also Known as Amla and Indian Gooseberry Joins the Superfruits
Important Note: The Indian Gooseberry is
also called Amalaka in Sanskrit, Amla in Hindi, Usirikayi in
Telugu, Nellikayi in Tamil and kannada, Nellika in
You will be hearing much more about this unique, yet sour
superfruit in the years ahead. The Emblica
officinalis, aka Amla, aka Indian
Gooseberry is enjoying a great deal of attention from
the natural sciences community as a superfruit with
extraordinary health benefits. Learn more about the
amla fruit in this superfruits article and find out what
powerful benefits it may hold.
Before reading, please be sure to review
of what SUPERFRUITS are. Thank you.
About the Indian
Gooseberry Commonly Known as Amla
Known for its edible fruit of the same name,
the Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus
emblica, syn. Emblica officinalis) is a deciduous
tree of the Euphorbiaceae family.
In its natural regions, the Indian Gooseberry is known under
many different names including Amla and Amala, the tree grows
to about 15 feet high and is found throughout
Nepal. It is also found in India, Bhutan, Sri
Lanka, South China and Southeast Asia.
The fruit is sour, bitter, astringent and is quite
fibrous, ripening in autumn when it is harvested by
hand after climbing to the upper branches where most of the
fruit is borne.
Being so sour, in India it is common to eat Amla steeped in
salt water and turmeric to make them palatable.
Uses of Amla in
Historical and Traditional Medicines
In folk medicine, dried and fresh fruits of the plant are
used. All parts of the plant are used in various
Ayurvedic/Unani Medicine [Jawarish Amla] herbal preparations,
including the fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark and flowers.
Considered a rasayana (rejuvenative) to promote longevity
(in Ayurveda medicine), Amla is traditionally used to
- enhance digestion,
- treat constipation,
- reduce fever,
- purify the blood,
- reduce cough,
- alleviate asthma,
- strengthen the heart,
- benefit the eyes,
- enliven the body, and
- enhance the intellect.
Here are just a few of the many folk and other medical uses
of various parts of the Amla fruit and tree, most of which are
still in use today, beginning with the juice of the Amla
The juice of the Amla fruit is considered cooling, diuretic,
laxative and traditionally used in Nepal (and other parts of
the world where it is found) for;
- burning sensations of the heart and urinary
- diseases of the heart,
- liver complaints and
- eye troubles.
The dried fruit is detergent and has been (still is)
employed for washing the head in some parts of Nepal.
The dried fruit is also one of the ingredients of
"Chyawanprash" and "Triphala" -- the infusion of three
Myrobalans: Emblica (Phyllanthus emblica), Chebulic
(Terminalia chebula) and Belleric (Terminalia
bellirica), which is stomachic and cooling and considered
as tonic. (Manandhar, 1989; ANSAB, 2003).
And the Amla dried fruit is also valued in cases of
hemorrhage, jaundice, dyspepsia, diarrhea and dysentery
(HMG, 1970; Manandhar, 2002).
Dried Amala fruit crushed with the fruit of Harro
(Terminalia chebula) is taken with water or milk for the remedy
of stomach disorders.
In many parts where it is grown, the fruit is eaten raw and
also pickled. Plus the fruits, leaves and bark all
contain tannin and are used for tanning
purposes in various parts of Nepal (Manandhar, 1989; ANSAB,
In other traditions, Amla is believed to retard premature
graying of the hair and to be a strengthener for hair
follicles. It is also believed to support immunity of the skin
against bacterial infection and enhance glow and lustre. It's
no wonder then that it is also earning a
reputation for being an anti-aging (ie.
Why We Give Amla the
Recently, the Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health
Traditions (FRLHT) in India has come up with a tested package
of plants and medical herbs that are useful in the treatment of
common illnesses and Amla aka Emblica officinalis (Phyllanthus
emblica) is among those plants of medicinal importance.
[link - opens in new window]
Amla is rich in Vitamin C and
also shares one other unique
characteristic shared with Strawberries... it
contains ellagic acid.
Ellagic acid is a unique
enzyme that reduces and often neutralizes the damaging
effects of the carcinogen PAH (commonly found in cigarette
smoke and second-hand smoke).
Based on its rich history as a treasured "healing fruit" it
isn't surprising that in recent scientific research, the Amla
is proving to be remarkable for its potential health benefits,
however most (not all) studies to date have been in-vitro
As you know, before considering any fruit a superfruit here
at Best Liquid Vitamins, we require that scientific studies
support its potential health giving properties first. Thus far,
amla meets our criteria...
