While traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine has promoted the health benefits of the Bhringraj plant for many hundreds of years, recent scientific studies have confirmed the hair growth potential offered by Bhringraj (also known as Eclipta alba).
Traditional remedies are rarely tested by scientists but the weight of anecdotal evidence and the popularity of Bhringraj as an effective hair loss treatment prompted two separate studies to investigate the validity of claims that Bhringraj has measurable hair growth benefits. Many thousands of people consider Bhringraj for hair growth but until this scientific study there had been no recorded proof of its effectiveness.
In order to test the Bhringraj herb, control samples of base ointment only and a minoxidil solution were used as a comparison. Most people might not be so familiar with the name minoxidil, but they will probably know it by the commercial products that contain it, such as Rogaine (or Regaine). In science minoxidil is known as a antihypertensive vasodilator capable of slowing hair loss and promoting hair regrowth. For the purposes of the study, the results of three Bhringraj extracts were compared against the known results of minoxidil.
Three different extracts of Eclipta alba were prepared for the experiment. The first extract was petroleum ether, the second was ethanol, and the third extract was made using methanol. For the purposes of testing for hair growth, six groups of rodents were used to record the difference results.
For the first experiment 2%-5% ethanol extract Bhringraj oil was prepared using an extract of powdered Eclipta Alba. This was prepared by using the petroleum ether first, then the ethanol. This required the use of half a kilogram of dried powdered powdered Eclipta Alba.
For the second experiment, double the amount of Eclipta Alba was extracted with methanol before being filtered and concentrated to the same level as the first experiment.
The first experiment using the Ethanol and Petroleum ether extracts ran for thirty days using six groups of shaved rats (G1-G6) which were treated with extracts of differing concentrations, as follows.
G1: Control group treated with base ointment only.
G2: Ethanol Extract – Concentration of 2 %
G3: Ethanol Extract – Concentration of 5 %
G4: Petroleum ether extract – Concentration of 2 %
G5: Petroleum ether extract – Concentration of 5 %
G6: Minoxidil – Concentration of 2 %
The results were quite clear. Test groups G2/3 using the ethanol extract showed no discernible improvement in regrowth time, however the other test groups showed significant improvements.
Test groups 3 and 4 using the Petroleum ether extract grew hair more quickly that the control group G1. Hair regrowth started after only 5 days with groups G4/5 rather than 12 days with the control group G1. Total time for regrowth over the shaved area was reduced from 24 days with the control group to only 20 days for groups G4/5. Group G6 managed a similar reduction in regrowth time with full regrowth noted at 20 days.
The second experiment used mice rather than rats, using the methanol solution from Eclipta Alba extracts for 10 days. Results showed that the Eclipta Alba extract was more successful at hair regrowth than the control minoxidil solution.
In conclusion it was shown that Eclipta Alba was successful in promoting hair growth, to the same degree as minoxidil when using the petroleum ether extract. It was also noted that Eclipta Alba increased the number of hair follicles, again giving an indication of the validity of using Bhringraj for hair re-growth.
Bhringraj oil can be used on its own or combined with Bhringraj powder for a more potent treatment. It can be massaged into the scalp the night before washing the hair, or used a a conditioning hair oil. Bhringraj powder can also be added to hair conditioners and treatments. Because Bhringraj is a natural, herbal treatment, it doesn’t have the adverse side effects often associated with minoxidil.