Alternatives & Traditional

Posts tagged ‘hair’

Medicinal Properties of Chaparral Part 1

If I made a list of my top 10 favorite herbs, chaparral (Larrea tridentata) would definitely be on that list.  This hardy plant, comprising over 20 species, cannot only survive the extremes of desert life, but can also live to be well over 10,000 years old.  In fact, I have read that one of the oldest living plants on earth is a massive chaparral plant in California believed to be over 25,000 years old.  Natural habitats for chaparral include the Southwestern US, Mexico, South America, South Africa, Australia and the Mediterranean.

Medicinally, chaparral is hard to beat.  The plant has strong antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-tumor properties.  Chaparral is also a great anti-inflammatory and raises vitamin C levels in the adrenal glands.  By strengthening the adrenals, inflammatory conditions are reduced in the body, stress responses are improved, immune function is strengthened, depression can be alleviated, blood sugar can be stabilized, allergies/asthma reduced, etc.  Chaparral is an extremely strong blood purifier, which is probably in part due to its high sulfur content.  Its sulfur content could also help explain its historical use as a hair growth agent.

In addition, chaparral is the strongest antioxidant I have seen.  Many antioxidant manufacturers claim that their antioxidant is the strongest known, but they are misleading.  For example, manufacturers of Pycnogenol claimed that they had the strongest antioxidant known.  They even went as far to compare the strength of their product to vitamin E.  The problem is that Pycnogenols, or PCOs, are water soluble.  Natural vitamin E on the other hand is lipid (fat) soluble.  This is like comparing a car to a bicycle.  They are both a source of transportation, but with big differences.  And if I were to compare Pycnogenols with vitamin E, I would say the vitamin E is the car, which is more powerful, and the Pycnogenols are the bicycle.  This is because I feel the cell membrane, which is composed of lipids is more prone to free radical damage than the components within the water portion of the cell.  Chaparral is different because it is not limited to the water or lipid portions of the cell.  The antioxidants in chaparral work in both parts of the cell.

The antioxidants in chaparral include flavonoids, and a very powerful antioxidant known as nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA). NDGA is such a strong and effective antioxidant that it was actually used for decades as an antioxidant preservative for oils and foods, with full approval of the USDA.


Male pattern baldness (MPB) is characterized by the loss of hair primarily in the areas of the temples and the top of the head.  A more radical form of testosterone, known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the trigger for MPB.  DHT kills the hair follicles, which causes the hair to fall out.  The temples and the top of the head are the primary targets for DHT because DHT receptors are concentrated in these areas.

The drug minoxidil, sold under the name Rogaine, was originally being tested as a treatment for high blood pressure as a dilator of blood vessels.  The drug failed for this purpose.   A noted side effect though of the drug was increased hair growth in some of the test subjects.  Therefore, minoxidil was marketed instead as a hair loss remedy for both men and women.

Minoxidil works by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles.  It does have some serious side effects though, which includes liver damage.

Increasing blood flow to the scalp to assist hair growth is hardly a new idea.  People have long used irritating herbs such as cayenne pepper to stimulate circulation to the hair follicles.  Brushing the hair preferably with a boar bristle or wood brush also does a good job of stimulating scalp circulation.  Scalp massage is probably the easiest method to stimulate blood flow to the follicles.  Not only does it feel great, but it is free and it does not damage the liver.

Keep in mind though that if the hair follicle is dead that increasing blood flow to the scalp will not bring it back to life.  If there are still fine, living hairs present then there is a chance to regrow the hair.


MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) hit the market as a multi level marketing (MLM) product about 10 years ago.  As with other MLM products it was promoted with a lot of hype and misinformation.  What are the facts behind MSM?

MSM contains 34% sulfur by weight.  Elemental sulfur is produced as the MSM is metabolized.

Commercial MSM is not natural.  I had an MLM saleslady actually tell me that MSM was natural because it was derived from trees.  This is really stretching it.  MSM is created by the heating of the industrial solvent DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide).  When DMSO is heated an oxygen atom attaches forming DMSO2, which is also known as MSM.

DMSO is actually a byproduct of the paper industry, but this does not make DMSO natural either.  Many plastics are synthesized from natural compounds, but this does not make plastics natural.  When a chemical is altered by man to make a new chemical then the new chemical is not natural, it is synthetic.

Sulfur is essential to the body, although deficiencies are almost unheard of.  Sulfur is found in numerous foods we eat including garlic, onions, peppers, broccoli, beans, seaweeds, etc.

Sulfur is used in the production of proteins and hormones.  For example, sulfur aids in the formation of the proteins collagen, elastin and keratin.  Collagen gives connective tissues strength, while elastin gives the tissues their elasticity.  Keratin is the primary protein founding hair and nails.  Therefore, sulfur aids in the growth of hair and nails.  It is commonly thought that sulfur aids in strengthening the hair and nails though silica in the form of orthosilicic acid, is the primary compound that strengthens the hair and nails.  The hormone Insulin requires sulfur for its production.  Insulin is required for the regulation of blood sugar and the transport of vitamin C to immune cells.  Sulfur compounds also aid in the detoxification of the body.

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