Office Hours: Monday - Thursday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Hair Growth Hope

Here's some good news for men (and for women) worried about hair loss. Researchers in Japan have zeroed in on a substance that may turn out to be an effective treatment to address thinning hair, although so far, it has worked only in mice and has not yet been tested on humans. The substance is propolis, which honeybees use to seal small gaps in their hives. Humans have used propolis and honey from ancient times as treatments for tumors, inflammation and wounds, and these natural substances contain compounds that fight fungal and bacterial infections. More recent research has found that propolis stimulates the activity of cells involved in hair growth. A team from Japan's Hokkaido University tested the substance on mice that had been shaved or waxed and found that the animals treated with propolis had faster fur regrowth than animals that were shaved/waxed and not treated. The scientists also reported that after propolis was applied to shaved mice, the skin cells involved in hair growth increased in number. They also noted that in some cases hair loss is due to abnormal inflammation and that propolis contains anti-inflammatory compounds and might be useful for treating some inflammatory conditions associated with balding. More study is needed to determine whether propolis can help humans regrow hair.

My take: For centuries people have used propolis on wounds and as a remedy for ailments ranging from acne to cancer, osteoporosis, itching, and tuberculosis. Today, it is used in the manufacture of chewing gum, cosmetics, creams, lozenges and ointments. I consider it safe and useful as a home remedy and recommend it as a topical treatment for uncomplicated wounds and, when used as a gargle or in spray form, as a remedy for sores and irritations in the mouth. Tincture of propolis can also be used to treat canker sores and sore throats. You can find it in various forms in health food stores or source it raw from beekeepers. We'll have to wait for clinical trials to see if propolis can actually promote hair growth in humans.