of herbs may assist in the management of alopecia (hair loss), spot baldness, thinning hair, and both male- and female-pattern baldness, and help inhibit premature greying and declining hair condition (weak, brittle, dry, dull, split ends).
Silica supports hair structure
The mineral silica is found in all tissues that require structure and strength, including not just the hair, but also collagen-containing connective tissues such as the skin and nails.
As an essential component of collagen, silica helps stabilise connective tissue and enhance elasticity and firmness of the scalp to support the hair follicles. It also supports hair condition and strength, and may be beneficial for brittle hair and split ends. High doses of silica are often combined with other essential vitamins and minerals, sometimes along with Phytofol®. Together, these ingredients help nourish hair follicles to support healthy hair growth and condition including strength, volume, colour and lustre. They also nourish the skin to encourage healthy skin texture, tone, firmness and elasticity, aid the management of skin conditions such as mild to moderate acne, dermatitis and psoriasis, and reduce nail breakage, splitting and fl aking, and help strengthen soft or brittle nails.
Fusion® Health Hair Skin & Nails combines Phytofol® and a high dose of silica with essential vitamins and minerals. Together, these ingredients help nourish hair follicles to support healthy hair growth and condition including strength, volume, colour and lustre. They also nourish the skin to encourage healthy skin texture, tone, firmness and elasticity, may aid the management of skin conditions, such as mild to moderate acne, dermatitis and psoriasis, as well as reduce nail breakage, splitting and flaking and help strengthen soft or brittle nails.
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