In search of natural extracts for hair growth, we found that the extract of dried root of Sophora flavescens has outstanding hair growth promoting effect. After topical application of Sophora flavescens extract onto the back of C57BL/6 mice, the earlier conversion of telogen-to-anagen was induced. The growth of dermal papilla cells cultured in vitro, however, was not affected by Sophora flavescens extract treatment. RT-PCR analysis showed that Sophora flavescens extract induced mRNA levels of growth factors such as IGF-1 and KGF in dermal papilla cells, suggesting that the effects of Sophora flavescens extract on hair growth may be mediated through the regulation of growth factors in dermal papilla cells. In addition, the Sophora flavescens extract revealed to possess potent inhibitory effect on the type II 5alpha-reductase activity. Taken together, these results suggest that Sophora flavescens extract has hair growth promoting potential and can be used for hair growing products.