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How coconut, black seed, rice water, tomato, others promote hair growth

By Chukwuma Muanya, Assistant Editor
05 April 2018   |   3:38 am
Androgenetic alopecia is a common form of hair loss in both men and women. In men, this condition is also known as male-pattern baldness. Hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples. Over time, the hairline recedes to form a characteristic “M” shape.

Are you going bald? Is your hair falling off or turning gray? Not to worry. Scientists have validated rice water, tomato, and a mixture of coconut oil and black seed to promote hair growth. CHUKWUMA MUANYA, Assistant Editor, writes.
Androgenetic alopecia is a common form of hair loss in both men and women. In men, this condition is also known as male-pattern baldness. Hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples. Over time, the hairline recedes to form a characteristic “M” shape.

Studies have shown that baldness or androgenetic alopecia directly distresses self-confidence affecting the individual’s quality of life and hair loss is therefore a significant psychosocial manifestation that worth much expense on treatment.

Although minoxidil, finasteride, and dutasteride including other synthetic therapeutic agents are mostly used for alopecia treatment, their adverse effects encourage sorting of alternative efficient treatment agent with a limited side effect particularly herbs.

Earlier studies had demonstrated how a combination of local herbs including onions, garlic, guava, Shea butter, Aloe vera, neem oil, olive oil and coconut oil could provide the next best medicine for hair loss, dandruff, baldness and premature graying of hair.The use Shea butter, pawpaw (Carica papaya) and polysaccharide mixture to enhance hair growth and hair restoration for damaged hair had received a United States (US) patent: US 20050053564 A1.But recent researches have re-validated the folklore use rice water, tomato, and a mixture of coconut oil and black seed to promote hair growth.

Coconut oil and black seed
The Malaysian researchers have demonstrated that a mixture of coconut oil (Cocos nucifera) and black seed (Nigella sativa) is very effective in promoting hair growth.The study published in the International Journal of Ethics in Engineering & Management Education is titled “The effectiveness of coconut oil mixed with herbs to promote hair growth.”

The researchers concluded: “The mixture among coconut oil and Nigella sativa is the most effective to promote hair growth than others, thus it has potential as alternative way to be used for hair treatment in the future. Further study is suggested to identify the effectiveness of coconut oil and olive oil with Nigella sativa extracts in promoting hair growth.”

According to the scientists, Coconut oil (Cocos nucifera) consists of lauric acid, which has high affinity and low molecular weight that are able to penetrate into hair shaft and promote hair growth. They noted: “In this project, the main objective is to study the potential of coconut oil towards hair growth. In addition, the coconut oil was mixed with two herbs, Nigella sativa and Aleurites moluccana (candlenut) to identify their potential in contributing hair growth. Nigella sativa, that contain high nutrient of linoleic acid (a short chain fatty acid), are very important in blood circulation. While, Aleurites moluccana is traditionally used to promote hair growth. In this experiment, 1L of the fresh coconut milk was heated at 60ºC for 15 minutes and cooled at 4ºC for 24 hours. The low molecular weight of the substance was separated and mixed with grinned herbs, Nigella sativa and Aleurites molucana. The mixture was left for 72 hours to make a homogenous component and then, was filtered two times to get pure oil.

“The coconut oil, coconut and Nigella sativa oil, coconut and Aleurites moluccana oil and coconut with mixed herbs were applied on shaven scalp three times per day. The three-volunteered respondent was used and the effectiveness of these solutions was evaluated by measuring the length of hair. Hence, the most effective solution was coconut oil mixed with Nigella sativa.”

Coconut oil has been used long time ago to enhance a healthy looking hair. However, undesirable properties such as strongly odour make less of people using it as a treatment. The triglyceride component in coconut oil is lauric acid, short chain fatty acids that has a high affinity and its low molecular weight with a straight linear chain, make them easily to absorb and is able to penetrate into hair shaft.

A study on several types of oil to prevent hair damage, coconut oil is the most effective oil like sunflower that has those properties, which are able to penetrate easily.Nigella sativa provides a rich supply of short chain fatty acids. According to Matthaus and Ozcan, Nigella sativa contains significant proportions of protein, carbohydrates and essential unsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid and gamma linolenic acid (omega3 and 6). These ingredients play a key role in blood circulation, consequently promotes hair growth. The fatty acid compositional analysis of the Nigella sativa seeds oil revealed the content of linoleic acid to be the highest. This chemical can help people which facing hair loss problem and premature graying.

According to Kalonji, regular application of black seed oil to the hair scalp and repeat for one week, the loss of hair will stop completely. It also stops falling of hair, and gives a new life to dry, damage, dull unmanageable hairs and prevent premature graying of hair. Nigella sativa also contain short chain of fatty acid and low molecular weight that able to penetrate into the hair root and leading to hair growth. It can be explained when the essential oils, that is, low molecular weight combined with lipophilic, allow them to penetrate into cell membrane more quickly than other substances.

Rice bran water
Women in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia have used rice water as a hair treatment for centuries. But does rice water have any scientifically proven beauty benefits?A recent study has demonstrated how rice bran promotes hair growth.The study published in Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin is titled “In vivo hair growth-promoting effect of rice bran extract prepared by supercritical carbon dioxide fluid.”

