How To Make An Herbal Tincture For Stronger, Healthier Hair

People have been making tinctures for centuries, and this cayenne-based one is great for your scalp.
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People have been making tinctures for centuries, and this cayenne-based one is great for your scalp.
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Both my boyfriend and I really want two things: good long-term health and better hair. Most importantly, we want more hair, now. 

I have always had lots of shedding, and he has noticed some thinning around the hairline. So instead of spending oodles of money on vitamins, why not try a simple way to deliver the main ingredient of an herb without a pill or a meal? 

Tinctures are exactly that: a way to administer an herb’s main ingredients in small, concentrated doses.

Some tinctures I put away to brew that I am straining now: (from left to right) cayenne, turmeric, myrrh, ginger, black pepper, and chamomile.

Some tinctures I put away to brew that I am straining now: (from left to right) cayenne, turmeric, myrrh, ginger, black pepper, and chamomile.

Medical and chemical treatments have side effects and can form dependency. Minoxidil is the main ingredient in most hair growth products, and it only helps hair when it is being used. When you stop using it, it stops working. This is not a path I want to start down. Finasteride is another helper, for men only, but it comes with side effects and also must be used consistently. 

I took to reading pages upon pages on my favorite hair and health forums to see what looked good. I found many techniques using cheap and readily available cayenne pepper, but no quick and easy methods of application. Having a remedy be easy to apply is not only a time saver, it increases the chances that you will be consistent with your treatment for a period of at least 30 days--the only way to see if it's working and if you should continue.  

Eating ginger, turmeric, and cayenne can be unappetizing to some, downright gross to others, and usually requires cooking. But making a tincture is a super-easy way to deliver the power of the herb without the mess or effort. You can swallow a dropper-full directly, or mix into a drink.  

A tincture is made by using a solvent to extract essential oils from an herb. People have been making tinctures for centuries, as they are a simple method to get a potent dose in a short time. Tinctures can also be used to flavor drinks and food, as well as be added to cosmetic preparations. 

We'll be putting a few drops of the cayenne tincture into a few drops of coconut oil and massaging into the scalp before every shampoo. 

You will need the following:

•Cayenne: It promotes healthy follicles and help "wake up" the scalp.

•Vodka: It's cheap and easy to obtain, and since you don’t need much to dose (less than a teaspoon), it is safe in most cases. If you want to completely avoid alcohol, you can use vinegar or vegetable glycerin; just make sure to use kosher-certified products, which is an easy way to determine a product that is safe to consume internally.

•A clean glass receptacle to let the tincture brew.

•A dark place to store the tincture for one to three weeks.

The process:

Using a sterilized jar, add 1/4 cup desired herb.

Using a sterilized jar, add 1/4 cup desired herb.

Pour up to 1/2 cup solvent over the top of the herb. If using dried herbs, a splash of boiling water over the herbs will help the solvent pull out the essential oils before stewing.

Pour up to 1/2 cup solvent over the top of the herb. If using dried herbs, a splash of boiling water over the herbs will help the solvent pull out the essential oils before stewing.

Cap, shake thoroughly, and put in a dark place. It is advised to shake daily, but if you miss a few, it's no biggie.

Cap, shake thoroughly, and put in a dark place. It is advised to shake daily, but if you miss a few, it's no biggie.

After at least 7 days (but you can wait up to 3 weeks), use a potato ricer, garlic press, or just a coffee filter to strain the material from the solvent.

After at least 7 days (but you can wait up to 3 weeks), use a potato ricer, garlic press, or just a coffee filter to strain the material from the solvent.

Bottle the remaining mixture, lightproof or tinted bottles, but recycling is cool, too. Just be sure to store your bottle in a dark place.

Bottle the remaining mixture, lightproof or tinted bottles, but recycling is cool, too. Just be sure to store your bottle in a dark place.

Some tips:

•Dampening a filter with the solvent will keep you from losing too much tincture to the filter.  

•Vinegar tinctures do not last as long and should be refrigerated.  

•Glycerin is a great preservative, and tinctures made from glycerin are great to add to topical DIY projects or for flavoring drinks and desserts!

•Wear gloves when handling the spicy herbs, such as cayenne. The resulting tincture can burn sensitive skin and eyes, mouth and nose. Take care when handling,; this goes for the treatment, too. Apply before the shower and carefully rinse out, avoiding eyes and er... special parts. If you get any cayenne in an unwanted place, use yogurt, diluted bleach in water, or saline solution to neutralize the burn instantly.

Try this with any herbs you take as a supplement and share your feedback if you try the cayenne for hair growth.