Amla or Amalaki or (Indian gooseberry) is arguably the most wonderful used medicinal fruit in Ayurveda. Given that it has tremendous medicinal and nutritional value, it holds a very revered place in Indian household too.
The scientific name for this fruit is Emblica officinal. Since ages, is being used in India as a tonic to rejuvenate the body and restore the lost vigor.
But not just in Ayurveda, Amalaki is an essential medicinal herb in other traditional systems of medicines as well such as Siddha and Unani.
It would not be wrong to call Amalaki as a superfood as it is abundant in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
It is an all-rounder herb as there is no part of the body for which it is not useful. It has a wide range of application and curative effects in the body.
Amalaki is one of the most commonly used ingredients in the preparation of many herbal and mineral formulations. It is so well-recognized in Ayurveda that almost all the classical Ayurvedic texts have a mention of extraordinary medicinal qualities of Amalaki.
Not many know that Amalaki or the gooseberry is the primary content of the renowned Ayurvedic herbal formula ‘Chyawanprash,’ which is used worldwide as a herbal tonic.
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Let’s find out the extraordinary benefits of Amalaki and its myriad usefulness in curing as well as preventing countless ailments.
Amalaki – all you need to know
Amalaki is a medium-sized tree with grey bark, commonly found in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South East Asia, Malaysia, and China. The leaves are tiny and delicate, and flowers are yellow with small greenish-yellow fruits. Fruits are fleshy, smooth, hard, and ball-shaped with four to six furrows.
The literary meaning of Sanskrit word, ‘Amalaki’ is which tastes sour or which purifies and protects the body. In Hindu mythology, this tree is worshipped as it nourishes & protects humans. And for the same reason, it is also called as ‘Dhatri,’ nurse of humanity.
Almost every part of Amalaki tree is of medicinal importance. Primarily fruit is the most used part in Ayurvedic medicines. Fresh and dry fruits are used widely in preparing formulations. The seed, leaves, bark, root, and flowers are also frequently utilized.
Ayurvedic texts elaborate on the properties of this excellent fruit. The fruit has a unique balance of five tastes out of six. Amalaki is mainly sour to taste with sweet, pungent, bitter and astringent being secondary tastes.
The post-digestive effect of this fruit is sweet, and it shows a cooling effect. Fruit renders mouth dry and is light to digest.
What are the different Amla benefits?
Ayurveda notes a wide range of therapeutic and curative effects on the human body.
As Amalaki corrects all three doshas Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, it can be used to remove almost any disease from the body.
It has the following health benefits:
- Prevents infections, cell damage, premature aging, promotes vigor and quickens the healing of ulcers and wounds
- Recent research suggested that Amla can also treat and prevent cancer (1)
- Maintains digestion, and relieves constipation, hence used widely as a laxative
- Treats impure blood and boosts immunity by increasing white blood cell count
- An effective remedy for diabetes, heart disorders, skin disorders, and respiratory infections like bronchitis and asthma
- Preserves eyesight and beneficial in the treatment of eye disorders such as conjunctivitis and glaucoma
- Lowers cholesterol, blood sugar, risk of cold and cough
- Enriches hair growth, skin luster, and prevents wrinkles
- Reduces effects of sunstrokes and sunburns by its cooling action
- Cools and treats burning sensation in swelling and fever
- Stimulates brain, nurtures nerves, increases brain efficiency, promotes intellect and memory
- Alleviates problems related to voice, sore throat, gout, arthritis, morbid thirst and defects of urine as well as semen
- Useful in hemorrhage, heavy menstruation, white vaginal discharge, anemia, and discharge of blood from the uterus in women
- Strengthens sense organs
- Improves liver function, strengthens heart, enhances body resistance, revitalizes all organs thereby promotes longevity
How to use Indian Gooseberry?
From ages, Amalaki is used as a household remedy for several ailments. Although it is sour to taste, Ayurveda recommends eating the fruits raw so that its nutritional value remains intact.
