Amla fruit, also called the Indian gooseberry and emblic myrobalan, comes from the amalaki tree native to India. You can find amla in the form of an oil or as the main ingredient in hair products at health food and beauty stores.
Those who follow ayurvedic medicine, or ayurveda, believe all parts of the tree have medicinal properties. Amla fruit contains a lot of vitamin C, minerals, and antioxidants. Followers of ayurvedic medicine say the fruit is excellent for boosting hair health and increasing hair growth.
Some research suggests there is scientific backing to such claims. Based off several small studies, amla appears effective at keeping hair parasites away, improving hair appearance, and increasing hair growth.
In India, researchers tested four types of hair products, including amla oil. They found that amla oil was the most toxic to hair parasites, and thus the most effective at keeping hair parasite-free.
In another Indian study, researchers looked at the ability of amla and other herbal hair oils to improve hair health and boost growth in rabbits and rats. They placed patches containing amla oil in various concentrations on the animals’ fur and monitored fur growth for 15 days. They found amla oil to cause “significant” and rather rapid fur growth, and made fur healthier.
A study done by researchers in Pakistan backs up the evidence that amla oil boosts hair growth in rabbits. But the researchers didn’t find any effect in sheep. They concluded this is because sheep don’t have a definite fat layer within their skin as do many other mammal species, including rabbits, rodents, and humans.
Amla oil comes in different concentrations. Less concentrated oils come mixed with more water, and that means they’re less strong. That isn’t always a bad thing. Researchers have found the ideal concentration of amla oil to be a 7.5 percent solution with water.
When you purchase amla oil, pay attention to the concentration and follow the instructions on the package.
The good thing about amla oil is that there is little risk of using too much. In fact, scientists haven’t found amla oil to cause any significant side effects when it’s applied on the scalp as a hair health and growth aid.
For use on your hair, buy it in oil form from a health food or beauty store. You might also be able to find it already mixed into hair products. Follow the instructions provided for best results.
Amla oil has been touted as an ayurvedic treatment to help increase hair health and boost hair growth. Several small studies provide some evidence to back those claims. It’s important to note that the hair growth studies were in animals, not people.