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What Are the Benefits of Ginseng for Hair?

By Rhonda Rivera
Updated May 21, 2024
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Some benefits of using ginseng for hair are better hair growth, less hair loss, and cancer prevention. Many people believe that this rooty herb can stimulate a person’s scalp and help grow hair. Studies show that it has the potential to make people feel less stressed when taken internally, sometimes leading to less hair loss. In addition, lessening the chances of getting a cancer can help a person avoid chemotherapy, which often results in severe or complete hair loss. While ginseng has the potential to be helpful to the human body, care must be taken because it has mild to severe side effects on some people.

Using ginseng for hair conditioning is sometimes believed to lead to better hair growth. Ginseng is commonly found in shampoos and conditioners because of its stimulating benefits. A ginseng shampoo label might have descriptions like “calming” and “for stressed hair” to sell the product. Supposedly, with these benefits, a person can grow their hair faster than normal. The usefulness of applying topical ginseng is debated, however.

Some evidence suggests that ginseng helps people feel less stressed. In one study, more than 500 people participated to find out the benefits of ginseng, which were that people taking the herb had better quality of life than those who did not. It is possible to lose hair when stressed, so feeling happy can help maintain locks. Measuring mental and physical stress can be difficult, however, so the results of the study are not 100 percent reliable.

Another study found that people who take ginseng for hair loss or other reasons are less likely to develop cancer. Chemotherapy is a common treatment for cancer that often has hair loss as a side effect. Lessening the risk of various cancers can help people avoid cancer in the first place and not have to regrow their hair. Like most studies involving ginseng, the proposed benefits are not guaranteed until researchers perform further studies.

A common side effect of taking ginseng for hair is an inability to sleep. Headaches, nausea, and breast pain are also occasionally reported side effects of taking a ginseng supplement. It is generally recommended to talk to a doctor before starting a new supplement, especially if a person is currently taking other medications. Anti-depressants, for example, can cause mania when mixed with a ginseng supplement. It is possible to overdose on ginseng, though experts say that is it usually safe in appropriate amounts unless the patient is pregnant.

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Discussion Comments
By anon992882 — On Oct 08, 2015

When I was about 30 years old, whenever my ex-girlfriend rang to tell me she was coming over, I took a Chinese ginseng liquid in a bottle (very cheap, about $4 for a box of 24 tubes from China town) an hour before sex.

By anon945311 — On Apr 12, 2014

I'm getting bald day by day. Is ginseng hair tonic good for me?

By seag47 — On Jan 02, 2012

If ginseng really can make your hair healthier and prevent cancer, then I wonder why everyone in the world isn't taking it? I plan to start, because these benefits are just too great to pass up.

Cancer runs in my family, as does female hair loss. My grandmother's hair got very thin by the time she was in her sixties, and I would love to avoid that. If I could prevent cancer while doing this, that would be even better.

I am in my thirties now, and my hair is already a little thinner than it used to be. I am glad I found this article now, because I think I have enough time to build up an immunity against cancer and hair loss.

By StarJo — On Jan 02, 2012

I started using a ginseng shampoo in high school to make my hair grow faster. It was already thick, but I wanted it to hurry up and get longer. I had gotten my stylist to lop off six inches, and I missed my long hair.

Within a week of using the shampoo, I began to see sprouts of hair along my part. They shot up seemingly overnight, and they stood up very straight. I knew this meant my hair was about to get thicker, which I didn't really need.

However, it also meant that all of it must be growing pretty quickly. I had to go through an awkward phase with the sprouts, but it was worth it. My long hair returned in half the time it would have taken to grow back without the ginseng shampoo.

By lighth0se33 — On Jan 01, 2012

@kylee07drg – I wouldn't take it without consulting a doctor first. You don't want to risk getting sick or doing irreparable damage to your kidneys.

My mother has polycystic kidney disease, and her doctor advised her not to take any herbal supplements. This is because not much is known about what certain ones can do to your kidneys, due to lack of research.

Also, since her kidney function is compromised, her kidneys can't filter out toxins as well as they should. She could wind up with too much ginseng in her system and suffer a bad reaction.

