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Rosemary in Natural Shampoo
Rosemary has been used for centuries to treat many common ailments such as headaches and is often found in skincare products and shampoo. Rosemary can be beneficial for supporting healthy hair and some people believe that rosemary can actually promote hair growth.
We infuse rosemary into the olive oil that we use to make all of our shampoo bars and one version - the Rosemary Mint shampoo bar - also includes added rosemary essential oil.
Rosemary oil is extracted from the leaves of the rosemary plant (Rosmarinus officinalis) which is a pungent, pine-like herb regularly used in cooking. It is easily grown and is a perennial in warmer climates (although we have to replant it every year in our Indiana garden).
Rosemary oil has a long history dating back to the ancient Greeks. In ancient times it was believed to provide mental clarity by sharpening the memory. The ancient Romans would decorate their household gods in rosemary sprigs. They also used this herb as incense to their gods.
By medieval times the herb was used as protection against the plague. But it got its biggest notice when it was said Queen Elizabeth of Hungary was cured of paralysis by an infusion of rosemary in wine during the 11th century.
Rosemary oil has many beneficial properties including being antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic. Because of these many properties, it is used in herbal medicine topically as lotions, oils, and ointments to treat ailments such as gout and pain. But perhaps its most common use is in topical scalp and hair treatments.
According to Valerie Ann Worwood, aromatherapist and author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy,
“Rosemary oil is an excellent treatment for hair loss. It stimulates cell division and dilates blood vessels, thereby stimulating the hair follicles into producing new hair growth.”
As the above quote demonstrates, rosemary oil is believed by many herbalists to treat hair loss associated with Alopecia Areata and Androgenetic Alopecia. It is also believed to help a variety of scalp problems such as Folliculitis, bacterial and fungal infections, and dandruff.
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune problem and is also called spot baldness. It is a condition where the immune system attacks your hair follicles causing patchy baldness. Unfortunately, it is currently not curable and the cause is unknown. But fortunately, with this condition, hair tends to grow back in a few months. Rosemary is often used with this condition as it is known for its ability to stimulate hair follicles, thus supporting hair regrowth.
Androgenetic Alopecia or AGA is genetic. It’s also known as male pattern baldness but it can affect both men and women. This common condition is said to affect millions of adults in the US. It starts at the temples and continues around the top of the head, eventually causing total baldness.
This condition is hereditary and is caused when dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increases in the hair follicles causing the hair growth cycle to shorten and not allowing new hair to grow. The pharmaceutical solution to this lack of growth comes down to two major chemical options Minoxidil and Finasteride.
Minoxidil is the ingredient in Rogaine and is moderately effective in around 6 months for helping with hair loss. Finasteride (Propecia or Proscar) comes in pill form and works by binding the enzymes that convert free testosterone to DHT thus preventing the DHT from affecting the hair follicles.
Topical application of rosemary oil has been known to treat AGA by stimulating the hair follicles and by inhibiting the conversion of DHT, so that it can’t shorten the hair growth cycle.
Hair loss can also be the side effect of other scalp conditions such as dead skin build-up or clogged follicles. These are curable scalp issues that rosemary can help with. Since rosemary has antifungal and antibacterial properties, it is perfect for keeping a clean, healthy scalp which in turn helps maintain healthy hair follicles.
The chemical makeup of rosemary includes resin, bitter principle, and volatile oils such as borneo
These phytochemicals present in rosemary have already proven health benefits. Studies have demonstrated that rosemary oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects in animals. In fact, several studies have been done in relation to the treatment of rosemary on both baldness and its anti-inflammatory properties. One such study can be found here.
It showed that rosemary extract had a protective effect on hair cells. And while this study didn’t focus on hair growth, specifically, it did show that rosemary protects hair follicles and has both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. This is great news for many types of hair loss, including alopecia areata and other hair loss associated with scalp conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis.
In humans, studies have also proven that just the aroma of rosemary:
- Treats anxiety
- Inhibits the acetylcholinesterase enzyme, thus preventing brain fog and increasing mental clarity
- Improves mood
- Helps increase cognitive function in Alzheimer patients
While there are no known side effects of rosemary oil, it is always best when using a new soap, such as our Rosemary Mint shampoo bar, to test out the product on a small area, just to be sure you have no allergies or sensitivities to the product.
"Excellent results so far. Looks like it is helping with hair re-growth." - Joe
"This shampoo bar is the best I’ve tried! It lathers nicely, the smell is invigorating, and the rosemary and mint seem to be great for my hair. Loving it so far!" - Sabrina
Have you used the Rosemary Mint shampoo bar? Let us know about your experience by leaving a comment below!
Disclaimer: We are not doctors, and do not attempt to treat or diagnose any skin conditions. Please consult with your dermatologist before starting any treatment.