Amla (Indian Gooseberry): 10 Health Benefits and How to Eat It

Amla is a very common ingredient that is used in a number of Ayurvedic preparations.

Also known as Indian gooseberry and emblic myrobalan, Amla is a vibrant-green-colored fruit with a strong sour, acidic, and bitter (astringent) taste.

The amla tree can be found in India, the Middle East, and several other Southeast Asian nations. Owing to its powerful antioxidant properties, this ingredient is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicines and natural remedies. It can help boost the health of your skin and hair as well as strengthen your immune system.

Nutritional Value of Amla

Fresh amla contains more than 80 percent water, and it is low in calories. Amla is rich in the antioxidant vitamin C. It also contains several important minerals and vitamins including:

Nutritional value of amla per 100 grams:

Water g 87.87
Energy Kcal 44
Carbohydrate g 10.18
Proteins g 0.88
Lipids g 0.58
Dietary Fibres g 4.3
Calcium (Ca) mg 25
Potassium (K) mg 198
Magnesium (Mg) mg 10
Vitamin A mcg 15
Vitamin C mg 27.7
Folate mcg 6

Precautions

Consuming gooseberry in amounts found in foods is generally considered safe. Excessive intake, however, might engender detrimental side-effects for the following demographic groups in particular:

  • People with liver diseases:Theoretical evidence suggests that consuming Indian gooseberry along with heart-leaved moonseed, ginger or Indian frankincense might further compromise liver function if you are already grappling with a liver ailment.
  • People on diabetes medications: Caution is recommended if you happen to be a diabetic since Indian gooseberry can negatively interfere with your meds and plunge your blood glucose levels dangerously low.
  • People with bleeding disorders/Surgery-bound patients: Given the fact that Indian gooseberry can make one increasingly susceptible to bleeding and bruising, you must keep its consumption within the doctor stipulated limits if you suffer from bleeding disorders. The same holds true for people who are about to undergo surgery in the near future or have just come out of a surgery. It is well-advised to stop its consumption at least 2 weeks in advance before a scheduled surgery.
  • Pregnant and nursing women: To avoid any undue complications and adverse health repercussions for you and your baby, its best to refrain from the consumption of Indian gooseberry in excessive or medicinal amounts. Instead, limit your intake to food amounts.

Merits of Amla (Indian Gooseberry)

Here are 10 health benefits of amla.

1. Promotes Hair Growth

In Ayurvedic medicine, amla is used as a remedy for various hair problems, such as premature graying, dull hair, and hair loss.

Deficiency of several nutrients has been linked to hair loss. Amla’s effectiveness in treating hair problems may be due to its iron and nutrient content.

  • Eat an amla fruit daily or use amla oil to massage your scalp a few times each week for healthy and gorgeous hair.

2. Improves Eyesight

Amla is effective in improving your eyesight. The vitamin C and other antioxidants present in this ingredient promote healthy capillaries and help maintain proper functioning of the retinal cells. This is important for a healthy vision.

It may also help to reduce reddening, itching, and watering of the eyes.

In addition, vitamin A and carotene in amla help reduce the risk of macular degeneration in older people and also play a role in preventing night blindness. It is especially effective in reversing night blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency.

  • Mix 2 teaspoons of amla juice in a ½ cup of water. You may also add some honey. Drink this mixture every morning to promote eye health.
  • You can also consume a sweetened preserve known as “amla murabba.”

3. Aids in Diabetes Management

Amla is rich in chromium, which helps regulate carbohydrate metabolism and remediates insulin sensitivity. This, in turn, helps the body regulate blood glucose levels.

According to a study published in the 2005 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Food, amla improves glucose metabolism in people suffering from diabetes.

  • Mix 1 or 2 teaspoons of amla powder or juice in 1 glass of water. Drink this juice daily on an empty stomach to control diabetes and manage the complications associated with it.

4. Benefits Cognitive Health

Besides being rich in vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants, amla also provides several other nutrients that support the brain and improve mental functioning.

According to a 2007 study published in Physiology & Behavior, amla displayed memory-improving properties in an animal model.

  • Consume 1 to 3 teaspoons of amla powder twice daily to boost your brainpower.

5. Boosts Immunity

The vitamin C in amla helps scavenge cell-damaging free radicals that appear to play a role in a number of chronic diseases.

In addition, this ingredient helps boost your white blood cell count, which is the main line of defense of your immune system.

  • Add ¼ cup of amla juice to ½ cup of warm water and drink the solution once daily.
  • Also, include fresh amla in your diet.

6. May Help Moderate Aging Processes

The high concentration of antioxidants in amla helps mop up free radicals in the body. Free radicals are associated with aging and the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, and fine lines.

In addition, Amla is rich in vitamin A, which is essential for collagen production to maintain the skin’s elasticity and keep it looking young.

  • Mix a small amount of amla juice in your body oil and apply the mixture as a body lotion to prevent dryness and to help alleviate eczema and psoriasis outbreaks.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon each of amla powder and fuller’s earth (multani mitti) with enough rose water to make a paste. Apply it on your face, allow it to dry completely, and then wash your face with lukewarm water. Use this face mask once a week.

7. Reduces Cholesterol and protects your heart

Amla is rich in pectin, a water-soluble fiber that helps reduce total cholesterol levels.

