Health Benefits of Amla(Indian Gooseberry)

Health Benefits of Amala
Health Benefits of Amala

Amla also known as Indian Gooseberry has many health benefits and popular since decades.

Amala is a herb which is commonly grown in the Indian subcontinent and finds mention in our Vedic texts for its exceptionally powerful, almost magical powers to cure multiple disorders. Amala is rich in nutrients such as dietary fibers, carbohydrates, proteins; and in vitamins and minerals.

Amala is rich in nutrients such as dietary fibers, carbohydrates, proteins; and in vitamins and minerals.

We are all familiar with the ayurvedic recipe of Chyawanprash.But were you aware that Amala is the main ingredient in it?

In fact, the potent medicinal properties of Amala were first mentioned in stories about the creation of Chyawanprash. Amala was the key rejuvenating ingredient used in it which was responsible for postponing aging and restoring vigor and vitality.

Make Amala a part of your regular diet and take it and let it take care of your health issues; as well as reduce your dependence on antibiotics and supplements!

What is Amla?

I think I can safely say that ‘Amla’ as fruit is not a new name for most of us; colloquially it is also called the ‘Indian Gooseberry.’ If you consume it in raw form, Amala would taste sweet, bitter and pungent, sour and astringent. You will come across various names of Amala.

If you consume it in raw form, Amala would taste sweet, bitter and pungent, sour and astringent. You will come across various names of Amala.

For instance, its botanical name is Phyllanthus Emblica and in Sanskrit, it is known as Amalaki. It is a large number of medicinal properties of Indian gooseberries which allow it to treat multiple ailments and make it the most powerful herb in Ayurveda. Hence, it is called a ‘Maharasayana.’

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Amla?

While in the past Amala, was only known for its Vitamin C content, it has gained popularity due to it’s richness in various other nutrients as well.

A careful evaluation of the proportion in which each of these nutrients is present per 100 grams of Amala will enable you to decide how beneficial Amala can be for you and also in what dosage it should be taken.

To give you an idea of the nutritional value of Amala we have listed down approximate values of various nutrients per 100 grams of Amala:

Major Nutrients

  • Total Calories – 48g
  • Protein – 1g
  • Phenolic Compounds – 3012.5mg

Gallic Acid

  • Water – 86g
  • Total Fat – 0.5g
  • Total Carbohydrates – 10g

Lipids and Fatty Acids

  • Total Fat – 0.5g
  • Monounsaturated Fat – 0.1g
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids – 48mg
  • Polyunsaturated Fats – 0.3g
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids – 276mg

Carbohydrates

  • Total Carbohydrate – 10g
  • Dietary Fiber – 5g

Vitamins

  • Vitamin C – 478mg
  • Vitamin A – 290 IU
  • Vitamin E – 2450mg
  • Pantothenic Acid – 0.3mg
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.1mg
  • Niacin – 0.3mg
  • Folate – 6mcg

Minerals

  • Copper – 0.1mg
  • Sodium – 1mg
  • Calcium – 25mg
  • Potassium – 198mg
  • Selenium – 0.6mcg
  • Manganese – 0.1mg
  • Iron – 0.9mg
  • Magnesium – 10mg
  • Phosphorus – 27mg
  • Zinc – 0.12mg

Each of these nutrients is required in different amounts for the proper functioning of your body. Hence, when you consume Amala, or any of its processed products (like pickles, murabba, juice, etc.), it replenishes the supply of these essential nutrients in your body and cures and prevents diseases.

Now we will discuss in detail various health benefits of amala.

What Are The Benefits?

Benefits for Skin care

Most of us commonly use cosmetic products like Face Wash, Cleanser, Toner, Face-Cream, Body Lotion, etc. in our daily lives for the purpose of skin care or sometimes take supplements of vitamins.

Now you can avoid all that if you include just one fruit in your regular diet, i.e. Amala. You will notice following changes with time:

Radiant skin

Since Amala is a rich source of Vitamin C, it has antioxidant properties which will make your skin look radiant and healthy.

Lighter complexion

Amala can lighten the color of your skin tone. You can either consume it in the form of juice or powder etc. or simply apply the juice on your skin with the help of cotton wad and leave it for approximately 15 minutes.

After that, you can rinse it off. Repeat the process daily and very soon you will see the results yourself.

Treats Acne

If you are faced with a fresh outburst of pimples, then you can control it by using Amala in one of these simple ways. The first way is to prepare a face mask, by mixing two tablespoons of Amala powder with rose water.

Apply it on your face, leave it to dry for 5 minutes and then rinse it off. Or you can try something simpler like drinking one glass of Amala juice everyday. It will satisfactorily treat your acne problem.

