Rosemary has long been a folk remedy for hair loss, but now there is scientific research to support the rumors.
In a study published this month, researchers gave testosterone to animals to slow down or stop their hair growth, mimicking what happens in the scalps of men with male pattern baldness. When rosemary leaf extract was applied topically to the animals’ skin, their hair regrew.
The researchers determined that rosemary inhibited 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that turns the male hormone testosterone into a different version called DHT. DHT is the form of testosterone that inhibits hair growth.. The men’s hair loss drug called Propecia acts by blocking the formation of DHT. In test tube studies, the rosemary extract inhibited the activity of 5-alpha reductase up to 94.6%.
In addition, scientists found that rosemary could keep DHT from docking at the cellular receptor sites where it does its damage. The researchers suggest that rosemary extract may offer hope for hair loss.