The versatile onion has the power to do lot more than just add flavor to your meal. In fact, onion juice, rich in sulfur and other vital minerals, has proven to be an effective remedy for those facing hair loss, especially alopecia areata. The bountiful layers of the onion are rich in two beneficial chemical groups – flavonoids and the alk(en)yl cysteine sulphoxides (ACSOs) – whose anti-inflammatory properties help reduce chronic hair loss.
Most of us envy those with thick, luscious locks. And any sign of hair loss for a man or woman can be a real bummer. But if this has happened to you, you may just find your savior in a very unlikely place: a vegetable you probably already have sitting in your kitchen.
By A Hair
On average, you lose 100 strands a day. But if they are not replaced quickly, you have a hair loss problem.
Hair growth happens in three phases: active, resting, and shedding. In the first phase, the hair actively takes up nutrients and the shaft grows in length. By the shedding phase, the hair has completed its life cycle and falls out.
On average, people lose about 100 hair strands every day. But since this is a continuous process, there are always other active hair strands ready to take their place. But in the case of hair loss or “alopecia,” a majority of the hairs entering the shedding phase are not replaced as quickly or abundantly with new hair. The result – thinning hair, bald spots, and a visible scalp.
Hair Loss May Be Autoimmune Too
So far, science hasn’t found a cure for alopecia areata, the autoimmune condition where your body attacks your hair.
You may start noticing more hair on your hairbrush or a hairline that’s slowly receding due to one of many reasons: stress, hormonal imbalance, heredity, anemia, vitamin deficiency, or even autoimmune-related conditions. The latter can lead to alopecia areata, in which the immune system goes into overdrive, treating hair as a foreign element and attacking its follicles (where hair grows). It can cause hair to fall out in clumps and affects both men and women. So far, medical science has not been able to trace the exact reasons or find a definitive cure.
Peeling Back The Layers
Onion is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds that help it fight hair loss.
Whether hair loss is caused by infection, medication, or an immune system attack, there’s a common food that may be able to help you out. With its curative properties, including being antibacterial, onion can cleanse and nourish the scalp and even stimulate new hair growth.1 Here’s why.
The bountiful layers of the onion are rich in two beneficial chemical groups – the flavonoids and the alk(en)yl cysteine sulphoxides (ACSOs).
Onion Flavonoids Are Anti-Inflammatory
Apart from giving onions their color, these flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce hair loss.2
Sulfur Compounds In Onion Fight Infections
ACSOs also make onions rich in sulfur, which is both antibacterial and antifungal and can help combat scalp infections that cause hair loss.3
As sulfur helps develop collagen, which strengthens hair, it also helps regenerate hair follicles and stimulate hair growth.
The right amount of sulfur helps regenerate hair follicles and stimulate hair regrowth as well because it is essential in the development of collagen, which is responsible for hair strength. The magnesium, calcium, and potassium in onions also promote circulation and decrease inflammation.4
Quercetin In Onion Combats Hair Loss Due To Inflammation
Quercetin in onions treats alopecia areata and prevents it from recurring.
Quercetin, another compound found in onions, is a bioflavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties. It is useful for those who suffer from hair loss due to an inflammatory response in the body, which could be caused by strong medication like anti-depressants, chemotherapy, or an infection.
In animal studies, quercetin has been found to be effective not only in treating alopecia areata but even in preventing it from recurring.5
Bonus: It Prevents Graying Of Hair
Catalase in onion has been found to break down hydrogen peroxide, which is a major cause of hair graying.
Your body naturally produces hydrogen peroxide, which is responsible for bleaching hair inside out. When the levels of the enzyme catalase are low in your body, hydrogen peroxide cannot be broken down. As a result, the graying continues unchecked. Applying onions, which contain the enzyme catalase, brings up your catalase levels and helps you retain your natural hair color.6
Juice It Up
The power of these components has made onions a go-to source for those hoping to stimulate hair growth. So what’s the best way get the most out of your onions? Onion juice! And before you wince at that suggestion, just know you don’t have to drink it – you just have to apply the juice to your scalp. (Of course, it doesn’t smell all that pleasant, so be warned!) Massaging it onto your scalp will also help blood circulation and keep the follicles healthy.
