Herbs for Hirsutism: Growth of Woman’s Facial Hair
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Lynn
Posted on: February 13, 2004

Can I take saw palmetto to prevent hair growth on my face? Also will it help with hormonal changes that I am experiencing? I am a 53 year old female, who is on Premarin. But I don’t want to be. Can you help?

Hirsutism, abnormal growth of hair, for example on a woman’s face, is caused by an excess of testosterone in the blood stream. The prime herbal remedy for balancing hormones is Vitex agnus-castus (chasteberry). This herb balances hormones from the pituitary gland. It is often used in menopause to reduce menopausal symptoms by balancing the female sex hormones.

Thomas Bartram, in "Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" (available at Richters) lists the following herbs and supplements for hirsutism: Vitex agnus-castus, evening primrose oil (500 mg. three times daily), red clover tea, vitamin E capsules, zinc supplement, and vitamin A rich foods (orange vegetables like carrots, pumpkin etc.; dairy, fish liver oils, whole grain cereals, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli; butter, apricots peaches).

There is some debate amongst herbalists on whether or not saw palmetto berries have a hormonal effect.  However, they have been used with some success in hirsutism when used in a low dosage: 0.6 to 0.7 ml. of the tincture, twice daily. Because the quality of saw palmetto tinctures varies widely, ask at your health food store for a top quality brand.

Saw palmetto would not be used by a herbalist as a single remedy. There are many factors specific to each individual that are involved in any health condition. I recommend that you visit a well trained herbalist or naturopath who is experienced in hormonal conditions. A full health assessment will reveal factors that may be involved in your condition. For example, the liver metabolizes hormones, and if the liver is stressed, hormones remain circulating in the blood stream rather than being metabolized. In this case, a herbalist would include a liver supportive herb in a herbal prescription.

For more information on menopause, please see our web site at www.richters.com, choose Q&A from the menu, then enter "menopaus" for the search. -

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