Herbal shampoos contain essential oils that can promote hair growth and help premature balding and thinning hair. If you can't find a commercial shampoo that uses the herb you need, you can make your own by mixing 9 ounces of distilled water with 3 ounces castile soap, 1/4 teaspoon jojoba oil and 25-to-30 drops of the essential oil of your choice. Examples of essential oils that promote the growth of hair are basil, peppermint and rosemary, reports herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in "Family Herbal -- A Guide to Living Life With Energy, Health and Vitality."
Basil (Ocimum basilicum), is member of the Lamiaceae, or mint, family. When added to shampoo formulas, basil essential oil helps stimulate blood circulation in the scalp, which promotes hair growth, says the website Aromatherapy at Home. It is also an antimicrobial agent that will help treat dandruff and flaky scalp and will reduce oiliness that can cause fungal infections. When applying basil shampoo, massage it into your scalp in circular motions and let it permeate your entire head for at least five minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
Peppermint (Mentha pipperita) is a common ingredient for hair growth shampoo formulas. Another member of the mint family, peppermint essential oil also increases the blood flowing to your scalp, which stimulates the hair follicles to grow hair faster. It also promotes the production of natural oils from your scalp to give your hair a moisturizing coating that will make your hair stronger and less susceptible to dryness, says acupuncturist David Crow in his book "The Pharmacy of Flowers."
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a third member of the Lamiaceae family that when used as an essential oil in shampoos helps increase hair growth. Folk medicine tradition uses it as a remedy for premature baldness, says Crow, and it strengthens the hair shaft as it stimulates circulation, making your hair look thicker and healthier.
A fourth member of the mint family, sage (Salvia officinalis) is used as a stimulant for growing hair in shampoo formulas. The essential oil has the same qualities as rosemary essential oil and is useful in balancing the amount of oil in the scalp, reports the website Ananda Apothecary. Its use is contraindicated during pregnancy and for young children.