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Treating Alopecia Areata

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 28 - May 1998

Hair loss is one of the most distressing symptoms a patient can have, not because of its life-threatening nature, but because the fear of baldness, and its accompanying social stigma, is so great in our society. Unfortunately, conventional medicine has little to offer sufferers of hair loss, particularly when they have the form known as alopecia areata. This is where patches of skin become very sparse, with small stumpy hairs known as "exclamation mark hairs". In some people the condition is restricted to small, easily disguised areas, However, in the more unfortunate, it can spread to involve the whole scalp and sometimes other areas on the body. The majority of patients regain their hair, eventually, but it usually takes several months, or even years, to regrow.

I have had success with the three cases of alopecia areata that I have treated, using a two-pronged attack with both vitamin supplementation and homoeopathy.

The first case I came across was shortly after I completed my homoeopathic training and returned to general practice. A patient of the practice had suffered a very severe attack of alopecia several years earlier and had worn a wig for two years while her hair grew back. About eighteen months later she noticed, to her dismay, that she was developing a fairly large area of hair loss on the left side of her head. I offered re-referral to the local dermatologist but she explained that they had done nothing for her last time, simply reassuring her that her hair would eventually grow back and providing her with a wig. She saw little point therefore in returning to the clinic.

She then asked if there was anything I could do with "that herbal medicine" I had been away to learn about. I gently explained the difference between herbalism and homoeopathy and agreed to look into the matter for her. On researching a little, I found that most nutritional experts recommend vitamin B and C supplementation in this condition. Knowing the patient of old, I knew her to be of a very nervous, fearful disposition, extremely kind and sympathetic to others, to the point of over-sensitivity. She fainted easily, bruised easily and had a tendency to nose bleeds. The medicine, Phosphorus, had a good track record in the treatment of alopecia areata and I certainly thought that it was a possible constitutional medicine for this patient.

When she returned the following week I asked some confirmatory questions. To my relief, she admitted to a liking for salt, ice cream and ice cold drinks. She was very frightened of the dark and thunder and indeed, tended to be accompanied by her husband on most trips due to a nervous and sensitive disposition. I felt therefore that Phosphorus was worth a try and prescribed three doses of a 30c potency. In addition I suggested that she took 1000mg of vitamin C and two tablets of vitamin B strong compound BPC.

On review one month later, she showed me, with a twinkle in her eye a soft downy layer of hair which had grown over her bald patch.

She recognised this as the beginning of regrowth and was delighted because, in her last attack, this had not occurred for many months.

She felt sure that the treatment had made a difference. We continued the vitamins on a daily basis and repeated the Phosphorus, once a month. After six months, her hair had grown back.

I felt very encouraged by this result so early in my homoeopathic career but did not come across another case for three years.

Suzanne was a friend of the family, living near my parents, and I heard on a trip home that she had undergone a very traumatic experienceshe had lost nearly all her hair. Indeed, I caught a glimpse of Suzanne as she drove past, wearing a headscarf.

I had always known Suzanne as a bright and vibrant girl, a few years older than myself, who always lived life to the full. She worked hard and played hard, had married young and disastrously and had a number of relationships subsequently, none of which worked out.

Her hair was her crowning glory reddish and wavy and I could only imagine what it meant to her to have alopecia areata.

My mother suggested to Suzanne's mother that homeopathy might be useful. Suzanne came round for a brief chat. After my previous experience, I was looking out for Phosphorus symptoms, especially as I knew Suzanne to be a singularly caring person – a real "people-person" – a characteristic which had contributed to both the "ups" and the "downs" of her life up to now.

Confirmatory symptoms for Phosphorus were plentiful – better after a sleep, even a catnap during the day, slightly nervous, had had clairvoyant experiences in the past, frightened of the dark, wholly unable to watch horror movies because she became too terrified, always drinking ice cold drinks. Therefore, I gave her the same regime as on the previous patient.

It took six weeks for a downy growth to appear dearly and three months for the hair to regrow sufficiently for Suzanne to go without her scarf. She had had a widespread case of alopecia areata, affecting virtually the whole scalp, but was in no doubt that her condition had turned the corner when she started the hmoeopathy.

In fact, she was worried when I told her that she must stop the Phosphorus after four months, in view of the good response. Her fears of recurrence turned out to be unfounded, however, and she is now back to normal and in her words, "on top of the world".

I am actually treating the third case at the moment, in an eight year old little girl who is a patient of our practice. She was wearing a baseball cap because the alopecia areata was affecting mostly the crown of her head and gave her the appearance of a tonsured monk.

Yet again, Rebecca turned out to be a clear Phosphorus case and I have used the same regime, accompanied by half the adult dose of vitamins. After a month, the bald areas are covered in a fine downy layer of pale new hair, approximately five millimetres long. This is certainly very encouraging but both I and Rebecca's family are trying not to get too excited as it is "early days" at the moment. I am optimistic, however, that this is the beginning of the end of Rebecca's nightmare. For nightmare it has indeed been for her, between the funny jokes, mostly I'm afraid from adults and her own self-consciousness, hair loss has been very hard to bear for Rebecca, and by extension, for her family.

It remains to be seen whether, over my career, I come across a case of alopecia areata which requires a remedy other than Phosphorus.

Other medicines are mentioned in the repertory for hair loss, and, it must always be remembered that homoeopathy cannot be applied as a blanket prescription but must always be prescribed on the basis of the individual.


  1. Dr John rajpathy said..

    Hi Dr Angela Jones I have a very rapidly progressive alopecia areata. Probable cause my divorce and inability to see my children ( since 5 years). I am an allopathic doctor. I have tried all local medications ( except steroids) known to me, unfortunately these have hastened the hair fall. Could you please advice I am very thankful for your reply John

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About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

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