November 10, 2022

Can Ashwagandha Root Cause Hair Loss | Scientific Studies

by Bryan Wellington

Researching supplements for safety can lead someone down interesting paths. In the course of trying to find out if Ashwagandha was safe for use, the issue of hair loss was proposed as a side effect.

In researching the relevant data I found just the opposite. It appears from all evidence that if there is any effect on hair growth, Ashwaghandha root actually improves it.

Key Takeaways

✲ Limited research has shown that certain preparations of Ashwagandha root do, indeed, stimulate hair growth.

✲ Some data are complicated by the presence of other products in the test sample.

✲ The exact mechanism for Ashwagandha increase hair growth is not known, and could relate to stress or antioxidant function.

Main Studies

Researching this topic presented a number of challenges, not the least of which are the high number of anecdotal “studies” that are available. I have not included any individual testimonials; only studies. In addition to that, I have scoured the dozens of previous Ashwagandha studies currently under review for other uses, and found no side effects listing hair loss of any kind.

Hair Loss and Cortisol

Perhaps one of the best-known uses of Ashwagandha root is as a stress or anxiety reducer, with much of the research proving successful. One study even found that the introduction of Ashwagandha reduced participants’ cortisol levels, the hormone most linked to stress levels.

Researchers have recently taken this to another level, when they examined a little known disorder called congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), which affects various hormones including cortisol. It also has an additional side effect of causing baldness in women.

A team of doctors, armed with the knowledge that Ashwagandha has an effect on cortisol, proposed treatment of a patient with CAH with Ashwagandha. Among their other successful outcomes, they also found that the woman stopped losing hair, and even regrew some of it.

This may further indicate that if a person is losing hair due to cortisol levels, which may be influenced by chronic stress, then Ashwagandha may prove beneficial.

Antioxidants and Alopecia

For as long as there have been humans losing hair, there have been people trying to stop it or find the causes. In the modern age, antioxidants have been touted as a cure for nearly everything, but in the case of alopecia, it may be true that they are an effective prevention of balding.

To test this with the specific antioxidants in Ashwagandha, doctors tested two types of the root in different lab animals with alopecia, and measured their results. They found significant antioxidant properties in Ashwagandha, especially that grown at higher elevations, and that these compounds resulted in better hair growth in the treated animals.

A Third Study

I’ll briefly include a third study, though I will point out that it was a study of a commercial product that has a proprietary formula including saw palmetto, vitamins and minerals, curcumin, and collagen. Their findings indicate significant hair growth, but it can’t be determined from their results if Ashwagandha played a role. It does, however, suggest that Ashwagandha does not cause hair loss, and so I have included it in the article for that reason.


From all the data presently available, it seems that Ashwagandha is completely safe to use, from a scalp health point of view. Far from damaging hair or causing its loss, Ashwagandha appears to encourage its growth. More data needs to be collected to determine the reason for this, but it could be related to either cortisol or antioxidant functions.


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