Amalaki is one of those fruits which is considered as a powerhouse of a number of nutrients. This is why it is revered in the ancient medicine system of Ayurveda for its amazing healing properties. Amla is known by different names. It is known as Amalaki in Sanskrit, Indian Gooseberry in English and its scientific name is Emblica Officinalis.
Plant Anatomy And Distribution
Amla grows as a deciduous tree and is medium in height, reaching up to 8 m in height. It is named after the fruit it bears, that is amla. Amla is spherical in shape and yellowish-green in colour. It is quite fibrous and is plucked in autumn. In India, it can be found growing in the northern plains and the semi-arid regions.
Amalaki Uses And Properties
The different ways in which amla is used are:
- It is mostly used as an eatable and is eaten in different forms. It is eaten raw as a fruit. Sometimes it is pickled and sometimes converted into a sweet dish called murabba. People prefer drinking amla juice for its amazing health benefits. It is also used to enhance the taste of several dishes.
- Amla forms a part of the traditional Ayurvedic system of medicine. It is one of the primary ingredients in Chyawanprasha and the main ingredient in Amalaki Rasayana.
- Amla is used in the manufacture of many beauty products like hair oils, shampoos and soaps.
- Due to its high tannin content, it is also used in the manufacture of dyes.
Amla’s Nutritional Value
Amla is rich in the following macro and micronutrients and vitamins:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6
- Pantothenic Acid
The major properties of amla are:
- Anti atherogenic
- Anti mutagenic
- Anti anaemia
- liver tonic
- Hair tonic
Ayurvedic Properties Or Gunadharma
- Physical property (Guna) – heavy (guru), cool (sheeta)
- Taste (Rasa) – sour, bitter, sweet, astringent, pungent
- Potency (Veerya) – sheeta or cool
- Conversion after digestion (Vipaka) – sweet after digestion
- Effect on doshas – amla is tridoshahara or it helps in balancing all the three doshas vata, pitta and kapha
Charaka classifies amla into:
- Kushthghana – herbs that are useful in skin disorders
- Jwarghna – herbs used to cure fevers
- Virechnopaga – purgatory group of herbs
- Vayasthapana – herbs that have anti-ageing properties
The below-mentioned shloka on amla is mentioned in the Charaka Sutrasthana:
The shloka mentions a special property of amla. It says that except salt, all the five rasas are contained in amla.
Amla For Immunity
Amla is one of those citrus fruits which have the maximum Vitamin C content. Vitamin C is the most important vitamin required to improve our immunity. This makes it quite evident as to why it is such a strong immunity booster.
A study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics stated that amla is also a potent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. And according to Ayurveda, Amla is one of those substances which help us increasing the count of white blood cells in our body.
This means that if you consume amla on a regular basis, you might not need those over the counter medicines again and again to fight the seasonal flu. In fact, you might end up with immunity strong enough to make your body capable to fight even serious infections.
How To Take Amla For Immunity?
You can simply consume 1/2 to 1 alma a day to slowly build up your immunity. If you find it difficult to eat raw, you can have it in dried form, or eat 1 piece of alma murabba (sweet pickle).
Amla For Healthy And Strong Hair
Amla oil is quite famous for its amazing properties and its ability to nourish and beautify the hair. Applying amla oil regularly can lessen hair fall, strengthen the hair at the roots and improve their shine and lustre.
In fact, amla is so beneficial for hair that it can help prevent premature loss of hair and disorders like alopecia. This is because of it being a storehouse of Vitamin C. Therefore even eating amla regularly can improve the health of your hair.
You can read my article related to hair loss where I give detailed recommendations of a preparation made with amla that you can consume for your hair loss problems.
How To Use Amla Powder For Hair? : DIY Amla Hair Pack
Here’s an easy recipe to make your own amla hair pack at home to fight hair fall and damage.
- In a bowl add half a cup of yoghurt, two tablespoons of methi seeds, some curry leaves and two amlas cut into pieces.
- Let them soak for overnight.
- In a mixer, grind everything into a smooth paste adding required amount of water.
- Apply this on your hair starting from your roots and let it rest for an hour or two.
- Wash your hair with a good herbal shampoo.
Follow these steps to turn your dry and damaged hair to silky and healthy hair.
Amla For Diabetes
In 2011 a study was conducted in which diabetic adults were given Amalaki regularly. At the end of the study, a stable blood sugar level was noted. This success is due to the presence of the element Chromium in amla. Chromium is known to stimulate the insulin-producing cells – the Islets of Langerhans thus helping maintain a balanced level of sugar in the body. Drinking amla juice regularly can benefit the patients suffering from type II diabetes and even prevent any other fatal conditions which diabetes might promote.
