Red Clover and Hair Growth

The benefits of red clover for alopecia and hair growth.

I read recently online that red clover can help prevent/slow down hair loss in menopausal and post-menopausal women.

Red clover is apparently a rich source of isoflavones, which are water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens, helping to prolong the anagen cycle of the hair follicle (the growing cycle). It also contains other beneficial nutrients, such as calcium, chromium, magnesium niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C.

Red clover is a perennial herb from Asia and Europe, also known as a cow clover, meadow clover, purple clover, and trefoil. It is the red and purple flowers of this plant that are dried and used to make the supplements. When you consider that red clover is used to treat skin inflammation, among other disorders*, it stands to reason that it would help with alopecia – which in the case of scarring alopecia at least, is caused by skin inflammation.

*In case you’re interested, red clover is also used to treat respiratory problems, whooping cough and premenstrual and menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, pain and breast tenderness.

Apparently, according to a source online, you can take red clover supplements, drink it as a tea or rinse your hair with it. However, I notice on the webmd website it says that there ‘isn’t enough information to rate the safety of red clover when applied to the skin’.

Here’s the list of side-effects from the webmd website

I’ve been taking red clover supplements in the form of capsules for the last couple of weeks. I’m only taking half the recommended dose, and it’s very early days, but I’ll obviously report on any benefits.

See you soon

Rachel x


How the number of bowel movements I have per day is relevant to my hair loss!

It may not be the nicest topic, but I think it’s relevant to my hair loss, so bear with.

A couple of weeks ago I received the results from food intolerance test. Today, I had a telephone consultation with a nutritionist. It’s a service the food intolerance test people  offer and I’d successfully managed to put it off thus far, thinking I was doing fine. I’d sussed some foods out that didn’t contain my 3 main reactive ingredients – yeast, egg white and cow’s milk. But oh, how wrong I was! Just a couple of minutes into the conversation, it seemed that most things I’d been eating were off limits. Whoops!

Bowl of fruit - healthy eating help alopecia

Firstly, she told me to exclude the foods I was borderline reactive to – these include gluten and wheat – as well as those foods I was very reactive to.

Me: “Ah yes, I have been doing that. I’ve been avoiding gluten, so I’ve been eating rye bread.”

Nutritionist: Sharp intake of breath. “There’s gluten in rye – you can’t have that….or spelt and barley.” (Oh dear)

Me: “I’ve been doing well avoiding cow’s milk. I’ve been having soya milk.”

Nutritionist: “Mm, well ok. Better to have almond milk though as soya products are hormone disruptors.”

I was also dismayed to hear that peanuts and alcohol of any kind were not advised while my ‘gut is healing’, that gluten-free could only really be achieved by baking your own bread, that any kind of chutney/vinaigrette/mayonnaise (i.e. food made with vinegar) is out of bounds, as well as most things shop-bought. Even carton juices are a no-no for me!

Instead we talked making pancakes with bananas, using chia seeds instead of eggs (no, I don’t know either!), ghee (pardon?), rice, millet, quinoa and oats.

Despite the nutritionist’s strict dietary plans for me, she really was very helpful. One thing that cropped up in our conversation (and this is the point of my post), was bowel movements. I said that with the modifications I’d made to my diet so far (obviously not as many as she would have liked!), I had noticed a distinct increase in the number of bowel movements I had per day – I mean some days I would go 5 times! She said that a normal number of bowel movements per day is 2 to 3. Well, this was news to my ears! I’d only ever gone once a day at best – some days not at all. The nutritionist said that I’d been suffering from constipation. This would have been caused by eating the foods my body is intolerant to. These foods would have caused irritation in my stomach lining and so foods would have been constantly maldigested. She said that malabsorption can also cause bloating, joint pain and a whole host of other symptoms. So, 2 to 3 times eh? Who knew?

ANYWAY…. back to hair. The nutritionist said that every physical condition we develop is related to what we put in or on our bodies – and toxins in our foods, toiletries etc. can do a lot of harm. She said that when you heal your gut, everything else falls into place. She said that alopecia is an auto-immune disorder and that there is a link to intolerances. Mm… interesting…

I’ve had chicken and vegetables for tea.

Till next time 🙂

Rachel x


















Biding My Time

A list of the results & currently waiting for and what I’m doing in the meantime

At the moment I am just waiting…….

