Background: Alopecia is a psychologically distressing condition. Androgenetic alopecia, which affects millions of men and women, is an androgen-driven disorder. Here, Cuscuta reflexa Roxb is evaluated for hair growth activity in androgen-induced alopecia.
Methods: Petroleum ether extract of C. reflexa was studied for its hair growth-promoting activity. Alopecia was induced in albino mice by testosterone administration for 20 days. Its inhibition by simultaneous administration of extract was evaluated using follicular density, anagen/telogen ratio, and microscopic observation of skin sections. To investigate the mechanism of observed activity, in vitro experiments were performed to study the effect of extract and its major component on activity of 5alpha-reductase enzyme.
Results: Petroleum ether extract of C. reflexa exhibited promising hair growth-promoting activity as reflected from follicular density, anagen/telogen ratio, and skin sections. Inhibition of 5alpha-reductase activity by extract and isolate suggest that the extract reversed androgen-induced alopecia by inhibiting conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.
Conclusions: The petroleum ether extract of C. reflexa and its isolate is useful in treatment of androgen-induced alopecia by inhibiting the enzyme 5alpha-reductase.