UK rules against biotin for hair growth and white chestnut for sleep

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Advertising, Nutrition

Biotin hair growth and white chestnut sleep claims unauthorised
Adverts for Nourkrin hair growth supplement containing biotin and horsetail extract, and Rescue Night sleep aid with white chestnut Bach flower have had their health claims refuted in the UK even though one of the nutrients had an EU approved health claim.

Biotin and horsetail extract

The advert – a poster displayed in the London Underground – showed a picture of Nourkrin with the text "20 years restoring confidence in hair​” and "the original Hair Growth Supplement.”

Biotin is on the EU register of authorised claims under the nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR) for "contributing to the maintenance of normal hair". ​But the the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that while Nourkrin Woman contained the required amount of biotin to make the claim, the advert went beyond the claim by implying Nourkrin would increase hair growth in women and reverse the effects of thinning hair rather than simply contributing to the maintenance of normal hair growth.


Nourkrin also contains a botanical extract from the plant Equisetum arvense -​ commonly known as horsetail - which is currently ‘on hold’ with 1000s of other herbals for a health claim relating to hair growth and strengthening.

The ASA ruled that the Nourkrin’s claims – promoting hair growth – was more in line with the claim for horsetail extract than for biotin and so Pharma Medico was within its rights in making this claim in this respect.

However because the advert text did not specifically mention horsetail extract, the claim was not attributed to that nutrient and was therefore also in breach.

White chestnut Bach flower

Rescue Night Spray box  bottle no lid

The ASA also ruled that the claim made by Bach Rescue night “Rescue night helps your mind switch off so you can enjoy a natural night’s sleep” ​was unauthorised.

A. Nelson & Co said the advert related to the traditional use of the Bach Flower Remedies which help the mind switch off from unwanted and repetitive thoughts, and that there was no suggestion of a sedative effect.

The ASA stated that since there are no pending health claims on the EU register for white chestnut - along with images of a moon and stars on the packaging - suggested Rescue Night was a sleep aid, the advert was found to be in breach of the code.

Both Pharma Medico and A. Nelson & Co have been told to remove the adverts in their present form.

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1 comment

Correct spelling

Posted by K Axelsen,

Please note that Horsetail is a name of a plant and nothing to do with the tail from a horse hence it must be Horstail. And in the short description in the news letter you even write "horsehair". Just in case there are someone out there thinking that this is an animal byproduct.

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