Amla: The Superfood For Hair
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Amla: The Superfood For Hair

Amla the superfood for hair

 

An amla a day keeps your hair thick, shiny and beautiful.

Amla, also called as Amrit (nectar), is one of the most nourishing herbs for hair.

I recently heard this amazing anecdote on how amla helped reverse grey hair. This was told by my cousin’s hairdresser to him and he later shared with me, thinking it would help my readers.

A man used to come to this hairdresser’s place to dye his hair regularly. And he suddenly stopped coming. A few months later, the hairdresser happened to bump into his ex-client and inquired as to why he stopped coming. And he told that he has been drinking amla juice every morning since a few months and his greying has reduced remarkably, and he doesn’t need to dye anymore.

The hairdresser was pretty shocked to hear his reply, so shocked that he had been telling about it to all his clients.

I love anecdotal evidence. They are not the solid proof which science is looking for to certify the validity of the herb, but these tales are fresh revivals to the dyeing and dying science of past.

Amla The Wonder Berry

The name amla comes from Sanskrit word ‘Amlaki’, which literally means Amrit or fruit of heaven. In traditional Indian medicine, Amla is referred as the best anti-aging herb. It is believed by Ayurvedic practitioners that if an individual regularly takes amla, he/she can remain youthful and radiant up to 100 years.

A great sage named Muni Chyavan is said to have discovered the anti-aging properties of amla. Muni Chyavan rejuvenated himself in his late 70s and regained his vigor and strength by the use of amla. After his name an ayurvedic herbal jam— Chyavanprash — was created. It’s a well know ayurvedic medicine and is used as general health supplement.

I regularly take amla in my diet. And people regularly tell me I look 10-15 years younger than my actual age.

Current research has validated that regular intake of amla improves eyesight, boosts the immune system, and regulates blood sugar and lipids. Amla is also reported to have chemopreventive and anti-cancer properties.

What makes amla so potent is the presence of zillion nutrients, which is not usual to be present in one single fruit or vegetable. It has almost twice the antioxidant power of acai berry and about 17 times that of pomegranate. Amla is one of the richest sources of vitamin C. It contains an array of antioxidants such as emblicanin, phyllantine,  quercetin, gallic acid, and ellagic acid. Amla also contains a high concentration of minerals, amino acids, as well as strong immunity boosting properties.

Other names of Amla: Amla, biological name Phyllanthus emblica, is also called as Indian Gooseberry in English, avala in Marathi, amloki in Bengali, amla in Hindi, Gujrati, and Nepali, anmole in Chinese, nellikkai in Tamil, Kannada, Tulu, Aula in Punjabi, and amlakhi in Assamese.

Amazing Benefits Of Amla For Hair

Amla, an excellent hair tonic, has played a key role in the long, thick, and beautiful hair of India women. This wonderful berry acts as a natural conditioner, minimizes hair loss and greying, and encourages strong and healthy hair growth.

Let’s take a closer look at the hair benefits of amla …

Promotes Hair Growth

The vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients present in the amla increases scalp circulation, strengthen hair follicles and stimulate healthy new growth.

With its amazing bundle of antioxidants, amla supplements can get rid of free radicals that can cause hair fall, greying, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. Antioxidants play an important role in neutralizing these free radicals and act as protective and preventive agents. These benefits of amla are supported by a recent scientific study.

Reduces Hair greying

According to ayurveda premature greying usually occurs due to excess pitta in the body – some of the signs of excess pitta include, skin rashes, burning sensations, peptic ulcers, excessive body heat, and heartburn. Amla, a natural coolant, is an excellent remedy to pacify pitta conditions, and thereby reduce greying.

Amla also helps to renew pigmentation in hair and makes it darker and thicker. It has been used as an effective ingredient in natural hair dyes and other hair products.

Helps with Dandruff and Scalp Conditions

coconut oil and amla remedy for dandruff

With incredible healing properties, amla promotes a healthy scalp. It’s anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties help with dandruff and other scalp conditions. In addition, the cooling effect of amla helps to relieve redness, irritation, and itchiness, and help with the healing of skin

Anti-dandruff recipe: Mix 1 tablespoon amla juice with 1 tablespoon coconut oil to make a homemade anti-dandruff blend. How to use here.

