According to Ayurveda philosophy, amla has outstanding rejuvenating properties and is favored when treating disorders of the pitta dosha, the life force or predetermined characteristics of an individual in regards to mind, body and spirit.
Amla is known to stimulate the hair follicle to encourage growth. It nourishes the hair shaft, adding strength and sheen, and cleanses the scalp to prevent dandruff, providing a perfect environment for long and healthy hair.
The amla fruit is also known as the Indian Gooseberry (Emblic Myrobalan) and comes from the amalaki tree originating in India’s tropical subcontinent 2. All parts of the tree including the bark are utilized to treat various conditions. The amla fruit is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Amla oil is very easy to make. You can use the fresh fruit or the powder. Both items can be purchased at most Indian grocery stores. If using the fruit, cut it up into little cubes and then leave it to dry out before mixing it with fenugreek powder and oil to make a paste. Heat the ingredients in a pan until brown; be careful not to burn it. Leave it to cool and then sieve the mixture, transferring the amla oil into containers. The oil should be good for at least two weeks. If using the powder, soak it overnight in hot water before applying the fenugreek and oil to make the paste.You can use castor, coconut or another oil of choice.
Purchase premixed amla oil from an Indian grocery stores or online. Products available vary in darkness, with a choice of henna to enhance the gray-coloring attributes, and aloe vera for extra conditioning. The disadvantage of premixed amla is inclusion of artificial fragrances and mineral oils that clog pores on the scalp, leading to irritation. Mineral oil can also contribute to acne. Amla is infused in most hair care products in India, and can be found in shampoos and conditioners.
Shampoo can be quite drying, stripping away an excess of natural oils from the hair shaft and leaving hair dry and dull. For added protection before you cleanse, apply amla oil, making sure your hair is thoroughly coated. Keep it on overnight, then in the morning shampoo as usual. Your hair should feel soft and shiny, being less susceptible to breakage. This will help your hair to grow longer.
For a conditioning treatment, massage heated amla into your hair and scalp, cover with a plastic cap and sit under a steamer or dryer for 20 minutes. The massaging effect will improve circulation and aid in hair growth as the oil nourishes and strengthens the hair shaft. Alternatively, you can wrap your hair in a heated, damp towel for similar results. Rinse out and style as usual. Use amla daily to maintain luster and condition. Apply a small amount to your palms, and distribute evenly throughout your hair, paying particular attention to the ends. Do this at night. Wrap your hair in a satin scarf or bonnet to keep it and your pillows protected. Style your hair as usual in the morning.
- my long hair image by Frenk_Danielle Kaufmann from Fotolia.com