The Health Benefits of Amla Oil

This Ayurvedic remedy is believed to treat hair loss and dandruff

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Amla oil is a natural oil used for hair health. It is made by drying a fruit called Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica) and soaking it in a base oil. The oil is then filtered and purified. Amla oil is said to stimulate hair growth, as well as prevent hair loss and early graying. When used as a hair treatment, amla oil is applied to the head or face.

Amla berries in and around a wicker basket.
RBB / Getty Images

This article will explain the benefits of amla oil and potential side effects. It will also cover how to select the best amla oil for your needs and how to store it properly.

What Are the Benefits of Amla Oil for Hair?

In Ayurvedic medicine, which is a healing practice that originated in India that focuses on balance, the Indian gooseberry is thought to help clean and soothe the scalp and hair. It is high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that may help protect the hair and skin from damage.

When used for hair treatment, amla oil is thought to:

  • Strengthen and condition the hair all the way down to the roots
  • Promote hair growth
  • Reduce dandruff, which can lead to flaky skin on the scalp
  • Prevent the graying of hair
  • Moisturize dry skin

Hair Loss

Androgenic alopecia is characterized by the gradual loss of hair from the top and front of the scalp. Despite it often being called male pattern hair loss, this condition can affect anyone.

There is limited research on the use of amla oil for hair care, however, there are some studies that suggest it may help with hair loss.

Man looking down, with receding hairline.

Rattanakun Thongbun / Getty Images

One study found that of the 17 plants commonly used for hair treatments, amla extract was the second strongest inhibitor of 5-alpha-reductase, which is an enzyme that can lead to baldness. However, it has not been proven how well it actually works when applied directly to the skin versus taken in pill form.

Another study showed that when amla oil was combined with a 2% Rogaine solution (minoxidil), it led to an increase in hair growth. This study also noted that higher concentrations of amla oil led to more hair growth, when compared to lower levels of it.

Recap

While studies are limited, some suggest the amla oil use can help increase hair growth and prevent hair loss.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Amla Oil?

Amla oil has not been thoroughly researched and may lead to side effects in some individuals. It is unknown whether amla oil interacts with other medications taken by mouth or applied to the skin.

People allergic to gooseberries may experience an itchy rash, known as contact dermatitis, if amla oil touches their skin. To avoid a reaction, spot test the oil on a patch of skin and wait 24 hours to see if a rash shows up. If it does, you should avoid using the oil.

Skin reactions may also occur as a result of the base oil. Mineral oil, for example, is known to cause skin irritation in some individuals. Other oils, like coconut, jojoba, or argan oil, can also be irritating to some individuals.

Amla oil use has been associated with a rare skin condition that causes flat brown or gray patches on the skin, known as lichen planus pigmentosus.

Lichen planus on the abdomen.

TimoninaIryna / Getty Images

Recap

Amla extract, as well as the base oil that may accompany it, can both lead to skin irritation and rashes in some individuals. It is unknown if amla oil interacts with other oral or topical medications.

How Do You Select the Best Amla Oil?

Amla oil, shampoo, or hair powder can be purchased online and may be found in stores specializing in natural foods or Ayurvedic products.

When buying amla oil, keep in mind that the highest quality products will have Phyllanthus emblica printed on the product label, as well as the country of origin. If possible, opt for organic, cold-pressed plant oil without added dyes, fragrances, or preservatives.

It is important to note that Ayurvedic remedies aren't typically regulated in the United States. In some cases, a product may be contaminated or contain products other than those listed on the label.

How Do You Properly Store Amla Oil?

Amla oil may be stored at room temperature for up three years, depending on the base oil and production technique. Throw out any oil that suddenly smells bad or changes color or consistency. Never use an amla oil product past its expiration date.

Summary

Amla oil is thought to have many benefits including strengthening hair, boosting hair growth, reducing dandruff, as well as preventing hair loss and graying.

Amla oil, as well as the base oil it may be included with, can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, including rashes and irritation.

Amla oil can be purchased online or in stores that carry Ayurvedic products. When selecting an oil, be sure to read the label carefully.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I use amla oil?

    Amla oil is often used in place of conditioner. After applying it, leave it on for about 15 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly. If amla oil gets into your eyes, rinse with cool water. Keep in mind that using the oil in the shower can make the floor very slippery.

  • Can I make my own amla oil?

    Yes. You can make amla oil with a neutral carrier oil and dried or powdered Indian gooseberry.

    To make amla oil:

    1. Combine 1 tablespoon of amla powder with 5 tablespoons of coconut oil in a stainless steel pan.
    2. Place the pan on the lowest heat setting, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the oil to boil or even simmer.
    3. After around 5 minutes, you will start to see tiny bubbles forming in the oil itself. As soon as that happens, remove the oil from the heat, cover the pot, and allow the oil to steep for 24 hours.
    4. Strain the oil with a fine tea strainer and pour it into a sterilized glass jar.
  • Can amla oil make my hair healthier?

    Amla oil can be left on the scalp overnight for deep conditioning. When applied to dry, clean hair, the oil is thought to increase the hair's softness and thickness.

Was this page helpful?
3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kumar N, Rungseevijitprapa W, Narkkhong NA, Suttajit M, Chaiyasut C. 5α-reductase inhibition and hair growth promotion of some thai plants traditionally used for hair treatmentJournal of Ethnopharmacology. 2012;139(3):765-771. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.12.010

  2. Narayana DB, Durg S, Manohar PR, et al. Chyawanprash: a review of therapeutic benefits as in authoritative texts and documented clinical literature. J Ethnopharmacol. 2017 Feb 2;197:52-60. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2016.07.078.

  3. Yang G, Tan C. Lichen planus pigmentosus-like reaction to guashaJ Cutan Med Surg. 2016;20(6):586-588. doi:10.1177/1203475416659857