Sanguisorba Officinalis

Sanguisorba officinalis (great burnet) is a plant in the family Rosaceae. It is native throughout the cooler territories of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, northern Asia, and northern North America. This plant has been used to stop hemorrhages and internal bleeding. Research has proven that tannins gives the plant its astringent and coagulant properties. Research has divulged its benefits in preventing hair loss problems as well.

Sanguisorba officinalis and hair growth

Scientific studies have reported that Sanguisorba officinalis is involved in hair growth. Root extract of Sanguisorba officinalis contains fibroblast growth factor-5 (FGF-5) inhibitor. FGF-5 suppresses the conversion of hair follicles from the anagen to the catagen phase. FGF-5 inhibits hair growth by blocking the activation of dermal papilla cells (Ota et al., 2002). Research performed in 2014 showed that FGF-5 controls the length of hairs in human (Higgins et al., 2014).

A research conducted on 39 subjects showed a 13.3% decrease in hair loss after 2 months treatment and a 32% decrease in shed hairs after 4 months of treatment with a solution of 10% Sanguisorba officinalis extract. This solution was topically applied on the scalp twice a day. After 4 months, the number of shedded soft hairs  (less than 2 cm in length) was decreased with 37,4%. In addition, hair growth was increased with 11.9% in 2 months and 17.7% in 4 months. In this study, FGF-5 and FGF-5 along with Sanguisorba officinalis were injected in mice skin. Results showed that FGF-5 alone resulted in the inhibition of hair growth, while FGF-5 along with Sanguisorba officinalis showed enhanced hair growth (Maeda et al., 2007).

In the study of Maeda et al., (2007), dehaired mice were topically applied with the extract of Sanguisorba officinalis. It was observed that the follicle length in mice treated with Sanguisorba officinalis was 1.10 mm after 10 days of treatment while the length of the control group was 0.53 mm, which is significantly shorter than the Sanguisorba officinalis treated mice.

Topical use of Sanguisorba Officinalis

The scientific studies mentioned in this article prove that, because of the FGF-5 inhibiting activity of Sanguisorba officinalis, it can be used topically for the growth of hair and the prevention of hair loss. Topical application of Sanguisorba officinalis has also resulted in the extension of the anagen phase.




Higgins, C. A., Petukhova, L., Harel, S., Ho, Y. Y., Drill, E., Shapiro, L., Wajid, M. & Christiano, A. M. (2014). FGF5 is a crucial regulator of hair length in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 111(29), 10648-10653. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1402862111

Maeda, T., Yamamoto, T. & Youko, I. (2007). Sanguisorba officinalis Root Extract Has FGF-5 Inhibitory Activity and Reduces Hair Loss by Causing Prolongation of the Anagen Period. Nishi Nihon Hifuka, 69 (1), 81-86.

Ota, Y., Saitoh, Y., Suzuki, S., Ozawa, K., Kawano, M. & Imamura, T. (2002). Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract (SO extract) is a reliable FGF-5 inhibitor. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 290 (1), 169-176.