Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 9/11/2021
Green tea seems like a miracle beverage. With all the talk of antioxidants, vitamins, centuries of home health beneficial effects and the occasional oddball study saying it can prevent certain diseases, it makes perfect sense that some people might assume green tea is an elixir of life.
But even the most devout green tea fan might be a bit skeptical to hear that drinking green tea leaves might stimulate hair regrowth.
Can a thousands-year-old beverage really be a healthy hair solution? Can it prevent male pattern hair loss?
While there’s plenty of information out there on green tea’s anti-inflammatory properties, its pro-follicle properties are less established.
Still, even we were surprised by the number of positive benefits on record from the scientific community.
Green tea may not be a miracle potion for healthy hair, but it may have a seat at the table if you’re trying to maintain the hair you have.
Before we dive into the details, let’s start with some hair loss basics.
Let’s start first with hair loss, and what’s considered normal. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that an average person can expect to lose between 50 and 100 hairs on average, daily.
This is considered perfectly normal because it happens as a result of the end of a hair’s growth cycle. The hair growth cycle is made of up three phases: the anagen phase (where it gets longer), the catagen phase (where it’s alive but stops growing) and the telogen phase, which is when hair roots prepare to release from your scalp, before the hair is shed and the cycle starts again.
Hair loss outside of this norm tends to be the result of an upset that cycle — an upset which can be caused by follicle trauma, imbalances in your hormones or certain autoimmune diseases, just to name a few potential causes.
Hair loss treatment addresses the underlying causes of hair loss, or alternately, they can encourage the follicle’s growth cycle to restart (some can even do both).
A wide range of treatments have some medical validation, but the one we’re here to talk about is green tea.
Green tea offers enormous volumes of benefits, and yes that goes beyond the social clout you think you’re earning by ordering matcha green tea latte every morning.
Green tea offers many benefits to the body as a whole that make it a valuable ingredient (and beverage) for health.
Studies have shown that green tea offers protection against degenerative diseases, that it can decrease glucose production by mimicking insulin (which can in turn lower your risk of diabetes).
Green tea may be a tool in the prevention of several types of cancer in organs like the lung, colon, esophagus, mouth, stomach, small intestine and other organs.
Other benefits of green tea include its ability to lower blood pressure, its effectiveness as a diarrhea treatment, its benefits for early stage flu treatment, its potential to increase bone mineral density, its antifungal properties, its effects on free radicals and oxidants, its antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic effects and even the potential to impact early stage herpes.
With all of these potentially positive interactions laid out, it’s really no wonder that hair health might be on the list — so, is it?
Short answer: Yes. Green tea may offer some serious benefits to hair health.
A review of existing literature in 2019 found that green tea’s hair health properties include the ability to inhibit roughness, to decrease sebum production and inhibit dandruff.
Green tea moisturizes and smooths hair, and cosmetic preparations of tea extract are a recommended treatment for people suffering from androgenetic alopecia, regardless of gender.
This is all in addition to the antioxidant benefits green tea brings with vitamin C and the increase in blood flow that can also benefit your follicles.
The reason for this has to do with the hormone DHT, a derivative of testosterone that can weaken, thin and shorten the lifespan of hair follicles — eventually killing them altogether.
Green tea’s polyphenols, essential oils and caffeine all work together to potentially decrease DHT formation, which leads to decreased DHT levels.
And it’s important to note that using green tea instead of medication means that you’ll have far fewer risks of side effects, as green tea’s side effect profile is small.
As you might suspect, there are other plant-based options for hair loss.
The science behind many of these isn’t exactly airtight — some even lack a solid foundation.
But herbal remedies may nevertheless be part of an effective strategy for healthy hair growth. Here are a few of the more popular herbs:
Onion may have health benefits as a treatment for certain conditions that cause patchy baldness.
The reason? High levels of zinc, which may increase healthy oil production and prevent dandruff.
This can reduce certain factors for hair loss — and onion may increase oxygen flow to hair follicles, as well.
Could an apple a day keep baldness away? Well, a compound called Procyanidin B-2 in apples has shown limited benefits in fighting male pattern baldness, though more research is certainly needed before you can call cider a medication.
Ginseng’s healing properties are both ancient and substantial, and that includes evidence that it can promote hair growth and inhibit DHT.
Ginkgo biloba’s long history of medical benefits mostly focus on oxygen and circulation, which could potentially help hair follicles.
However, as is common with much of the herbal medicinal market, more research is needed.
On or off focaccia, the evergreen rosemary has been shown to treat respiratory disorders, and there’s evidence it can stimulate hair growth, especially as a treatment for alopecia areata.
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Another tea ingredient, eh? Well, while it doesn’t have the same body of knowledge promoting benefits, hibiscus leaves and flowers have been shown to promote hair growth.
One study showed that a leaf extract increased the ratio of hairs in anagen to hairs in telogen in mice.
For more, you can read our blog on natural herbs for hair growth.
That’s it for the herbal stuff, but lest we leave you with shaky medical advice, here’s the “good” stuff — with the FDA approval to back it up.
Let’s start with finasteride: an oral medication shown to block DHT. Studies have shown that when taken daily, it can reduce DHT levels by about 70 percent.
Our other go-to recommendation is minoxidil, which is typically available in two concentrations: 2% and 5%, respectively.
It’s been shown to increase hair growth in both concentrations, and you don’t need a prescription for either one.
You also won’t need a prescription for vitamins — check out our Essential Vitamins for a Healthy Head of Hair guide for a breakdown of which ones to look for, for hair health.
While you’re at it, take a look at our What to Look For in a Men’s Hair Loss Shampoo guide for some info about shampoo ingredients that may increase hair regrowth.
Hair loss isn’t the sort of thing you make a wild bet on, so drinking a few gallons of green tea a day is definitely not a “smart” hair regrowth strategy — no matter how much we all love a good matcha latte.
While the available research regarding the use of green tea for hair loss looks promising — as well as the research for other natural remedies like onions, ginseng and yes, even apples — your best bet likely still lies with science-backed, FDA-approved medications like minoxidil and finasteride.
So, what’s the right way for you to protect the hair you have and regrow what you’re losing, then?
Well, that’s a question best answered by a healthcare professional. They will be able to give you the best advice on hair loss solutions.
If you’re seeing hair loss signs, the best next step is talking to someone about your options.