How to use ginger in Alopecia treatment to help promote hair growth
In this post, I’m going to share my findings about using ginger for its natural JAK inhibitor compounds in your Alopecia treatment, and how it can potentially help to promote hair growth and reduce hair loss in Alopecia Areata.
I’m going to share some studies I found about the link between ginger and JAK inhibitors. JAK inhibitors are recently being studied for its efficacy as a form of Alopecia treatment.
I’m also going to share my top 3 ways to incorporate ginger into our Alopecia treatment without irritating the scalp.
Alopecia treatment with JAK inhibitors
There have been studies evaluating the use of Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors as a potential topical Alopecia treatment.
“Few studies have looked at therapies for this disorder in children, so much of the data are derived from adult literature and describe off-label use of medication. Generally, topical therapies consisting of topical steroids and topical irritating compounds/contact sensitizers are used. Systemic therapies that block the immune system, including Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, have also been used in this disease.”
Based on results of these studies, Alopecia treatment using JAK inhibitors, usually by way of Ruxolitinib or Tofacitinib, seems to be showing positive early results (in adults).
However, there are some known setbacks of using these drugs for Alopecia treatment. For one, long term safety of its use and dosage has yet to be established. Secondly, recurrence of hair loss episodes after the end of treatment has also been observed.
Links to all studies and publications referenced to are included at the end of this post.
Compounds in ginger that act as JAK inhibitors
Recent studies document that ginger is found to contain compounds that may act as JAK inhibitors. It is worth noting that the study investigated bioactive phytochemicals responsible for suppressing the growth of malignant cells in cancer therapies, and it was not an examination of the efficacy of the said compounds for hair regrowth specifically.
The studies didn’t discuss the use of fresh ginger or the topical use of it, but instead, “a direct comparison of various ginger compounds”, where the effect of gingerenone A, which is found in ginger and is a constituent of Zingiber officinale (ginger), was “strongly associated with relative phosphorylation levels of JAK2 and S6K1”.
How to use ginger as part of your Alopecia treatment
I have looked into and experimented with a few possible ways to incorporate ginger into our topical Alopecia treatment routine.
My main considerations are the delicate scalp of a young child and the thinner, more brittle, hair texture, so the rubbing action if we were to use fresh ginger root may be more damaging than any potential benefits it brings.
Option 1. Freshly squeezed ginger juice
Rubbing a piece of fresh ginger on the scalp may irritate your skin, and the friction as a result of the rubbing may do more harm than good. If your hair is already thin and brittle due to alopecia, the rubbing action may also cause more hair to fall out.
One option is to grind up a bunch of fresh ginger and squeeze out the juice.
If the pulp is fine enough, you could just dab the ginger juice (with pulp) onto the scalp, focusing on bald spots and areas with thinning hairs.
You could also run the juice through a cheesecloth or strainer to get rid of the pulp so that you can store it in a spray bottle for an even more convenient way of application.
The downside to this option is the limited shelf life of the ginger juice — about 24 to 48 hours to be safe unless you freeze it, so you’ll need to keep doing a fresh batch every now and then. If you have the time and commitment, go for it.
Option 2. Ginger essential oil
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood made a reference to the use of ginger essential oil to stimulate hair growth in Alopecia Areata.
Keep in mind that ginger essential oil needs to be diluted by a further half if you’re using it for children.
Ginger essential oil is good to keep around the house due to its medicinal benefits especially in fighting off digestive discomfort and cold symptoms.
Ginger oil is made from fresh ginger root, and is a really convenient way to add ginger to your Alopecia treatment routine. It usually comes in a small bottle due to essential oil being highly concentrated, and it keeps well when stored in a cool, dry place.
Option 3. Store bought, good quality ginger juice
At my Whole Foods run this week, I found an organic, non-GMO ginger juice by The Ginger People. The ingredient list contains only 2 items: organic ginger and citric acid.
The only non-ginger ingredient in the list is citric acid, which is a widely used preserving agent made by fermenting glucose. The concern with citric acid is usually when it is derived from genetically modified source of glucose, but The Ginger People has confirmed that the citric acid used in their ginger juice product is derived from non-GMO sugar cane.
The juice contains very fine pulp in it, so you may feel a little bit of dry-ish residue on the scalp and hair initially. After a few times of using it, we hardly notice the residue anymore, and even if you do, you can easily loosen it up with a spray of water and then gently brush your hair with a boar-bristle hair brush.
My top tips on how to apply ginger for hair growth and Alopecia treatment
Here are some of my favourite ways to incorporate ginger juice, whether fresh or store bought, into our Alopecia treatment routine:
Pour it out on a small sauce dish, dab it on and around bald spots or thinning hair areas. The ginger juice from The Ginger People has fine pulp in it, so it may leave dry pulp residue on the scalp and hair. Spraying some water on the areas and then brushing the hair out with a boar bristle hair brush really does the trick in loosening up the hair and add volume.
For added benefits, you may mix in a few drops of good quality, pure castor oil or candlenut (kukui nut) oil with the ginger juice.
Castor oil has a very thick and sticky consistency, so be sure not to mix in too much unless you’re planning on staying in, or washing your hair afterwards, or don’t mind the sticky consistency on your hair for the next little while until you wash it.
Candlenut or kukui nut oil, on the other hand, is a lot thinner in consistency compared to castor oil.
Transfer ginger juice into a spray bottle for an easy and convenient way to apply it on the hair. You may add essential oils into the mix for added hair growth and hair conditioning benefits without weighing the hair down, perfect for when you don’t plan on washing out the hair right away.
If using essential oils, be sure to use glass, dark-coloured and light-blocking bottles to avoid deterioration of the properties of your essential oils and the container itself. Plastic containers are not suitable for use with highly concentrated essential oils. The dark colours of these glass containers, usually amber or cobalt, help to keep out sunlight as some essential oils, such as citrus oils, are photosensitive and must be kept away from the light.
Add ginger juice to your natural oil hair treatment routine. Because it is liquid based, it won’t add extra weight onto your oil or liquid hair treatment.
You can easily add some ginger juice to your treatment mixture, and for us that usually includes oils like castor oil, candlenut or kukui oil, and a number of essential oils that help to promote hair growth, such as rosemary, cedarwood, cypress, lemon, geranium, and clary sage.
Natural oils treatment is a really awesome treatment and I often see a visibly noticeable set of new hair sprouting off from bald spots the next day when we do this treatment. However, it is quite heavy due to all the oils and can really weigh down the hair before you wash it off. Gently brushing the hair with a boar bristle hair brush really does the trick by spreading the oils evenly across all the hair, and helps build more volume on the hair therefore making it less weighed-down.
The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of ginger are well known. Ginger is also known to help improve blood circulation on the scalp thereby promoting healthier scalp which may in turn help in overall hair growth.
There have been recent studies in the medical world on JAK inhibitors as a seemingly promising Alopecia treatment option. With extremely limited effective treatment options available for Alopecia for children, what we know is that ginger contains compounds that may act as JAK inhibitors. Although there may not be direct evidence on the effects of ginger on hair growth when applied topically, it is safe to say that when applied with care — i.e. in modest amount, frequency, and in a manner that avoids inducing irritation such as by rubbing it on — it is not harmful and is worth a try.
- Alopecia Areata: An Update on Treatment Options for Children.
- Topical Janus kinase inhibitors for the treatment of pediatric alopecia areata
- Emerging drugs for alopecia areata: JAK inhibitors
- Identification of a Dual Inhibitor of Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2) and p70 Ribosomal S6 Kinase1 (S6K1) Pathways
- Showing metabocard for Gingerenone A
Natural Alopecia Wellness
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