Plus, its iron content promotes the production of new red blood cells and various other biological processes. This can be useful in promoting healthy circulation and reducing arterial plaque formation, thus decreasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

A 2012 study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found that Amla had a significant lipid-lowering (hypolipidemic) effect and helped reduce blood pressure.

A comparative clinical trial involving 60 individuals with hyperlipidemia was carried out in 2012. Forty participants were selected to receive 500 mg of amla daily for 42 days while twenty individuals received 20 mg daily of the lipid-lowering drug simvastatin for the same time period.

At the conclusion of this study, both Amla and simvastatin produced statistically significant reductions in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol), triglycerides, and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and also generated a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL, more commonly known as “good” cholesterol). In addition, both Amla and the drug produced significant decreases in blood pressure, although this effect was more pronounced in those who took amla.

A reduction in LDL and triglycerides, when accompanied by a significant increase in HDL, is believed to benefit overall cardiovascular health.

These properties can help lower the odds of developing atherosclerosis and slow down its progression in those who have it.

  • To help moderate cholesterol, eat 1 to 2 amla fruit daily.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of amla powder in 1 glass of warm water. Drink this daily in the morning on an empty stomach to improve your cardiovascular health.

8. Backents Urinary Problems

Amla acts as a mild diuretic, which means it increases the frequency and volume of urination.

This property of Amla, along with its vitamin C content, can help inhibit the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract and prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs).

  • As a complementary measure to treat bladder infections, prepare a solution by mixing 1 teaspoon each of amla powder and turmeric powder in 1 cup of water. Boil the solution until it reduces by half and then allow it to cool. Drink this solution three times a day for a week.

9. Supports Oral Health

The vitamin C and other nutrients present in amla can help the body combat infections. Thus, this ingredient may also help in preventing tooth decay, cavities, and dental infections (including those linked to gum disease and bad breath).

  • Thoroughly chew pieces of fresh amla fruit daily.
  • You may also consider consuming amla powder or juice daily to help ensure healthy teeth and gums in the long run.

10. Backents Cancer

Amla is packed with antioxidants that help combat the free radicals present in your body. This aids in reducing cell damage and decreasing the risk of inflammation and even cancer. It has a number of medical uses.

Superoxide dismutase reduces cell damage by fighting against free radicals. It can be effective in preventing cancer.

  • Eating 1 amla fruit every day may help in the prevention of cancer.

Resources:

  1. “Basic Report: 09107, Gooseberries, Raw.” USDA Food Composition Databases, ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/09107.
  2. Yu, et al. “Preclinical and Clinical Studies Demonstrate That the Proprietary Herbal Extract DA-5512 Effectively Stimulates Hair Growth and Promotes Hair Health.” Advances in Decision Sciences, Hindawi, hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2017/4395638/. Published 30 April 2017.
  3. Nair, Nair Kavitha, et al. “Effect of Aqueous Extract of Emblica Officinalis on Selenite Induced Cataract in Rats.” Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3862062/. Published 2010.
  4. Kim, E K, et al. “Associations between Fruits, Vegetables, Vitamin A, β-Carotene and Flavonol Dietary Intake, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Elderly Women in Korea: the Fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28952611. Published January 2018.
  5. Clifford, Luke J., et al. “Reversible Night Blindness – A Reminder of the Increasing Importance of Vitamin A Deficiency in the Developed World.” Elsevier, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880510/. Published July 2013.
  6. Hua, Yinan, et al. “Molecular Mechanisms of Chromium in Alleviating Insulin Resistance.” HHS Public Access, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308119/. Published April 2012.
  7. Rao TP, et al. “Amla (Emblica Officinalis Gaertn.) Extracts Reduce Oxidative Stress in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Amla (Emblica Officinalis Gaertn.) Extracts Reduce Oxidative Stress in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats. Published 2005.
  8. M, Vasudev, and Parle M. “Memory Enhancing Activity of Anwala Churna (Emblica Officinalis Gaertn.): an Ayurvedic Preparation.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Memory enhancing activity of Anwala churna (Emblica Officinalis Gaertn.): An Ayurvedic preparation. Published May 2007.
  9. Grover, Harpreet Singh, et al. “Therapeutic Effects of Amla in Medicine and Dentistry: A Review.” Journal of Oral Research and Review, jorr.org/article.asp?issn=2249-4987;year=2015;volume=7;issue=2;spage=65;epage=68;aulast=Grover. Published December 2015.
  10. Fusco, Domenico, et al. “Effects of Antioxidant Supplementation on the Aging Process.” Dovepress, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685276/. Published September 2007.
  11. Kafi, R, et al. “Improvement of Naturally Aged Skin with Vitamin A (Retinol).” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17515510. Published May 2007.
  12. Gopa, Biswas, et al. “A Comparative Clinical Study of Hypolipidemic Efficacy of Amla (Emblica Officinalis) with 3-Hydroxy-3-Methylglutaryl-Coenzyme-A Reductase Inhibitor Simvastatin.” Indian Journal of Pharmacology, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3326920/. Published 2012.
  13. Singh, Abhinav, and Bharathi Purohit. “Tooth Brushing, Oil Pulling and Tissue Regeneration: A Review of Holistic Approaches to Oral Health.” Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131773/. Published 2011.
  14. Baliga, M S, and J J Dsouza. “Amla (Emblica Officinalis Gaertn), a Wonder Berry in the Treatment and Backention of Cancer.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21317655. Published May 2011.

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Published by
Dr. Anthony Payne, N.M.D., M.D. (hon.)

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