Have you heard about amla berry's amazing benefits for your hair? Amla is the most revered medicinal berry of Indian origin. Spiritually, it’s said to have been the first tree to ever grow on Earth while Brahma (Indian god of creation and evolution) was meditating. Also known as Indian gooseberry, this beauty-boosting superfood fruit is round and usually a bright yellow or green in color. The taste is very sour and quite bitter, usually reserved as a compliment when cooking a dish or for more medicinal purposes.
Amla is argued to be the most important medicinal plant in Indian Traditional Medicine and Ayurveda. The fruit alone or in combination with other healing plants has been shown to aid as a remedy for seasonal ailments and hair loss. We use organic amla berry powder in all of our vegan collagen boosting blends.
One of the most primary reasons for someone to experience hair loss, thinning or shedding is a result of excess stress. Popular belief amongst those in Functional Medicine will say that stress is the number one cause of mental and chronic health issues. When stress is not addressed nor aided in through holistic therapies and support, it accumulates in the body and creates physical reactions in the body - one of which is the loss of hair.
Nutritionally, there are two focuses that should be prioritized to support our health - whether we are in a high or low stress period. A purposeful focus on having nutrients and foods that are both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant are key. The human body requires a certain amount of inflammation in order to protect us from illness, viruses and any unknown threat outside of our bodies. The symptoms that are most commonly experienced when we have a cold are our bodies' inflammatory responses being used to help our bodies eradicate the virus. However when these inflammatory responses are turned on and left on for longer periods of time, it can create more harm than good. When these stressors are not addressed in a traditional setting, our bodies' next method of communication is to show physical symptoms - digestive disturbances, skin reactions, disrupted sleep patterns, headaches and hair issues - to name a few.
This is why a focus on eating anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts and seeds (for some, in moderation), beans, legumes, herbs, whole grains and lean protein all support your bodies’ internal landscape, so that when these outside stressors appear internally, the body is equipped to handle them more swiftly and efficiently.
Most of the foods listed also hold antioxidant properties. An antioxidant is a substance (such as vitamin C or E) that removes oxidizing agents that can potentially cause damage and harm to the host or body. As with inflammation, oxidation is a normal and important process that takes place in the body. When the oxidation becomes more chronic (also known as oxidative stress) it creates an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. Amla berry happens to be an incredible antioxidant. In a 2009 study, amla berry (also referred to as Phyllanthus emblica in medical terminology) had the strongest antioxidant activity amongst other plants and one of the highest polyphenol and tannin content.
As for its benefits on hair health, amla is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and antioxidants. These properties help to promote circulation to the blood vessels in the scalp. When there is active circulation in these vessels, it helps to enhance hair regrowth and scalp health. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to reduce scalp inflammation and the production of excess oil production. A 2017 study mentions that the oil from amla berries has been used as a hair tonic to enrich hair growth and improve pigmentation.
Amla oil’s benefits include:
- Being incredibly moisturizing for dry hair
- Ability to add shine and strength
- Shield against environmental pollutants and heat
Because of the unique properties found in amla and amla oil, it is most appropriate for those with dry, brittle and oily scalps. Though most would agree that it can be supportive for all hair types. To garner the most benefits (specifically hair health qualities) amla oil can be applied topically to the scalp and left on as a deeper conditioning treatment. Begin by applying the oil in your palms and warming the oil using your fingertips. Once warmed, begin to gently massage the oil onto the scalp, focusing on the areas where hair thinning and/or loss is more common (usually near the temples, crown and hairline).
When purchasing amla oil, always choose quality. Choose products that have the Phyllanthus emblica printed on the label, the country of origin and opt for brands made with organic, cold pressed oil. Amla oil can be stored at room temperature and kept up to three years, depending on the individual product. Always check for expiration dates and discard any oil that changes color, consistency or smell.
As it relates to use in hair care, amla oil is suggested as it will penetrate the hair follicles more readily. When ingesting orally, amla can be enjoyed in the powder form, which is the primary form that Copina Co sources amla in their collagen powders!
And as with any new product being introduced to your lifestyle and body, test the oil on a small test patch (inside of your wrist or back of the head) to ensure that you have no sensitivity or irritation. Wait 24 hours to see if a rash, redness or itchy skin develops. If you have an allergy to gooseberries or develop a reaction after applying to a test patch, it would be best to avoid the oil altogether.