The Indian gooseberry (aka Amla) has undergone preliminary
research, demonstrating in vitro antiviral and
But here is the part that really excites me. There is
preliminary evidence in vitro that its extracts induce
apoptosis and modify gene expression in osteoclasts involved in
rheumatoid arthritis and
In case you didn't know, I was born with the rheumatoid gene
and diagnosed with osteoporosis at the age of only 22! I've had
a lifelong battle with BOTH so it is no wonder I'm always
keeping my ears and eyes open for news on whole food natural
sources, even if they are extracts, which may help my
Therefore, the Amla studies completed thus far hold a great
deal of promise for me.
In addition to the above, experimental preparations of
leaves, bark or fruit have shown potential efficacy against
laboratory models of disease, such as for inflammation, cancer,
age-related renal disease, and diabetes.
Studies of Amla Support its Newfound Fame as a
Here are just a small handful of the scientific
studies of Amla that have been completed thus far.
immunomodulating properties of Amla (Emblica officinalis) on
lymphocytes: (an in-vitro study)
Amla significantly inhibited Cr-induced free radical production
and restored the anti-oxidant status back to control level.
Amla also inhibited apoptosis and DNA fragmentation induced by
Cr. Interestingly, Amla relieved the immunosuppressive effects
of Cr on lymphocyte proliferation and even restored the IL-2
and γ-IFN production considerably. [link - opens in new window]
Effect of the Indian
gooseberry (amla) on serum cholesterol levels in men aged 35-55
years. The effect on total serum
cholesterol and its lipoprotein fractions of supplementation of
the diet with amla (Emblica officinalis, Gaertn., the Indian
gooseberry) was studied in normal and hypercholesterolaemic men
aged 35-55 years. The supplement was given for a period of 28 d
in the raw form. Both normal and hypercholesterolaemic subjects
showed a decrease in cholesterol levels. Two weeks after
withdrawing the supplement, the total serum cholesterol levels
of the hypercholesterolaemic subjects rose significantly almost
to initial levels. [link - opens in new window]
of extracts from leaves of Phyllanthus
emblica. Leaves and fruits of Phyllanthus
emblica L. have been used for the anti-inflammatory and
antipyretic treatment of rural populations in its growing areas
in subtropical and tropical parts of China, India, Indonesia,
and the Malay Peninsula. In the present study, leaves of Ph.
emblica were extracted with ten different solvents...
...results show that the leaves of Ph. emblica have inhibitory
activity on PMNs and platelets, which confirm the
anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties of this plant as
suggested by its use in traditional medicine. The data suggest
that the plant leaves contain as yet unidentified polar
compound(s) with potent inhibitory activity on PMNs and
chemically different apolar molecule(s) which inhibit both
prostanoid and leukotriene synthesis. [link - opens in new window]
Identification of Volatile
Components in Phyllanthus emblica L. and Their Antimicrobial
Activity. The volatile components and in
vitro antimicrobial activities of Emblica (Phyllanthus emblica
L.) essential oils (EOs) obtained by hydrodistillation (HD-EO)
and supercritical fluid extraction (SFE-EO) were investigated.
...essential oils showed a broad spectrum of antimicrobial
activity against all the tested microorganisms. Gram-positive
bacteria were more sensitive to the investigated oils than
Gram-negative bacteria. SFE-EO exhibited a higher anti fungal
activity compared to HD-EO. [link - opens in new window]
of the Main Constituents from Phyllanthus
emblica. Eighteen main compounds,
including four norsesquiterpenoids (1—4) and 14 phenolic
compounds (5—18) isolated previously from Phyllanthus emblica,
together with a main constituent, proanthocyanidin polymers
(19) identified at this time from the roots, were estimated for
their antiproliferative activities against MK-1 (human gastric
adenocarcinoma), HeLa (human uterine carcinoma), and B16F10
(murine melanoma) cells using an MTT method. All of the
phenolic compounds including the major components 5—8 from the
fruit juice, 8, 9, and 12 from the branches and leaves, and 19
from the roots showed stronger inhibition against B16F10 cell
growth than against HeLa and MK-1 cell growth.
Norsesquiterpenoid glycosides 3 and 4 from the roots exhibited
significant antiproliferative activities, although their
aglycon 1 and monoglucoside 2 showed no inhibitory activity
against these tumor cells. [link - opens in new window]
There are plenty more scientific studies completed thus far,
and plenty still underway. Don't be surprised to hear more on
this powerful superfruit soon!
for Amla (Emblica officinalis)
Assessment of Amala (Phyllanthus emblica) in
Bajhang District, Nepal
Wikipedia - Indian gooseberry
Indian Food Forever - WONDERFUL AMLA