There’s Proof It Helps
After using onion juice twice daily for 4 to 6 weeks, about 90% of the research participants experienced new hair growth.
In trials done on people with alopecia areata, nearly everyone put under treatment with onion juice reported the growth of new hairs. Onion juice was applied to the scalp and massaged into areas where hair growth was minimal. By rubbing onion juice into the scalp twice daily for four to six weeks, about 90 percent of the participants experienced new hair growth.7
Garlic Helps Too
As part of the same plant family as onions, garlic is also effective in promoting hair growth for many of the same reasons. In one study, 95 percent of trial patients experienced hair growth after applying garlic gel to the scalp.8
Another positive to using onion and garlic juice, as opposed to steroidal medication, is the negligible side effects. Steroids can cause adrenal resistance and dysmenorrhea or painful period in women.9
Prednisone, a commonly used steroid in the treatment of alopecia, can cause weight gain and severe mood swings, a heavy price to pay for a lustrous mane.10 Onion juice on the scalp, however, has shown no side effects.
So, why not give onion or garlic juice a try? It’s cheap and readily available and may just bring back those shiny locks you’ve been missing! Here’s a simple recipe you could follow.
A Quick And Easy Onion Hair Pack Recipe
- Juice up 2 medium-sized onions.
- Add 2 tbsps honey.
- Mix the two, and make sure it isn’t a runny mixture. If the smell is overpowering, add a few drops of your favorite fragrant essential oil.
- Dip a cotton ball in it and apply on your scalp. Then massage gently.
- Leave it on for half an hour.
- Wash off with plain water or a mild shampoo.
References [ + ]
|1, 7.||↑||Sharquie, Khalifa E., and Hala K. Al‐Obaidi. “Onion juice (Allium cepa L.), a new topical treatment for alopecia areata.” The Journal of dermatology 29, no. 6 (2002): 343-346.|
|2.||↑||Slimestad, Rune, Torgils Fossen, and Ingunn Molund Vågen. “Onions: a source of unique dietary flavonoids.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 55, no. 25 (2007): 10067-10080.|
|3.||↑||Griffiths, Gareth, Laurence Trueman, Timothy Crowther, Brian Thomas, and Brian Smith. “Onions—a global benefit to health.” Phytotherapy Research 16, no. 7 (2002): 603-615.|
|4.||↑||Hajare, R. A. “Onion Juice: An Effective Home Remedy For Combating Alopecia.”|
|5.||↑||Wikramanayake, Tongyu Cao, Alexandra C. Villasante, Lucia M. Mauro, Carmen I. Perez, Lawrence A. Schachner, and Joaquin J. Jimenez. “Prevention and treatment of alopecia areata with quercetin in the C3H/HeJ mouse model.” Cell Stress and Chaperones 17, no. 2 (2012): 267-274.|
|6.||↑||Wood, John M., H. Decker, H. Hartmann, B. Chavan, H. Rokos, J. D. Spencer, S. Hasse et al. “Senile hair graying: H2O2-mediated oxidative stress affects human hair color by blunting methionine sulfoxide repair.” The FASEB Journal 23, no. 7 (2009): 2065-2075.|
|8.||↑||Hajheydari, Zohreh, Mojgan Jamshidi, Jafar Akbari, and Rezaali Mohammadpour. “Combination of topical garlic gel and betamethasone valerate cream in the treatment of localized alopecia areata: a double-blind randomized controlled study.” Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology 73, no. 1 (2007): 29.|
|9.||↑||Kurosawa, Masahiro, Satoshi Nakagawa, Masato Mizuashi, Yoshinori Sasaki, Maki Kawamura, Makiko Saito, and Setsuya Aiba. “A comparison of the efficacy, relapse rate and side effects among three modalities of systemic corticosteroid therapy for alopecia areata.” Dermatology 212, no. 4 (2006): 361-365.|
|10.||↑||Olsen, Elise A., Susan C. Carson, and Elizabeth A. Turney. “Systemic steroids with or without 2% topical minoxidil in the treatment of alopecia areata.” Archives of dermatology 128, no. 11 (1992): 1467-1473.|