Homeopathy is a highly controversial topic within the scientific community.
Some authors suggest the myriad of case reports, high patient satisfaction, and growing body of research deem homeopathy worthy of use (1).
On the other hand, other researchers simply chalk homeopathy’s effects up to the placebo (2).
Nonetheless, the research is worth examining for its potential benefits.
So, what is homeopathy exactly and can it be used for hair loss?
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In this article, I’ll review the literature available on homeopathy and if homeopathic medicine for hair growth is viable.
Just keep reading!
Quickly, make sure you take the free hair quiz later in this article.
What Is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a form of natural medicine that stems from the ideal that the body can heal itself (1).
It uses low doses of botanicals, minerals, and other natural substances that have been subject to potentization. This is a process by which these natural substances are agitated to form nanoparticles that are much more bioactive than their larger molecule counterparts.
These diluted concoctions are biologically active, even at low concentrations, because of the presence of these bioactive nanoparticles.
Although the exact way that homeopathy works is unclear, research believes the effects of homeopathy are attributed to its “hormetic” effects. This means that at extremely small doses it stimulates healing whereas it can be problematic at high doses.
These hormetic effects are believed to initiate healing by initially acting as a minor “stressor” to the body. As a result, the body produces an adaptation that allows it to overcome larger stressors.
This model of homeopathy could be likened to “training the body”, where the body is trained with small stressors that train it to overcome the bigger ones (i.e. disease, illness, stressful situations).
In line with these assumptions, homeopathic remedies have been shown to influence the immune, nervous, and metabolic systems in the body.
Another component of homeopathy is its preparation. Homeopathic remedies prepared in glass containers retain silica nanoparticles that can amplify the effects of natural remedies.
These silica nanoparticles can retain structures when stimulated by electric or magnetic currents, self-assemble to mimic cell structures in the body, and act as delivery systems for other natural substances.
Cell salts are another branch of homeopathy that involves dosing the body with minerals like sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and more to support cell function. The function of every cell in our body is dependent on the interactions of minerals.
Homeopathic cell salts are designed to address mineral deficiencies. Some formulations are targeted towards specific deficiencies whereas others are a combination used to support overall cell stability.
These cell salts are not like traditional minerals found in food and spring water, instead, they are ground to nanoparticular size. This changes their biological activity.
Together, these applications make up homeopathic remedies used in homeopathy practice.
- Homeopathic medicine is comprised of extremely diluted natural substances that elicit a hormetic effect on the body, with low doses believed to stimulate resilience in the human body. The effectiveness of homeopathic remedies are attributed to the presence of highly bioactive nanoparticles.
- Remedies prepared in glass containers also contain silica nanoparticles which amplify their activity.
- Cell salts are also a component of homeopathic therapy which addresses mineral deficiences. Minerals like sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and more play a role every cellular function in the body.
Homeopathic Medicine for Hair Growth: Does It Work?
Unfortunately, there is no data available on homeopathic medicine for treating hair loss.
However, homeopathic cell salts may have implications in hair growth. Minerals like sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium are involved in a myriad of cell functions that regulate hair growth.
For example, sodium is essential for energy production within cells (3). The energy currency of the body is Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). In the presence of high levels of sodium, cell culture studies demonstrate that ATP synthesis requires sodium.
This is because sodium is essential for the functioning of the sodium pump that catalyzes ATP synthesis. While the sodium pump requires ATP to function, it’s also essential for ATP synthesis in return.
ATP powers every single function in the body. Without it, the body doesn’t properly function. Hair growth is a function that is dependent on ATP.
However, too much sodium can be detrimental. Sodium excess overstimulates Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate (NADPH) oxidase, an enzyme involved in ATP production, leading to excessive free radical production (4). Free radicals are toxic to cells and cell structures, including hair follicle cells (5).
Too much sodium can also reduce blood flow and lead to insulin resistance through impaired insulin signaling.
Potassium is a huge factor in balancing sodium. It antagonizes sodium’s vasoconstrictive, insulin impairment, and free radical production. It accomplishes this by normalizing NADPH oxidase, decreasing damaging free radical production and insulin resistance.
Insulin is a hormone that plays a role in hair growth and transports glucose into the cell for ATP production (6). So, impaired insulin signaling due to sodium-potassium imbalance could affect hair growth.
As a vasodilator, potassium may also enhance blood flow to hair follicles (7). Reduced blood flow decreases nutrient supply that is essential for providing the building blocks for hair growth.
Calcium is another integral mineral. It is the signaling molecule for various functions inside cells. It stimulates cell proliferation that mediates hair growth (8).
Minoxidil, an FDA-approved treatment for hair loss, is believed to enhance calcium influx into cells (9). This calcium increase is believed to upregulate the ATP synthase enzyme responsible for creating ATP. However, ATP synthase, besides its role in producing ATP, may also stimulate cell proliferation that produces hair growth.
Calcium also drives ATP production, supporting functions in the body (10).
Magnesium is another critical salt. It plays a role in regulating insulin resistance by stimulating glucose uptake and enhancing insulin signaling (11, 12). It also increases levels of a natural antioxidant produced by the body, glutathione.
Magnesium is also a co-factor in over 300 enzymatic processes of the body, many of which overlap with hair growth. One of magnesium’s most important co-factor roles is in ATP production. It not only facilitates ATP synthesis but is also required for ATP to be bioactive.
