Can You Use Amla for Hair Growth? – MDhairmixtress: Dermatology Expert

Amla is commonly used as a treatment for hair growth and to reduce hair shedding. Amla has been shown to inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which can be associated with reduced hair loss and hair growth promotion.  Though most reports of hair growth with amla are anecdotal, amla oil has been used in Ayurvedic hair care for centuries and is purported to help strengthen, smooth and grow the hair.  In fact, Amla is a key component of Ayurvedic hair care.


What is Amla?

Amla is derived from the amla tree, called Phyllanthus emblica.  Amla is arguably one of the most important medicinal plants used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.  Amla is also known as Indian gooseberry, and both amla powder and amla oil are derived from the fruit of the amla tree.  They are commonly used for hair growth and in therapeutic hair masks.



Benefits for Hair?

Amla is widely used as both a treatment for hair growth and to reduce hair shedding. It is used in hair masks and in hair oils.  Its benefits are still being confirmed by science, but potential benefits include:

  •  Stimulates hair growth
  •  Promotes shiny hair
  •  Strengthens the hair
  •  Reduces shedding and hair loss
  •  Helps minimize hair breakage
  •  Reduces dandruff
  •  Reduces premature graying
  •  Makes hair appear darker and fuller


Health Benefits of Amla

Amla fruit is a powerful antioxidant, which helps prevent damage from pollution and other toxins to the body and hair follicles. It contains polyphenolic compounds, which are thought to help reduce inflammation. Amla also includes numerous vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for scalp, skin, and hair health, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Polyphenols


Research on Amla and Hair Growth

While research is still ongoing, and most claims are anecdotal, there have been several reports published on the possible benefits of amla for hair growth.  One 2012 study found that amla inhibited 5-alpha reductase.  This is the same enzyme inhibited by finasteride, a popular prescription hair loss treatment.


In another 2009 animal study, amla, used in a solution with other herbal components, was found to show increased hair growth in rats, and suggested as a potential natural alternative to minoxidil for promoting hair growth.


A more recent study looking at the effect of amla on hair growth found that a compound containing amla increased the growth of human dermal papilla cells (hair follicle cells), which suggests that amla may improve hair growth by prolonging the growth phase (anagen phase) of the hair.


Side Effects

While amla is widely used around the globe, there have been some reports of irritation and sensitivity to amla.  A possible rare link of amla oil has also been reported with a skin condition called Lichen Planus Pigmentosus.  Those that are pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss amla with their physicians before using it.


Where to Find Amla

You can make your own custom amla oil or amla hair mask by purchasing amla fruit powder.  There are also several pre-made amla oils that you can buy and begin to use as a hair and scalp treatment. Always do a patch test before using a new product.


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