Indian Gooseberry: 10 Reasons to Must Have In Your Diet
Amla or Awla, which is also called Indian Gooseberry, is very well known for its various health benefits. The botanical name of amla is Phyllanthus Emblica. Indian Gooseberry tree is deciduous tree belongs to Phylluthanceae family. In Indian system of medicine, Indian Gooseberry is known as amlaki and it has very special place in treatment of various disease.
Both an edible fruit and a powerful herbal remedy, the Indian gooseberry is a unique plant with a variety of potential health benefits. Clinical trials have shown that the Indian gooseberry can help improve eye health, lower blood sugar levels, and improve overall cardiovascular health. Additionally, this fruit is also high in antioxidants, making it ideal for boosting the immune system. If you’re looking to add some healthy new options to your diet, be sure to check out the Indian gooseberry!
1. What is Amla (Indian Gooseberry)?
Amla also known as Indian gooseberry, awla, emblica fruit, amalaki and Amala in Sanskrit, is a sour-tasting, dry fruit. Amla belongs to the Phyllanthaceae plant family. It’s said that Amla contains large amounts of Vitamin C. Amla comes from Amalaki Rasayan Shashtra written by Kashiraj Dhanwantari approximately 800 years ago. One Amala (50 grams) can provide up to 10 times more Vitamin C than an orange. This makes it one of the world’s richest sources of vitamin C according to Ayurvedic medicine.
Amla is often used in many Ayurvedic medicines due to its high nutritional content. Amla can be consumed in many ways: fresh squeezed juice, dried powder added to milk or yogurt, pickled in brine, cooked into compotes and jams or even fried into chips. Amla can also be found in Amla hair oil, Amla skin cream, Amla soap and Amla powder. Amla is said to help with stomach problems such as diarrhea or dysentery, high blood pressure, diabetes, mouth ulcers, colon cancer and tuberculosis. It’s even said that Amla can improve liver function.
2. Indian Gooseberry history:
Amla has played an important role for healthy life in India since time immemorial. The word “Amla” comes from Sanskrit meaning “the tree of life”. Amlas are associated with many religions including Hinduism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. Amlas may have been used by Buddhists who sought Nirvana but Amla is also mentioned in Hindu literature.
Amlas are mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita scripture of Hinduism, written between 500 BCE and 100 CE. Amla was respected by the Jains who placed Amla trees in their temples, worshipped Amla and wrote Amla into many Jain scriptures. Amlas have been a prized commodity for centuries because of their high Vitamin C content and long shelf life. In addition to being used as a food source Amla has also been used for its medicinal purposes since time immemorial.
Amla was first cultivated in India over 1,500 years ago but it’s not known where Amlas were first grown. Some people that it began around the foothills of the Himalayas while others say Amla was brought from Africa. Amla is also native to India and Southeast Asia. Amla requires a tropical climate for cultivation so it’s not likely that Amlas were grown outside of this area even if it spread into other nearby areas such as China and the Philippines where Amlas are now found growing wild.
3. Nutrional value of amla:
- Awla have great nutritional value mainly because of high concentration of vitamin C. 100 gm of raw Indian Gooseberry provides 400 to 700 mg of vitamin C. Variation of amount of Vitamin C is due to different varieties of Indian Gooseberry.
- It belongs to berries food family. So, it also has very low amount of calories and Fat as other berries.
- Awla is very less in fat, but it has all types of fat contents like saturated fat, mono saturated and others. Awla also provides sufficient amount of Omega 3 and Omega 6, both are required for normal liver function.
- 100 gm of Indian Gooseberry almost provides 2 gm of iron. Other than iron, it has all other rejuvenating minerals like calcium, manganese, zinc, iodine and others.
- Other than Vitamin C, awla is a rich source of other B Complex Vitamins, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, protein, calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin E and A.
- Amla also contains fatty acids such as oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid), palmitic acid (a saturated fatty acid) and linoleic acids (polyunsaturated omega 6).
4. Health benefits of amla:
Amla has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine to treat a variety of health issues. Today, amla is being studied by researchers all over the world for its potential health benefits. So what is amla good for? Let’s take a closer look.
