Cow weeingComing to terms with hair loss is a very real problem for many men. By their mid-thirties over 50% of the male population will have experienced some form of baldness. The effects of hair loss can be traumatic and even life changing, with reduced self-image and a loss of confidence. It’s hardly surprising that the global value of the hair restoration industry is over $2 billion.

We all know about the well-established solutions, not least because they are used by celebrities and sportsmen, to whom presenting a youthful image to the world can be critical for the career. It’s also true that wigs and transplants can be very successful if properly implemented. Unfortunately the cost and availability of these solutions mean that many men take a less orthodox route to hair restoration with a range of wholly unscientific “cures”.

The healing powers of cow urine

Would you consider drinking the freshly produced urine from a virgin cow for example? This may seem laughable but actually it’s a well established practice in Northern India, with proponents insisting that the cure is only effective if taken before sunrise.

Sticking with the bovine theme, another purported solution to hair loss is bull sperm. There does appear to be a shred of science here at least with supporters claiming that the high protein content helps to stimulate keratin in the hair follicles, although the reality is that the bull sperm molecules are too large to be absorbed.

Hot-headed solution

Elsewhere desperate men are turning to culinary cures to help stimulate hair growth. Would you consider rubbing Tabasco on your bald patches? Some men do and also claim it has a solid foundation in science after the active ingredient (capsaicin) was discovered to promote hair growth when injected into mice.

Before you start smearing hot sauce on your pate it’s probably worth considering that there isn’t a jot of evidence to show it works on humans.

Interestingly, the humble onion is possibly the only food based remedy that has undergone clinical trials, with some success. Whilst it may not be the most fetching aroma there is some evidence that onion juice can actually promote hair regrowth in patients with alopecia areata. The theory is that the high sulfur content in onions strengthens the hair whilst removing harmful bacteria.

Given the prevalence of male pattern baldness it seems highly likely that weird “cures” will continue to find favour with many men who can’t afford or have no access to more accepted treatments. Whilst it may be novel going out smelling like a Mexican meal it’s unlikely to solve the issue at hand and we’d always recommend going to a respectable hair loss clinic or even your GP.

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By Ian Watson

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