Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
Amla, also called Indian gooseberry, is a medicinal plant commonly used to manage iron deficiency in the human body. The botanical name for Amla is Emblica Officinalis Gaertn. It is considered as the most important medicinal plant and valued in Indian culture and tradition. Not only the fruit, but various parts of the plant is also used to treat a wide rate of diseases. Amla fruit is used as Indian food items such as snacks, pickles, and jams. It is also known as wonder berry.
HOW IT WORKS
Amla is used as dietary supplement and contributes in the management of iron deficiency at low cost.
Amla is the richest natural source of vitamin C. It also contains minerals, proteins, calcium and amino acids. It also has antioxidant properties and protects human skin from oxidative stress. It is also used in skin care products and hair care products. It is used in treating common cold and fever. It possesses antipyretic, analgesic, gastroprotective and neuroprotective properties.
It is a traditional medicine to treat diarrhea, jaundice, hyperacidity, ulcers, and inflammation. It also builds immunity, reduces cholesterol levels, improves eyesight, etc. It is also known to strengthen lungs, liver, and heart.
THINGS TO KNOW
Amla basically refers to the fruit of the amla plant. It can be eaten raw or boiled. Amla fruit can also be dried and grounded into powder form. Amla oil is also derived from this fruit.
INDICATIONS & USES
- Liver tonic
- Hair tonic
- Common cold
- Improves digestion
Amla can be consumed raw or in form of juice. For different diseases, the dose recommended is different. For example, in case of gastric problems, one teaspoon of amla juice on empty stomach every day can remove problems related to acidity. Amla juice with ginger gives relief from a sore throat.
BENEFITS & EFFECTIVENESS
Amla can be used for the management of iron deficiency, liver diseases, diabetes indigestion, urinary problems, gastric problems and even cancer. It also lowers cholesterol level and strengthens teeth, nails, and hair.
Cholesterol is responsible for many coronary diseases. The deposition of cholesterol in coronary arteries cause blockage and heart attack. Amla is the richest source of dietary vitamin C. Vitamin C plays an important role in keeping the blood cholesterol level low particularly LDL (bad cholesterol). It also prevents oxidation of cholesterol and prevents its deposition in the arteries. It is known to mobilize cholesterol out of the arteries and allows a breakdown in the liver. (1)
Amla is a rich source of vitamin A. vitamin A plays role in collagen production and improves the elasticity of the skin. Consumption of amla tightens skin and slows down skin aging.
Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA)
Amla is a cost-effective way of managing iron deficiency in the body. It is rich in iron content and can naturally improve the iron content in the body if consumed with a normal diet.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant which is known to play role in boosting immunity in humans. Amla, being the richest source of vitamin C improves the immunity and helps to fight against diseases.
Amla has hepatoprotective properties. It is used in the management of liver diseases. It is effective in preventing toxic effects caused by some medicines like paracetamol, heavy metals, ochratoxins, antitubercular drugs, etc that are liver damaging. It improves the functioning of the liver. (2)
Amla contains gallic acid, gallotanin, ellagic acid and corilagin, the compounds that are anti-diabetic and free radical scavengers. It also prevents diabetic nephropathy, neuropathy and cardiac complications. (3)
Amla extract with other supplements has proved to be hypoglycemic and lowers blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. (4)
Amla is known to possess radio-modulatory, chemo-modulatory, chemo-preventive effects, antimutagenic, and immunomodulatory activities. These properties are important for treating cancer and in prevention of cancer. (5)
The polyphenols found in amla such as tannins and flavonoids are potent anti-cancer agents. These prevent the formation of tumors and cancerous cells. The antioxidant property of amla also supports the anti-cancer property of the fruit. (6)
Amla extract and oil is used in the production of various hair care products such as hair oil, hair masks, etc. it enriches hair growth, strengthens hair, and reduces hair pigmentation. It also reduces hair loss. Carotene and iron found in amla promote hair growth.
Vitamin A and carotene found in amla are known to improve eyesight. These two compounds reduce night blindness and cataract. They also reduce intra-ocular tension.
SAFETY & TOXICOLOGY
The sourness of amla is a boon but over consumption may lead to some side effects.
Overdose Side Effects
Over consumption of amla may lead to side effects such as dentine hypersensitivity, heartburn, urticaria, joint inflammation, halitosis and stomatitis. (7)