Gooseberry Fruit

One of the most difficult problems to combat is hair thinning and hair fall. That is why the shampoo and conditioner companies out there keep coming up with innumerable solutions each day. Amla (Indian gooseberry) is one ingredient that has been in various hair fall remedies and it is even more beneficial when used as a hair care treatment made by you. While amla has various health benefits when consumed internally, here we talk only about the benefits of Amla for hair and the methods of topical application.

Why is Amla good for hair?

Some of the reasons Amla is great for  hair is that it has abundant Vitamin C and hence if your hair breaks or falls due to deficiency of vitamin C, it is corrected. Amla has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties and for many dandruff, flaky yeast and bacteria due to pollution cause hair fall which is remedied. Amla is an excellent anti-oxidant and to quantify it, one could say it has more than 15 times then anti-oxidant power of a pomegranate.

Now that we know Amla does work to get healthy lustrous hair, let us see how we can use Amla.

Amla hair oil

  1. Take 20-25 juicy big Amla
  2. Grind them with very little water (just to facilitate the blending) and a stalk of curry leaves
  3. Strain well to get a thick extract.
  4. Take two cups of coconut oil add this extract to it.
  5. Allow the oil amla mixture to boil for four to five minutes.
  6. Switch off the stove and allow the oil to cool.

You can apply this hair oil to your scalp and gently massage before you go to bed each night. This is a non sticky oil and will give your hair a gentle shine like a leave on conditioner. Those with naturally oily hair can apply this thrice a week before going to bed and wash it off the next morning.

You can make the above oil with amla powder as well. Instead of fresh amla extract, you would be using amla powder to make the oil. Although this is better than the ones you get in the stores, I would recommend the method above with the fresh fruit. The fragrance is lovely and it is much more effective.

amla
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Amla with shikakai (to rinse hair)

Shikakai is a shrub which is native plant of Asia. This shrub is ground and used as a hair scrub instead of shampoo. Shikakai has properties that help in hair growth and at the same time removes grease and dirt from the hair. For those who like to use Shikakai, they can also add Amla powder to it.

Method:

  1. Cut amla fruits in halves and sun dry them.
  2. Once they have dried well, grind them in a mixer.
  3. Add this powder to Shikakai powder and use.

Amla as a conditioner

  1. Take a few amla fruits and grind them into a thick paste.
  2. Add a teaspoon of olive oil.
  3. Apply this conditioner on your hair and scalp gently like a massage (after shampooing like any other conditioner) and wash off after 5 minutes.

You will be left with shiny soft hair.

Amla hair mask

A hair mask made with Amla can be applied once or twice a week. This hair mask is a remedy for hair fall and also helps to get rid of dandruff.

Method:

  1. Soak a handful of fenugreek seeds overnight.
  2. Take 5-6 medium sized amlas.
  3. Blend them with a little water, lemon juice and the soaked seeds into a smooth paste. (For water, you can use the water in which the seeds were soaked) Let the paste not be too thick or runny – the consistency should be suitable for a hair mask.
  4. Add two teaspoons of olive oil (or coconut oil) to this paste.
  5. Cover with a lid and leave the mixture for 15 minutes.
  6. Apply this paste on your hair and scalp as required.
  7. Follow up with a wash after 20 – 30 minutes.

Note: Always wash your hair with warm water or water in room temperature. Too hot or too cold water is not good for the hair and can cause both hair fall as well as split ends.

Bonus: Whenever you make a paste of amla or you make amla oil, you could just dab a little on your face and neck as well. Amla is rich in vitamin A and can result in soft, smooth skin and also delay ageing!

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.