If it was possible for a herb to be a rock star then Rosemary would be in the hall of fame with a large bouffant of stunning hair.

Rosemary has been a very important herb in the history of Napiers. Although Duncan Napiers' Lobelia cough syrup is famous as his first herbal blend, Duncan also made heavy use of slippery elm and also rosemary in his practise.

The basement of our Bristo place shop in Edinburgh was where Duncan did all of his development of recipes and where all of his herbs were prepared for use. Herbs would go through multiple processes such as drying and steaming to achieve the desired herb ingredient. Rosemary is a plant which gives up its goodness relatively easily and Duncan pioneered Rosemary preparations for the scalp and hair.

Early on he developed a Rosemary hair tonic which was based on a simple recipe of a hot water extract of Rosemary and followed by a mix with some borax (which is a naturally occurring salt sodium borate). It seems that the Rosemary and borax were a successful mix with Napiers selling its Rosemary hair tonic all over the world.

We can understand why borax would have been successful, in days of poorer hygiene and hat wearing the average scalp was likely to be more prone to overgrowths of fungus (Malassezia) which causes dandruff and general irritation of the scalp. It’s actually the body’s own immune reaction to the presence of the fungus which can cause the classic dandruff flakes which is also why you might see more hair fall and flakes when you are stressed as stress will directly impact the immune system. Borax being antifungal would have had an immediate effect on the heads of a population who had a bath only once a week – whether they needed it or not! And so Duncan had a highly successful product but where does Rosemary sit in this story?


Rosemary For Hair & Scalp

Why Rosemary was so successful for hair has been something of a mystery, but it is now another pleasing example of modern science catching up with what herbalists have known for thousands of years. Rosemary is a popular herb that is used in various culinary and medicinal applications.

Rosemary has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for hair loss and to promote hair growth. It contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help to stimulate blood circulation in the scalp, which can promote hair growth.

Additionally, rosemary oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help to prevent scalp infections and dandruff. Whilst we at Napiers have never doubted the strength of Rosemary, mainly because we help thousands of people each year and see the results with our Herbstrong Hair Growth Shampoo, recent science is confirming the benefits of Rosemary.

One study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that rosemary oil was effective in reducing hair loss in people with alopecia areata, a condition that causes hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. Another study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that a scalp massage with rosemary oil improved hair growth in people with androgenetic alopecia, a common form of hair loss.

While more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of herbal remedies for hair care, there is evidence to suggest that certain herbs, such as rosemary, can be effective in promoting healthy hair growth and reducing hair loss.

One of the key benefits of rosemary for hair is its ability to strengthen hair follicles. This is because rosemary contains a compound called ursolic acid, which has been shown to improve hair strength and thickness. In addition, rosemary oil can help to improve the overall health of the scalp, which can reduce hair loss and promote healthy hair growth.

Rosemary oil can also help to reduce dandruff and other scalp irritations. This is because it contains anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties that can help to soothe and heal the scalp. In addition, rosemary oil can help to improve the appearance of the hair by reducing frizz and increasing shine. Another benefit of rosemary for hair is its ability to stimulate hair growth. This is because rosemary contains carnosic acid, which has been shown to promote the growth of hair follicles. Additionally, rosemary oil can help to increase blood circulation in the scalp, which can also promote hair growth.

Make Your Own Rosemary Hair & Scalp Treatment

A very common herb and easy to procure we recommend growing your own or purchasing a good quality rosemary essential oil. You can follow the simple guidelines to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil of your choice (a light olive oil works well for the scalp).

But by far the nicest treatment for Rosemary is to collect a large handful of fresh Rosemary – it should be a heady smell and glistening – you’ll know good Rosemary when you see it!

Roughly chop the Rosemary and place in a cup or pot with some hot water (not quite boiling and remember the greater the volume of water the less intense the extract) and leave to steep overnight. In the morning you can simply apply the water to your hair and scalp for 20 minutes before rinsing off. Another way is to dilute some natural shampoo or conditioner with your rosemary water and use that. Combining a bit of modernity with old wisdom is a good way to live our lives.