Amla, otherwise known as the Indian gooseberry, is widely used in its native India because of its many great health benefits. But what are these benefits? What can you use amla for? And what is there to learn about this fascinating fruit?
We’re going to cover amla’s benefits, uses, and the history of this helpful fruit so you can learn more about it.
What is amla?
Amla, also known as the Indian gooseberry, is grown throughout several parts of Asia. This fruit tree can be used in several different ways, mostly for culinary and herbal medicine. It is very popular in its native India for these, too.
The amla fruit is very rich in vitamin C, and is believed to have several benefits, including improved heart health and antioxidant properties. The Indian gooseberry is more commonly referred to as amla, but can be known by two different scientific names: Emblica Officinalis and Phyllanthus Emblica.
These fruits are round and yellow-green in color. They are typically the size of a plum, with a thin peel, and a pit in the center. They can be quite an acquired taste because of their bitter, sour flavor. However, the amla fruit is popularly used in native Indian cuisine. Most of the amla supplements on the market today use a powdered variant, fruit extracts, or dried amla fruit.
Interestingly, the whole of the amla plant is used in traditional Indian medicine. The tree itself is quite small, and produces yellow-green flowers which then blossom into the similarly colored fruits.
What are the benefits and medicinal uses of amla?
Amla has been widely used in traditional medicine. In fact, this powerful little berry has been used for at least 1,000 years! This berry contains as much vitamin C as 20 oranges but to name one of its many benefits. So what can the Indian gooseberry do for you and your health?
Let’s take a look at the many benefits and medicinal uses of amla below.
Eating amla berries regularly can help to increase the amount of calcium that your body can absorb. Calcium is one of the most vital minerals for helping to form and increase the strength of your bones, hair, and teeth. The amla berry is also very rich in calcium, which will make the absorption of this vital mineral even easier.
The Indian gooseberry can also prevent the breakdown of osteoclasts, which are the cells of your bones.
Amla berries are known to have a wide range of anti-aging benefits. This is partially due to the high content of vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant works to prevent cell damage, so will help slow down your body’s natural aging process. These antioxidants also greatly reduce the number of free radicals in your body.
The Indian gooseberry can help to reduce the signs of aging, such as dark circles and wrinkles. The antioxidants work to prevent the breakdown of collagen, which is the key to firmer skin. It is also a great way to protect your body from radiation.
Want to improve the quality of your blood? Mix amla berry with honey to help purify your blood. This is because the amla berry is a rich source of iron. The iron works to improve the hemoglobin level in your blood, which serves to naturally purify it.
One of the most helpful aspects of the amla berry is the soluble fiber it comes with. This is because it dissolves quickly in the body, which works to slow down the rate you can absorb sugar. So your blood sugar level won’t spike as much.
Amla berries are also known to have a positive impact on blood glucose as well as lipid counts in those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
Another great use of amla berries is as a natural diuretic. This basically means that consuming amla berries regularly can help to increase the amount of water and salt that your body gets rid of via urination.
Eating the Indian gooseberry regularly can help increase the frequency of your need to go to the toilet to eliminate any toxins from your body.
As well as being packed full of vitamin C, the amla berry is also rich in vitamin A. This is a key vitamin for improving the health of your eyes. Not only does vitamin A work to improve your vision, but it can also lower the risk of suffering from age-related macular degeneration.
The great vitamin C content in the amla berry means it can help to protect you from bacterial infections such as conjunctivitis, too. Making amla berries a regular part of your diet can also help to prevent watery eyes, itching, reddening, as well as reduce intraocular tension and cataract problems.
Fights the common cold
One of the best uses for the amla berry is that it helps to alleviate symptoms of the common cold. What’s really great about the vitamin C of the amla berry is that it’s also more readily absorbed by the human body, especially compared to supplements you get from the store.
To help fight your common cold, mix two teaspoons of amla powder with two teaspoons of honey. You can then take this mixture three to four times a day to give yourself immediate relief from your cold or cough. You can also consume this common cold mixture regularly to give yourself more permanent protection.
Because of the rich antioxidant and iron content of amla berries, it is often used in both shampoos and conditioners. It helps to strengthen your hair follicles as well as the roots of your hair. The amla berry can even slow down graying and helps to maintain your natural hair color!
The high vitamin C content works to prevent hair loss. The great antibacterial properties of amla berries mean it’s great for fighting dandruff, too. It will also work to increase blood circulation to your scalp, which can encourage hair growth.
