Many holistic healers appreciate and use amla (aka Indian Gooseberry) to treat a host of diseases and promote positive health. Amla [Emblica officinalis, or emblic myrobalan], is called amalaki in Sanskrit. Amla is also used widely in combination with other two [chebulic and belleric] myrobalans [fruit-bearing plant species] as triphala. Amla is indeed, the key ingredient in the popular ayurvedic recipe, Chyavanaprasha. It is one of the oldest oriental medicines mentioned in Ayurveda as a potential remedy for various ailments. The fruit is rich in quercetin, phyllaemblic compounds, gallic acid, tannins, flavonoids, pectin and vitamin C and also contains various polyphenolic compounds. A wide range of phytochemical components including terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, and tannins have been shown to posses useful biological activities. Many pharmacological studies have demonstrated the ability of the fruit to show promise as an antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, tumor reducer, and antigenotoxic. It has also been found to have anti-inflammatory activities.
Amla is a wonder herb and one of the precious gifts of nature to humans. Amla is known as “Divya” and “Amrut” or Amrit Phala in Sanskrit, which literally means fruit of heaven or nectar fruit. The Sanskrit name, Amlaki, translates as the Sustainer or The Fruit where the Goddess of Prosperity Resides. In Hindu religious mythology the tree is worshipped as the Earth Mother as its fruit is considered to be so nourishing as to be the nurse of mankind.
In India, it is common to eat gooseberries steeped in salt water and turmeric to make the sour fruits palatable. There are two varieties of Amla – cultivated (gramya) and wild (vanya). The wild amla is small, while cultivated amla is big, smooth and juicy. Chemical composition of the amla fruit contains more than 80% water. It also has protein, carbohydrate, fiber and mineral and also contains gallic acid which is a potent polyphenol.
The amla fruit is reported to contain nearly 20 times as much vitamin C as orange juice. The edible amla fruit tissue has 3 times the protein concentration and 160 times the ascorbic acid concentration of an apple. The fruit also contains higher concentration of most minerals and amino acids than apples. Amla fruit ash contains chromium, Zinc and copper. It is considered as adaptogenic that improves immunity.
Benefits of the Amla Fruit
- Excellent sour of vitamin C
- Enhances food absorption
- Balances stomach acids
- Fortifies the liver
- Nourishes the brain and mental functioning
- Supports the heart
- Strengthens the lungs
- Regulates elimination
- Enhances fertility
- Helps the urinary system
- Good for the skin
- Promotes healthier hair
- Acts as a body coolant
- Flushes out toxins
- Increases vitality
- Strengthens the eyes
- Improves muscle tone
- Acts as an antioxidant
- Enhances immunity
- Helps heal boils
- Chelating agent
- Has been used in the treatment of diabetes
- Ease chronic diarrhea
- Used as a diuretic
- Remedy for gonorrhea
- Anti-inflammatory, eases inflammation
- Anti-cancer effects, shown promise with lung, liver, cervical, breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancer, significantly inhibited the growth of those human cancer cell lines
- Skin cancer
- Used as a cure for scurvy
- Can help lower blood cholesterol
- Has been shown to reduce or eliminate gallbladder infections
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