Can Chinese Fo-Ti herb reverse gray hair?
Traditionally used in Chinese medicine as a health, beauty, and longevity aid, Fo-Ti has recently been gaining attention in the beauty world for its hair health boosting powers, particularly its ability to delay or even reverse the appearance of gray strands.
If you’re curious about Fo-Ti and its potential uses, read on to discover more about this ancient herb—including what it is, the evidence that it helps reverse gray strands, and how to use it most effectively to keep the grays at bay.
What is Fo-Ti?
Fo-ti, or fi-ti root, is sourced from the tuber fleeceflower, or Polygonum multiflorum plant. A perennial native to China, fo-ti has been used for centuries by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, who believe that it can help prevent dark hair from going gray by working to maintain your natural hair color. Called he shou wu by traditional practitioners, it was historically known as a hair blackening treatment for people faced with the prospect of going gray, known for reducing gray strands and helping hair regain its natural color.
In recent years, this folk herb has gone mainstream, and has become a popular ingredients in hair treatments, products, and even dietary supplements designed to help strands keep their natural color for longer—and evidence shows that it may also help prevent thinning hair.
Fo-ti is at its most powerful when its used in its raw form, so the less processed your fo-ti is the better for your strands. Traditionally fo-ti was boiled with black bean juice and then steamed and strained to create an oral tonic, but these days you can find it in gummies, serums, and other equally powerful forms that are much easier to ingest!
Can Fo-Ti Reverse Gray Hair?
Used traditionally in anti-aging medicine, fo-ti has many benefits for improving hair. It works to slow hair loss or alopecia and can promote hair growth. It’s also great at restoring natural color to gray hair and delaying loss of natural hair color to slow the graying process.
Applied orally or as a topical treatment for hair loss, premature graying, and baldness, fo-ti has long been used in China and throughout East Asia, but new studies show these traditional medicinal practitioners had the right idea! One study showed that a specific compound in fo-ti significantly increased the length of hair fibers by causing the rapid reproduction of dermal papilla cells, which sit at the base of hair follicles and greatly impact growth. Increased growth means decreased thinness, and hair that looks happier, healthier, and thicker thanks to all those new strands.
So how does the fo-ti magic work? While more research is necessary, it is believed that fo-ti helps hair keep its color longer by increasing melanin production to promote hair pigmentation, significantly inducing melanin synthesis. It improves blood circulation to the scalp, delivering a boost of nutritional support to the roots of new strands and supporting new growth.
Fo-ti also neutralizes hydrogen peroxide, which can damage the melanin-producing cells known as melanocytes and cause premature graying.
Is Fo-Ti Safe to Use?
Although fo-ti still needs to be studied further, the fact that people have been successfully using it as part of traditional medicinal practices for hundreds of years seems to indicate that it has a good safety record! So using fo-ti topically is nearly always safe. Just make sure you do a patch test before slathering it onto your whole scalp, applying a little of your fo-ti product to a patch of skin and observing to make sure you don’t have any swelling, itching, or other allergic reactions.
If you choose to take fo-ti orally, it’s always a good idea to talk to your health care professional before introducing a new supplement into your diet. Your doctor knows your health history, so they’ll be able to give you more personalized advice about what products to avoid based on your own sensitivities or other medications you’re taking. In addition, let your doctor know you’re taking fo-ti before you begin a course of any other prescribed medications, to make sure there are no potentially dangerous interactions or side effects.
Most of us should be safe to take fo-ti orally without a consultation, but there are some people who really need to take the extra step of speaking to a doctor. If you’re breastfeeding or pregnant, have a liver related health problem, are diabetic, or have blood sugar issues, give fo-ti a pass before you speak with your doctor.
How to Use Fo-Ti Most Effectively
If you choose to add fo-ti to your hair care routine, it’s best to opt for a product that’s designed specifically to support hair wellness, either topically, orally, or in combination if you’re really looking for a routine that packs a punch!
Look for a serum and supplement duo that combine fo-ti with other hair health promoting ingredients like B vitamins, antioxidants, selenium, calcium, copper, and more. A holistic approach to hair health is always best, so pairing your fo-ti with plant based ingredients that help nourish hair from the inside out helps your body effectively fight off gray hair and prevent hair from thinning, bringing back your original color and helping strands stay healthier, and more colorful, for longer!
Paired with these other hair health boosting ingredients, the fo-ti in a serum and supplement duo like this one can restore the natural color in 34% to 79% of gray strands, a major improvement for those of us who are struggling with going gray. Helping aging, thinning, or graying hair regain its health, pairing a daily serum with a hair health gummy is the best way to make sure your strands are nourished from the inside out, and the outside in.
Daily use of fo-ti can make a real difference in your hair’s thinness and hue, bringing traditional wisdom and modern science together. It’s the best way of bringing the ancient hair health and color restoring powers of fo-ti into the world of modern beauty, and making sure your strands look better than ever before!