The Korean researchers evaluated the potential hair growth-promoting activity of rice bran supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) extract (RB-SCE) and major components of RB-SCE, linoleic acid, policosanol, γ-oryzanol, and γ-tocotrienol, with the histological morphology and mRNA expression levels of cell growth factors using real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in C57BL/6 mice.

RB-SCE showed hair growth promoting potential to a similar extent as three per cent minoxidil, showing that the hair follicles were induced to be in the anagen stage. The numbers of the hair follicles were significantly increased. In addition, mRNA expression levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) were also significantly increased and that of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) decreased in RB-SCE-treated groups.

Among the major components of RB-SCE, linoleic acid and γ-oryzanol induced the formation of hair follicles according to examination of histological morphology and mRNA expression levels of cell growth factors.The researchers concluded: “In conclusion, our results demonstrate that RB-SCE, particularly linoleic acid and γ-oryzanol, promotes hair growth and suggests RB-SCE can be applied as hair loss treatment.”

Rice water is the starchy water left over after rice is cooked or left to soak. It is thought to make the hair smooth and shiny, as well as help it grow faster.A report published in Medical News Today looks at the beauty benefits of rice water hair treatments and whether scientific research backs up the purported results. Rice grains contain 75–80 percent starch. Rice water is the starchy water that remains after soaking or cooking rice.

Rice water is thought to contain many of the vitamins and minerals contained in rice. These include: amino acid, B vitamins, vitamin E, minerals, and antioxidants.According to researchers, women in the Heian period (794 to 1185 CE) in Japan had floor-length hair they kept healthy by bathing it in rice water.

A modern-day equivalent of this story can be found in China. The Yao women, who live in a village called Huangluo in China, are famed for having hair that averages six feet long.In addition to its incredible length, the Yao women’s hair is said to keep its color for longer, as they do not begin to get gray hair until they reach their 80s.

The Yao women credit the length and color of their hair to the fact they bathe it in rice water.In recent years, beauty advice websites and product developers have caught on to this tradition. Now, the rice water trend is spreading.Advocates of using rice water for hair believe it: detangles the hair; makes hair smoother; increases shine; makes hair stronger; and helps hair grow long.As the popularity of using rice water for hair increases, there is growing anecdotal evidence about its benefits. But are the claims scientifically proven?

At first glance, a 2010 paper suggests they may be. The authors note that rice water may reduce surface friction and increase hair elasticity. However, the study relies on historical examples to draw unsupported conclusions.

Elsewhere, a research facility in Japan has developed an imaging technique that visualizes the strengthening effect of inositol on hair. Inositol is contained in rice water.How to make rice water? There are several different ways to make rice water; including soaking, washing rice in the sink, and rinsing rice thoroughly is part of the soaking process.

Soaking is the quickest way to make rice water.To use this method: take half cup of uncooked rice, rinse thoroughly, place rice in a bowl with two to three cups of water, leave to soak for 30 minutes, and strain the rice water into a clean bowl.Some rice water advocates claim fermented rice water has more benefits than plain rice water.

According to a 2012 study, fermented substances have a higher amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants may combat hair and skin cell damage, which is why they are typical ingredients in beauty products.To ferment rice water, follow steps one to four of the soaking method. Before straining, leave the rice water to stand at room temperature for up to two days, allowing it to ferment. Strain the rice water into a clean bowl before use.

Another way to make rice water is by boiling the rice. Cover half cup of rice with double the water typically used for cooking. Cook the rice in boiling water and strain the rice water into a clean bowl before use.

How to use rice water? Rice water can be used in place of a commercial conditioner. To do this, a person should: wash hair with shampoo; rinse thoroughly with water from the tap; pour rice water onto their hair; massage the rice water into the hair and scalp; leave on for up to 20 minutes; and rinse hair thoroughly using warm water from the tap.

In addition to its potential beauty benefits for the hair, rice water may also benefit the skin.A 2002 study found that the starch in rice water helped damaged skin heal for people with dermatitis.Rinsing hair in rice water is a traditional beauty treatment popular in many regions in Asia.Many people find rice water to be a beneficial hair treatment. Historical examples and anecdotal evidence suggest rice water may improve the strength, texture, and growth of hair.

Tomato extract
Also, a recent study published in International Journal of Cosmetic Science has demonstrated the effects of Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato) extract on hair growth and alopecia prevention.The researchers evaluated the potential hair growth-promoting activity and the expression of cell growth factors of Lycopersicon esculentum extracts, each three per cent (w/w) of ethyl acetate extract (EAE), and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) extract (SCE) of L. esculentum and isolated lycopene Tween 80 solution (LTS) and test hair tonic (THT) containing LTS were applied on the dorsal skin of C57BL/6 mice, once a day for four weeks. At week four, LTS and THT exhibited hair growth-promoting potential similar to that of three per cent minoxidil as a positive control (PC). Further, in the LTS group, a significant increase of mRNA expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), keratinocyte growth factor, and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) was observed than PC, as well as the negative control (NC).

In the THT group, increases in IGF-1 and decrease in VEGF and transforming growth factor-β expression were significant over the NC. In a histological examination in the THT group, the induction of anagen stage of hair follicles was faster than that of NC. In the Draize skin irritation study for THT, no observable edema or erythema was observed on all four sectors in the back skin after exposure for 24 or 72 h for any rabbit.

The researchers concluded: “Therefore, this study provides reasonable evidence that L. esculentum extracts promote hair growth and suggests that applications could be found in hair loss treatments without skin irritation at moderate doses.”

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