Erica multiflora grows in the dry heat of Tunisia. (Photo by krc)
Since it's been a while since I've written about exotic substances and hair growth, it's once again time to baldly go where no man has gone before and post some more news from the hair loss front.
Kawano et al. recently published a study suggesting that a plant called Erica multiflora increases hair growth in vitro and in vivo in mice. The abstract has already made its way into several discussion forums, but what does the full paper say?
Like true pioneers of scalp health, the authors collected several different plants from Tunisia and tested their effect on hair growth. Among the plants was Erica multiflora, an aromatic plant used in North Africa to treat inflammation and hypertension, which has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It was extracted by immersing 10 grams of dried plant in 100 ml of 70% ethanol for two weeks and then filtered to remove plant parts and sterilize the extract.
In vitro hair growth effects of Erica multiflora
For the in vitro experiment, human follicular dermal papilla cells were treated with the extract. Out of the six plant extracts tested, only Erica multiflora significantly increased the growth of human follicular dermal papilla cells. Some of the plants actually tended to decrease hair growth.
The growth promotion activity of Erica multiflora was clear only when a high concentration extract was used. 500 mcg of extract per ml increased hair growth by 9%, while a concentration of 5,000 mcg per ml increased it by 44%.
Treating the cells with the extract for 12 hours stimulated the cells, while longer treatments did not have a similar effect. According to the authors, Erica multiflora had the ability to stimulate dermal papilla cell mitosis but not to promote DNA synthesis.
In vivo hair growth effects of Erica multiflora
For the in vivo experiment, the extract was applied on the backs of shaved mice. Since the mice were of the same age, they were known to be in the telogen (resting) phase of hair growth. The mice were then injected with the 500 mcg/ml extract or phosphate-buffered saline.
Hair growth was seen after 3 weeks of injection of Erica multiflora. The authors note that the extract stimulated the normal hair cycle, inducing hair follicles at the next anagen and telogen stages. Vasodilation also occurred near the anagen-stimulated area. They conclude that since there was a delay between the injection and increased hair growth, the extract stimulated the shift from telogen to anagen phase indirectly.
The extract of Erica multiflora stimulated human follicular dermal papilla cell growth by up to 44%. When injected onto the backs of shaved mice, the extract increased vasodilation and stimulated the change from the resting phase to the growth phase of hair.
For more information on hair growth, see these posts:
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