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Having a glowing skin may certainly be one of the top concerns of most beauty regimes but nothing completes a look like a healthy and shiny mane. Most of us spend hundreds of rupees every month on various hair care products just to find that perfect bottle of shampoo or conditioner. But to no avail and the search just continues.

Don't you ever dream of making your own shampoo at home? That may be as effective and doesn't burn a hole in your pocket? Yea okay, homemade products aren’t that good and all and you just can’t put anything on your hair. But what if these ingredients have scientifically proven benefits?

Did it pique your curiosity yet?

Amla, reetha and shikakai are the well known and time-tested ingredients that promote hair growth by strengthening and nourishing hair follicles. They have natural ingredients which don’t have any side effects, unlike the chemically prepared shampoos and other hair cosmetics.

By the end of this article, you’ll know just why you should switch to a more natural treatment for your hair related issues and how are they helpful in providing you with all the benefits of commercial hair care products, just in case you want to boast off some extra knowledge.

  1. Why switch to amla, reetha and shikakai: Amla, reetha, shikakai benefits
  2. Amla, reetha, and shikakai powder
  3. How to use amla, reetha, and shikakai

If you are a sceptic and not a fan of natural remedies, it is obviously hard to switch to ayurvedic or traditional products. But most commercial products cannot be trusted in the long term either. Not to mention the chemicals and side effects that all of us may have noticed at least once.

To top it all, a lot of big brands are moving towards natural ingredients. Makes one wonder if there is something good about them doesn’t it?

Let us look at the evidence that proves that not only are these herbs good for your locks but also they provide you with cheaper and easily accessible hair care.

Amla benefits for hair

Amla is one of the oldest herb known to ayurveda. Also known as Indian gooseberry, it provides you with all the benefits of a perfect hair care product. Amla holds a repository of nutrients which include vitamin A and various minerals. Studies indicate that vitamin A has some relation to delaying hair loss. And if that is not enough, amla nourishes your hair follicles and promotes your hair growth. According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, amla promotes hair growth by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme, alpha-5 reductase.

In an older study, amla was claimed to be the better than mustard oil and coconut oil for keeping scalp infections at bay.

Need more? Amla is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. By reducing free radical damage, these ensure that your hair and scalp do not lose their shine or colour. They further improve hair quality and length.

And finally, the anti-inflammatory and immunity building properties of amla, keep your scalp safe from itching and infections apart from protecting you from unnecessary hair loss

Reetha benefits for hair

Just like amla, reetha is also a traditional hair care herb. In fact, it is pretty well known in most Indian households, specifically for its hair growth promoting properties and for providing shiny and healthy hair. But, does it have a scientific study to back it? Why yes it does.

Reetha is a proven anti-inflammatory herb. This means it can help you get rid of scalp irritation and itchy scalp. There is some speculation that dandruff may be caused due to an underlying inflammation or an infection of the scalp. Though more studies are needed to confirm this link, you can still trust the traditional claims. Traditional recipes haven’t been using reetha for nothing all this time, right? For the sceptic mind, this herb has more to provide for your hair.

Reetha has antioxidant properties, which, of course, would be good for putting a stop to premature hair greying and the best part about this herb is that it has foaming properties just like that of your commercial shampoo. In fact, it is used in ayurvedic shampoos just to add that lasting foam.

Further, the saponins present in reetha have a detergent-like action which is just perfect to add that cleansing effect.

Shikakai benefits for hair

You can’t get a better herb for hair than shikakai. You know it is good when the name itself translates to “fruit for hair”. A small shrub found growing wild in southern parts of India, shikakai has the following benefits for your hair:

  1. It is an effective hair cleanser and forms good foam for an effective hair wash.
  2. Keeps your hair from being tangled.
  3. It is an astringent which means it removes excess oil from your hair so it is just the perfect herb for people with oily scalp and hairs.
  4. It is a proven anti-dandruff treatment.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, shikakai is an excellent antioxidant and may find great use in the cosmetic industry.

The best and easiest way to use this herbal trinity is buying the herbal mixture from the market. You can then prepare a paste by mixing the powder with some water or other ingredients as per your requirement. Or you can buy the fruits separately and either turn them into oils or dry them and make your own powder mix at home, there is no end to the list of ways they can be used.

To make a standard mix of these three herbs, just add them in the ratio of 1:1:1. This means, if you are using 100 g of Amla, you’ll add 100g of shikakai and an equal amount of reetha.

Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Well, not so much.