Excellent Hair Conditioner

Amla is one of the world’s oldest hair conditioners. When used as a hair rinse, it nourishes, conditions, and adds amazing shine and texture to your hair. In addition, due to cleansing action of amla, this rinse works very well in hard water and helps remove cal deposits or product build-up, leaving your hair clean and healthy. Here’s how to make amla rinse.

Amla oil is another great way to deep condition your hair. Use it as a pre-wash conditioner, or post-wash as a leave-in conditioner.

5 Different Ways to Take Amla In Your Diet

1. Fresh Amla

Fresh amlas are mostly available from October to March. You will find them at Indian grocery stores – in most part of the world, thanks to globalization.

It tastes sour, slightly sweet, and slightly bitter. I like to eat mine sprinkled with some salt and pepper, as it greatly improves the taste and makes it less sour. I get a weekly supply of 5 to 6 amlas, cut them into small pieces, sprinkle salt and pepper, and leave them on the sunny windowsill. Fresh, sun basked amla tastes great.

To eat: I eat 1-2 pieces when I see them. But the best time to eat it is in the morning or evening. Eat no more than one to two amlas a day.

2. Make Amla Juice

This is another way of including amla in your diet. A tablespoon of fresh amla juice forms a very valuable supplement to your diet. Its regular use will improve your energy levels, boost immunity, and keep you healthy and radiant. Take it ever morning and/or evening.

I like to drink amla juice mixed with some water, but you can drink it as it is. You can also juice it with other vegetables and fruits. Try different ways and see what works for you. If fresh amlas are not available, you can buy ready-made amla juice from the market.

3. Powdered Amla

Amla powder is probably the most convenient option, and also easily available. And it contains most of the nutrients of fresh amla, so there is no excuse for not including this amazing berry in your diet. (I like this one).

There are few ways to take amla powder:

1. Mix it with clarified butter or ghee, recommended if you have hyperacidity

2. Mix it with honey or black pepper, if you are prone to cough and cold

3. The easiest option is to dilute it with some warm water and drink it.

Start with 1/4 teaspoon, and you can go up to 1 teaspoon per day. Take it in the morning or one hour after a meal.

4. Dried Amla Supari

When fresh amlas are not available, this is another way to consume amla. You can buy dried amla supari or you make it at home for later use.

How to Make: When amlas are available in season, buy large quantities, cut them into small pieces, and add one or more seasoning such as black pepper, sea salt, rock salt, cumin powder, carom (ajwain) powder, sugar, and ginger juice. Then, spread them on a tray and place under the sun to dry. Turn daily until dry.

5. Amla Chutney

Or make a delicious chutney and serve as a spread or dip. Here’s a simple recipe.

Extra notes:

Buying Amla Supplements: Amla powder is the most convenient and easy way to include amla in your daily diet. I like this one and this one. You can also take amla chyawanprash or amla jam (herbal version). I prefer this and this.

Are there any side effects of amla? No side effects have been reported so far. Amla is cooling by nature, so if you suffer from a cough, cold, or any respiratory condition, then amla is best taken with some honey or black pepper.

Note: If you suffer from any medical condition or have never taken amla before, it’s best to consult a medical practitioner before taking it in any form.

Do you take amla in your diet? how did it benefit you? please share below…

You may also like:

How to make amla oil at home

15 Surprising Natural Remedies for Grey Hair: Ancient Secrets Revealed

 

References:

Baliga, M. S and Dsouza, J. J (2011) Amla, a wonder berry in the treatment and prevention of cancer. European journal of cancer prevention, Vol 20(3), p 225-239.

Dasaroju, S and Gottumukkala, K. M (2014) Current trends in the research of Emblica Officinalis (amla): A pharmacological perspective. International journal of pharmaceutics, 24(2), p 150-159.

Hazra, B; Sarkar, R; Biswas, S; Mandal, N (2010) Comparative study of the antioxidant and reactive oxygen species scavenging properties in the extract of the fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia belerica, and Emblica officinalis. BMC Complementary and alternative medicine, 10:20.

 

  • Ana Marie

    I’m really trying to not use store bought shampoo and use these recipes instead but my hair isn’t adjusting well at all. Do you have any advice?

    • I would say stop trying too hard.
      It may seem weird, but sit in stillness for 5 minutes every day. I find this super-helpful when I am not able to find answers. Try it for a few days and you may find your solution.

