Crataegus pinnatifida has a long history of use in traditional oriental herbal medicine to stimulating digestion and improving blood circulation. Based on nutrition of hair, the present study was conducted to assess the effect of C. pinnatifida extract on hair growth using mouse model and its mechanisms of action. The C. pinnatifida extract containing the contents of total polyphenol of 5.88□0.82 g gallic acid/100 g extract and proanthocyanidin of 9.15□1.58 mg cyaniding chloride/100 g extract was orally administered daily at a dosage of 50 mg/kg weight to the 7-week-old C57BL/6 mice in telogen. The C. pinnatifida extract promoted hair growth by inducing anagen phase in mice in telogen, reflected by color of skin, thickness of hair shaft, and density of hair. The ratio of anagento telogen was determined by shape of hair follicles in vertically sectioned slide and increased by oral administration of C. pinnatifida extract. The number and the size of hair follicles were also enlarged, indicating anagen phase induction. The proliferation of human dermal papilla cells (hDPC) was accelerated by addition of C. pinnatifida extract, which activated the signaling of mitogen-activated protein kinases (Erk, p-38, and JNK) and Akt. Moreover, the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax as the determinant of cell fate was also raised in skin. These results suggest that the C. pinnatifida extract promotes hair growth by inducing anagen phase, which might be mediated by the activation of cellular signalings that enhance the survival of cultured hDPC and the increase of the ratio of Bcl-2 to Bax that protects cells against cell death. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.