While using this formulation alone may have its benefits, you can always customise your recipes as per your need.

Now you know the scientific facts behind this traditional formulation. The next question would be, what exactly can you do to reap these benefits and are there any easy recipes you can make for yourself. You’ll know exactly this and more in this section.

  1. Amla, reetha, shikakai powder hair pack
  2. Amla, reetha and shikakai shampoo
  3. Amla, shikakai and reetha oil

Amla, reetha, shikakai powder hair pack

Since the trio of these herbs is so good for hairs, it is pretty easy to prepare hair packs for remedying various hair problems by just adding a one or two extra ingredients. So bring out your mixing bowls and glass containers and get set to whip up some good hair packs that you can flaunt as your own secret in front of your friends.

Amla, reetha and shikakai for grey hair

We already know that all the three herbs in this mix are enriched with antioxidant and nourishing properties and exactly how they aid in preventing grey hair. Let’s look at a recipe that would aid you in achieving that:

What you’ll need:

  • Amla, reetha and shikakai powder - 2tsp
  • Brahmi oil -  few drops
  • Hibiscus powder-  2tsp

Recipe:

  • Take a clean and dry bowl.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl first and then add the oil.
  • Put enough water to make a paste.
  • Apply the mask on your hair and let it stay for 15-20 minutes.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water.

In spite of taking the market bought powder, you can use individual herb powders. Just put them in the same quantity (1:1:1) along with an equal amount of hibiscus powder and a few drops of brahmi oil. Then add some water to prepare a paste. The oil would be absorbed by the dry ingredients so it does not stand out when you add water.

Both brahmi and hibiscus have been proven to be excellent hair tonics, which put a check on hair greying and help keep the natural hair colour, especially for Indian hair tones.

Amla, reetha, shikakai pack for lustrous hair

Apart from preventing hair growing, reetha and shikakai are effective cleansers and we all know cleaner hairs look more vibrant. Though, if you want to add that extra glam and shine to your locks you can make a hair mask adding amla, reetha and shikakai with curd. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Amla, reetha and shikakai powder - 2 Tsp
  • Curd - 2Tsp
  • Olive oil/almond oil: few drops
  • Egg yolk- 1

Recipe:

  • Take a clean and dry glass bowl or just any bowl.
  • Put the dry ingredients in the bowl first and then add the curd.
  • Carefully, separate the egg yolk and put it in the mixture.
  • Add the oil.
  • Make a paste by adding rose water.
  • Apply on evenly on your hair and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water and gently pat your hairs dry.

Curd and egg yolk are rich in proteins and would provide strength to your hair apart from adding shine to it. Olive oil binds it all together, but it is also makes sure that all the nourishment reaches deep into your hair shaft. Rosewater just provides that extra antioxidant kick to the pack and we can’t forget about that sweet fragrance of roses it gives to your hair.

If you are not fond of roses though you can always add a drop or two of your favourite essential oil. Lavender, tea tree and orange can increase the benefits of this pack apart from leaving a lasting fragrance.

Amla, reetha, and shikakai for oily hair

Oily hair can be a real problem when it comes to styling and/or managing. Oily hair are also prone to dandruff and hair fall but a herbal formulation with these three herbs is perfect for getting rid of excess oil, while maintaining your natural oils. Shikakai, especially, is good for oily hair problems and dandruff. Here is an easy recipe to prepare a hair mask for oily hair by adding some simple ingredients to amla, reeth, shikakai formulation.

What you’ll need:

  • Amla, reetha and shikakai powder: 2 Tsp
  • Coconut oil: ¼  tsp
  • Tea tree oil: 1-2 drops
  • Curd: 2 Tsp
  • Multani mitti: 2 Tsp.
  • Rosewater:  to make a paste

Recipe:

  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a clean and dry bowl.
  • Put the oils in the mixture one by one.
  • Top it with some rosewater and prepare the paste
  • With the help of a brush, apply a thin even layer of the pack on all of your head.
  • Let it stay for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse properly with lukewarm water.
  • Gently pat your hair dry with a towel.

Multani mitti acts as an absorbent and pulls out the extra oil from your hair and scalp while coconut oil will balance its effects along with providing deep nutrition to the hair shaft and follicles. Tea tree oil acts as an anti-dandruff remedy along with shikakai.

If you can’t get tea tree oil, you can always skip it. Though it is easily available in the market. Always buy good quality essential oils from trusted brands.

