Monday, April 27, 2009

Tea Tree Oil vs. Korean Red Ginseng – Hair Growth Battle Conclusion

Oil from the tea tree is often used as a hair growth tonic.
Oil from the tea tree is often used as a hair growth tonic. (Photo by J-Bot)

It's time to end one of the longest-running experiments ever seen on this blog. Yes, I'm talking about the hair growth battle between tea tree oil and Korean red ginseng. For those who haven't read how it all began, a recap before the results is in order.

Tea tree oil – is it anti-androgenic?

My hair growth experiment with tea tree oil began last summer, after having tried a tea tree oil toothpaste to treat mouth sores and to improve dental health. I'm still not sure it actually did anything; there was a period of sore-free chewing, but then again, I haven't had mouth sores in many months now, even though I'm using Colgate these days in my search for teeth-whitening toothpastes. I'm thinking it may be due to the 2,000 IU vitamin D3 I've been taking for several months.

Anyway, my interest in tea tree oil was aroused when I read a study that said tea tree oil may have an antiandrogenic effect. If true, it would make tea tree oil a potential treatment for hair loss. Of course, I had to try it on myself.

Adding a carrier oil and Korean red ginseng

At first, I mixed the tea tree oil with sesame seed oil and rubbed in on one side of my right leg. Then, after a month without any visible results, I changed the carrier oil to cocoa butter and added some Korean red ginseng (also known as Panax ginseng) into the mix. Korean red ginseng has actually been shown to have hair growth promoting activity.

After another month, I decided to split the experiment into two parts and apply the ginseng on one side of the leg and the tea tree oil on the other. This time, I got rid of the carrier oil and just applied the pure extract. Not mixing the ginseng and the tea tree oil seemed like a good idea, since their potential method of increasing hair growth was different – one is claimed to be antiandrogenic and the other a stimulant. Therefore, I expected hair growth to be reduced on the tea tree oil treated side and increased on the ginseng treated side.

Switching from tea tree oil to tea tree conditioner

That was almost ten months ago. For months, I applied the two compounds pretty meticulously on my leg. Granted, I missed a day here and another one there, but I did stick with the routine most of the time. At no time did I see any results. Some months ago, my tea tree oil ran out, and I began applying a tea tree oil hair conditioner instead. It absorbed very well, so I figured it could be a decent replacement. Still, no results.

In the past two months, I've been applying the tea tree oil and the ginseng on two of my toes as well. I've even tried the ginseng on one side of my face. And what happened? Yep, you guessed it – no results.

The conclusion

I have no doubt that tea tree oil can be useful as an antibacterial and an anti-inflammatory. However, for all the posts on various forums claiming it works for hair growth as well, I've yet to see even a shred of evidence that it does. My personal experience certainly suggests otherwise.

That said, it very likely won't do harm either, and in fact, I quite liked one tea tree conditioner I used for a week during a vacation. It made my scalp feel very clean. Unfortunately, I was unable to find another bottle to take back home with me. The one I currently have doesn't have the same effect (by the way, if you're buying a tea tree oil shampoo or conditioner, make sure tea tree oil (or the latin name Melaleuca) is mentioned fairly early on in the ingredient list; otherwise the concentration will probably be too low to have any effect).

So what is the conclusion? I cannot say for certain that neither tea tree oil or Panax ginseng are able to affect hair growth, but at least they did not do so in my case when applied on the leg. If others wish to try the same experiment, I wish them good luck, and hope they will report back with results.

For me, it's once again onto bigger and better things, because quite frankly, I'm tired of rubbing this stuff on my legs and toes!

For more information on hair growth, see these posts:

North African Plant Extract (Erica multiflora) Increases Hair Growth
Hyaluronic Acid for Skin & Hair – Experiment Conclusion
2% Nizoral Shampoo Increases Hair Growth More than 2% Minoxidil
Emu Oil and Hair Growth: A Critical Look at the Evidence

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14 kommenttia:

Anonymous December 29, 2009 at 1:03 AM  

You tested on body hair, which grows better in presence of testosterone, head hair does the opposite. Hence -- invalid experiment?!

