Amla (Phyllanthus emblica L.) is a small to medium sized deciduous tree belonging to the family Phyllanthaceae. It grows as wild or cultivated throughout tropical India. It is one of the most commonly used and important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. Fruits of Amla are considered as best among rejuvenating and anti-aging drugs.
In Ayurvedic medicines, fruit pulp or fruit rind are used. It is called as Indian goose-berry in English and its Sanskrit names are Amalaki, Abhaya, Amrita, Dhatri, Vayastha, Tisyaphala, Sitaphala etc. It possesses all five rasa (tastes) except Lavana (salt) and predominant rasa is Amla (sour). It is Sita (cold) in virya (potency) and does actions like Tridoshahara (pacifying all doshas), Rasayana (rejuvenating), Chakshushya (good for eyes), Vrishya (aphrodisiac), Keshya (good for hair), Vaysthapana (anti-aging), Ruchya (enhances taste) etc.
Fruit is an important source of Vitamin C. Other important chemical constituents present are tannins, Phyllemblin, Linolic acid, Indole acetic acid, Ellagic acid, Phyllemblic acid etc.
Dose for internal use is 3-6 g of drug powder and 5-10 ml of fresh juice.
Various studies show that Amla possesses anti-diabetic, hypolipedemic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hepatoprotective and anti-emetic activities. The drug is used as single and as ingredient in various compound formulations like Chyavanaprasa, Dhatriloha, Amalaki Rasayana, Dhatryarishta etc. Some important single drug uses of Amla are:
Consumption of fresh fruit daily (1-2 numbers) increases immunity and provides rejuvenating effect.
Fresh juice of Amla (5-10ml) mixed with sugar can be taken in bleeding disorders.
Fresh juice of Amla (5-10 ml) mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder and taken empty stomach is beneficial in Diabetic patients.
Intake of Amla churna (3-6 g) mixed with honey helps in restoration of vision.
External application of Amla paste on scalp promotes health and lustre of hair.
Besides medicinal uses, Amla fruit is eaten raw and cooked into various dishes and it acts as herbal food supplement.
Some classical recipes that can be prepared out of Amla are:
Raga Shadava- External layer and seed are removed and made into pieces. It is mixed with 4 times of water and cooked well. After cooling pepper, elaichi, karpura churna are added and mixed well. It improves taste, nourishment and digestion and also pacifies thirst, giddiness and tiredness.
Panaka- Grind Amla pieces and strain the juice. To this juice add jaggery/sugar syrup and mix well. Add Jeera and pepper powder before intake. It pacifies excessive thirst, burning sensation and other Pitta related disorders.
Khada- Cook buttermilk with Amla and spices like Jeera, pepper etc in an earthen vessel. When the buttermilk is reduced to half, add required amount of salt. It improves digestion.
Dr. S. Asha