Amla, reetha and shikakai shampoo

If you want to just add onto your hair care routine, hair packs are a good way to go. However, you can go all natural and make a shampoo for yourself at home. Here is how:

What you’ll need:

  • 10-20g Amla
  • 20g Shikakai
  • 20g Reetha

Recipe:

  • Soak all of the three ingredients in about 800-900 mL of water overnight.
  • In the morning, boil the whole mixture on low heat and let it condense to a thicker mix. The thicker it gets the better it would be for your hair. Do not overheat it though. Just heat it down to concentrate it a bit.
  • Take the pan off the heat.
  • With clean hands, gently crush all the ingredients to release their juices.
  • Strain the solution in a clean and dry bottle.
  • Cap it and put the bottle for future use.

Similar to hair packs, you can add some neem or orange peels (powdered).

Or add an essential oil like lavender, rosemary or orange to it.

Amla, shikakai and reetha oil

 If you do not want to experiment with your shampoo and still want to add these three herbs to your routine, you can make them into a hair oil. It is a no fuss recipe, all you need is the same amount of the herbs as is used to make the shampoo and put them in an oil of your choice. Here is the recipe.

  • Take a glass jar or container. Wash it with soap properly and let it dry from inside and out. You can dry it in an oven if you want it to be quick.
  • Put all of your herbs into the jar. If you are using fresh herbs instead of powder, it is better to wash them all first and then let them dry before putting them into the container.
  • Fill the container with oil. It is better to choose olive oil or coconut oil since they penetrate deep into the hair shaft. If you don’t like either, you can always use any other oil of your liking.
  • Cover it with a lid and put it under sunlight for a week.
  • Keep shaking it after 2-3 days.
  • After a week, you can strain out the oil into a separate bottle, to be used as per need and discard the solids.
  • Discard the batch if you notice any mouldy or slimy growth.

You can always add more herbs like hibiscus, orange peels, rosemary and lavender to it or a drop or two of essential oil of either of these.

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References

  1. Emily L. Guo and Rajani Katta. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. 2017 Jan; 7(1): 1–10. PMID: 28243487
  2. 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 treatment. 2012 Feb 15;139(3):765-71. PMID: 22178180
  3. Packirisamy RM, Bobby Z, Panneerselvam S, Koshy SM, Jacob SE. Metabolomic Analysis and Antioxidant Effect of Amla (Emblica officinalis) Extract in Preventing Oxidative Stress-Induced Red Cell Damage and Plasma Protein Alterations: An In Vitro Study. 2018 Jan;21(1):81-89. PMID: 29064307
  4. Fernández E, Martínez-Teipel B, Armengol R, Barba C, Coderch L. Efficacy of antioxidants in human hair. 2012 Dec 5;117:146-56. PMID: 23123594
  5. Magro CM, Rossi A, Poe J, Manhas-Bhutani S, Sadick N. The role of inflammation and immunity in the pathogenesis of androgenetic alopecia. 2011 Dec;10(12):1404-11.PMID: 22134564
  6. Schwartz JR, Messenger AG, Tosti A, Todd G, Hordinsky M, Hay RJ, Wang X, Zachariae C, Kerr KM, Henry JP, Rust RC, Robinson MK. A comprehensive pathophysiology of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis - towards a more precise definition of scalp health. 2013 Mar 27;93(2):131-7.PMID: 22875203
  7. Schwartz JR, Messenger AG, Tosti A, Todd G, Hordinsky M, Hay RJ, Wang X, Zachariae C, Kerr KM, Henry JP, Rust RC, Robinson MK. A comprehensive pathophysiology of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis - towards a more precise definition of scalp health. 2013 Mar 27;93(2):131-7.PMID: 22875203
  8. Sachin Dubey, Neelesh Nema and S. Nayak. Preparation and Evaluation of Herbal Shampoo Powder . Vol : XXVI (1) July, August, September – 2004 3DJHV
  9. Shah M, Parveen Z, Khan MR. Evaluation of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activities of the stem bark of Sapindus mukorossi. 2017 Dec 8;17(1):526.PMID: 29221478
  10. Rao TP, Okamoto T, Akita N, Hayashi T, Kato-Yasuda N, Suzuki K. Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) extract inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced procoagulant and pro-inflammatory factors in cultured vascular endothelial cells. 2013 Dec;110(12):2201-6. PMID: 23742702
  11. Garg AP, Müller J. Inhibition of growth of dermatophytes by Indian hair oils. 1992 Nov-Dec;35(11-12):363-9. PMID: 1302812
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