Indian ginseng, also called ashwagandha, is a common herbal treatment in Eastern religions and cultures. It has made its way into Western cultures and is available as a dietary supplement. One reason certain people take Indian ginseng is to encourage hair growth. While simply consuming Indian ginseng will not cause your hair to grow faster, it might have an influence on the health of your scalp, follicles and hair.
Indian ginseng is a shrub that has long, tuberous roots. The plant grows in India, Africa and the Middle East and has been used for centuries as a medicinal agent. Indian ginseng is still a major component in Ayurvedic medicine. The seeds and leaves have been used as pain killers, to kill lice and to make soap. The roots are used to make dietary supplements and have sedative, diuretic and stress-relieving properties. The herb might also be used to increase your energy and improve the function of your immune system.
Because Indian ginseng is an adaptogen, it might help reduce your stress level. Chronic stress impedes your body from functioning normally. This might affect your ability to grow hair. When you take Indian ginseng, your cortisol levels fall, reducing your overall stress level. As your stress level lowers, your body might be better able to function normally, so your hair growth might increase. Clinical trials do not prove the effectiveness of Indian ginseng for hair growth though. The herb is not used specifically for hair growth either.
While Indian ginseng might help you lower your stress so you are able to grow your hair more quickly, other remedies might be more effective. If hair loss or new hair growth is a problem for you, speak with your doctor about proven treatments. Certain medications might encourage you to grow more hair. Injections, creams and ointments are also available that might stimulate hair growth for you. Hair transplants -- a more extreme option -- are done by removing skin plugs from one area of your scalp and moving them to an area where your hair will not grow.
Always ask your doctor before taking herbal medicine. Tell your doctor about any other herbs, supplements or medications you take to help prevent the possibility of an interaction. If you have thyroiditis, or inflammation of your thyroid gland, do not take Indian ginseng for any reason because it might stimulate hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when your body produces more thyroid hormones than normal.
- Natural Highs; Hyla Cass and Patrick Holford
- Drugs.com: Ashwagandha
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Thyroiditis
- MayoClinic.com: Hair Loss