Rubbing Wasabi On Your Head Could Stop You Going Bald, Research Suggests

by : Hannah Smith on :
Rubbing Wasabi On Your Head Could Stop You Going Bald, Research SuggestsAlamy

There’s an entire multi-million pound industry built around touting cures for baldness, but it turns out you might be better off just going to your local sushi restaurant.

According to researchers, the secret to stimulating hair growth is found in none other than wasabi, a condiment offered with most Japanese takeouts.


In a 2017 study published by wasabi producers Kinin, it was revealed that the spicy sauce contains high levels of a chemical that is known to awaken the papilla cells responsible for hair growth in the human scalp. Of course, any study proclaiming the benefits of wasabi, which is run by a wasabi company, should probably be taken with a pinch of salt…

Bald man (Alamy)Alamy

The chemical, isosaponarin, reportedly prompts the papilla cells to respond to external stimulus promoting hair growth, by triggering the development of proteins that create pathways for nutrients to feed the cells, according to English-language Japanese news site SoraNews24.

Isosaponarin has already been shown to aid human collagen production in previous studies, and now researchers have claimed that the chemical could be up to three times more effective than classic hair loss treatments like Regaine (minoxidil) in treating male pattern baldness.


What’s more, the 6-MSITC chemical that is responsible for giving wasabi plants their pungent smell has been found to have a similar effect on papilla cells, with VICE reporting that it’s also been showing to successfully inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.


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There are a couple of catches here: the first being, you won’t see the benefits by eating it. For the isosaponarin to work it actually has to come into contact with the human scalp, meaning you have to actually rub it on your head.

Wasabi plant (Alamy)Alamy

Secondly, any old wasabi won’t necessarily do. So don’t go squeezing sachets of the green paste onto your head and hoping for the best – it’s fresh Japanese wasabi that you need.


Unfortunately, that’s likely to come at a cost, with wasabi plants selling for around $80 per pound, according to BBC News.

It seems like quite an extreme measure just to slightly increase your chances of regaining a few precious follicles, but, hey, what have you got to lose.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism.

Topics: Science, Japan


VICE and 1 other
  1. VICE

    If you're going bald, consider rubbing wasabi on your head

  2. Sora News 24

    Wasabi found to promote hair growth 3 times faster than minoxidil