Hair growth promoting activity of Eclipta alba in male albino rats1
Eclipta alba also known as Bhringraj, is a medicinal herb with a traditional claim of hair growth promotion. This was tested in a research experiment from 2008 in India. The main purpose of the study was to evaluate whether Eclipta in fact has a potential to promote hair growth and test is as a remedy for hair loss.
Male rats had hair shaved over the bellies and were randomly assigned into six groups; each group of rats received a different test sample applied over the shaved skin. The first group consisted of rats receiving an ointment containing no active ingredients, this group was used as a control group. The second and third group received an ointment containing a 2% and 5% alcohol Eclipta extract, respectively. The fourth and fifth group had a 2% and 5% petroleum Eclipta extract applied, respectively, and the last, sixth, group received an ointment containing minoxidil which is commonly used by dermatologists to restore hair growth in men with baldness.
A small piece of skin over the belly was subsequently removed every few days and examined under a microscope to evaluate for hair growth. It resumed in the second week in the untreated, control group and on the sixth day in rats treated with monoxidil. The fastest restoration of hair growth was observed in rats treated with the 5% Eclipta petroleum extract; these rats had hair growing from the fifth day on, whereas rats treated with the 2% petroleum Eclipta extract from the sixth day on, similar to minoxidil.
Treatment with the alcohol Eclipta extract accelerated hair growth, however, it was not as prominent as with minoxidil or petroleum Eclipta extracts. Growth was completed and the studied area covered with hair in 19 days in the fifth group and on the twentieth day for rats treated with the 2% petroleum extract or minoxidil. Rats in the control group or those treated with the ethanol extract needed more than 25 days for complete hair growth.
The researchers looked further to determine the amount of hair in the anagen phase. Namely, a hair follicle has three growth phases. The first one is referred as the anagen phase and represents the time when the hair is actively growing before entering the next, catagen phase, when involution of the hair follicle starts, followed by the last telogen phase, which represents a period of quiescence.
An increased number of hair follicles in the anagen phase points to an enhanced and accelerated hair
growth. Similarly to previous findings, the 5% petroleum Eclipta alba extract proved to be the most potent agent, since rats treated with it had most of their hair follicles in the anagen phase, indicating a growth spurt. Minoxidil was similarly effective, all the others extracts improved hair growth, but were not as potent. The researcher concluded that the 5% petroleum Eclipta alba extract was at least as effective in restoring hair growth as the commonly prescribed and used minoxidil, closely followed by the 2% petroleum extract. Alcohol extracts were still effective in promoting hair growth, however not to the extent of petroleum based extracts.
The presented research study attested to the efficacy of Eclipta alba to act as a hair growth enhancer. The study also showed that methods utilized to prepare Eclipta’s extract play an important role in determining its effect.
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- Roy RK, Thakur M, Dixit VK. Hair Growth of Eclipta alba in male albino rats. Arch Dermatol Res (2008) 300:357-364