Amla oil is a natural substance often used to promote hair health. Some people also use amla oil to fight hair loss and retard prematurely graying hair. When used as a hair treatment, amla oil is typically applied directly to the scalp.
Why Do People Use Amla for Hair Health?
Sourced from the Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis, a tree native to India), amla oil has long been used in ayurvedic medicine. Featuring a number of essential fatty acids, amla oil is thought to strengthen the hair follicles and condition the hair. Proponents also claim that amla oil can help treat dry, itchy scalp.
Traditionally, amla oil is made by immersing dried amla fruit in oil. Typically, coconut oil, mineral oil, or sesame oil is used as the base oil. After a few days of soaking, the fruit are removed and the oil is filtered and purified.
Besides essential fatty acids, amla fruit are high in vitamin C, flavonoids, polyphenols, and also contain water, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Although amla oil has a long history of use as a hair treatment, there is very little scientific evidence for its effectiveness as a treatment for hair loss, prematurely graying hair, or scalp-related health problems.
How to Use Amla Oil on Hair
Amla oil is often applied after shampooing hair and used in place of a conditioning product. When used in this manner, amla oil is typically massaged into the strands so that it completely covers hair (from the roots to the tips). It can be covered with a shower cap. After sitting for 15 minutes or more, the amla oil is then thoroughly rinsed from the hair with warm water.
According to Ayurvedic practitioners, applying amla oil to the scalp can help with dandruff or soothe a dry, itchy scalp. The oil is massaged into the scalp daily and rinsed out after 15 minutes, or it can be left on the scalp overnight before being washed out. To prevent staining, pillows should be covered with old towels or an old t-shirt or a shower cap can be worn.
Amla oil can have a strong, musky smell, so it may not be suitable as a leave-in conditioner or styling product unless used sparingly.
Amla Shampoos and Hair Powders
Although pure amla oil is commonly used as a hair treatment, amla oil is also featured as an ingredient in shampoos. In addition, amla extract is available in a variety of hair powders.
Some people also create their own hair treatments by combining amla powder with warm water so that the blend achieves a paste-like consistency. When applied to dry, clean hair as a hair treatment, this mixture is thought to increase the hair's softness and thickness.
Where to Find Amla Oil
Widely available for purchase online, amla oil is sold in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in Indian products.
Other Natural Products for Healthy Hair
A number of other natural products are commonly used to promote hair health. For instance, biotin and saw palmetto are each said to stimulate hair growth. Orthosilicic acid has been explored for hair strength.
Other traditional Ayurvedic hair oils include neem oil and brahmi oil.
"Amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica)." Natural Standard Professional Monograph. Last accessed August 2012.