Alopecia areata is a condition characterized by hair falling out in patches. Research suggests it is caused by the immune system attacking the hair follicles, causing them to shrink and slow down hair production. Because of this, alopecia is called an autoimmune disorder.
According to statistics, alopecia is a common autoimmune disorder that affects about 6.8 million people in the U.S. alone. One in five people who suffer from alopecia has a family member with the same condition. Hair loss, however, can vary from nothing more than a few patches to complete loss of hair on the scalp or the entire body.
There are currently no mainstream cures for alopecia, and the reason why the immune system attacks hair follicles is still unknown. But in a recent study, researchers at Tokushima University in Japan reported a natural medicine that can potentially reverse the effects of alopecia. Inonotus obliquus, commonly known as chaga, is a parasitic fungus that grows on birch and other trees. It is traditionally used to treat gastrointestinal diseases as well as to maintain healthy hair in many countries in Asia.
The researchers screened chaga mushrooms for useful phytochemicals and found that it contains plenty of potential anti-alopecia agents. They discussed their findings in detail in an article published in the Journal of Natural Medicines. Read more…