Does Turmeric Work for Hair Loss?
Does turmeric and its main component, curcumin, affect hair loss? So, first of all, let's define what turmeric is. Turmeric is a natural member of the ginger family. This plant is a rhizome that grows in the part of the stem. It has a very deep yellow color found in South Asian food. There's a drink called golden milk, which is becoming popular in Western culture where it's basically a turmeric drink. It is very bitter and peppery. So oftentimes you want to mix this in with other foods. The thought process here is turmeric, or its main derivative curcumin can affect the five alpha-reductase enzymes. And that's the thought is, by inhibiting this enzyme, will this help improve a patient's hair loss? So several studies show that it actually does help.
There was a recent study in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment* in 2012 that showed curcumin improved hair loss and the combination of curcumin and Minoxidil further improved hair loss. It does improve hair loss, in that study scientifically. There are also multiple studies that show that it can reverse prostate cancer, meaning there are some powerful anti-DHT effects. Other ways that it may help with hair loss is it can be anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. Which is one of the reasons that this is thought to be an anti-cancer herbal supplement as well.
So what do you do as a hair loss patient? How I treat my hair is that I do a combination of traditional allopathic medicine with finasteride, which is a DHT blocker. I combine that with herbal medications that can block DHT, which includes turmeric. The combination of turmeric and Finasteride are going to work in two different ways.
The benefit of turmeric over Finasteride is that there don't seem to be any male erectile issues. Male dysfunction with its use seems to be really well-tolerated. Which is true of a lot, but not all herbal supplements. So, for patients who are trying to avoid the use of finasteride turmeric might be a nice herbal supplement. Which might not be quite as strong as finasteride, but does have some potency.
*Pumthong G, Asawanonda P, Varothai S, Jariyasethavong V, Triwongwaranat D, Suthipinittharm P, Ingkaninan K, Leelapornpisit P, Waranuch N. Curcuma aeruginosa, a novel botanically derived 5a-reductase inhibitor in the treatment of male-pattern baldness: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Dermatolog Treat. 2012 Oct;23(5):385-92. doi: 10.3109/09546634.2011.568470. Epub 2011 Jul 14. PMID: 21756154.