Monday, July 20, 2009

Eclipta Alba Extract Grows Hair Quicker than Minoxidil

Eclipta Alba Grows Hair Quicker than Minoxidil
Eclipta alba promotes hair growth in rodents. (Photo by ilexxx)

Eclipta alba (also known "Bhringraj" and "False Daisy") is a tropical herb that has been used to treat various illnesses. A traditional use for it in Ayurvedic medicine has been hair loss treatment and hair dyeing.

While many traditional remedies have not been scientifically studied, Eclipta alba has not one but two actual studies behind it showing hair growth promoting activity in rodents. In the first paper, petroleum ether and ethanol extracts of the herb were compared against minoxidil (link). The second paper also used minoxidil as a positive control, but this time the extract was made with methanol (link).

To get an overview of how effective Eclipta alba really is for growing hair, in this post we'll be comparing the results from both papers.

The three Eclipta alba extracts

In the first paper, 500 grams of dried coarse powder of Eclipta alba was initially extracted with petroleum ether. The resulting marc was further extracted with ethanol to make the ethanol extract. These extracts were then incorporated into an ointment base in concentrations of 2% and 5% (i.e. the resulting ointments contained 2-5% ethanol extract).

In the second paper, 1 kilogram of Eclipta alba was extracted with 95% methanol and then filtered and concentrated. The final formulations contained either 3.2 mg/kg or 1.6 mg/kg of the extract in a solution of propylene glycol and DMSO.

Study design

The petroleum ether & ethanol study used six groups of rats with their backs shaved. Group I was applied ointment base only and served as control, Group II was applied 2% ethanol extract, Group III was applied 5% ethanol extract, Group IV was applied 2% petroleum ether extract, Group V was applied 5% petroleum ether extract, and group VI was applied 2% minoxidil and acted as positive control. The ointments were applied for 30 days.

In the methanol study, mice with hair already in telogen phase were selected. Two experiments were done: the first one compared the effectiveness of 1% and 2% minoxidil to a control vehicle, and the second one looked at the effectiveness of 1.6 mg/kg and 3.2 mg/kg methanol extracts of Eclipta alba. The extracts were applied for 10 days.

Results from Eclipta alba in rats

Shaved rats treated with the petroleum ether extract of Eclipta alba began growing new hair significantly faster than rats in the control group. Whereas the control rats took 12 days to initiate hair growth, the petroleum ether extract rats took only 5 to 6 days, with the stronger ointment being slightly more effective. The time it took to completely cover the shaved area in hair was also decreased from 24 days to 20 days.

2% minoxidil reduced hair growth initiation time to 6 days and completion time to 20 days. Therefore, minoxidil was as effective as 2% petroleum ether extract but slightly less effective than 5% petroleum ether extract. Ethanolic extracts reduced the time of hair growth initiation only slightly and had no effect on completion time.

The hair growth effects were due to a marked conversion of hair follicles from telogen to anagen phase. In the control group and ethanol extract group, most of the follicles were in telogenic phase, while in the minoxidil and petroleum ether extract groups most follicles were in anagenic phase. Notably, petroleum ether extract of Eclipta alba was even more effective in inducing anagen phase than minoxidil.

Petroleum ether extract also increased the length of the hair follicles, similarly to minoxidil. In the control group only 34% of follicles were longer than 0.5 mm. In the extract and minoxidil treated groups the percentage was 44-49%, with minoxidil being most effective. Once again, ethanol extract did not have a significant effect.

Results from Eclipta alba in mice

Conversion from telogen to anagen phase was observed in 87.5% of the mice treated with the stronger methanol extract (3.2 mg/kg) and in 50% of the rats treated with the weaker extract (1.6 mg/kg). This was evidenced by the increased number of follicles in the subcutis layer and a thickening of the skin. The total number of follicles was also increased. None of the control rats showed a similar effect.

Both concentrations of minoxidil increased skin thickness, follicle count and the percentage of follicles in anagen phase. 2% minoxidil was slightly more effective than 1% minoxidil. According to the authors, the effects of minoxidil and the methanol extracts were "comparable", but looking at the data, it seems that the stronger extract of Eclipta alba was in fact significantly more effective. For example, 2% minoxidil increased mean follicle count from 43 to 73, whereas the 3.2 mg/kg methanol extract increased it from 19 to 66. The conversion from telogen to anagen was also more pronounced in the methanol extract group.