1) Boost immunity:
It is a well known truth that Indian gooseberry is very good food ingredient which also boosts immunity. Thousands year old preparation such as chyawanprash has good amount of amla. It has perfect combination of vitamin C and A, antioxidants, minerals and others. Eating 2 normal size of fresh awla is great health tip for immune suppress persons.
2) Improve digestion:
Awla benefits in all types of gut problems.
- For hyperacidity: Take 2 spoon of amla juice with 2 spoon of aloevera juice on empty stomach.
- For anorexia: Take 2 spoon of amlaki juice, 1 spoon of lemon juice with 2 pinch of black salt. Take this preparation with hot water 15 minute prior to meal.
- For bloating: Take decoction of amlaki mix with 5 ml of castor oil in night before sleep or take 15ml of awla juice with 1 pinch of roasted carom seeds (ajwain) in between hour of two meals.
- For constipation: Take decoction of amla or trifla (an ayurvedic combination of amla, haritki and harad) in night with hot water.
3) Diabetes Management:
Awla has good amount of chromium which:
- Stimulates secretion of insulin from pancreas gland.
- Increases blood sugar utilization from cell.
- Increases BMI.
- Reduces LDL level.
Due to this, it has been used in various preparation of ayurveda for management of diabetes. For diabetic person, it is a good health tip to take 1 glass of amla juice twice a day.
4) Amla for weight manegment:
Drinking amlaki juice for weight loss is a good start. It does not cause sudden weight reduction. But it nutrilizes free radicles, improves digestion and increases BMI. Good amount of fibre in awla makes stomach full for longer period of time. Awla also increases blood circulation so it provides relief from tiredness due to exercise and reduces accumulation of lactic acid in muscles.
For weight loss, take 2 spoon of dry powder of amla with honey or add 1 spoon of honey in amla juice. Have this after workout.
5) Prevent heart disease:
Amla powder is good for your heart, because it reduces blood sugar level, LDL level and neutralizes all free radicals of blood. It also provides strength to muscle. If you are on high risk for cardiac stroke, add any form of awla in diet. Consuming 1-2 fresh Indian Gooseberry in season is a good habit. After season, take raw amla powder with luke warm water.
6) Prevent from kidney disease:
Indian gooseberry is diuretic in nature that means it helps the body to eliminate unwanted substance from body through urination. Amlaki provides enough support to function kidney normally. It also works as natural urine alkalizer that means it neutralizes urine PH and prevents infection growing in Kidney.
7) For great eye sight:
Indian Gooseberry provides good amount of Vitamin A which is essential for normal vision. It also relaxes eye muscle and increases blood circulation in them. For healthy eyes;
- Put 2-2 clean drop of fresh amla juice in both eyes.
- Apply thick paste of fresh awla with some amount of rose water on eye. Do this 2-3 times in a week. It will remove dark circle and infection from eye lid. This practice makes prevention from blepharitis, eye stye and other eye infection.
- Take 1 glass of fresh amla juice in breakfast.
8) Amla for Hair care:
Who doesn’t know about amla and hair care? All TV commercial are full with amla hair oil, amla hair shampoo and other products which contains awla. So Indian Gooseberry is a very potent ingredient for maintaining hair beauty. Taking amlaki juice once in a day provides good amount of minerals for hair growth. It also provides strength to hair follicle and prevents early hair whitening. It is good for hair beauty internally and externally, For this:
- Wash hair once in a week with natural amla and retha.
- Make thick paste of Indian Gooseberry with 1 meshed banana and 1 spoon of rose water. This is a perfect hair mask to provide strength to hair follicles. It also removes infection from scalp and moisturize it. Adding 1 spoon of rose water removes all bad smell from hair.
- Homemade amla oil for hair: Take 10 awla in 200 ml of water and add 200 ml of sesame oil in it. Boil this mixture till all water is vaporized. This is cost effective but very potent natural hair oil.