Removes acne scars

Yes, we have all faced it at one time or another – the dread when acne leaves a scar or blemishes the skin. You may have consulted a dermatologist and taken medicines to cure the scars quickly. Or otherwise tried products like face wash, face pack, etc. available in the market.

You should instead try this easy and natural way to make the blemishes disappear. Take freshly prepared Amala juice, and apply it on your face. Leave it for 15 minutes and then wash it off. Within a month, the scarring will begin to lighten, and eventually disappear.

Keeps both inner and outer skin healthy

One of the lesser known facts about Amala is that it keeps both outer skin, as well as inner skin (which lines the gut, respiratory tract, and all the mucous membranes of the body) healthy. It can do so by boosting production of Elastin and Collagen.

Controls oiliness

Oily skin is not necessarily unhealthy. But since it attracts dust and dirt particles, it can clog pores on your skin and lead to an outburst of pimples.

To avoid oily skin, you can prepare an Amala face pack with things easily available at home. Take 3 – 4 pieces of Amala and leave them to dry. When they have dried out, put them into a mixer and wait until you get a fine powder. Now take this powder and prepare a pack by mixing it with rose water or otherwise tap water (whichever is available). Apply it on your skin regularly for at least three weeks, to control oiliness of your skin.

Controls premature signs of aging

If you are worried about premature aging signs such as wrinkles and fine lines appearing on your face or skin elsewhere, then Amala juice can come to your aid. Vitamin A present in Amala boosts production of Collagen.

Collagen has been found to be responsible for making the skin look younger, and its antioxidant properties delay the effects of premature aging. It fights the free radicals and keeps your skin youthful.

Cleanses and Exfoliates

Everyday you are exposed to so much dust and pollution that your skin demands routine cleansing and exfoliation. Try amala juice for that, dab a cotton wad in the juice and then gently apply it on your skin in outward circular motion. It will remove the dead cells to cleanse your skin.

However, if you have sensitive skin then do not directly apply the concentrated juice of amala, first dilute it with some water and then use it on your skin.

Tightens and Tones skin

Aging commonly causes the skin to lose firmness. So to prevent your skin from sagging, you can start taking one glass of amala juice everyday. Vitamin A and Vitamin C together will stimulate the production of collagen and make your skin smoother and youthful.

Repair of Damaged Tissues

Vitamin C and Anti-oxidant content of Amala give it healing properties. Therefore, including Amala in your diet will help in speeding up the process of repair of damaged tissues.

Treats Pigmentation

You can take the juice of any fruit which is rich in Vitamin C to treat pigmentation. Since Amala is the most abundant source of Vitamin C in the plant kingdom, therefore it is best to take amala juice.

Health Benefits Of Amla For Hair

Health Benefits Of Amla For Hair
Health Benefits Of Amla For Hair

You must have come across a lot of hair products in the market such as shampoos and oils, which have Amala as their key ingredient. It is because Amalaki strengthens the hair follicles, prevents dandruff and split-ends and keeps the hair healthy. It has following benefits:

Controls Hair Fall

Deficiency of vitamin C is one of the primary cause of hair fall. Therefore, amala and its products, which are a rich source of vitamin C, can help you in controlling hair fall or treating baldness.

If you consume one glass of Amala juice daily, accompanied with massaging your scalp with Amala oil at least thrice in a week, the rate of hair fall will slow down.

Promotes Growth of Hair

Free radicals that damage cells cause the problem of hair fall and premature signs of aging.  But Amala neutralizes these free radicals and protects you from any potential damage to your hair. The nutrients, minerals, fatty acids and vitamins in Amala together stimulate hair growth.

Treats Dandruff

Dryness of scalp, change in weather, salty water, etc. can cause you to have dandruff in your hair. But you can cure it with a simple remedy now. Prepare a hair mask by mixing amala powder with water (add an egg if it suits you).

Apply it on your hair, and leave it for half an hour to dry. Wash it off with lukewarm water later. Repeat this at least thrice a weak. For better results, you may try massaging your scalp with amala oil (it maybe home made or ready made).

Cleanses the Scalp

A healthy scalp can prevent a lot of your problems like dandruff, dryness of hair, hair fall, itchiness, etc. Healing properties of amala help in cleansing the scalp and keeping it healthy.

The anti-bacterial properties will ensure that the scalp doesn’t become prone to eczema; its anti-inflammatory properties will keep dandruff away, and cooling effect will ensure that you do not feel any irritation or itchiness on the scalp.

To cleanse your scalp you can follow these simple steps. Massage your scalp with either Amala oil, or a mix of amala juice and coconut oil. Leave it for at least 15-20 minutes and then wash your hair with amala shampoo. Oil and wash your hair in the above manner at least thrice a week for a clean scalp.

Conditions the hair

Amala is rich in Vitamin C and fatty acids. Together they strengthen the hair follicles and provide nourishment to your hair from root to top. Amala acts like a conditioner, which softens, adds luster and volume to your hair.