Perhaps you should try the ginseng shampoo and conditioner instead. That way, it wouldn't be inside your body.

By kylee07drg — On Jan 01, 2012

I stay stressed out most of the time, and I have been losing more hair than usual in the shower. Sometimes it's scary how much loose hair I pull from my head while applying conditioner.

I would like to try taking ginseng, but I am afraid to do it. I have chronic kidney disease, and I don't know what ginseng might do to me.

Does anyone know if ginseng is safe for people who have abnormal kidney function? I'm hoping that since it is a natural herb, it might be all right for me to consume.

By andee — On Dec 31, 2011

I use a hot oil treatment on my hair that includes ginseng and tea tree oil. The combination of these ingredients really helps my hair feel soft and conditioned.

My hair is dry from all the coloring, blow drying and flat iron abuse it goes through on a regular basis.

The ginseng root is supposed to help strengthen and condition my hair. Since using it on a regular basis, I have noticed a difference in my hair. I don't have as many split ends and it does not feel as dry or brittle.

By Mykol — On Dec 30, 2011

Ginseng is an herb, and like all other herbs, it will work for some people and not work for others.

That is why I can understand when some people have great results with it, and others don't notice any difference at all.

I started taking a ginseng supplement to help with my memory. I didn't take it very long because once I started taking it, I had a hard time getting to sleep at night.

I quit taking it, so can't say whether it would have helped with my memory or not. I figured I could find something else to help with that and not lose out on valuable sleep time.

My hair has always been full and thick, and I didn't notice any difference in my hair the short time I was taking it.

By honeybees — On Dec 29, 2011

I have not lost my hair due to cancer or chemotherapy, but have always had thin hair. As I am getting older, this is becoming much more noticeable.

I have tried many creams and shampoos to help me have fuller, thicker hair. One of my friends recommended I try this special shampoo and conditioner that had ginseng in it.

I figured I didn't have anything to lose and began using it right away. I do think that after using this consistently for 4 months I notice a difference in my hair.

There is also less hair loss in the shower when I wash my hair. In addition to this, I seem to be calmer and able to handle stressful situations better.

The only thing I have done differently is using the ginseng shampoo and conditioner, so I don't plan on giving it up.

By bear78 — On Dec 29, 2011

I personally don't think that ginseng could have any benefits for hair. I've been to Asia before and Asians use ginseng a lot, not just as a supplement but they also do have a lot of products with ginseng in them. I did use a ginseng shampoo for close to a year and saw no change in my hair quality or growth.

I've also read that ginseng increases hormone production, raises body heat and is a suggested for better sexual performance. I feel like these effects would have negative effects on hair if any. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

By fify — On Dec 29, 2011

@turquoise-- I'm not sure about hair growth but I did read a study that was done on Panax ginseng (Korean ginseng) which showed that ginseng helps prevent hair loss. Apparently ginseng has positive effects on hair follicles and helps recover damaged hair cells. So what this means is that ginseng helps keep your hair healthy and will fight against hair loss. But I'm not sure about what this implies for hair growth.

As far as I know, oral contraceptives and ginseng shouldn't be taken together. Actually they can be taken together but since ginseng sometimes acts like the estrogen hormone, it changes the way contraceptives work and makes them less effective. So there is a high chance of getting pregnant if you take ginseng and an oral contraceptive at the same time.

By turquoise — On Dec 28, 2011

My friend was taking ginseng because she started working an extra shift and felt tired all the time. She heard that ginseng is good for fatigue and started taking ginseng supplements for it. After a month, she told me that she noticed her hair had grown a little more than it usually does. Her hair grows something like one-fourth of an inch per month usually. But the month she took ginseng, it grew a half-inch.

Has anyone else seen this with ginseng supplements?

I've tried some teas and herbs for my hair like nettle but didn't get much results. Now I'm on oral contraceptives so I can't take those herbal supplements. Is ginseng safe to take with oral contraceptives? This is the only medication I'm taking right now and once in a while a pain reliever for headaches. Does ginseng contradict with any of these?

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