Rosemary Oil Matches Minoxidil for Treating Baldness
Scientific research has discovered that rosemary oil can promote hair growth just as well as minoxidil.
Of all the various treatments for baldness by pharmaceutical companies, minoxidil (brand name Rogaine®) has shown the most benefit. Studies have shown that about 40% of men who apply the drug for more than three months experience some hair regrowth.
Moreover, minoxidil is the only topical treatment for hair regrowth approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Side effects of Minoxidil
The problem is that minoxidil comes with a number of potential side effects. These include the most common – skin and eye irritation, itching and burning. The burning, itching and irritation can occur on the scalp, or in surrounding areas. Redness can often take place, and hives or rashes can also occur. In addition to these, shortness of breath, swelling in the mouth (tongue, lips and so on), tightening of the chest, dizziness, fainting, weight gain, and swelling of the hands and feet are all listed as potential side effects of the drug.
Yes, these side effects don’t occur in everyone, but for a fair number. A study of 300 men in Japan found that minoxidil resulted in adverse events in 8.7 percent of the men for the 5% minoxidil group and 5 percent for the 1 percent minoxidil group. So side effects are something to consider, along with any potential long term effects of this chemical not currently found in the research that could be discovered later as has been the case with other pharmaceutical chemicals.
Are there natural alternatives? We have discussed several clinically investigated solutions in Heal Naturally – as we mention and list below. Now we can add to these strategies, the topical application of Rosemary essential oil.
Rosemary oil tested against Minoxidil
A new study tested 100 men with androgenetic alopecia – male pattern baldness. They treated 50 of the men with 2% topical minoxidil and the other 50 men were treated with rosemary oil.
The men in both groups were tested with hair count analysis – the most objective measure of treatment for baldness.
After three months, neither of the groups showed any significant increase in hair counts. This is typical for minoxidil – and apparently also with rosemary essential oil.
But when tested at six months, the researchers found that both treatments significantly increased the overall hair counts among the men.
Let’s put this another way for clarity: The increased hair count for the rosemary oil was similar to the increased hair count for the minoxidil group.
This means that rosemary oil is as effective as minoxidil – but safer. The researchers found adverse effects such as scalp itching – significantly more frequent among the minoxidil group.
This isn’t saying that rosemary oil comes without the potential for adverse effects. Scalp itching was found among the rosemary group as well.
And some with sensitive skin may not tolerate rosemary oil as well as others. This is typically satisfied by simply diluting the oil.
Topical treatments aren’t the only answer
This doesn’t mean that rosemary essential oil is a cure-all – just as minoxidil isn’t. But it also doesn’t mean rosemary oil is the only natural strategy that can be applied. While multiple pharmaceutical treatments can sometimes produce increasing side effects, for the most part, multiple natural treatments are typically synergistic. Multiple strategies often add to the benefit of the others.
And the research is clear that topical treatments are only part of the solution to premature balding. As I have discussed in previous articles on this topic, diet has a lot to do with male pattern baldness. A majority of men – about 70 percent – and over a third of women will have this condition at some point in our lives. Androgenetic alopecia is typically associated with low levels of hormones including testosterone and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone).
Hormone levels can be significantly altered by diet and lifestyle choices. You can read more about lifestyle choices in this article. And this article will discuss dietary choices. The book below explains the ultimate diet to sustain health and longevity:
Panahi Y, Taghizadeh M, Marzony ET, Sahebkar A. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed. 2015 Jan-Feb;13(1):15-21.
Tsuboi R, Arano O, Nishikawa T, Yamada H, Katsuoka K. Randomized clinical trial comparing 5% and 1% topical minoxidil for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in Japanese men. J Dermatol. 2009 Aug;36(8):437-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.2009.00673.x.
Stárka L, Hill M, Polácek V. Hormonal profile in men with premature androgenic alopecia. Sb Lek. 2000;101(1):17-22.
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.