Amla powder is a staple in Ayurvedic hair and skin treatment where its cooling effect is used, among other things, to handle people who fall into the Pitta category. Naturals who use Amla powder as a hair treatment often report that it makes their curls softer and more defined. It is used as a monthly deep conditioning treatment by some.
Amla is thought to have antioxidant and anti-dandruff properties, and is said to improve the shine of the hair. Some users claim it can be used to fight against hair shedding by strengthening the hair itself and keeping the roots clean and unclogged.
Amla is actually a green/yellow colored fruit which has an astringent quality when harvested to make the powder.
Its tannins are a contributing factor of why it works so well on hair and skin. Yall know how I am about tannins. One quick and easy way to identify whether an herb is high in tannins is to make a tea out of it and taste it WITHOUT sugar.
If it’s tart — if it makes your mouth pucker — then it’s probably high in tannins (ie. Hibiscus or Rosehips). It’s not a scientific test, I know, but it helps to identify if the herb will be good to add to conditioners and leave-in conditioners because of its ability to help keep the pH low.
Though there doesn’t appear to by any widespread scientific research about it, some people swear that overtime it helps to slightly darken the color of their hair. But in some cases, there’s no declaration of whether they already had their hair dyed previously and whether Amla is simply reacting to the dye already on their hair strands.
Amla contains polyphenols, flavonoids, gallic and ellagic acids, and is very high in ascorbic acid.
But wait! (Like an infomercial!) Amla is also used in skin masks as well to fight against aging and to improve the smoothness of skin by helping to exfoliate.
Some naturals use Amla and other powders (like Brahmi and Shikakai) to keep their skin clean and exfoliated.
Amla comes in many different forms. Some people prefer to use Alma oil, which others simply prefer to make a tea rinse out of it they same way they would with any other powdered herb.
BE CAREFUL when buying Amla oil. It can contain all kinds of stuff other than Amla. Some products marketed as “Amla oil” are really oil mixes which include Amla.
Make your own Amla infused oil by placing Amla powder (or dried herb) into your favorite oil. Many people use Coconut oil or Sesame Seed oil (not the regular dark roasted sesame seed oil you’re thinking of). But you can use what you want. Try it in Grapeseed oil (for hair) or Sunflower oil (for skin).
I usually place the powder and oil into a glass or stainless steel jar/bowl and let steep over low-ish heat for 2-4 hours. After that, if I know I’m not going to use it right then, I’ll let it sit at room temp for about a week or so.