Amla Oil

I wasn’t sure what to do with the tons of amla I have in my stash because I just recently highlighted my hair with a concoction of red Raj henna, hibiscus flower powder and beetroot juice. Amla is one of my favorite powders but it will naturally tone down highlights and I would like to keep mine, well, at least a while since I worked so hard to get them. I will probably use Amla as a mud paste sometime in the spring so it darkens my hair then I will be ready for another highlight just before summer. But for now the ideal way of using Amla on my hair is in the form of oil.

The recipe is quite simple but like mentioned before, patience, lots of time and plenty of Amla is required.

RECIPE:

First we make the decoction known as Kashayam (also called Kashaya in Southern India):

250g of amla – I was using the Hesh brand, which is packaged in 100g so there was no need to measure. You should measure if you have it in bulk packaging, accuracy is important.
4 litres of water preferably distilled but tap water should be fine too.
Add the 250g of Amla powder into the 4 liters of water. Use medium heat and stir constantly until the water is reduced to about 1 liter. Yeah, that’s going to take a while.
Filter and set aside the liquid part of the decoction. Toss the Amla remains.

amla oil

Making the oil:

    • In a bowl, take 100g of fresh Amla and make a thick paste using water
    • In a pot (preferably iron but I only have stainless steel and it worked pretty well) add 500ml of fractionated coconut oil. This measurement is by volume, not weight. Two cups and two tablespoons are equivalent to 500ml and roughly about 16 ounces.
    • Add the Amla paste and kashayam into the oil then bring the mixture to the stove. Over medium heat, keep stirring this mix until it’s fused together. The goal here is to boil out the water then Amla oil will be left.
    • Continue stirring with a metal spoon until the oil begins to float to the surface of the pot. Stir some more – until the Amla turns really dark brown and clings together. At this point almost all the water should have evaporated leaving the Amla residue and oil.
    • Take a spoonful of the Amla residue and place it directly over a flame. A hissing sound represents water, which means your oil isn’t ready. Stop heating immediately the hissing sound disappears. Carefully filter the oil while it’s still hot.
    • Bottle and label the oil once it cools down.

There are plenty of bootleg methods of making Amla oil that are much more efficient and of course easier. For the authentic Indian method, water is critical because it regulates the amount of heat passing through the oil. So intense infusion takes place but the oil is shielded from burning. And when the water evaporates it leaves behind Amla nutrients ( from the kashayam and the powder) which are quickly absorbed into the oil. The indian method will result in a much stronger infusion than any other method — no wonder it takes so long.

There are plenty of bootleg methods of making Amla oil that are much more efficient and of course easier. For the authentic Indian method, water is critical because it regulates the amount of heat passing through the oil. So intense infusion takes place but the oil is shielded from burning. And when the water evaporates it leaves behind Amla nutrients ( from the kashayam and the powder) which are quickly absorbed into the oil. The indian method will result in a much stronger infusion than any other method — no wonder it takes so long.

SIDENOTES:  The growth oil is one of the best oils I have ever made (and use faithfully once a week so it’s almost out) so I will be re-infusing this Amla oil with the growth blend (might tweak this blend to add dandelion or maybe use all green herbs this time).  The herbal growth oil is permanently in my regimen and I am currently experimenting with cayenne pepper oil as well.

The recipe for this alma oil came from Dr Janardhana Hebbar on youtube.