The Amla or Indian Gooseberry is also called Amalka & Amalaki in Sanskrit which translates as ‘the fruit where the goddess of prosperity presides’. It is a small tree with leathery leaves and a fleshy fruit. Amla belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family. This fruit ripens in the autumn in wet, forest, hilly areas on the Indian subcontinent and is considered as a sacred tree in India. The fruit is very nourishing, but it tastes sour. Both, dried and fresh fruits can be consumed for their respective health benefits.
Amla is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C. Its fresh juice containing nearly twenty times as much vitamin C as orange juice. A single tiny Amla is equivalent in vitamin C content to two oranges.
Amla enhances food absorption, balances stomach acid, fortifies the liver, nourishes the brain and mental functioning, and supports the heart. It also strengthens the lungs, regulates elimination of free radicals, enhances fertility, helps the urinary system, improves skin quality, and promotes healthier hair. This fruit acts as a body coolant, flushes out toxins, increases vitality, aids in vision care, improves the muscle tone and, acts as an antioxidant.
Health Benefits of Amla
1. Hair Care
Amla is used in many hair tonics because it enriches hair growth and hair pigmentation. It strengthens the roots of hair, maintains color, and improves luster. It reduce the chances of hair loss and baldness.
1) Hair Growth – The Phyto nutrients, minerals, and vitamins present in Amla help in stimulating healthy hair growth and increasing the scalp circulation.
2) Natural Hair Conditioner – It can strengthen, nourish and condition your hair by making it healthy, shiny and by volumising it.
3) Treats Dandruff – Dryness usually causes dandruff. The Vitamin C present in Amla cures the dryness and prevents dandruff.
4) Cleanses Scalp – Amla juice is a fantastic product for the scalp cleansing. It provides nourishment to the scalp and makes the hair naturally healthier and shiny.
5) Improves Pigmentation – Usually half of the coloring packs contain Amla in them as it helps to prevent pigmentation. It also helps in discoloration making your hair stronger and thicker.
6) Reduces Graying Of Hair – According to Ayurveda, it is due to an excess of pitta in the body which leads to premature graying of hair. Few of the signs of excess pitta include peptic ulcers, skin rashes, burning sensations, excessive body heat, and heartburn. It acts as a natural coolant and can be used as an excellent remedy for Pitta issues.
7) Strengthens Hair – Amla juice acts as a toner for both hair and skin. It strengthens your hair follicles thereby increasing hair and facilitating hair growth.
8) Antioxidant – Amla is 17 times the antioxidant of pomegranate and twice the power of acai. It can eliminate toxins in the body and can serve as an incredible antioxidant.
9) Natural- Shine – Adding Amla powder to your hair masks can give you naturally shiny hair.
10) Thickening of Hair – As Amla is full of nutrients and has a lot of benefits, drinking amla juice or applying it on your hair can enhance your growth by making it more thicker.
11) Prevents Frizzy Hair – Amla prevents dryness and helps in restoring the moisture of the hair. It also helps in removing the dead cells of the hair.
12) Enhances Hair Color – Amla enhances hair color, so it commonly used in Henna too.
2. Slows Down Ageing
Amla is virtually a superfruit. It is full of antioxidants that are effective in reducing cell damage. It reduces the effects of free radicals (which are responsible for damaging protein, DNA, and cell membranes) and thus effectively combats the aging process.
3. Eye Care
Amls juice with honey is good for improving eyesight and studies have shown it to improve near-sightedness and cataracts while reducing intra-ocular tension. This is mainly due to its impressive carotene content, which has long been known for the powerful effect on vision-related conditions, including those that stem from free radical activity. Vitamin A and carotenes reduce macular degeneration, night blindness, and strengthen your vision before the age-related degeneration from free radicals can occur.
4. Reduce Heart Disease
High cholesterol is the leading cause of heart disease. By reducing the build up of bad cholesterol, Amla reduces the risk of heart disease. It also reduces clogging in the arteries by boosting good cholesterol or HDL. Studies have also shown its benefits in preventing the thickening of blood vessel walls, the first sign of heart disease.
5. Increases Diuretic Activity
Any fruit that is diuretic in nature improves the frequency and volume of urination. Because urination helps your body release unwanted toxins, salts, and uric acid, consumption of Amla has a detoxifying effect on your body.
6. Increases Metabolic Activity
Because of its ability to increase the absorption of protein, Indian Gooseberries are a great way to boost your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is how fast your body burns calories. Boosting it will lead to faster weight loss, higher energy levels and an overall increase in lean muscle mass.
7. Treats Menstrual Cramps
Some of the minerals and vitamins in amla combine to make it very useful in the treatment of menstrual cramps. Since it takes a while for the necessary elements to accrue in the body, it is better to consume amla on a regular basis so its nutrients are always in the system and menstrual cramps can be prevented.
8. Reduces Blood Sugar
Research has shown that fruits that are rich in polyphenol protect the body from the oxidative nature of high blood sugar. Amla can thus be therapeutic for people afflicted with diabetes. It also assists the body in the proper absorption of insulin, thus reducing blood sugar levels. Because of this, it is invaluable for people afflicted with diabetes and should be a part of their daily diet
9. Boosts Immunity Power
Amla is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins, and contains tannins (7). Tannins, when combined with polyphenols, makes the fruit a free radical scavenger. What this means is, it reduces the damage free radicals cause to the cells and thus improves your body’s disease fighting ability.
