Amla, also known as Indian Gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica), is the sour fruit of the Emblica officianalis tree and is found mostly in India as well as tropical southeast Asia. It has been used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine systems for centuries. Ayurveda is one of the oldest known medicine systems in the world, originating in India more than 3,000 years ago. Amla is often pickled or used to make chutney (see below for recipe) and the fruit is the major ingredient in the very popular and healthy jam-like food chyawanprash. Amla also adds a nice sourness to otherwise sweet smoothies. One of the major health benefits of amla is its high amounts of Vitamin C.
Amla is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C found in nature. Modern science confirms the medicinal value of this ancient fruit, which also has the ability to support balanced cholesterol. Amla contains anticancer properties, liver supportive properties and immunomodulatory properties. It also has an impressive impact on heart health, especially in helping prevent coronary heart disease.
Amla is also reported to possess potent free radical scavenging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, immunomodulatory activities, which are efficacious in the prevention and treatment of various diseases.
Research Supports Health Benefits of Amla
Amla Extract in a Controlled Clinical Trial for Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, Amla (Phyllanthus emblica) aqueous extract significantly improved endothelial function, oxidative stress, systemic inflammation and lipid profile. The authors of the study concluded that Amla may be used as an adjunct to conventional therapy (lifestyle modification and pharmacological intervention) in the management of metabolic syndrome.
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, May 2019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-019-2509-5
Amla Juice Supports Liver Health
Consuming amla juice, as per Ayurveda, boosts vitality and vigor, and the underlying reason for it is most likely linked to its ability to re-energize the liver. A study performed in 2013 on the hepatoprotective properties of the Indian gooseberry and published in the journal Food & Function journal found amla is effective in preventing the toxic effects of excessive medication and toxic metals. The presence of phytochemicals such as quercetin, gallic acid, corilagin, and ellagic acid found in amla assists in free radical scavenging and in turn, detoxifying the body.
Amla Strengthens the Heart
Certain berries such as blueberries and gooseberries are proven to boost heart health. Amla powder strengthens the heart muscles allowing more efficient blood circulation throughout the body. By decreasing excess cholesterol buildup, chromium in amla powder can diminish the chances of atherosclerosis or plaque buildup in blood vessels and arteries. This may also help lessen the chances of stroke and heart attack. In a 12-week clinical study, amla supported healthy HDL to triglyceride levels and healthy blood sugar levels, all without lowering CoQ10 levels. Alma’s iron content also encourages the creation of new red blood cells, resulting in increased circulation and oxygenation of organs and cells to heighten growth and regeneration of tissues.
High Vitamin C Content of Amla
Another health benefit of amla is its exceptionally high vitamin C content. In fact, 100 grams of fresh amla berries provide 10 to 30 times the vitamin C content of an orange! After the Barbados cherry, amla is second richest natural source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) having approximately 600 to 700 mg per fruit. Vitamin C is a very important anti-oxidant, helps protect against cancers, heart disease, stress, and for making the collagen protein involved involved in the building and health of cartilage, joints, skin, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps in maintaining a health immune system, in neutralizing pollutants, is needed for antibody production, thins the blood, and increases the absorption of nutrients in the gut.
Health Benefits of Amla – Indian Gooseberry
- high in Vitamin C
- reduces intraocular tension
- good for anemia
- reduces blood sugar
- enriches hair growth
- strengthens heart muscle
- strengthens nails
- promotes lean muscle mass
- useful for diarrhea & dysentery
- relief for hyperchlorhydria
- improves appetite
- anti-aging properties
- supports liver function
- balances cholesterol
- increases red blood cell production
- nourishes the brain
- protects against UVB radiation
- contains ellagic acid, gallic acid, emblicanin A+B, super oxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione, peroxidase & catalase
- helps with Metabolic Syndrome
Suggestions on How to Eat and Use Amla
Indian Gooseberry (amla) can be eaten as a fresh fruit, juiced, or in a dried powder form.
Fresh Amla Fruit
Available in season in Indian stores. You can eat amla slices raw with salt and spices, like in India or you can mix a teaspoon of honey. Honey balances the tart taste of amla.
Dried Amla Fruit
Dried amla fruit can be chewed on. Be aware that they may have a lot of sugar added to it. In India, the candied pickle is named amla murabba.
Organic versions of alma powder are available and can be mixed with purified water, raw honey, or organic yogurt to be made into a hair or face mask. When purchasing raw Amla Powder, always make sure the source is from sustainable harvested amalaki trees natively grown in India ensuring no chemicals or pesticides used in the cultivation.
Amla oil can help to strengthen the hair, prevents premature greying and helps to prevent hair from falling out.
Consuming amla juice diluted with purified water in the morning on an empty stomach can help keep your digestive system healthy. It also helps in the management of blood sugar levels.
Groovy Gooseberry Smoothie
(Always use organic ingredients when available.)
1 Cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana
1 Tblsp freshly ground flaxseeds
1 Cup of Kale or Spinach
1 tsp raw honey
1-2 tsp of raw Amla – Indian Gooseberry Powder
Mix all ingredients in blender or VitaMix. Enjoy!
Amla & Coriander Chutney (Indian Gooseberry Chutney)
1 cup fresh coriander leaves chopped
2 cloves organic garlic
3-4 green chilies
Himalayan salt to taste
2 Amla or Indian Gooseberries
Using a sharp knife, cut the Amla and remove the seed.
Mix all the ingredients, along with the raw Amla, into a smooth paste in a food processor.
Chill before serving with snacks.
Since amla lowers blood sugar levels, people who suffer from low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) are advised not to consume amla,
Research and Resources
Chemical and antioxidant evaluation of Indian gooseberry (emblica officinalis, phyllanthus emblica) supplements. Phytother Research. 2009
Emblica officinalis extracts reduce oxidative stress in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Med Food. 2005.
Gastroprotective effects of Amla Emblica on in vivo test models in rats. Phytomedicine. 2002.
Swetha Dasaroju*, Krishna Mohan Gottumukkala. Current Trends in the Research of Emblica officinalis (Amla): A Pharmacological Perspective.Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 24(2), Jan–Feb 2014; nᵒ25, 150-159 ISSN 0976–044X. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and ResearchAvailable online at www.globalresearchonline.net.
Upadya H, Prabhu S, Prasad A, Subramanian D, Gupta S, Goel A. A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, multicenter clinical trial to assess the efficacy and safety of Emblica officinalis extract in patients with dyslipidemia. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019;19(1):27. Published 2019 Jan 22. doi:10.1186/s12906-019-2430-y.
Goraya RK, Bajwa U. Enhancing the functional properties and nutritional quality of ice cream with processed amla (Indian gooseberry). J Food Sci Technol. 2015;52(12):7861–7871. doi:10.1007/s13197-015-1877-1
Maurya U, Srivastava S, Traditional Indian herbal medicine used as antipyretic, antiulcer, anti-diabetic and anticancer: A review, International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Chemistry,1(4), 2011, 1152-9.
Baliga MS, Prabhu AN, Prabhu DA, Shivashankara AR, Abraham A, Palatty PL,Antidiabetic and Cardioprotective Effects of Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn) and its Phytochemicals: Preclinical Observations, Bioactive Food as Dietary Interventions for Diabetes, 2013, 583-600.
Effect of Amla fruit (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) on blood glucose and lipid profile of normal subjects and type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Sep;62(6):609-16. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.560565. Epub 2011 Apr 18.