However, there are many other ways to incorporate Amalaki into your daily routine if you want to keep illness at a distance or to cure any problem you are suffering with.
- Drink one tablespoonful of amla juice with honey every morning to increase body strength and energy
- Two improve your eyesight mix 2 tablespoonful of amla juice in half glass of water and drink every morning
- Use preserved and pickled amla commonly available as Amla Murabba to stimulate appetite
- One tablespoonful of amla juice mixed with one cup of bitter gourd juice controls blood sugar
- Otherwise, you can mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup of fresh amla juice every day for diabetes
- To maintain cholesterol levels take a ½ teaspoon of Amalaki powder with water before going to bed
- In diarrhea, dysentery and hemorrhage take the decoction of Triphala powder which is a mix of powder of 3 dried fruits of Amalaki, Beleric myrobalan, and Chebulic myrobalan
- An infusion of Amalaki leaves with fenugreek is also useful in chronic diarrhea
- A decoction of the Amalaki fruit with stems of Guduchi (Tinospora) is beneficial in urinary disorders
- Fresh Amalaki juice mixed with honey and long pepper cures cough, sore throat, hiccough, asthma, and other respiratory problems
- Fixed oil of Amalaki enhances hair growth and shine. It also helps in preventing hair fall.
- Amalaki powder mixed with honey is useful in anemia
- To cure cough boil Amalaki powder with milk and take with ghee
- Fresh Amalaki juice mixed with ghee is beneficial in fever
- The decoction of Amalaki powder and turmeric powder treats gout
- In hyperacidity soak, 1 teaspoon of Amalaki powder in a glass of water overnight and drink it next morning
- To cure skin rashes mix equal Amalaki and Margosa leaves and take 1-2 gm daily on an empty stomach
- Fermented syrup of fruit known as Dhatri arishta is used in jaundice, heartburn, and cough
- In anemia, formulation named Dhatri Loha is also useful
- Juice of amla mixed with lemon juice arrests acute dysentery
What do recent studies say?
Many pharmacological reports reveal that Amalaki fruit is one of the richest sources of Vitamin C, amino acids, and minerals. Vitamin C levels are more than those in oranges, and lemons.
Vitamin C is a natural anti-oxidant which protects you from free radicals. It helps in slowing down the aging process and is necessary for collagen production, thus keeps your skin & hair healthy and improves your immunity.
Some other researches prove that
- Amalaki effectively inhibits UV rays induced photo-aging in skin
- Amla significantly protects against heart disorders along with a reduction in blood pressure
- Anti-oxidant activity of Amalaki is responsible for its anti-depressant like activity
- Amalaki exhibits potent anti-microbial activity due to the presence of tannins, saponins, flavonoids, and phenols
Amalaki is proved to inhibit the growth and spread of various cancerous cells. It is also capable to reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
- It is reported that powerful anti-oxidant Ellagic acid present in Amalaki can inhibit mutations in genes and repair chromosomal abnormalities
What is the recommended dose?
Amalaki fruit can be used as powder, decoction, and juice. Amalaki powder in Ayurveda is commonly known as Amalaki Rasayana which can be used from 3-10 g on a daily basis. You can also consume 30-100 ml of Amalaki decoction every day.
Juice is the easiest and commonest way to consume Amalaki daily. 10-20 ml Amalaki juice per day is sufficient to keep your body fit and fine.
Amalaki – a wonder fruit
Amalaki is a powerhouse of minerals, vitamins, powerful bio-chemicals, and essential nutrients. These fundamental elements not only maintain balance in our body but also prevent us from various diseases prevalent nowadays.
Indians are very well familiar with the benefits of amla but now as the researchers are exploring more & more about Ayurvedic herbs, the world is slowly waking up to the benefits of Amalaki.
It is up to us to include this wonder fruit in our life in the form of raw, juice, powder, or as a medicinal formulation.
No wonder why Amalaki is arguably the most wonderful medicinal plant in the traditional system of Ayurveda.