Amla– An excellent rejuvenator

Amla or Amalaki is one of the most used Ayurvedic herb, both as a food and medicine. It is cited in various ancient scriptures like Rigveda , Ramayana , Garuda purana and also associated with various mythological stories (Such as chyavana rishi who got rejuvenated by its consumption which later led to formulation of chywanprasha). From time immemorial, it is worshipped in India on different occasions especially on Amalaka Ekadashi.
Synonyms: Amalaki(having a sour taste ),Dhatri (who heals and protects like nurse or mother ),Vayastha(promotes longevity and helps in retaining youth ), Siva (beneficial to entire nature ),Shriphala (as its fruits are auspicious ),Amrutphala (As good as nectar )
Latin name: Phyllanthus emblica (Linn.){Emblica officinalis Gaertn.}
General description : Plant is a deciduous tree , small to medium in size, reaching 8 to 18 m in height, with a crooked trunk and spreading branches. Its leaves are simple and closely set along branchlets, light green, resembling to those of tamarind leaves in somewhat pinnate style. The flowers are greenish-yellow in colour . The fruit is nearly spherical, fleshy, light greenish yellow, with six obscure vertical stripes or furrows.
Parts used: All parts of the plant are used including the fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark and flowers. But most commonly its fruit and seed are widely used in various ayurvedic formulations.
Ayurvedic properties: According to ayurveda it possess five rasas that is sour, sweet , bitter , slightly astringent and pungent . It also possess light (laghu) and dry (ruksha) attributes, its post digestive effect (vipaka) is sweet (madhura) and it is cold in potency (virya). It alleviates tridoshas.(vata , pitta and kapha ) and especially helpful in normalizing pitta dosha . Hence it is very much effective in diseases which arise due to aggravation of pitta dosha in a body . This herb is mentioned in all the ancient scriptures of ayurveda. According to Charak Samhita (an ayurvedic text) it is one of the best rasayana i.e ,rejuvenative (which bestows long life , health ,memory , youth and strength), also useful in fever , cough ,cold ,skin diseases ,as an aphrodisiac ,and one of the herb which delays ageing .In other texts also its found to be highly effective in anaemia , liver disorders and as a potent aphrodisiac . In Ashtang Hridya (one of ayurvedic text), it is considered to be drug of choice for diabetic patients.
Dose and usage: Amla fruit juice (10 to 20 ml), Amla fruit dried powder (3 to 6 gm), its decoction (20 to 30 ml) . Beside this it can be used in various other forms as single herb or in combination with other herbs.
Medicinal uses:
It is a herb with multiple uses which promotes good health and long life. Some of its uses based on texts and researches are listed below.
⇒Store house of Vitamin C: It is easily available fruit which is one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin C. So it boosts the healthy collagen (connective tissue) production in the skin thus keeping skin tight, toned, soft, supple and youthful.. About 100gm fruit contains 600mg Vitamin C. Collagen is an important protein used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Being source of Vitamin C it also helps in healing wounds, and for repairing and maintaining bones and teeth.
⇒Hair growth: Amla retards premature greying hair and supports the strength of hair follicles, so there is less thinning of hair with age Amla alone or in combination with other herbs such as ritha , shikakai , bhringraj powder helps in promoting healthy and shinier hair.
⇒Eyes: In ayurveda it is considered as chakshushya (which strenghthens eyes). Its very good as eye tonic for maintaining normal vision and other eye ailments particularly conjunctivitis etc.Its fresh juice 2to 3drops can be instilled in eyes. Infusion of the leaves is applied to sore eyes. The dried fruit powder soaked overnight can be used as healthy eye wash.
⇒Dental caries: recent researches have shown it to be very effective as natural antibacterial mouthwash to prevent dental caries .Its leaves are used as decoction for mouth ulcers too.
⇒Epistaxis (Bleeding from nose):Its fruit juice with butter milk is easy home remedy for preventing epistaxis
⇒Respiratory system : It strengthens and nourishes lungs protecting it and prevent cough , cold ,asthma and other respiratory tract infections . In all ayurvedic texts it is mentioned as one of the best shwashar (i.e herb which strengthens entire respiratory tract).In Hiccups disorder , Pippali(Piper longum), sonth (dried Zingiber officinale ) and amla with sugar shows very promising results .
⇒GIT (gastrointestinal tract ):It promotes healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients . For hyperacidity, vomiting and peptic ulcers dried fruit powder can be taken with sugar . For constipation , it alone can be used as it is mild laxative or as combination with triphala powder . In diarrhoea and indigestion , its leaf powder can be used with butter milk.
⇒Liver: It detoxifies liver and being rich source of Vit C promotes absorbtion of iron . Being a potent antioxidant it is very effective in jaundice, anaemia and other liver ailments.
⇒Urinary disorders: Being cold in potency, its very helpful in all sort of urinary disorders. In Painful and burning micturition its fresh juice can be given with cardamom powder or it can be given with sugarcane juice or alone .As it is a detoxifier so it promotes healthy flushing of body toxins with urine .
⇒Antidiabetic : Amla along with turmeric and giloya (Tinospora cordifolia ) as decoction is considered to be very effective remedy for diabetic patients
⇒Cardio protective: Being potent antioxidant, it scavenges free radicals produced in body .It helps in preventing atherosclerosis (fat plaques) and in keeping body lipid levels in normal range .Due to collagen formation promotes healthy blood circulation. So it protects heart from various ailments.
⇒Skin diseases: It aids in healthy collagen formation so its regular use keeps skin soft , supple and glowing . Amla along with neem leaves and turmeric for external application as well as consumption is found to be promising herb in all sort of skin ailments .Amla is one of herb which works against aggravated pitta dosha so found to be highly effective in urticaria ,erysipelas etc .
⇒Gout: Conditon of raised uric acid can also be well managed with use of amla , turmeric and motha (Cyperus rotundus ).
⇒Reproductive disorders: It supports and nourishes the reproductive systems of both men and women. It is considered as good aphrodisiac herb, and it has a property called garbhasthapana, which means it enhances fertility and the possibility of healthy conception. For leucorrhea, its 20gm seed powder with sugar is quite helpful in strengthening uterus. For DUB (Dysfunctional uterine bleeding) its juice with cumin powder and sugar is very effective remedy.
⇒Bleeding disorders: Abnormal bleeding from any body part can be prevented by intake of its juice or powder with sugar and ghee.
⇒Nervine tonic: It’s cool in potency and very good for pacifying excess body heat. So it helps in sharpening intellect and healthy mental functioning.
⇒Potent Antioxidant and excellent rejuvenation: This divine gift bestows a long healthy life, memory, youth, glow, voice, complexion, strength so its an excellent rejuvenative. For this it can be used alone or in combination with gokshura (Tribulus terrestris ) and giloya (Tinospora cordifolia ) in a powdered form . This combo nourishes all the tissue elements of body .
Various Ayurvedic Formulations: Amalaki rasayana, triphala churna, brahma rasayana, chyawanprasha, dhatri lauh etc.
Although it is safe to be used in prescribed dose and so far no adverse side effects have been documented but still must be used under medical supervision.