The botanical, also known as ‘goat weed’ or ‘billy goat weed’ is traditionally used in the treatment of skin conditions, diarrhoea, and infectious diseases.
The company first started its research in hair health in 2012, after coming across the plant and its hair health benefits via a researcher from Chennai, India.
Since then, it has conducted pre-clinical studies which showed that ageratum conyzoides L. works by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase – an enzyme which prevents hair growth when overexpressed.
In an open label pilot study recently published in the Journal of Cosmetology and Trichology, the researchers found that when one per cent strength of ageratum conyzoides L. gel was topically applied twice per day for eight weeks, 64 per cent of the men and 100 per cent of the women reported an improvement in their hair loss symptoms.
An in vitro study also showed that the extract has significantly inhibited 5-alpha reductase type 1 expression and the release of prostaglandin D2 (PGD2). Also an enzyme, PGD2 could lead to hair fall when overexpressed.
Now, the company will trial ageratum conyzoides L. in the form of an oral supplementation and topical application to determine the efficacy, founder/MD of Gencor, R. V. Venkatesh told NutraIngredients-Asia.
Venkatesh believes that the hair health sector is an attractive one due to multiple factors, including an ageing population and increased attention to physical care amongst consumers.
“The old age population is increasing; the life expectancy is increasing, and people are getting conscious of their looks.
“Our internal market research shows that people spend a lot of money on beauty, for women, it’s about blemishes, recovery, whitening, anti-ageing, and hair care, men are also paying more attention to self-grooming. Prostate problems amongst men are also linked to hair loss,” he said.
The RCT, running for 16 weeks, is currently at the recruitment stage. Subjects will be grouped into two pairs: oral supplement Vs placebo and topical application Vs placebo.
Venkatesh expects to recruit 40 men and women facing hair growth problem for each group.
The intervention groups will take either 250mg of ageratum conyzoides L. extract orally per day or apply ageratum conyzoides L. in one per cent strength per day.
The trial is expected to complete by second half of this year.
At the moment, the company is already using the 250mg of ageratum conyzoides L. extract in its prostate health formulation trademarked AGEprost.
Following the human clinical study, the company plans to develop an oral supplement and a product for topical application to provide consumers with different usage options.
Venkatesh revealed that the company intended to develop its own line of finished topical health hair product or to co-brand it with a renowned industry player.
As for the oral formulation, the plan is to sell it as an ingredient.