- Homemade amla conditioner: Boil 2 raw amla in 200 ml of water till only 50 ml of water is left. Pour it in a glass jar and allow to cool down. Add 1 spoon of rose water and ½ spoon of olive oil. Apply this combination on hair after shampoo for 10 mins and then rinse it off. This will prevent the bad effect of sunlight. For very bad and fuzzy hair, use this mixture regularly. It will smoothen hair.
- Amla powder for hair: Regular consumption of awla powder for hair growth can provide marvellous effect. For this, take 1 spoon of awla powder with hot water any time you find suitable.
9) Amla beauty benefits:
Amla can be added to face packs, hair oils and many beauty creams because it’s said to rejuvenate skin and hair providing anti-aging benefits. Amla soap cleanses and moisturizes due to its high vitamin content which restores natural oils in the skin. Aml oil is supposed to prevent premature graying of hair as well as split ends. Amla powder can be added to Aml oil and applied to the scalp for dandruff treatment. Amlas have anti-fungal properties so they’re often added to homemade foot soaks or made into Amla foot creams.
10) Amla health benefits:
Amla is used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat conditions such as diarrhea, dysentery, diabetes, high blood pressure, mouth ulcers, tuberculosis, colon cancer and liver problems. Amlas are even said to improve memory function which makes them great brain food or a natural remedy for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Amlas are also used as a tonic for general vitamin deficiencies. Amlas are often used for Amla hair oil, Amla skin cream, Aml soap and Amla powder. Amla juice is said to be good for alcohol consumption because it cleanses the liver.
5. How to eat amla?
In oriental medicine, amlaki is mentioned as Rasayana which means medicinal uses of Indian Gooseberry are numerous. It improves overall health and can be taken by every individual. But still there are some do’s and don’ts which should be remember before taking awla.
- Amlaki should not be taken along with Milk.
- Eating Fresh amla fruit is more beneficial, than processed preparations available in the market.
- For constipation and gut problem decoction of awla is beneficial compared to Indian Gooseberry juice.
- Awla powder should be taken continuously for not more than 15 days. Excessive use of awla powder can dry intestine and thus worsen constipation.
- Most of the anti-oxidant properties of awla is because of its fibre, so do not forget to mix fibres too in amlaki juice.
- Amla side effects: There are not specific side effects from awla. But some people may be allergic to it which is very rare. Excessive sour taste of amlaki may cause joint pain or rhinitis. In that condition one should prefer decoction of amla with honey.
6. Side effects/cautions:
Amla can cause diarrhea or worsen preexisting conditions so it should not be taken by pregnant women who have anemia, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease or hypertension. If you suffer from any of these conditions consult your doctor before taking Amla.
7. How to take Amla (Indian Gooseberry)?
Vitamin C content that can be taken by mouth in the form of capsules, powder, Amla fruit can be eaten raw but Amla juice is more popular because it’s easy to make and Amlas must be cooked or pickled before eating to prevent diarrhea. Amlas are sometimes added to chutney. Amla tea is said to help with indigestion and Amla rice can be made by boiling Amla fruit and adding coconut milk. Amlas could also be mixed with other ingredients like yogurt and honey before ingestion.
8. Where to buy Amla (Indian Gooseberry)?
Amla capsules, Amls whole fruits, Indian gooseberries jam, Indian gooseberry powder as well as many other products such as vitamin C supplements containing Amla can be purchased at several Amla suppliers. Amla juice, Amla honey and Amla powder are also available for purchase by many Amla retailers. Amla fruit can be purchased fresh in some Asian food markets but the Aml capsules, Indian gooseberry jam and other Amla products are much more common than Amlas whole fruits.
Indian gooseberry (amla) is a unique plant with an impressive list of health benefits. Clinical trials have shown that this fruit can help improve eye health, lower blood sugar levels and promote cardiovascular wellness; it also contains high amounts of antioxidants which make amla perfect for boosting the immune system. If you’re looking to add some healthy new options to your diet, be sure to check out the Indian gooseberry!
Above article is only for knowledge purpose. Please contact your healthcare provider before using any of above medicine or method. For any query or personal consultation according to your health condition please contact your doctor.