Topical application of Polygonum multiflorum extract induces hair growth of resting hair follicles through upregulating Shh and β-catenin expression in C57BL/6 mice

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 May 17;135(2):369-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.03.028. Epub 2011 Mar 17.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Polygonum multiflorum has traditionally been used for treating patients suffering from baldness and hair loss in East Asia.

Aim of the study: The present study sought to investigate the hair growth promoting activities of Polygonum multiflorum and its mechanism of action.

Materials and methods: The Polygonum multiflorum extract was topically applied to the shaved dorsal skin of telogenic C57BL6/N mice. To determine the effect of Polygonum multiflorum extract in telogen to anagen transition, the expression of β-catenin and Sonic hedgehog (Shh) was determined by immunohistochemistry analysis.

Results: Polygonum multiflorum extract promoted hair growth by inducing anagen phase in telogenic C57BL6/N mice. In Polygonum multiflorum extract treated group, we observed increase in the number and the size of hair follicles that are considered as evidence for anagen phase induction. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that earlier induction of β-catenin and Shh were observed in Polygonum multiflorum extract treated group compared to that in control group.

Conclusion: These results suggest that Polygonum multiflorum extract promotes hair growth by inducing anagen phase in resting hair follicles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Hair / drug effects*
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polygonum / chemistry*
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Plant Extracts
  • Shh protein, mouse
  • beta Catenin