Herbal teas have a wide range of reported abilities. There are teas designed to treat everything from insomnia to indigestion. Rosemary tea has been found to have promising effects on anxiety and depression, in addition to its antioxidant properties. But could rosemary tea also help you grow the hair of your dreams?
Rosemary tea, not to be confused with the also popular rosemary oil, has been gaining popularity on social media for its reported ability to help promote new hair growth. In order to sort fact from fiction, we turned to two hair experts: board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, and trichologist Gretchen Friese. Keep reading to learn if rosemary tea has the power to promote new hair growth.
Meet the Expert
Brewed from the leaves of the rosemary plant, rosemary tea is a part of traditional Tunisian cuisine and is used in folk medicine to treat various illnesses. Whether it's drinking rosemary tea or applying it as a treatment directly to the scalp, some say it prevents breakage and loss, while others say it stimulates new growth.
Rosemary Tea for Hair
Type of ingredient: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and vasodilator
Main benefits: Stimulates hair growth, improves circulation, and soothes the scalp.
Who should use it: In general, anyone with hair breakage or shedding can benefit from rosemary tea, but you should always consult a dermatologist to determine the cause of hair loss before attempting to treat it at home. All hair types can use rosemary tea as its focus is on the scalp and not the hair itself.
How often can you use it: Rosemary tea can be used daily or as often as you wash your hair, as there are no known harmful effects.
Works well with: Apple cider vinegar
Don’t use with: There are no known ingredients that negatively interfere with rosemary tea, and it is not a known allergen. However, there is always a chance for irritation, and you should discontinue use if this occurs.
Benefits of Rosemary Tea for Hair
Rosemary is an herb originally from the Mediterranean region that has been reported to have important antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. The compounds found in rosemary have also been studied for their health effects, which include anti-hyperglycemic, anti-cancer, and metabolic syndrome therapeutic effects, among others. Rosemary tea is created by boiling rosemary leaves in water; one study suggests five minutes is the optimal boiling time to release the highest concentration of phenolic compounds.
Rosemary tea has gained popularity for its believed ability to be an herbal alternative to minoxidil, the conventional drug found in many hair loss treatments and the leading ingredient in hair loss treatments like Rogaine. Rosemary tea has been found to contain many of the same antioxidant and antimicrobial properties as rosemary oil, potentially offering some of the same benefits. Rosemary oil, another byproduct of the rosemary plant, has been found to improve hair growth in specific cases of loss, including forms of alopecia. A comparative study of the effect on hair growth of rosemary oil and minoxidil found "no significant difference was found between the study groups." In fact, both groups showed comparable growth at the six-month trial point.
- Vasodilation and vasoconstriction properties: "Rosemary tea contains ursolic acid which helps to increase circulation to the scalp," says Friese. She explains that drinking rosemary tea can help increase blood circulation, which helps to deliver necessary nutrients to the hair.
- Alleviates scalp irritation: Rosemary tea's extracts contain anti-inflammatory properties which can help to soothe a variety of issues. Friese confirms that rosemary tea can soothe an itchy scalp and other scalp irritation.
- Promotes hair growth: Rosemary tea's circulation-boosting powers can contribute to hair growth, according to Friese. "Increased circulation to the scalp can help prevent hair loss and help regrow hair," she explains.
- May prevent hair loss: Zeichner explains that high levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) have been associated with hair thinning, which is why it has become a target for medications for hair regrowth. "The mechanism by which rosemary extract works is unclear," he says. "However, it has been suggested that it acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Rosemary extract may also act as an anti-androgen, blocking DHT from binding to its receptor."
- Boosts shine and strength: "Drinking rosemary tea can help increase blood circulation which can help deliver vital nutrients to hair follicles that help to build stronger strands," says Friese. She also says rosemary tea can make hair shiny and silky.
Hair Type Considerations
Our experts agree that rosemary tea is safe for all hair types, with Friese pointing out that any hair type can use rosemary tea because the focus is on the scalp and not the hair strands. In general, anyone with hair breakage or shedding can benefit from rosemary tea, but you should always consult a dermatologist to determine the cause of hair loss before attempting to treat it at home.
When it comes to drinking rosemary tea, Zeichner says as long as you are generally healthy, he sees no potential harmful effects. Friese cautions that pregnant and/or nursing women should consult a physician before using any rosemary derivatives. "There isn’t enough information about the effects of rosemary on children, so consulting with a doctor before using it on a child is recommended," she explains.
How to Use Rosemary Tea for Hair
There are many benefits to both drinking rosemary tea and applying it topically. While Zeichner cautions that there is no data showing that drinking rosemary tea will help regrow your hair, there are many other health benefits afforded by rosemary tea. Rosemary extract has been reported to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and anti-hyperglycemic properties. If applying rosemary tea directly to the scalp, you can do so either as a leave-in or wash-out treatment. Brewing your own rosemary tea can be as simple as boiling rosemary in water for five minutes.
- Apply it as a leave-in treatment: Friese says many who apply rosemary tea topically choose to put it into a spray bottle to mist their entire scalp. Be sure to focus the mist on the roots of your hair, as it needs to reach the scalp.
- Create a rosemary tea rinse: "If you’re going to use rosemary tea to address hair thinning, it’s probably best to brew the tea and create a hair rinse with it," Zeichner recommends. "Remember that the issue with hair thinning is not the hair shaft itself, but rather at the root. So it should be applied to the scalp and left to sit so it can penetrate and exert its effects." As with other hair treatments, it may be best to apply it for 30 minutes before shampooing. Consider using it before taking a bath or putting on a shower cap to give it time to soak in.
- Use hair products containing rosemary tea: Many hair care products on the market contain the potent benefits of rosemary in the form of rosemary extract or oil. Consider trying a product that contains a rosemary byproduct to take advantage of its effects without having to brew your own tea.
The Best Products With Rosemary Extract
Friese recommends the BosRevive Non Color-Treated Hair Nourishing Shampoo as it contains rosemary extract and several other natural ingredients believed to promote hair growth, including pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto.
This scalp scrub is designed to exfoliate the scalp to help with the absorption of the rosemary extract. It also contains charcoal to help absorb excess oil.
If you are looking to try a leave-in rosemary extract product, consider the SH-RD Protein Cream Gold Deluxe Edition. Designed to restore and repair hair, this leave-in treatment combines rosemary extract with vitamin B5 and d-panthenol.
The SH-RD Nutra-Therapy Shine Serum helps to smooth the hair cuticle, which Friese says is a potential benefit of using rosemary extract. In addition to rosemary extract, this serum also contains silk protein which helps to repair damaged hair.
Give dry hair a deep moisture treatment with this restorative hair masque, which also helps strengthen hair with its gentle, biotin-infused formula.
How is rosemary tea different from rosemary oil?
Both have similar benefits, but they are formed differently. Rosemary tea is the result of boiling rosemary sprigs in water, while rosemary oil is prepared by steam distillation.
Does rosemary tea help with hair growth?
Rosemary tea has gained popularity for its believed ability to serve as an herbal alternative to minoxidil, the conventional drug found in many hair loss treatments and the leading ingredient in hair loss treatments like Rogaine. Rosemary tea has been found to contain many of the same antioxidant and antimicrobial properties as rosemary oil, potentially offering some of the same benefits.
Is it more effective to drink rosemary tea or apply it topically?
If you are looking to target the hair and/or scalp, both of our experts recommend applying it directly to the scalp.
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