Oleanolic acid is a chemical that exists in nature and is widespread in the fruits, leaves and stem bark of various edible and medicinal plants. Oleanolic acid and its derivatives are purported to have anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, and liver-protectant properties. Furthermore, due to its antioxidant, -inflammatory, and -microbial properties, it is the target of research for hair growth.
- The in vitro (in cells) evidence suggests that oleanolic acid has moderate antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activity, as well as having the ability to enhance the production and expression of antioxidants which may be beneficial for hair growth. Furthermore, oleanolic acid has been found to decrease levels of 5α-reductase, a key enzyme involved in the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (which is subsequently involved in the emergence of androgenetic alopecia).
- The ex vivo (isolated human hair follicles) evidence suggests that treatment with oleanolic acid enhances hair follicle growth, and increases proliferation in the hair matrix at the base of the hair follicle. Furthermore, it was found that oleanolic acid significantly increased the expression of β-catenin, a key signaling molecule involved in hair follicle cycling indicating the oleanolic acid may prolong the growing (anagen) stage of the hair follicle cycle.
- The in vivo (in mice) evidence suggests that mice induced to an androgenetic alopecia-like hair loss showed significantly increased hair growth and increased levels of key growth factors involved in hair follicle growth compared to the control-treated group.
- We found no evidence in humans that oleanolic acid can treat hair loss.
- Our experience tracking members: by itself, oleanolic acid alone is not enough to improve hair loss outcomes.