An Asian traditional herbal complex containing Houttuynia cordata Thunb, Perilla frutescens Var. acuta and green tea stimulates hair growth in mice

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Dec 2;17(1):515. doi: 10.1186/s12906-017-2003-x.


Background: Houttuynia cordata Thunb (HC) is a traditional herbal medicine widely used in Asia for the treatment of patients with alopecia, usually in combination with other two herbal medicines (Perilla frutescens var. acuta (PFVA) and green tea (GT)). However, the effect of this herbal complex has not been clearly demonstrated. We sought to determine the hair growth-promoting effect of this herbal complex (HC, PFVA, and GT) in the animal model.

Methods: Six-week-old male C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into four groups (negative control, finasteride (1 mg/kg) as a positive control, and two (200 and 400 mg/kg) concentrations of the herbal complex as experimental groups) and were fed its corresponding medications orally for 25 days. Hair growth was evaluated visually and microscopically. Western blot analysis for insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 was performed.

Results: The herbal complex exhibited hair growth-promoting activity in C57BL/6 mice. Grossly, the area of hair regrowth was 55.1 (±3.8) %, 70.2 (±6.3) % and 83.5 (±5.7) % in negative control, herbal complex 200 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg group, respectively. In histologic examination, the hair follicle count in deep subcutis was 2.6 (±0.7), 5.8 (±0.7) and 8.6 (±1.2) and the diameter of hair follicles was 11.9 (±5.0) μm, 17.4 (±3.9) μm and 22.8 (±5.2) μm in negative control, herbal complex 200 and 400 mg/kg group, respectively. The expression of IGF-1 was 0.14 (±0.01), 0.23 (±0.02) and 0.24 (±0.01) and the expression of TGF-β1 was 0.26 (±0.01), 0.19 (±0.02) and 0.15 (±0.01) in negative control, the 200 and 400 mg/kg group, respectively.

Conclusions: This data provides adequate preliminary experimental evidence to support the hair regeneration effect of this herbal complex.

Keywords: C57BL/6; Green tea; Hair regeneration; Houttuynia cordata; Perilla frutescens Var. acuta.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Finasteride / pharmacology
  • Hair / drug effects*
  • Hair Follicle / drug effects
  • Houttuynia*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Perilla frutescens*
  • Tea*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Tea
  • Finasteride