Amla works as a natural conditioner for hair. If your shampoo or conditioner doesn’t come with amla included as an ingredient, you can use amla oil or mix powdered amla with henna to give yourself a DIY hair mask.
Improves brain function
The antioxidants and phytonutrients in the amla berry work to improve basic brain function. They can be used to better benefit your memory, as these compounds fight against free radicals. These free radicals are known to attack and damage brain cells, which can then cause conditions like dementia.
The high concentration of vitamin C in amla berries also helps to produce a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This is believed to help improve the brain function of those suffering from dementia.
The amla berry is another great source of fiber. This is an essential nutrient that works to regulate your bowel movements. Fiber can also relieve symptoms of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Thanks to the abundance of vitamin C in amla berries, your digestion can also be improved by absorbing other minerals such as iron.
Did you know that a single 100g serving of amla berries – which is roughly about half a cup – can give you up to 300mg of vitamin C? That’s more than twice the daily recommended dose for adults. There is also a good amount of alkaloids, flavonoids, and polyphenols included in the same serving.
Combined with the natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of the amla berry, it’s safe to say that your immune system will be sufficiently protected with this berry in your diet.
The Indian gooseberry can also work to increase your white blood cell count which is crucial for getting rid of toxins from the body.
One of the best benefits of the amla berry is that it’s great for relieving stress. This can help to relieve you of any painful headaches, as well as help induce sleep.
One of the first signs of stress is when your blood vessels and capillaries constrict, which heightens your blood pressure. The great amount of vitamin C in amla berries works to keep the walls of the capillaries flexible. So this will help to prevent your blood pressure from skyrocketing the next time you start to feel stressed by work or social situations.
Another of the many benefits of amla is that it can help improve your respiratory health. Consuming amla regularly can help to reduce the likelihood of coughs, throat infections, flu, as well as tuberculosis.
Because of amla berry’s great anti-inflammatory properties, it can be especially helpful for those who suffer from chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma. The anti-inflammatory effects will prevent your bronchial airways from becoming inflamed during an asthma attack, which makes it a great addition to take alongside your medication.
Drinking amla juice mixed with honey is often recommended to help give you healthy, glowing, blemish-free skin. This can also contribute to reducing the signs of aging. The amla berry works to get rid of the harmful toxins which can often form blemishes.
The Indian gooseberry also has great astringent properties. This works to tighten your pores, which in turn can give you clear, healthy skin.
Amla is also packed full of iron. This makes it a great choice for those who suffer from anemia, as it can help to supplement your diet. In fact, iron deficiency can be common in India, so the amla berry is often prescribed to bring iron levels back up to where they should be.
One of the most interesting properties of the Indian gooseberry is that it can help boost your metabolism. This then in turn can help you to reduce body fat. There is also a certain protein included in the flesh of the amla berry which works to prevent cravings for food.
It is thought that by consuming a glass of amla juice regularly, your meals will make you feel fuller quicker. Amla berries also have a high fiber content as well as acids such as tannic. This can help you look less bloated, as well as relieve symptoms of constipation.
What are the useful parts of amla?
An interesting fact about the amla plant is that all parts of it are used in different Ayurvedic medicines. This includes the fruit, root, seed, leaves, flowers, and even the bark! The fruit itself has an astringent, bitter taste, with sweet afternotes.
You can eat the fruit raw, cooked, or opt for a powdered variety. Powdered amla is often paired with honey to help boost its antioxidant properties, as well as make it easier to eat for those who aren’t fans of the bitter taste. People do also consume the dried fruits. The amla berry won’t lose any of its great properties once it’s been dried or powdered, either.
The history of amla
It is rumored that the amla berry came from the first tree to ever appear on the earth. According to myth, the amla berry was manifested from the tears of Brahma, one of the principal deities in Hinduism, while he was meditating. The amla berry has been dubbed the sarva dosha hara, which means ‘remover of all diseases’.
Because of the many properties of the amla berry, it has widely been used throughout history because of its great properties. It has been used in Ayurvedic, Chinese, Siddha, Sri Lankan, Tibetan, and Unani medicine. Despite its remarkable properties, the amla berry is mostly unknown outside of the Indian subcontinent.
Even though the amla berry has been widely used in folk medicine, there are plenty of peer reviewed studies to show that this powerful fruit does have plenty of medicinal benefits.
So there you have it! You now know that the amla berry is one of the most widely used fruits in Indian medicine and cuisine, and for good reason. This impressive berry packs a powerful punch that will give you a range of great health benefits, from boosting immunity, to anti-aging, to help with losing weight.