For Good Cardiovascular Health
Most of the people today suffer from a number of heart disorders. This is due to the rise of junk food in our diets which is laden with sugar and also the very less time we give to exercise. Amla can help all those who wish for a healthy functioning heart. The major culprit behind declining heart health is the rise in cholesterol level. Chromium in amla helps in reducing the level of LDL or bad cholesterol in the body. It even keeps the blood pressure under control.
Amla reduces the chances of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. It even strengthens the muscles of the heart and promotes smooth blood circulation. Amla is also rich in iron and thus consuming amla regularly can help maintain a stable haemoglobin level and help in the creation of new red blood cells. This has an impact on other organs of our body too as now they receive more oxygenated and clean blood.
Can Improve Digestion
Amla is a fruit that is very rich in fibre and fibre is an important part of our diet as it helps in adding bulk to our stool thus promoting easy bowel movement. In fact, fibre also helps in more efficient cleaning our intestines of sticky and greasy substances. Thus people who suffer from chronic constipation must think of considering amla.
Apart from this, amla also has the ability to promote the release of gastric juices which enhance the digestion process. This is why many people prefer eating amla before meals for better digestion. Yet another property of amla which makes it one of the best substances that can better our digestive system health is its ability to retain water. This has been proved by a study published in 2014 in the journal American Journal of Food Technology. Thus amla doesn’t only enhance digestion but also helps in better absorption of nutrients.
Keeps Skin Healthy And Supple
Amla is one of the best fruits known for its anti-ageing properties. Being rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, Amla helps in keeping the body toxin-free. In fact, it improves the circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body and improves the working of our digestive system. This, in turn, shows its effect on our skin which automatically becomes supple, clearer, wrinkle-free and glowing.
Suggested Remedy: For healthy and glowing skin, it is recommended to consume amla regularly with water and saffron or turmeric.
Amalaki For Good Eyesight
Indian Gooseberry is quite rich in carotene, Vitamin A and Vitamin C which makes it the perfect item that can help improve vision, strengthen the muscles of the eye and keep the eyes healthy. While Vitamin C helps in keeping the infections away, carotene and Vitamin A help to improve vision and reduce interocular tension. It can even help in curing night blindness and reducing the risk of macular degeneration. For best results, one can drink amla juice along with honey on a regular basis.
Beneficial For Liver
The liver is one of the most powerful organs of the body as it helps in the detoxification of the body. However, most of us do not pay much attention to the health of our liver. A poor functioning liver can lead to many fatal problems. Whenever we take in polluted air or consume heavy antibiotics, it is our kidney and our liver which bear the stress.
Consuming amla regularly and making it part of one’s diet can help in creating a protective layer around the organ, saving it from deadly toxins like heavy metals. There have been many studies proving that alma reduces oxidative stress to the liver. This property of amla is because of the phytochemicals present in the fruit like gallic acid and ellagic acid.
A Powerful Antioxidant
Amla is packed with polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins. These make it a powerful antioxidant and helps in flushing out free radicals of the body. Free radicals are often responsible for causing benign as well as malignant tumours which take the form of cancer. According to research, amla can even help fight cancer. It has shown cytotoxic activity against cancer cells, especially ovarian and cervical cancer cells.
Amla For Bones & Osteoporosis
A study conducted in 2008 found that Indian Gooseberry extracts are beneficial in the treatment of bone-related disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis due to its osteoclast reducing properties. The osteoclast is a type of bone cell that breaks down bone tissue. Regular consumption of amla can help in osteoclast reduction resulting into increase in bone density and overall bone health.
How To Use Amalaki?
Amla can be used in various forms for different purposes:
- One of the best ways to consume amla is as it is as a fruit.
- Many people prefer drinking amla juice for its immense health benefits.
- Sometimes amla is dried in the sun and then it can be eaten with different spices or turned into churna for different ailments.
- Amla is used to make oils and shampoos for better hair growth.
How To Make Amla Juice At Home?
Making alma juice is very simple. Just cut the alma in small pieces and grind them in a grinder. Now in a sieve or a cotton cloth, squeeze out the juice. It is ready to be consumed.
You can have a look at this video for a quick overview:
The recommended dosage of Amalaki is:
- As a whole fruit – 1 to 2 per day
- Fresh Juice – 15 to 20 ml per day
- Amla powder or churna – 4 to 5 g per day
However, the dosage may vary according to body type.
Side Effects And Precautions
Even the most powerful herbal formulation comes with its own side effects and requires certain precautions. This is because each body type is different and overconsumption of anything brings negative results.
Following side effects can be faced on overconsumption of Amalaki:
- Being cool in nature, Amalaki can cause frequent urination.
- Overconsumption can cause dryness in the body. In such cases, it is best to consume amla with ghee.
- Being rich in Vitamin C, eating too much amla can cause acidity and diarrhoea.
- Amla can lower blood pressure and even blood sugar. Diabetes patients must ensure monitoring their blood sugar level when consuming amla, especially when on anti-biotics.
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