JLL January 5, 2010 at 9:36 AM  


Like I said, ginseng should boost hair growth anywhere, whereas tea tree oil should be antiandrogenic (i.e. reduce body hair). If either would have affected body hair growth I would've tried them on the scalp, but they didn't.

Anonymous January 13, 2010 at 4:21 AM  

Tea Tree Oil is said to break down hardened sebum trapped inside of hair follicles. For those people out there who have had a history of poor hair/scalp higiene, they may experience a benefit from using tea tree oil to clean out the hair follicles. This information is based what I have read.

Anonymous November 7, 2010 at 1:06 AM  

Topical Tee Tree oil (and others, like Lavender) was linked to breast development in pubescent males. They were using it for acne (probably was their Mom's idea).

Anonymous November 7, 2010 at 5:11 AM  

I don't believe it should promote hair growth on your leg hair.. Your leg hair will not grow past a certain point.. so no matter how much you put on your legs, it shouldn't do anything. You should have tried this on your scalp

Anonymous December 2, 2010 at 3:41 PM  

Back in the 80's, I used a shampoo & conditioner called, Ginza, that had ginseng in it, if I am remembering correctly. Anyhow, I couldn't find the stuff anywhere after I realized it was the best shampoo I ever had. I am a girl, and I have curly hair that is not very strong or shiny. At the end of these bottles of shampoo & conditioner, my hair was stronger and shinier than it ever had been before or since. I've been sad since the 80's that I can't find this shampoo. Now I want to try other ginseng products to see if it was the ginseng that strengthened my hair.

Praeteranimus August 3, 2011 at 10:17 PM  

After taking orally a combo of Panax (Korean/red), Eleuthero (Siberian), and American Ginseng for a month, I have noticed some thickening, darkening, and overall increase in body and facial hair; even a slight growth in stature and a small loss of body fat. My libido and aggression/focus when under stress I would liken to that of a Malcolm X crossed with the Terminator. Only thing is my prostate can get a little overwhelmed if I don't constantly satisfy the enhanced libido. I definitely recommend taking at least a week-long break from the stuff every once in a while. Too much of the phytoestrogen for a long period and your hormones get a little crazy, slight bipolar tinge to withdrawal, visual problems (photopsia, especially in combo with cannabis) at very high doses or after long, continual periods/patterns of use. Caffeine seems to synergize well, but diminishes some peripheral subjective effects. Cannabis synergizes in interesting ways—able to maintain concentration, motivation, and mental clarity despite semi-psychedelic euphoria.

JLL August 4, 2011 at 1:02 AM  


Cool - any particular brands you're using?

Anonymous December 17, 2012 at 12:54 AM  

I agree. I tried Rogaine, nioxin, ovation hair therapy and nothing worked. I tried the ginseng
Korean product and not only did it work but it costed 1/3 of the price of the american products

Van Yulay May 17, 2013 at 1:13 AM  

Hello, I have been making lotion for 14 years with Tea Tree because of natural benifits of killing bacteria.

Cedric September 27, 2013 at 7:24 AM  

This is awesome!

Anonymous April 6, 2014 at 9:36 PM  

thank u for sharing your experiment. I think it's very interesting despite the fact you applied the mixture on your leg and not on your scalp.
Anyway,since I 'm looking for news about Melaleuca alternifolia e.o. ,may you specify where you read the study that said tea tree oil may have an antiandrogenic effect?
Best regards,

Anonymous January 8, 2015 at 4:48 PM  

PURE PLANET RED MARINE ALGAE takes cancer sores AWAY. My son had at least 10 canker sores in his mouth at least 90% of the year for 7 years. Just awful. Was seen by ENT, ENDO, Primary Care doc, ALLERGY. NO ONE HAD ANY ANSWERS. We went to health food store and they recommended the above he took for 2-3 weeks (3 pills a day) and has not had one since! Pretty amazing but I swear on it!

Anonymous March 3, 2015 at 11:01 AM  

great to see other people having positive feedback also. im using the shampoo they are recommending on this: ginseng and hair
and sometimes i take korean ginseng orally too. the results are pretty amazing keeping in mind the prices of ginseng products. seems rogaine etc. is just a waste of time

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