Amla, otherwise known as Indian gooseberry, is the edible fruit of a small tree that grows mainly in India and Myanmar. Amla oil, as you’ve probably guessed, is made from the fruits of the amla tree, but the exact mechanism behind the oil production is a little out of the ordinary.
Amla oil is made by soaking the gooseberry-like fruit of the tree in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, for up to a week. This encourages the natural oils and beneficial ingredients contained within the fruit to leach out into the carrier oil, infusing it with its healing essence. The result is an oil that has long been used in Ayurvedic circles for its ability to nourish the hair, heal the skin and support many other internal and external functions of the body in general.
And as with all the other Ayurvedic natural remedies that the Western world has recently “discovered,” amla oil is taking the alternative health scene by storm. Here are seven benefits of amla oil.
1. Amla oil speeds hair growth
Perhaps amla oil’s biggest claim to fame is its ability to significantly speed hair growth. Rubbing amla oil into the scalp is said to boost circulation, thereby increasing blood flow to the hair follicles and increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients being fed to each strand of hair. The result is hair that not only grows faster, but is stronger and more lustrous.
2. Amla oil improves hair health
While having hair that grows faster is certainly a bonus if you’re lusting after longer locks or simply want to make that previous disastrous haircut a distant memory, it’s even more important to ensure the health and longevity of your hair. By massaging amla oil regularly into your scalp and hair, you’re constantly providing your lovely locks with a wide range of nutrients and sun-protective fatty acids that help your hair achieve its true potential.
Not only that, amla oil helps to alleviate dry scalp and can prevent flaking associated with dandruff. The oil helps to lock in moisture and protect your hair against the ravages of sun, wind and other environmental stressors — meaning your hair is less likely to show signs of aging.
3. Amla oil supports a healthy heart
The wide range of essential nutrients and minerals found in amla fruit make it an excellent choice for naturally lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol ratios. In particular, the high levels of potassium and vitamin C in amla oil (and amla juice or any product containing extracts of the fruit) help to relieve inflammation in the cardiovascular system. Meanwhile, the fatty acids in amla oil help to prevent atherosclerosis (cholesterol-induced hardening of the arteries), hypertension, heart abnormalities and even stroke.
4. Amla oil prevents cognitive impairment
Certain nutrients and phytochemicals in amla have been shown to protect against inflammation and damage in the brain. A recently published study showed that the high concentrations of tannins in amla extract were able to prevent neuroinflammation and lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Another study published in 2010 found that an antioxidant-rich extract of amla helped to prevent oxidative stress in the brain and protect against seizures, cognitive impairment, and other symptoms of brain damage.
5. Amla oil can lower risk of diabetes
The high levels of antioxidants found in amla oil and other products containing amla fruit extracts may help to prevent development and alleviate symptoms of diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Medical Food found that amla extract showed strong free radical-scavenging abilities, improved body weight gains in diabetic rats and balanced out blood lipid profiles.
Another study found that amla fruit powder significantly decreased total lipids and dramatically improved cholesterol levels, making amla an excellent choice for diabetics and healthy people alike.
6. Amla oil promotes healthy skin
The many benefits of amla oil can also be utilized to promote healthy skin. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that the vitamin C, minerals, amino acids and phenolic compounds in amla help to protect human dermal fibroblasts against oxidative damage, thereby preventing the signs of aging and boosting collagen production.
Another study published in the same journal showed that amla extract actually protects against the skin-damaging effects of the sun’s UVB rays, thereby preventing sun-induced skin aging.
— Liivi Hess