I am waiting for:

  1. My biopsy results to come back (another two weeks I think) – these will confirm (or not) the diagnosis of frontal fibrosing alopecia
  2. My food intolerance test result – this should be back in about a week’s time and should highlight any food intolerances I might have, which may or may not have been instrumental in causing or increasing the rate of progression of my frontal fibrosing alopecia
  3. The effects of balancing my energies with acupuncture to be felt

I’m also continuing to:

  1. Eat healthily – apart from the odd sweet treat and glass of wine – well, a girl’s got to have a life!
  2. Include a lot of protein and iron in my diet
  3. Listen to meditations and take time out when I need to keep my stress levels low
  4. Use my essential oil blend on my scalp (as well as applying the prescription steroid lotion)
  5. Hang upside down to increase the blood flow to my head
  6. Have an Indian head massage once a week
  7. Take supplements for hair, skin and nails
  8. Use a chemical-free shampoo and conditioner

N.B. For more of what I’m doing to help slow the progression of frontal fibrosing alopecia, read my previous post

One thing I will say is that the steroid lotion is very thin and watery (although most definitely NOT water, as it smells very strong – a bit like nail varnish remover). When I apply it to my scalp, it can run down my face and into my ears. As it is a steroid, I am careful to wipe it off my face, as I know that steroids can thin your skin. I also have to be careful to remember not to apply it and then use my hairdryer on my hair, as it is highly flammable! The first dermatologist I saw said it has a very low success rate for frontal fibrosing alopecia, so I am wondering why I’m bothering to persevere with it. But hey ho, I’ll give it a try like everything else.

Slowing the Progression of FFA

My Attempts To Slow Down Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia

There’s quite a lot (I have discovered) that I can do to try and halt / slow down the progression of my frontal fibrosing alopecia.

  1. My hairdresser told me to eat more protein, such as chicken. I like chicken, so that Steak - good source of protein for frontal fibrosing alopecia managementone is easy. Someone else with the same condition has told me to eat more red meat – so for the first time the other day I cooked steak. In order to make sure I get a good quality protein every day, however, I have started taking spirulina powder in orange juice with my breakfast.
  2. The specialist who did my biopsy said to take iron. I had already researched this for myself and had been taking it for a couple of weeks prior to my appointment. Rather than take iron tablets, I have been taking wheatgrass, which is rich in iron. I add this to the spirulina in my orange juice.
  3. I have added two new drinks to my daily regime too. One is green tea, which I now drink all the time at home and is full of anti-oxidants. (At work I tend to stick to normal black tea.) The other is beetroot juice. Beetroot was mentioned by my hairdresser as being good for hair. When I looked it up online I found it contains protein, iron and nutrients such as manganese, copper, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Skin, hair and nails supplement for frontal fibrosing alopecia
  4. I am taking a supplement as recommended by the dermatologist I saw initially. It is for hair, skin and nails. Zinc is one of its active ingredients for hair. Among the other ingredients is iron, so I probably need to watch that I’m not taking too much iron. The one I use is called Perfectil, but there are supermarket own hair, skin and nails supplements too.
  5. I have a friend who is a holistic therapist. When she heard about my alopecia, she suggested a weekly Indian head massage to stimulate the hair follicles. On a Friday, she massages my head and then I massage hers. An added benefit is that the treatment is deeply relaxing.
  6. Searching about on the internet, I discovered a blend of essential oils that had been highlighted in a Scottish study to promote hair growth in 44% of the study group. The blend is as follows:

4 tsp. grapeseed oil + ½ tsp. jojoba oil
2 drops cedarwood essential oil
2 drops thyme essential oil
3 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops rosemary essential oil

My holistic therapist friend made up the blend of oils for me and I use them when             my hair needs washing, as the rest of the time I am using the steroid lotion I have               been given on prescription. This means that I apply the blend every two or three                 days.

  1. I have swapped to a shampoo and conditioner that don’t contain silicones, sulphates, parabens or colourants to try and minimise any further damage to my hair and scalp.Laptop
  2. I am taking more time to relax. For me this mainly means switching my laptop off earlier in the evening and going to bed on time. If I wake up in the night to have a little worry about my hair (or a million other things) and find I can’t get back to sleep, I listen to a meditation. I have a link to it on my phone so I can find it easily. The meditation I have chosen takes 20 minutes and helps to declutter your mind. It works as it calms me down and I often fall asleep listening to it.
  3. At night before I go to sleep, I hang upside down – not exactly like a bat, but with my head over the edge of the bed and my legs up the wall. The point is to get the blood to my head. I have no idea whether this is beneficial, but it feels like it might be and gives me something to do while I’m flossing my teeth!
  4. I used to enjoy swimming, but since I’d rather not get chlorine on my scalp at the moment, I have changed my exercise to walking. I do this whenever I get the chance (not that often), but some exercise is better than none to get the circulation going.

See you soon 🙂

Rachel x