So if you have dry and frizzy and do not like their texture, apply the hair mask made out of amala powder, water, and egg. Wash it upon drying and follow it up with gently massaging your scalp with Amala oil for 15-20 minutes. This will condition your hair, make them softer and control the frizziness.

Prevents Graying of Hair

Premature graying of hair has become a common problem. It is caused by the slowdown of production of melanin, which maybe a consequence of constant stress or tension.

This premature graying can be avoided by consuming one glass of amala juice everyday, or applying the Amala hair mask. For those of you who are looking for an easier remedy, you can try Amala hair dyes available in the market. Use it as per the instructions on the product.

Vitamin C, fatty acids and the anti oxidants in Amala renew pigmentation and prevent graying of hair. For quicker results, start exercising for half an hour every day, this will regulate the pigmentation and help in retaining the natural color of your hair by enhancing blood circulation.

Amla(Gooseberry) for weight loss

Amla(Gooseberry) for weight loss
Amla(Gooseberry) for weight loss

Boosts body metabolism

Obesity and weight gain are caused when body metabolism is poor. A good metabolism, on the other hand, will increase the rate of burning fats, and also the speed at which you lose weight.

Amala is known to speed up the metabolism, so try taking half a cup of amala juice mixed with two spoons of honey every day. This will help you in naturally losing weight.

Improves Protein Synthesis

By boosting the body metabolism, Amala enhances the rate at which your body breaks down food. It also enhances the rate of which protein is produced by the body. Therefore more broken protein will mean more energy for the body and less accumulation of fat.

Detoxifies the Body

Sometimes toxins accumulate in your body and result in impeding the process of digestion. If the food is not digested well by the body, then it will accumulate in the form of fats and increase weight. You can detoxify your body by taking a diet rich in vitamin C.

Since Amala is the most concentrated source of vitamin C, drink half a cup of amala juice every day. It will flush out the unnecessarily accumulated toxins from your body, ensuring that the food is digested properly and waste expelled from your body.

Flushes out waste

The high fibrous content of Amala will flush out the waste from your body, and help you in naturally curing obesity or simply losing a few kilos to get back in shape.

Other Health Benefits

Treats Anemia

Anemia is caused when the red blood cells count or hemoglobin level fall below normal level in a person. All women readers out there must take special care because the regular loss of blood during menstruation makes you more vulnerable to anemia.

Also, during pregnancy, the chances of fall in red blood cells count increase multifold. Therefore, make it a routine ritual to take half a cup of amala juice mixed with two spoons of honey once in a day.

Amala due to the presence of iron and vitamin C increases the count of red blood cells in your blood. Other factors responsible for anemia are an insufficient intake of iron in diet or loss of blood due to an injury, etc. Drinking half a cup of amala juice everyday will go a long way in increasing hemoglobin in the blood.

Improves vision

Various factors like age, diabetes, etc. can impair your vision. Amala stabilizes the capillaries in eyes and helps in treating impaired vision. So if you want to improve your eyesight, start drinking one glass of amala juice everyday. You can either prepare it at home or get it from the market. The nutritional value of both is good.

Purifies blood

Take Amala with honey every day, it tastes delicious and also purifies the blood.

Treats Gastric Disorders

It is natural to have an upset stomach if your diet comprises of high intake oil and spice. It may cause acidity, indigestion, bowel problems or even diarrhea. All your problems can be solved if you take Amala in the form of juice or powder. The fiber, Polyphenol and water content in Amala can bring relief.

Cholesterol

Amala inhibits the oxidative properties of Thiobarbituric Acid (TBA) and helps in maintaining cholesterol level. TBA is also responsible for inducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation which causes heart diseases. Many studies in fact back property of Amala to reduce cholesterol.

A study published in Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2008 concluded that subjects of the control group who were supplied with Amala exhibited a reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Amala is found to increase HDL (good cholesterol) and reduce LDL (bad cholesterol)

Blood sugar level

Chromium present in Amala helps in maintaining the blood sugar level. The anti-oxidant properties of Amala ensure that the pancreas stays healthy.

Arterial health

Artery diseases are caused by the release of free radicals during oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), but the fiber and iron present in Amala actually control the oxidation of LDL and prevent plaque from accumulating in your arteries (atherosclerosis).

If you have a history of heart diseases in the family or have been diagnosed by the doctor as a heart patient, then Amala can minimize the risk of developing a heart disease or having a heart attack by reducing the bad cholesterol level.

Pancreatitis

It is known to be caused by the release of free radicals due to oxidative stress. But your body can get rid of the free radicals if you ensure the presence of a high amount of anti oxidants. Hence, Amala which is a rich source of anti oxidants can prevent as well as cure Pancreatitis. Take one glass of amala juice everyday with two tablespoons of honey.

