BACK TO ASK THE HERBALIST
ANSWERS FROM DAVID BRILL:
QUESTION: My daughter (9 years old) has Alopecia Areata. This is an autoimmune disease, which causes hair loss. Someone suggested she take a pill made from the Montana Yew tree. This tree also is used to make Taxol. Do you think this pill would be harmful or helpful for her to take. I would appreciate your opinion...
Without knowing everything about your daughter.
Here is some information about Alopecia.
Alopecia areata is a loss of hair from scalp to other places on the body where hair normally grows. It usually starts in patches, and can encompass the entire scalp or body.
Hair loss to the entire scalp is called Alopecia totalis.
Hair loss to the entire body is called Alopecia universalis
The scalp is the most effected area. Alopecia can occur in either male or female of any age, but children are normally affected the most often.
An interesting fact is the hair follicles; although they have shrunken and hair growth does not appear above the surface of the skin, are still alive and spontaneous regrowth can happen anytime, days, months or years after the original onset with full hair recovery.
I would suggest it is a diet, environmental, stress or circulation problem.
For diet, make sure she is eating whole foods, eat organic, eliminate refined or processed foods, eat lots of vegetables, drink lots of water. Start taking a good multivitamin like Rainbow Light brand. EAT amla fruit, it was traditionally used to strengthen hair, connective tissue and muscle. Get Horsetail and other super green food sources in diet to increase hair strength.
For environmental, stay away from chemicals, insecticides, herbicides, cosmetics and aerosol sprays. She should stay natural and clear of man made pollutants or chemicals.
For stress reduce it, or have her learn to release it. Learn stress reduction techniques. Use adaptogen herbs which help the body deal with stress. These include the Ginsengs, I would probably start with Siberian Ginseng for her.
For children use Chamomile and Catnip to calm them down, these two herbs are good for nervousness which is shown as stomach or GI upset.
For circulation use Ginkgo, Hawthorn, Rosemary.
Use a Rosemary rinse on the scalp, it has been traditionally used to
prevent hair loss.
It has also been suggested that this is an Autimmune disease, if so Immune Amphoteric Herbs are appropriate, such as Medicinal Mushrooms (Reishi (The Gano dermas), Shiitake, Maitake, Chaga), and or the other Immune Amphoteric herbs Astragalus, Shisandra and Licorice, which are also