  • Natasha Allen

    Thanks for the post! Since I started reading about amla in your blog, I started incorporating it in my hair care routine and diet. I combine amla, aloe vera, and lavender essential oil for a detangling spray. I also mix it with in my henna coconut milk gloss with shikakai. I put a dash of it in my morning tea and I even put some in my son’s orange juice from time to time. Thanks so much for the information!

  • Claudia

    Such a shame that amla is becoming less popular it really is the best conditioner I have tried ! I recently used normal shampoo a few times and got a hard reminder of how greasy my hair used to be with them, it really is worth the effort to make your own not only is my hair far less greasy but it is in better condition as well !
    I found a good way of getting rid of the amla colour from the porous spots in the bath, I use Astonish bleach cream cleaner which is made for use on enamel baths and only use this when I remove the colour. The rest of the time I use Astonish citrus cream cleaner the yellow one. This conditions enamel and I find it keeps from colouring alot longer using this and it gives the bath a nice showroom shine it does look like new ! Sigh happy at last :o)

  • Fatema

    Hi minaz, my mum is 40 and she has 3 strands of white hair and before this increases I would like to know which way is the best way to use amla.
    Thankyou

  • Bharat

    Hi Madam,
    is there any good brand of amla powder or juice in the market? If so, kindly recommend which one. Thanks 🙂

  • Mahi Arora

    helo dear meri age 23 hai and mere hair bht grey and jyada hair agge se grey hai….main kitna time amla khau ? air fresh amla ke kitne piece khau?

  • Bharath

    Hi madam. Can I have amla powder with water an hour after breakfast for hair growth?

    • Hi Bharath, give it a try and also practice anulom vilom pranayam, see ramdev baba video.

  • Sumant Shah

    hello mam, i am 21yr of age and suffering from pre mature greying of hair and i want to reverse the grey hair into black one …. please tell me the cure for this…

  • Sheenam Singla

    Hi Minaz,
    Very nice article.
    I have severe dust allergy. I have sneezing and running nose problem. Also my skin is very dry. Can you tell me how long taking amla should benefit it.

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  • Sumit Kumar Singh

    does it help in increasing the hair density .?

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  • Cait-the-Great

    I am curious; I know that using Amla topically in hair can increase curls. However, is this effect noticeable when taking a supplement with Amla in it.

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  • Jude

    Hi Minaz, I’m so curious if the gooseberries that grow in my (UK) garden possess all the same nutritional properties. I know there are many varieties. But what could be better than having my own organic fresh supply if they are. Especially because I also suffer with immune deficiencies! Do you have any knowledge of the different varieties?

    P.S. My family, and extended family is very thankful for all your help with our hair questions. We’re all benefitting xX

    • Minaz Aslam

      Hi Jude, thanks for appreciation.
      Gooseberry and Indian gooseberry belong to different plant family, so will not be similar in their nutritional and medicinal properties. Berries of all kinds -blueberry, gooseberry, cranberry, raspberry – are a great immune boosters. Also, foods like beetroot, spinach, kale, ginger, aloe vera, flax seeds, and sprouts have high nutritional value, as well as immune boosting effects.
      Hope this helps.

    • roadblock

      Hi Jude sorry for late reply.Amla works in my opinion.Taking it for about 6 months.What I have noticed is blackness in my hair on increase in energy.

      You have asked if amla grown in UK will give you same benefit or not.May be yes may be not.Ah thing is that climate.Darjeeling tea in India is world famous and huge demand all over the world.So much demand that most of it is exported.Tea is grown in other country as well but not like Darjeeling because of the climatic reason.Similarly as far as I know Amla grown in Indian soil in Indian climate is the best.So my advice would be you continue to use amla of your homeland but if possible try to but amla products from India.Amla product is very cheap so you can buy online if you want to.

      As far as I know even cooked alma do not loose its nutrients,so you can buy amla products that are mentioned in the websites.Amla powder will be a good option as it is cheap and easily available.Amla Rasayana(slightly powerful alma powder) is another good option as Amla Rasayana is prepared by adding amla juice to the amla powder 21 times(if i remember correctly).These two powder one have to take 2 times in 2mg amount.2mg is little amount which means 100gm container will last long for a single person.Amla juice is also a good option but after opening the bottle you have to consume it within a month.

      Last words nope I am not a sales man.Thing is that I have used lot of amla products myself and still using.So as I told you can use amla of your homeland but it is true amla of India is the best,just like coffee of Hawai has great demand,which can be only grown in Hawai and not in India.

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