I scoffed. I actually scoffed when I heard words similar to these during a homeopathic lecture: “Be careful when women tell you they are losing their hair. It is such an emotional issue. Make sure there truly is hair loss.”
Why did I scoff? I scoffed because I never dreamed losing your hair could be an emotional issue.
Ha! I guess this is a little dose of karma for me because I started losing my hair AND I am finding it somewhat of an emotional issue!
So, I had the crud back in January and the beginning of March a friend mentioned he was losing his hair and it was a result of Covid. Hmmm. Maybe that was what was happening every morning in the shower. It was more than ever before, but, still, I didn’t think that much of it.
But the hair kept falling — more every day. Then, it was confirmed by my hair cutter of many years.
Then, it got real and then, yes, I found it terribly depressing. It makes me feel old and it makes me feel like I have zero control cuz I actually have zero control over it.
I have spoken to so many people who had Covid recently and are now in the same position of hair loss. One woman has turned to wigs. Another uses some infrared helmet. The man who originally imparted this knowledge to me wears baseball caps. My hair cutter told me she has seen it in many of her clients who had Covid. Apparently, the good news is that it will stop and it will grow back.
According to Lopez-Leon (et al. 2021), 25% of people who had Covid have suffered hair loss; Thuangtong (et al. 2021) found a similar 23.7% and notes a “female predominance.” He also found that “patients with moderate, severe and critical COVID-19 infections experienced significantly worse hair shedding than those with asymptomatic and mild disease.” Sharquie and Jabbar (2021) found in their evaluation of 39 patients that “all experienced excessive hair loss within 2-3 months after infection.”
I haven’t dug into the why’s of this phenomenon. I’ve been too busy trying to figure out how to mitigate the problem!
After about a month of consistent, significant hair loss every morning, I acknowledged the problem was real and faced the fact that it was here to stay. I had been hoping that it would just stop on its own. Alas. I was out of town and found myself in my new favorite spot: Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary*. I instantly fell in love with that shop. I felt like a kid in candy store with all the glass jars full of who knows what ingredients. The employees were kind and helpful and I left with a little bag of herbs to make tea to hopefully stem the tide.
The main ingredient in the tea for hair loss is Equisetum, aka Horsetail. According to The Sunlight Experiment, an interesting website (2018) which claims “Evidence-Based Information On Natural Medicine,” Horsetail is “used for its high silica content to support nail and hair growth.” Note: this site says to “avoid long-term use in therapeutic doses” but it doesn’t state what long-term means nor does it distinguish what a therapeutic dose is.
Matthew Wood, author of The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants, (2008, p. 245) says that Silica “strengthens structural material generally, in the cartilage, bone and skin.” He cites Rudolf Steiner who claimed that silica promotes “the transportation of materials to the periphery of the body” resulting in horsetail being indicated by “weak hair, loss of hair, split ends, weak nails,” etc. He uses 1-3 drops of the tincture, 1-3 times a day.
Additionally, I have upped my intake of delicious and nutritious bone broth and if I miss my daily bone broth (of late, I am using this one*), I dump a sachet of collagen hydrolysate* into a cup of tea. Collagen is “a strong, fibrous insoluble protein found in connective tissue, including the dermis, tendons, ligaments, deep fascia, bone and cartilage” (Venes and Clarence Wilbur Taber 2013). Direct evidence of collagen to hair is scarce, but if one makes the leap that since hair grows out of skin and that collagen is good for the skin, then collagen can thereby positively affect the hair. To me, it is definitely worth the try. There seems to be some evidence to back it up: Chen et al. 2015 ; Yang and Cotsarelis 2010 ; Matsumura et al. 2016; Proksch et al. 2014.
What about homeopathy? I thought you were a homeopath? Why are you talking about herbs and dietary supplements?
Good point. Yes. I did add some homeopathic remedies to my daily routine. I used the first line Banerji Protocol for alopecia.
Since alopecia has been in the news a little bit recently, (think: Will Smith & Chris Rock), let's learn the definition of it. According to Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary (Venes and Clarence Wilbur Taber 2013), alopecia means “absence or loss of hair, esp. [sic] of the head” resulting from "serious illness, drugs, endocrine disorders, dermatitis, hereditary factors, radiation, or physiological changes during aging.” Therefore, alopecia in and of itself does not have to mean that one has a serious disease.
Back to the homeopathic protocol for alopecia.
The Banerjis’ treatment isn’t a quick fix — they say to take the remedies for at least 3 months. I am intentionally not including the remedies, potencies and frequencies in this article as this may not be the right protocol for your situation. If you are experiencing hair loss and are looking for a homeopathic solution, please contact me.
That first noticeable loss of hair for me was in March, a full month after recovering from the crud. Now, we’re at the end of May and though my hair is WAY thinner than I would like it to be, the loss seems to be lessening. It is no longer a fistful with every shower and a brush full every morning. It is now some strands every day and every few days a bit more than that.
Was it the herbs? Was it the homeopathy? Was it time? The downside of doing all these different things is that I don’t know what has done what. I do wish I had started them all a little earlier, but, that’s the way that went.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
* I have no financial affiliation with these companies, I just like them.
Banerji, P. and Banerji, P., 2013. The Banerji protocols : a new method of treatment with homeopathic medicines. India: Pratip Banerji.
Chen, P., Cescon, M. and Bonaldo, P., 2015. Lack of Collagen VI Promotes Wound-Induced Hair Growth. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology [online], 135 (10), 2358–2367.
Lopez-Leon, S., Wegman-Ostrosky, T., Perelman, C., Sepulveda, R., Rebolledo, P. A., Cuapio, A. and Villapol, S., 2021. More than 50 long-term effects of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Scientific Reports [online], 11 (1), 16144.
Matsumura, H., Mohri, Y., Binh, N. T., Morinaga, H., Fukuda, M., Ito, M., Kurata, S., Hoeijmakers, J. and Nishimura, E. K., 2016. Hair follicle aging is driven by transepidermal elimination of stem cells via COL17A1 proteolysis. Science [online], 351 (6273).
Proksch, E., Segger, D., Degwert, J., Schunck, M., Zague, V. and Oesser, S., 2014. Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Has Beneficial Effects on Human Skin Physiology: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology [online], 27 (1), 47–55.
Sharquie, K. E. and Jabbar, R. I., 2021. COVID-19 infection is a major cause of acute telogen effluvium. Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -).
The Sunlight Experiment, 2018. Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) [online]. The Sunlight Experiment.
Thuangtong, R., Angkasekwinai, N., Leeyaphan, C., Triwongwaranat, D., Thanomkitti, K., Munprom, K. and Kulthanan, K., 2021. Patient Recovery from COVID-19 Infections: Follow-Up of Hair, Nail, and Cutaneous Manifestations. BioMed Research International [online], 2021, 5595016.
Venes, D. and Clarence Wilbur Taber, 2013. Taber’s cyclopedic medical dictionary. [22nd ed., ISBN: 9780803629776]. Philadelphia, Pa.: F.A. Davis.
Wood, M., 2008. The earthwise herbal, volume 1 : a complete guide to Old World medicinal plants. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books.
Yang, C.-C. and Cotsarelis, G., 2010. Review of hair follicle dermal cells. Journal of Dermatological Science, 57 (1), 2–11.
Julia Coyte, CHom
I am passionate about homeopathy and I love sharing this passion. Having a working knowledge of homeopathy shouldn't be kept a secret. If people have the ability to help themselves, their children and their friends when they have minor ailments, life just gets better for everyone. That is the purpose behind Ruminating on Remedies.