10. Purifies Blood
Because it is packed with antioxidants, Amla works as a blood purifier. It also increases haemoglobin and red blood cells count.
11. Strengthens Bones
Amla is excellent for strengthening bones not just because of its high calcium content, but also for the fact that it lowers osteoclasts. These are the cells responsible for breaking up bones. Thus regularly consuming Amla will result in stronger bones.
12. Prevents Constipation
Because of its high fiber content, Amla is great for the digestive system. A happy side-effect of this is its effectiveness against constipation.
13. Protects Liver
Studies have shown that regular consumption of Amla can ward off the ill effects that alcohol has on your liver . It also prevents the oxidative damage that is usually caused by them.
14. Cools The Body
Amla has three times the vitamin C of an orange. Vitamin C improves tannin levels in the body that shield from heat and light. It keeps your skin cool in the summer by regulating the heat.
15. Prevents Ulcers
Due to its antibacterial properties, Amla is a great way of preventing ulcers. They reduce the acidity level in the body and thus avoid the formation of ulcers. Additionally, mouth ulcers can be caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. As Indian gooseberries are rich in vitamin C, they can provide relief from ulcers.
16. High In Digestive Fiber
Amla is high in fiber, water content, and has anti-inflammatory properties (6). Fiber is essential for healthy bowel movements. It is also necessary for the secretion of gastric and digestive juices. Thus, Amla is great for the entire digestive process.
17. Helps in Gall Bladder Stones
Extra cholesterol is the primary cause of gall bladder stones. Vitamin C converts the cholesterol into bile in the liver. Consuming Amla regularly reduces the chances of a build-up of cholesterol as well as the likelihood of any pesky gallstones. It also keeps the gallbladder functioning well and in perfect health.
It reduces the level of acid in the stomach and combats stomach inflammation. It also keeps the liver in check and flushes out unhealthy toxins.
19. Prevents Jaundice
Because of its antibacterial nature, Amla prevents infections like jaundice and scurvy (12). Consuming Amla on a daily basis in the liquid form is the most efficient way to fight off these infections.
20. Reduces The Risk Of Cancer
Because Amla is rich in antioxidants, it has various medical applications. Superoxide dismutase, which fights free radicals and reduces cell damage, acts as a potent tool in the prevention of cancer.
21. Makes Skin Glow
Because it’s packed with vitamin C, Amla gives your skin a smooth and youthful look. It is known to exfoliate skin and remove dead skin cells. Amla juice can also be used as a face mask.
How to use – Simply leave it on your skin for 30 minutes and wash it off.
22. Brightens Skin
Amla is effective for lightening the skin because of Vitamin C. Chop up a few pieces of Amla and blend it till it forms a smooth paste.
Items Needed – Half a papaya, Amla paste, Honey
How to use –
- Mash a few pieces of papaya in a bowl.
- Add half a teaspoon of Amla paste and half a teaspoon of honey to it.
- Mix well till the paste is smooth.
- Apply and leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse it off with warm water.
23. Reduces Pigmentation
Amla has been known to reduce pigmentation. Some of the most popular face packs that use Amla are :
i. Amla Scrub – This is suitable for people with dry and normal skin.
Items Needed – Tamarind Paste, Amla Powder
How to use –
- Add one teaspoon of tamarind paste to one teaspoon of Amla powder and mix well.
- Apply to the face with your fingertips. Gently massage into the skin in a circular motion.
- Rinse with warm water after 10 minutes.
ii. Amla And Avocado Pack – This is suitable for people with dry skin.
Items Needed – Amla paste, An avocado
How to use –
- Mix a tablespoon of Amla powder in water to form a smooth paste.
- To this, add two tablespoons of avocado pulp.
- Mix well and apply it to your face.
- After 20 minutes, rinse with warm water.
iii. Amla Facial – This is suitable for people with dry and oily skin.
Items Needed – Yogurt, Honey, Amla paste
How to use –
- Mix two tablespoons of yogurt with one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of Amla paste.
- Apply to your face. Rinse after 20 minutes.
iv. Amla Anti-Aging Mask – This is suitable for people with oily skin.
Items Needed – Tea leaves, Honey, Amla paste
How to use –
- Boil and strain tea leaves and let the water cool down.
- Add two tablespoons of tea water and one tablespoon of honey to Amla paste.
- Apply and wash with warm water after 10 minutes.
24. Prevents Lice
Amla oil is an effective treatment for lice. Just soak Amla in water and leave it on overnight. Mash them to make a soapy paste. Use this paste to wash your hair. This will help to get rid of the lice. Regularly using Amla oil will help moisturize the scalp and keep dandruff at bay.
25. Prevents Greying Of Hair
If applied to the scalp regularly, Amla can help retain your hair’s natural color and prevent it from greying.
26. Helps Increase Hair Growth
Amla oil, if regularly applied to the hair, nourishes the scalp and roots and promotes the growth of long and healthy hair. There are some packs for this:
i. Amla Hair Masks – Strengthening Pack
Items Needed – Amla powder, Yogurt, Honey
How to use –
- Mix two tablespoons of Amla powder with one tablespoon of yogurt and one tablespoon of honey in water.
- Apply to the hair strands and roots. Rinse with warm water after 30 minutes.
ii. Anti Dandruff Pack
Items Needed – Amla powder, Shikakai powder, Yogurt
How to use –
- Take two teaspoons of Amla and shikakai powder in a bowl.
- Add two tablespoons of yogurt to form a paste and apply it to your hair.
- Wash after 15 minutes with a mild shampoo.