Phosphorous is also another mineral often used in homeopathic cell salts. This mineral is the backbone of DNA and a key component of adenosine triphosphate (13). So, alterations in phosphate consumption and balance in the body can deplete the precursor needed for these processes.
Silica, another component of certain homeopathic cell salts, has also been proposed to be beneficial for hair, skin, and, nails. One clinical trial using silica supplementation resulted in decreased hair fragility (14). This could result in fuller hair due to decreased hair breakage. However, studies to confirm these findings are few and far between.
One other way silica may play a role in hair growth is through aluminum detoxification (15). Silicic acid is able to form complexes with aluminum hydroxide to reduce the negative effects of aluminum on the body.
Some researchers emphasize the need for heavy metal poisoning tests when hair loss occurs (16). This is not surprising considering heavy metals like aluminum are toxic to cells. They are potent generators of damaging free radicals that are toxic to cells.
Aluminum also disrupts the mineral balance in the body (17). Because of the critical role that minerals play in every cell, including the hair follicle, excess aluminum can result in cell dysfunction. Aluminum toxicity is also associated with DNA damage, oxidative stress, and ultimately cell death, all of which suppress hair growth.
Together, these essential mineral cell salts work synergistically to promote proper cell function.
It should be noted, though, that cell salts have not been studied for treating hair growth. Additionally, studies don’t indicate that deficiencies in essential minerals necessarily result in hair loss. Nonetheless, these minerals are essential for healthy cell function.
However, you should always consult a certified homeopath who can assess your specific condition. They will be able to assess specific deficiencies and conditions that may warrant the implementation of targeted homeopathic remedies.
- There is no hard data demonstrating homeopathic remedies can cure hair loss. However, the minerals found in homeopathic cell salts are essential for proper cell health.
- Minerals, specifically sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, work synergistically to promote cell energy production and balance. Proper cell energy production and function is critical for hair growth.
- Phosphorous is a key component of DNA and ATP, making it essential for cell function.
- Silica detoxes aluminum, which can disrupt cell function, and may also strengthen the hair shaft itself.
- Together, these minerals work synergistically to support healthy cell function, and, thus, hair growth.
- You should always consult a certified homeopath who can assess your specific condition.
Is Homeopathic Medicine Dangerous?
There isn’t a lot of research assessing the safety profile of homeopathic remedies. But, because homeopathic medicine is formulated at such small doses, these remedies are not believed to cause adverse side effects.
Each condition is unique and requires the input of a trained homeopath who can help you decide which remedy is best for you. Certain conditions may contraindicate you from using certain remedies. For this reason, you should always consult a trainer homeopath before purchasing or using homeopathic remedies.
Additionally, if you are currently taking any medications or have any medical conditions, you should also discuss homeopathic remedies with your primary care physician or specialist.
- Homeopathic medicine is formulated at such small doses that it isn’t believed to have a negative effect.
- Each condition is unique and requires the input of a trained homeopath who can assess your specific condition and tailor treatment accordingly.
Do Homeopathic Remedies Really Work?
Although many anecdotal reports tout the effects of homeopathic remedies, they have not been heavily studied.
According to one meta-analysis (of the sparse research available), researchers conclude that homeopathic remedies are indeed more effective than placebos (18).
However, they also indicate that the clinical trials they examined also used poor methodology. Considering this, more studies using higher quality methodology are needed to assess the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.
Although, other reviews also note that conclusions made by meta-analyses are mixed (19).
As a result, it’s hard to make assumptions or draw conclusions about whether or not homeopathic remedies are effective or not.
- The results of reviews and meta-analyses on homeopathic remedies are mixed. Most trials reviewed are of poor quality.
- Because of the sparse data, it’s difficult to draw conclusions about whether or not homeopathic remedies are effective or not.
- More high quality clinical trials need to be performed to build a more robust body of literature on homeopathy.
How to Find Quality Homeopathic Remedies
Because dilution of homeopathic remedies is so specific and prudent, it’s important that you get them from a trusted, verified source.
Unfortunately, Amazon is likely not a reliable place to purchase homeopathic remedies. The chances of these products being contaminated are quite high.
Instead, you’ll want to opt for products sold at large natural health stores or verified online stores.
Key Takeaway: Amazon is not a reliable place to purchase homeopathic remedies. Instead, opt for products osld at large natural health or online stores.
Putting the Pieces Together: Can Homeopathic Medicine Regrow Hair?
So, can you use homeopathic remedies for hair growth?
Unfortunately, there is no hard data to support the use of homeopathy for hair loss. Because of this, we can’t make any conclusions about their efficacy for hair growth.
However, one component of homeopathy is utilizing cell salts.
These cell salts include essential minerals that are critical for cell health and function. They promote the production of ATP, the energy currency of the body and regulate signaling pathways that stimulate hair growth.
Homeopathic remedies are generally regarded as safe because they are diluted so heavily. Although, there is not a lot of data assessing their safety profile. On top of that, there isn’t a ton of studies demonstrating their efficacy.
Nonetheless, there is still a lot left to be understood about homeopathic remedies. More studies are warranted to further understand if and how they work.
Have you ever used homeopathic medicine? Did any homeopathic remedies work for you? What was your experience? Leave a comment below.