Next up in our Ayurvedic series is one of my favorite herbs, Amla. Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry “Phyllanthus emblica” is a nutrient dense powerhouse fruit. It is said to be one of the richest sources of vitamin C and contains amino acids, tannins, flavonoids, gallic acid, and other antioxidants. Amla fruit can be consumed in any form (juiced, powdered or raw) and used externally on the hair and skin. Amla is used to prevent hair loss and stimulate growth, prevent graying hair, and nourish the scalp.
In Ayurvedic medicine, amla is used alone or in combination with other fruit to treat cold and fever, inflammation, enhance digestion, strength the heart, and purify the blood. Some recent in-vitro and in-vivo studies have shown that amla possesses anticancer, chemopreventive, and radioprotective properties.
Amla’s Hair Benefits
Let’s examine some of the ways amla may work to prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth. Amla is rich in two key elements, Vitamin C and iron. Vitamin C is a key antioxidant necessary for hair growth, it is known to enrich blood vessels and help the body absorb key nutrients such as iron and collagen-which are essential to hair growth. Amla's rich antioxidant properties act as a free radical scavenger which prevents hair loss, greying, and other signs of aging. However, most of the research on the use of amla oil or powder to stimulate hair growth has only been conducted on animal fur in rabbits or rodents. In two studies, rodents experienced faster fur growth in areas with amla application than without application. The process indicated that amla like saw palmetto, may act as a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor which helps treat male pattern baldness. Recently one human-based study has been conducted on the use of an herbal mixture containing amla powder. The study revealed that amla powder may stimulate hair growth, increase hair density and length of people who have experienced alopecia.
In another study, amla oil's anti-microbial proprieties have been used to treat head lice better than most over the counter treatments. Its ani-inflammatory benefits additionally help heal dandruff and other skin related issues.
While the research is still developing, Amla is used by many, including myself, to help grow, condition and nourish their hair.
How to use
There are many techniques to use amla in your regimen. Check out my video below for my DIY recipe
Amla oil is made by soaking dried amla fruit or 2 teaspoons amla powder in 4 tablespoons of oil preferably coconut or almond oil. Let sit for at least an hour and then use as prepoo or hot oil treatment.
To use as a deep conditioner, add 2-3 teaspoons to your deep condition and apply to your hair for 30 minutes.
To use with henna, let the dye release first then stir in 2-3 teaspoons of amla powder to the finished product and continue with your normal henna treatment. View my Henna video for how I use Henna and Amla together.
Have you used Amla in your regimen? If so, what benefits have you noticed?