Amla Oil for Hair

Benefits and Tips on Using Amla Oil

Amla, the Indian Gooseberry
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Amla oil is a natural substance often used to promote hair health. Sourced from the Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis) tree, the oil is said to fight hair loss, promote hair growth, and prevent prematurely gray hair. When used as a hair treatment, amla oil is typically applied directly to the scalp or facial hair such as the beard or eyebrows.

Why Do People Use Amla for Hair?

Featuring a number of essential fatty acids, amla oil is thought to strengthen hair follicles and condition hair.

Proponents also claim that amla oil can help treat dry, itchy scalp and dandruff.

Long used in ayurveda, amla oil is traditionally 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 white or gray hair, or scalp-related health problems such as dandruff.

How is Amla Oil Used on Hair?

Amla oil is often applied after shampooing and used in place of a conditioner. 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 Shampoo and Hair Powder

Although the pure oil is commonly used as a hair treatment, amla oil is also featured as an ingredient in shampoos. In addition, amla extract is available as an ingredient 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.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions

There is a lack of research on the safety of long-term or prolonged use of amla oil. Side effects can include skin irritation and allergy. A patch test is recommended.

Studies suggest that topical application of amla oil may lead to a rare skin condition known as lichen planus pigmentosus.

Avoid getting amla oil in the eyes. Using the oil in the shower or bath can make the shower or tub floor slippery. Caution should be used to prevent falls.

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may be contaminated. While consumers face such risks when purchasing any supplement, these risks may be of greater magnitude in the purchase of ayurvedic products.

Where to Find It

Widely available for purchase online, amla oil is sold in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in Indian products.

Amla Oil vs. 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.

Like amla oil, products like emu oil, almond oil, argan oil, argan oil, coconut oil and castor oil are also said to strengthen and condition the hair. Natural hair color can be used instead of standard hair dye.

Other traditional Ayurvedic hair oils include neem oil and brahmi oil.

Essential oils applied topically have been explored for alopecia areata (sudden onset hair loss). Apple cider vinegar hair rinses are sometimes used to fight dandruff.


"Amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica)." Natural Standard Professional Monograph. Last accessed August 2012.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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