A petroleum ether extract of Eclipta alba increases hair growth in rats by converting follicles from telogen to anagen phase. The hair growth promoting effect is similar to that of minoxidil. An ethanol extract, however, showed only very modest results. No change in fur color was reported.

In mice, methanol extracts of Eclipta alba induce conversion of hair follicles from telogen to anagen phase. Eclipta alba also increases skin thickness and the number of total and subcutaneous hair follicles. These effects are even more pronounced than those seen from 1% and 2% minoxidil. Since the mice had black fur to begin with, the hair dyeing claims could not be evaluated.

Possible reasons for the lack of efficacy in ethanol extracts of Eclipta alba are the lack of wedelolactone and beta-sitosterol. While petroleum ether extracts and methanol extracts contain significant amounts of wedelolactone, ethanol extracts do not. Wedelolactone has the abilitiy to suppress caspase-11 (link) and androgen receptors expression (link).

Petroleum ether extracts are also high in beta-sitosterol, which has been shown to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase (link), a key factor in genetic hair loss. The beta-sitosterol content of methanol extracts of Eclipta alba was not reported in the study.

For more information on hair growth, see these posts:

Soy Protein Isolate Reduces DHT in Healthy Young Men
Do Flax Lignans Reduce Hair Loss from MPB?
North African Plant Extract (Erica multiflora) Increases Hair Growth
2% Nizoral Shampoo Increases Hair Growth More than 2% Minoxidil

Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Reddit Blinklist Furl Yahoo

13 kommenttia:

Natural Health Remedies July 25, 2009 at 12:15 AM  

Hate the breed...get a kind of awfully bad feeling when I see them and probably a wild fear also.

La July 27, 2009 at 6:20 AM  

I use Bhringraj frequently on my hair, as part of my Ayurvedic hair care regimen, and it really does work. It has definitely helped improve my hair's condition, and helped with growth as well.

JLL July 27, 2009 at 10:03 AM  


That's interesting! Perhaps an experiment is in order, if I'm able to get my hands on some eclipta alba. What kind of extract do you use?

La July 27, 2009 at 6:10 PM  

I just use Bhringraj powder mixed with water to make a paste. It's also sold as Maka powder. I just get it from an Indian grocer. You can get it in oil form too, or make your own oil from the powder. It's really versatile.

ishkashe January 26, 2010 at 7:56 AM  

i want to get some petroleum ether in order to extract the eclipta powder, like mentioned in the second paper of the article.
actually i dont any knowledge how to make this extract..

John Helmy August 19, 2012 at 3:54 PM  

Hi JLL, You have a much better grip on science than I do. Looking to create my own regime to tackle hair loss. I was hoping you could help me? Anyway to contact you off this blog? Cheers, John

JLL August 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM  


If you drop your email in the comments, I'll contact you.


Alex November 25, 2012 at 6:08 AM  

Hello JLL,

I am a 19 year old male experiencing hair loss that is most likely caused by male pattern baldness. I am afraid of using Propecia, Minoxidil and other western medicines and am desperately seeking a more herbal/eastern treatment. You seem to know a lot about that type of thing. Would you be able to help me/share some of your knowledge?

My email is

Thank you

Alex November 25, 2012 at 6:09 AM  

Hello JLL,

I am a 19 year old male experiencing hair loss that is most likely caused by male pattern baldness. I am afraid of using Propecia, Minoxidil and other western medicines and am desperately seeking a more herbal/eastern treatment. You seem to know a lot about that type of thing. Would you be able to help me/share some of your knowledge?

My email is

Thank you

MicFlo December 12, 2012 at 12:28 AM  

I have been using 160g Saw Palmetto EXTRACT for about a year and my barber confirmed a resurgence in my hairline. 2 to three a day.

Anonymous March 14, 2013 at 9:39 PM  

I would also like some help info on more natural ways to deal with genetic hair loss. I have been struggling with androgenetic alopecia sine i was 14 i am now 30 and I can no longer hide my balding :(.

My email is


Sunny June 3, 2014 at 12:12 AM  

I'm 27 and problem / concern is the same as 'Alex' in the above comments.
What do you actually suggest? Use Bhringraj? If yes, then how to use it? Help Me!!

my mail id is

Thank you.

melveen March 4, 2016 at 3:28 PM  


I am suffering from diffuse thinning hair loss, might be mpb too.

Please advise on how to use bhringraj.

My mail is

Thank you

  © Blogger template 'Perfection' by 2008

Back to TOP