Diabetes

Diabetes is growing at an alarming rate in the society and is caused when blood sugar level exceeds the normal level. Consumption of processed high sugar junk food may also cause your children to be affected by type 2 diabetes.

Blood sugar level is maintained by insulin which is produced by the pancreas. If your Pancreas become inflamed, it may cause high blood sugar levels and hence risk diabetes. Amala, however, prevents Pancreatitis, thereby ensuring that the insulin-secreting cells are not damaged, and the blood sugar level is maintained.

Take amala powder with honey and turmeric powder twice a day to treat diabetes. Polyphenol content in Amala prevents insulin resistance and facilitates proper absorption of insulin, which eventually results in a drop in blood sugar level. But if you are already on prescription drugs, you must consult with you doctor before you start taking Amala in the significant mount.

Boosts Immune system

High concentration of Vitamin C in Amala can prevent you from all kinds of bacterial, viral and fungal infections, if it is taken regularly in the diet.

Reproductive System

Young female teenagers are commonly diagnosed with polycystic ovaries (PCO) or irregular menstrual cycles these days, which causes pregnancy issues. Consuming Amala can help you in making your menstrual cycles regular and in men, it helps by improving the sperm quality.

Remedies a cough and cold

Vitamin C in Amala is good for cold and cough.

Whether Amala Is A More Potent Source Of Vitamin C Or Orange?

Both the fruits are known to have high contents of Vitamin C; however studies suggest that Amala is the most concentrated source of Vitamin C in the plant kingdom. While comparing Indian Gooseberry with Orange, it has been found that it has ten times the amount of Vitamin C, i.e. approximately 121mg of Vitamin C in one berry.

You need to be careful while using amala or any of its products. Use it in a prescribed manner, and stick to the dosage recommended to you. An excess consumption of Amala can also cause problems. While Amala is a powerful herb, it can lead to various side effects, such as follows.

Probable Side Effects Of Amala-

Hardening of stool

You must be careful not to consume Amala in excess and make sure that it is accompanied by a high intake of water. Otherwise, it can cause hardening of stool.

Hamper anti-diabetic medication

If you are a diabetes patient and are already on anti-diabetic medication, then you must consult your doctor before using Amala to control diabetes. Because Amala reduces the sugar level in blood and may obstruct drug to cause hyperglycemia.

Allergies

It is commonly observed that people develop allergies to things like dust or perfumes or any food items etc. Hence, it is possible that Amala is one of those things you are allergic to; you should look out for following symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, headaches, swelling of the mouth, itching, etc.

The risk of bleeding after surgery

If you have just been out of surgery or will very soon be undergoing one, then it is best for you to stop taking Amala two weeks before the surgery is scheduled.

Dehydration

Amala has a diuretic property which means that urine formation will be promoted, hence to avoid dehydration I would advise you to consume water in high quantity throughout the day.

Dryness of skin and scalp

Drink at least 2 liters of water in a day to avoid loss of moisture from skin and dryness of scalp.

Uneasiness during pregnancy

It is best to avoid Amala during pregnancy as it can cause uneasiness or diarrhea and also there is little or no reliable information about the safety of taking Amala during pregnancy or breast feeding.

Worsen cold

Amala behaves like a coolant and lowers the body temperatures hence when you are suffering from the cold, either avoid Amala in your diet or take it in the form of Triphala Churan.

What Is The Evidence That Backs The Benefits Of Amala?

Often you may have come across critics, who challenge the efficiency of Amala in treating the ailments listed above, or more. It is argued that not enough evidence exists in the form of controlled clinical trials on humans to conclusively prove that Amala, in fact, possesses the potential to cure all the diseases, most studies have been conducted on rats.

The truth is that medical science doesn’t deny the properties and the ability of Amala to cure multiple disorders, but is crippled by lack of scientific evidence to support it.

There exist preclinical studies which prove that Amala has Chemomodulatory, Chemopreventive, Radioprotective and Anti-Neoplastic effects.

Medical Centre of University of Maryland (UMMC) has recommended that powder of Amala should be included in the diet in the form of 3-6 grams daily mixed in any beverage.

Currently, various studies are being undertaken to confirm the medicinal properties of Amala, trials on animals have been concluded for the claims made by Ayurveda.

It is only a matter of time before medical science gives it the due recognition as well. Until then, include this powerful herb in your diet, stay protected from diseases and lead a healthy life.

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Dr.M.Gopi Krishna is a renowned professor in the dept. of Rasa Shastra and Bhaishajya kalpana at Sri Jagadguru Gavisiddheshwara Ayurvedic Medical College & Post Graduate Research Center.He has personally made around 250 Ayurvedic preparations and self dispense in his own clinic for his patients.