Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is a popular remedy for hair growth, promoted by herbal healers.

Proponents claim that hibiscus can also help:

These claims aren’t supported by clinical research. Hibiscus, like most herbal supplements, isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Keep reading to learn more about hibiscus and why people believe it may promote hair growth.

Although anecdotal evidence suggests that hibiscus may help promote new hair growth and slow hair loss, much of the available research has been done on animals.

For example, a 2003 study indicated that a leaf extract of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis positively affected hair length and hair follicles in lab rats. The leaf extract was more effective than the flower extract.

Additional studies are needed to prove if hibiscus is effective for regrowing human hair.

Based on anecdotal evidence, hibiscus is widely accepted in India for hair growth and is often used in herbal hair oils.

Herbal hair oils are typically a combination of herbal extracts, such as hibiscus, mixed with a carrier oil base, such as:

Commonly, practitioners of herbal remedies suggest that you:

  1. Massage the herbal hair oil into your scalp for about 10 minutes.
  2. Leave it in place for about 30 minutes.
  3. Wash with a mild shampoo.

Advocates of using hibiscus for strengthening hair often suggest a weekly hibiscus and yogurt mask. Here are the recommended instructions:

  1. Thoroughly combine about 3 tbsp. ground hibiscus leaves and flowers with about 8 tbsp. yogurt.
  2. Gently apply the hibiscus and yogurt mixture to your hair and scalp.
  3. Leave in place for about 30 minutes.
  4. Wash with a mild shampoo.

Some supporters of herbal remedies suggest also adding in additional ingredients to the hibiscus and yogurt mask, such as:

Practitioners of herbal remedies often suggest a weekly anti-dandruff hair mask made with hibiscus and fenugreek:

  1. Thoroughly combine about 3 tbsp. ground hibiscus leaves with about 1 tbsp. powdered fenugreek seeds and about 1/4 cup buttermilk.
  2. Gently apply and massage the hibiscus, fenugreek, and buttermilk mixture to your hair and scalp.
  3. Leave in place for about 1 hour.
  4. Wash with a mild shampoo.

Though also unproven, some other popular herbs for hair growth and health include:

Although some clinical research shows that hibiscus may promote hair growth, testing has only been done on animals.

Unproven anecdotal evidence supports the use of hibiscus for many benefits, including:

  • hair growth
  • thick, healthy, lustrous hair appearance
  • premature graying prevention
  • dandruff abatement

But hibiscus isn’t approved by the FDA. Talk with a doctor before using it on your hair and scalp.