Amla is a deciduous tree that grows up to 30 feet in height. The botanical name for the Amla plant is Phyllanthus emblica. The amla tree is native to India and Nepal, and that is why it is referred to as the Indian Gooseberry. This tree is considered sacred in India. It has been worshiped since ancient times as the “Earth Mother”. The tree is best known for its succulent fruit. The fruit is small and light green in color with six vertical stripes and a hard seed inside. The fruit has a sour and astringent taste.
The word “amla is derived from the Sanskrit word “amlaki”, which means “the sustainer” or prosperity. Amla is considered as one of the most popular herbs for improving our health and well-being. It is a major part of the Triphala Churna, which is a combination of three potent herbs. According to Ayurveda, regular consumption of amla balances all three doshas of the body- Vata, Pitta and Kapha. In ancient Ayurveda, amla was used for promoting longevity, digestion, for enhancing concentration and alleviating respiratory problems.
Alma is very rich in Vitamin C and contains many minerals and vitamins like Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Carotene and Vitamin B Complex. It is also a powerful antioxidant agent.
Many health problems are caused by oxidative damage (when body cells use oxygen, they produce by-products called free radicals that can cause damage). Antioxidant agents prevent and repair these damages. Vitamin C is a good antioxidant agent, which makes gooseberries a powerful tool against a variety of conditions, including various types of cancer.
Some of the most amazing benefits of the Indian Gooseberry are:
Amla is virtually a superfruit. It is full of antioxidants that are effective in reducing cell damage. It reduces the effects of free radicals (which are responsible for damaging protein, DNA, and cell membranes) and thus effectively combats the aging process.
Amla contains high levels of Vitamin C and antioxidants, making it very beneficial for skin health. It restores skin firmness by stimulating collagen production. Amla reduces pigmentation, and gives your skin a smooth and youthful look. It is known to exfoliate skin and remove dead skin cells. Amla juice can also be used as a face mask. Simply leave it on your skin for 30 minutes and wash it off.
Drinking amla juice on a regular basis can also help to brighten the skin tone. The anti-bacterial properties of the fruit purify the blood, revealing the natural glowing complexion beneath. It also revives the skin’s texture, making it smooth and supple.
Amla improves nerve health by facilitating proper flow of blood. Regular consumption of amla improves cognitive function, increasing concentration and memory. It also protects the nerve cells from free radical damage, preventing diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. The high iron content in amla facilitates oxygen transportation, preventing brain degeneration.
Amla is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins, and contains tannins. Tannins, when combined with polyphenols, makes the fruit a free radical scavenger. What this means is, it reduces the damage free radicals cause to the cells and thus improves your body’s disease fighting ability.
Vitamin C in amla makes it a mighty herbal medicine against cold and cough.
Consumption of amla is known to boost immunity, reducing flu and throat infection. It helps to deal with chronic cough, tuberculosis and blocked chest problems. It is also found to alleviate asthma symptoms.
The antibacterial properties of amla help the body to fight against bacterial, fungal and viral infections, making the body more resistant to diseases. It strengthens the immune system by removing toxins from the body. It also improves the defense mechanism of the body.
Fights Against Heart Disease
High cholesterol is the leading cause of heart disease. By reducing the build up of bad cholesterol, Amla reduces the risk of heart disease. It also reduces clogging in the arteries by boosting good cholesterol or HDL. Studies have also shown its benefits in preventing the thickening of blood vessel walls, the first sign of heart disease.
Reduces Blood Sugar
Research has shown that fruits that are rich in polyphenol protect the body from the oxidative nature of high blood sugar. Amla can thus be therapeutic for people afflicted with diabetes. It also assists the body in the proper absorption of insulin, thus reducing blood sugar levels. Because of this, it is invaluable for people afflicted with diabetes and should be a part of their daily diet.
Increases Metabolic Activity
Because of its ability to increase the absorption of protein, Amla is a great way to boost your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is how fast your body burns calories. Boosting it will lead to faster weight loss, higher energy levels and an overall increase in lean muscle mass.
High In Digestive Fiber
Amla is high in fiber, water content, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Fiber is essential for healthy bowel movements. Fiber also stimulates the secretion of gastric and digestive juices, so food is digested efficiently, nutrients are absorbed in an optimal way, and you feel lighter and healthier. Reducing constipation can also help protect you from various gastrointestinal disorders, even colorectal cancer.
Increases Diuretic Activity
Any fruit that is diuretic in nature improves the frequency and volume of urination. Because urination helps your body release unwanted toxins, salts, and uric acid, consumption of Amla has a detoxifying effect on your body.
Prevents Formation Of Gall Bladder Stones
Extra cholesterol is the primary cause of gall bladder stones. Vitamin C converts the cholesterol into bile in the liver. Consuming Amla regularly reduces the chances of a build-up of cholesterol as well as the likelihood of any pesky gallstones. It also keeps the gallbladder functioning well and in perfect health.
It Protects Your Liver
Studies have shown that regular consumption of Amla can ward off the ill effects that alcohol has on your liver . It also prevents the oxidative damage that is usually caused by them.
Due to its antibacterial properties, Amla is a great way of preventing ulcers. They reduce the acidity level in the body and thus avoid the formation of ulcers. Additionally, mouth ulcers can be caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. As Indian gooseberries are rich in vitamin C, they can provide relief from ulcers.
It reduces the level of acid in the stomach and combats stomach inflammation.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties it reduces the joints (like knees) pain and swelling in the person with arthritis.
Treats Menstrual Cramps
Some of the minerals and vitamins in Amla combine to make it very useful in the treatment of menstrual cramps. Since it takes a while for the necessary elements to accrue in the body, it is better to consume Amla on a regular basis so its nutrients are always in the system and menstrual cramps can be prevented by women.
Amla is known as a vrishya herb, which means that it helps to enhance all seven tissues, including the reproductive tissue. Amla supports the reproductive system in both males and females, overcoming difficulty in conceiving. The vipaka properties of amla help to revitalize semen in men by improving the quality of sperms.
Amla is very beneficial for eye health as well. It is believed to improve eye sight and prevent age-related macular degeneration. The antioxidants present in amla protect the eye retina from oxidative stress, reducing the risk of cataract.
Because it is packed with antioxidants, Amla works as a blood purifier. It also increases haemoglobin and red blood cells count.
Amla is excellent for strengthening bones not just because of its high calcium content, but also for the fact that it lowers osteoclasts. These are the cells responsible for breaking up bones. Thus regularly consuming Amla will result in stronger bones.
Cools The Body
Amla has three times the vitamin C of an orange. Vitamin C improves tannin levels in the body that shield from heat and light. It keeps your skin cool in the summer by regulating the heat.
Reduces The Risk Of Cancer
The high levels of antioxidant in amla restrict the growth of carcinogenic cells, preventing cancer. It keeps the harmful free radicals at bay, preventing stomach, skin and liver cancer. Its Oxidative Radiance Activity Capacity (ORAC) prevents cell damage from oxidative stress, preventing tumor cell growth. Amla also counteracts the side effects of anti-cancer drugs.
Amla is used in many hair tonics because it enriches hair growth and hair pigmentation. It strengthens the roots of hair, maintains color, and improves luster. Eating fresh gooseberry or applying its paste on hair roots improves hair growth and color. Amla oil is very popular in India because it has been shown to reduce the chances of hair loss and baldness. This quality is due to the carotene content of Amla, as well as its iron content and general antioxidant capacity, which reduces hair loss by not allowing free radicals to damage hair follicles or impact the hormones that can cause premature hair loss.