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Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
If you keep up on wellness trends, you’ve likely heard of ashwagandha. Not so in the loop? Ashwagandha is one of the adaptogenic herbs commonly used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional system of medicine. It is believed to have a variety of medicinal properties and health benefits.
This herb has become so popular that you can now find it in oral supplement form, in cocoa, coffee, and other beverage mixes and more.
Wondering if there really is such a thing as an ashwagandha hair loss remedy? Well, the answer isn’t quite so clear cut.
It would not be accurate to say that ashwagandha directly treats hair loss or improves hair health. However, it’s thought that ashwagandha can help with stress — and stress can cause hair loss.
Chronic stress has been linked to hair loss. Hair Loss research has found that long-term stress can prevent new hair from growing and keep hair in the resting phase of the hair growth cycle.
It’s thought that having a high cortisol level — which is the result of stress — can also impact the hair follicle.
Generally, this type of hair loss is not thought to be permanent, but rather something that can be reversed if the chronic stress is addressed.
This brings us back to ashwagandha. Because ashwagandha is thought to help with stress, you could say that one of the benefits of ashwagandha is that it can help with stress-related hair loss.
There is some proof that ashwagandha does actually help with stress. A small study of 64 people found that taking a high concentration of ashwagandha root extract improved a person’s resistance to stress and improved their quality of life.
So, if stress is causing your hair loss and you are able to reduce stress levels by taking ashwagandha, you may be able to get back to healthy hair growth.
On the flip side, you may be wondering if ashwagandha can cause hair loss. It’s not an unreasonable question. There are a variety of medications that can cause things like brittle hair and hair loss.
For example, certain medications used to treat depression and anxiety may increase your risk of hair loss, as can blood thinners and certain medications used for high blood pressure, such as beta blockers.
When medication causes hair loss, it’s generally a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium, which entails excessive shedding that can lead to balding or thinning. This type of hair loss is temporary.
Again, rather than causing hair loss, some think you can use ashwagandha to stop hair loss.
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“I’m a 34-year-old father of two and have been using Hims for over a year now. My hair is back to what it was in my mid-twenties.”
Ashwagandha isn’t a direct treatment for hair loss, but it may have an effect on hormonal imbalances — specifically reducing high levels of the stress hormone cortisol — which in turn can help you become less stressed.
Since stress can affect hair follicles and lead to hair loss, the benefits of ashwagandha may include helping with stress-induced hair issues.
As far as how much ashwagandha you should take, always follow the directions on the packaging of whatever you are taking. Generally, ashwagandha dosing is around 500mg twice a day.
Another thing to know? Taking ashwagandha supplements may come with some side effects. They include:
Before you start taking something new, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Even though there are known benefits of ashwagandha and it is considered to be a medicinal plant, it may not be safe for everyone.
You’ll want to talk to a professional about whether it could negatively interact with other medications you’re taking or if you have any conditions that could be aggravated by taking this type of natural ingredient.
For example, people with thyroid issues and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are often advised not to take ashwagandha for hair regrowth or any other reason.
It’s also wise to let a medical professional know anytime you take something new, so they can be on the lookout for potential allergic reactions. If you want to learn about another herb rumored to help hair loss, we have an article uncovering triphala and its potential benefits.
Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.
This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.
If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.
Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.
While it’s possible that the benefits of ashwagandha include helping stress-induced hair loss, this ancient herb is not exactly a surefire solution.
The good news: There are plenty of other scientifically backed ways to treat premature hair thinning or hair loss. Here are some of the most common treatments that can help many different hair types and fight a wide range of hair-thinning conditions.
Topical minoxidil is an FDA-approved way to treat androgenetic alopecia, also known as genetic hair loss. Most people are more familiar with this medications’ brand name, Rogaine®. Topical minoxidil doesn’t require a prescription and is sold as a 2% solution or 5% foam.
When applied, minoxidil sends messages to your blood vessels telling them to open wider, so more nutrients and oxygen get to hair follicles. This can boost scalp health and encourage hair growth
If stress isn’t the culprit behind your hair loss, testosterone could be. A potential solution for this is spironolactone, which is a prescription acne medication.
Spironolactone reduces the effects of hormones called androgens — testosterone is a common one that causes hair loss. This can slow down hair shedding.
Brittle strands are prone to breakage, which can make you look like you're losing hair. So, adding moisture back into your hair can help prevent this from occurring.
Biotin is a B vitamin considered by many to be a supplement that can lead to healthy hair. That’s because biotin may encourage regrowth, as noted in a study that looked at supplements with biotin and other vitamins and minerals.
You can get biotin through a diet that incorporates foods like eggs, milk and bananas.
Whether you’re experiencing hair breakage or loss, it’s understandable that you’d want to get to the bottom of what’s causing it and find a solution to help your strands come back.
Ashwagandha may have some benefits for hair regrowth and helping with hair loss. This is because this medicinal herb helps with stress — which can cause hair loss.
So, the thinking is that if you treat the stress, your hair will come back.
The best way to find a hair loss treatment that will work for you is to talk to a professional. Hers offers online consultations to make it quick and easy for you to get to the root of your hair issue.
Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!
Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership.
She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH.
Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare.
Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.