“The words of elders are like the gooseberry, bitter at first, then sweet.”
Indeed, the Indian Gooseberry, or Amla, is a fruit with a peculiar mix of tastes, containing five of the six rashasor tastes from bitter, pungent sweet, to astringent and sour and is famous in India as a health and beauty aid. Popularly known as Amalki in Sanskrit (sustainer) or Dhatri (Nurse), this tiny fruit is a known powerhouse of goodness, packed with nutrients including a high content of Vitamin C. The juice of amla contains 20 times more of vitamin C than orange juice; that is, one amla can be compared to two oranges where the content of Vitamin C is concerned and is all the more effective due to the tannins present which prevent the fruit from losing its potency due to heat and light. The amla plant, used widely in the preparation of medicines, is grown extensively in South Asia and India and is an integral ingredient found in most Ayurvedic and Unani medicines. In ancient times, the amla was suggested by Shusrutha for everyday universal consumption and is widely popular even today both as a medicine and as a beauty aid for the hair and skin.
Nutrition Facts of Amla:
Packed with a multitude of nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, potassium, fiber, minerals and vitamins, the nutrition values per 100 gms of amla are:
- Moisture – 81.8%
- Minerals – 0.5mg
- Fiber – 3.4%
- Calories – 96
- Proteins – 0.5%
- Fat – 0.1%
- Carbohydrates – 13.7 gms
- Calcium – 50 %
- Iron – 1.2 mg
- Carotene – 9 microgram
- Thiamine – 0.03mg
- Riboflavin – 0.01mg
- Nicene – 0.2mg
- Vitamin – 600mg
- Energy – 58 kilo calories
Benefits of Amla:
The amla is a One Man Army, capable of aiding in Building, Repairing and Sustaining the human body. All parts of this tree (botanically known as Emblica officinalis ), including the bark, roots, flowers, leaves, seed and fruit is used in the preparation of Ayurvedic and Unnani medicines and the oil extracted from the berry is used extensively as a hair oil promoting hair growth and luster. The high content of Vitamin C ensures effective synthesis of collagen, which helps to keep the cells of the body together and improves the condition of hair, nails, teeth and skin and promotes cell growth. Amla is rich in antioxidants and is also found to contain antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
Amla is Vrishya herb and has a positive effect on the seven tissues or Dhatus, of the human body, including the digestive, excretory, respiratory, circulatory, reproductive and nervous systems.
Benefits of Amla for Digestive system:
- Improves appetite and helps to digest food.
- Helps balance nitrogen levels in the blood thus promoting increase in weight.
- Amla prevents gastric disorders, acidity, indigestion and dysentery.
To get quick relief from acidity, mix about a gram of amla powder and a teaspoon of sugar to either a cup of water or milk and drink it twice a day.
- Amla has good laxative properties and helps in curing constipation and piles.
To fresh amla juice add a teaspoon of ghee and half a cup of milk and drink after lunch. This helps in curing piles.
For Respiratory System:
- Helps cure chronic cough, childhood tuberculosis and allergic asthma.
Amla taken with honey twice daily helps in relieving asthma and reduces bronchitis complications.
For Circulatory System:
- Strengthens heart muscles.
- Increases red blood cell production and increases the hemoglobin count in the blood.
- Is known to lower cholesterol levels.
- Consuming amla powder with honey helps to purify the blood.
For Excretory System:
- Taking amla juice benefits in regulating bowel movements and is a known cure for constipation and piles.
- Amla powder mixed with radish helps in dissolving kidney and bladder stones and flushing them out in the urine.
For Reproductive System:
- Amla helps to regularize menstrual disorders.
To check excessive bleeding during menstruation, take amla juice with a banana thrice daily.
- Helps male and female reproductive system and helps increase and improve the quality of sperm in men.
- Amla is an excellent liver tonic and helps in curing most liver disorders, including jaundice.
- Amla is known to stimulate cells that secrete insulin and this helps to lower the sugar levels in diabetics.
Amla juice taken with a pinch of honey twice daily before meals helps to reduce diabetes.
Amla as skin tonic:
- Amla is a known blood purifier and consuming amla juice everyday helps in rejuvenating the skin, making it glow and free from blemishes. Read more skin glow tips
- Helps in treating pimples and acne.
Mix one tablespoon of amla powder with hot water and scrub your face with this mixture. This effectively cures pimples, removes grime and leaves behind a glowing and bright complexion.
Benefits of Amla for Hair Health:
- Amla is a well known hair tonic and helps in reducing hair fall, and slows down the process of premature graying of hair.
- Amla oil strengthens the hair follicles and conditions the hair.
Massage your hair with herbal amla hair oil and leave it overnight allowing the oil to penetrate and nourish your hair. Wash your hair the next morning with a mild shampoo and see your hair shine!
- Helps to cure dandruff and cures itchy scalps. Also read How to get rid of dandruff naturally?
- Amla oil is a common ingredient in many shampoos and also in hair care and hair coloring products.
After shampooing your hair, apply amla oil to the hair right from the roots to the tips; cover hair with a shower cap and rinse thoroughly after half an hour with warm water to get beautiful, conditioned and lustrous hair.
Amla in Ayurvedic and Unnani Medicine:
For more than six thousand years the amla plant has played an integral role in alternative medicine like Ayurveda, and Unnani. The leaf, root, seed, bark and fruit are used in the preparation of various herbal medicines. These medicines are used extensively for the treatment of various disorders including acidity, indigestion, constipation and diarrhea and come in the form of powders, oils and churna. The Ayurvedic Amla Churna is supposed to be a divine herbal supplement and is the richest source of natural vitamin C known to mankind. An antioxidant, this churna is useful in reviving body functions, curing constipation, relieving indigestion, detoxification and acidity. The Organic Amla Powder is a good source of nourishment for the hair and helps cure dandruff. It is a natural astringent and toner and good for both hair and skin. Herbal Amla Hair Oil nourishes the hair from its roots and promotes long lustrous hair.
Amla is one of the three ingredients of Triphala and is the best known formulation with a whole range of benefits. It is a combination of three herbs: amla, harad and behala. This amazing combination of herbs has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. A known laxative and cleanser of the blood this churna is also useful to treat cardiovascular diseases. Apart from this it is also good for the eyes, hair and skin. It revitalizes the various organs and has anti ageing properties. It enhances the immune functions and aids in digestion. This mixture is an excellent health tonic and should be taken in the morning with honey, in the daytime with some warm water and at bedtime mixed in a glass of warm milk.
All the benefits not withstanding, the amla is one of the best herbs, a priceless gift of nature, without any side effects, and can be taken regularly for prolonged periods of time and is the perfect all rounder where the human body is concerned.