In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) hair loss or premature gray hair often reflects an underlying problem in the body. Hair, according to TCM, reflects the quality of blood and the strength of the kidneys. Keeping hair healthy for a lifetime is generally a balance between eating the right foods, sleeping well and keeping stress in check. Some foods that strengthen the blood and kidneys to nourish hair are: black sesame seeds, hijiki seaweed, black beans, mulberry fruit, Chinese dates and royal jelly.
In addition to food sources, Chinese herbs have a long history of rejuvenating hair. One such herb called "He shou wu" (Polygonum multiflorum) can be used long-term to strengthen and re-grow hair. The literal translation of the name he shu wu is "black-haired Mr. He" refering to the Chinese legend where Mr. He returned from living in the woods for some time, and his grey hair had turned to black. As it turned out, Mr. He had been consuming this herb to survive. There are quite a few additional herbs that encourage hair growth, but "he shou wu" is the best know herb to restore hair color and nourish the skin, hair, teeth and nails.
As with most conditions in TCM, Chinese herbal medicine is best applied while considering the person's constitutional pattern. By addressing a person's underlying constitution, the effects of any herbs or dietary change will be greatly increased.