Amla or Amalaki can be said as the most used Ayurvedic ingredient. It is both a food and medicine. The little fruit is stuffed with innumerable health benefits that can ever be imagined. The word Amla refers to sour, which is its predominant taste. Its botanical name is Emblica officinalis or Phyllanthus emblica.
Hindi name: Amla
English name: Indian Gooseberry
Telugu name: Usiri Kaya, Usheeri Kayi,
Tamil name: Nellikkai
Malayalam and Kannada name: Nelli
Farsi name: Amlaj
Amalki – having sour taste
Dhatri –takes care of the patient like a mother.
Shriphala fruit is auspicious
Amrutaphala – As good as nector.
Vayastha, Vayasya – anti aging
Sheetaphala – has coolant property
Jvaraghna – Group of herbs that are useful in fever
Kasaghna – Group of herbs that are useful in cough, cold
Virechanopaga – Group of herbs that are useful to induce purgation.
Kushtaghna – Group of herbs that are useful in skin diseases
Vayasthapana – Anti aging group of herbs
As per Charaka, it is one of those ingredients, that can be taken on daily basis. (Pathya). (Reference: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5/12)
विद्यादामलके सर्वान् रसांल्लवणवर्जितान्||१४७||
रूक्षं स्वादु कषायाम्लं कफपित्तहरं परम्|
vidyādāmalake sarvān rasāṃllavaṇavarjitān||147||
rūkṣaṃ svādu kaṣāyāmlaṃ kaphapittaharaṃ param| – Charaka Sutrasthana 27
Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) contains all tastes except salt
Rooksha – dry
Swadu – sweet
Kashaya – astringent
Balances Kapha and Pitta.
Sushruta Samhita: Amalakyadi, Parushakadi and Triphala group of herbs.
Vagbhata: Parushakadi group of herbs.
Ancient interesting facts about Amla:
In Vedic period, it was added into bathing water. Charaka has mentioned Amalaki as the best among anti aging herbs.
Amalaki has sour as the main taste. Usually sour taste increases Pitta but Amla balances Pitta.
Though amla has a little sweet taste, it is used as an ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines like Mehari Choorna, Nishamalaki Choorna etc.
Amla is the main ingredient of Chyawanprash.
Amalaki contains five tastes excluding salt taste.
Distribution: It is available naturally or cultivated throughout Tropical parts of India.
Amla – medicinal qualities:
Guna – qualities – Guru – heaviness, Sheeta – coolant
Rasa (taste) – Has five tastes. – sour, sweet, bitter, astringent and pungent (all the five tastes, excluding salt). Sour is dominant taste.
Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion): Madhura (sweet)
Veerya (potency): Sheeta (cold)
Effect on Tridosha: Tridoshahara – It balances all the three Doshas.
Vayasthapana – Of all the anti aging herbs – Amla is the best.
Chakshushya – good for eyes, improves vision power
Sarvadoshaghna – Balances Vata, Pitta and kapha
It balances Vata due to its sour taste
It balances Pitta dosha due to its sweetness and coldness
It balances Kapha dosha due to dryness and astringent properties.
It is quite similar to Haritaki in qualities.
Raktapittaghna – useful in bleeding disorders.
Pramehaghna – Useful in diabetes and urinary tract disorders.
Vrushya – aphrodisiac
Rasayana – anti aging, rejuvenative
Kanthya – useful in throat diseases, improves voice, good for throat.
Hrudya – good for heart
Daahahara – relieves burning sensation
Jvarahara – useful in fever
Rasayana – anti aging, rejuvenative
Amalaki churna is used in preparing a type of salt called Vida Lavana
The Amla seed kernel is sweet and astringent. It is
Vrushya – natural aphrodisiac
Pradara – uterine bleeding disorders such as menorrhagia, metrorrhagia etc
Chardi – vomiting
Balances Vata and Pitta
Kasahara – relieves cold and cough
But seed kernel should be avoided during excessive diarrhea, abdominal colic, purpueral disorders and in pure Vata conditions.
Amla side effects:
There are no actual side effects. It is safe in children, pregnancy and lactation.
But just that it is a natural coolant, some people with cold, cough may observe that the symptoms are worsening, if they are eating Amla fruit or taking Amla powder alone.
How to eat Amalaki based on your body type
Amla juice benefits –
The juice extract of amla fruit is used for grinding with other herbs in preparation of Amlapittantak Lauh, a medicine used in gastritis.
Amla juice for oral consumption:
The best way to consume amla is to eat it afresh. If you are not comfortable with that, you can also crush its pulp to extract juice and drink it. Dose for such extracted juice is – 5- 10 ml per day.
Q: Can we drink amla juice early morning on empty stomach? if yes should I drink with warm or normal water ? How many Amla should be used to extract its juice?
A: you can drink amla juice in the morning. You can mix equal amounts of water before drinking. It can be consumed on empty stomach. But after taking this, avoid coffee / tea / milk for at least 45 minutes.
The number of amla to be used depends on the size. Ideally 5 ml (1 teaspoon) in the morning is good.
If you are considering market available Amla juice, then follow the guidelines on the label to dilute it and for dosage. If they contain added preservative, it is best to limit it to few weeks time.
Is frozen amla as good as fresh amla?
Any fruit, which is fresh is always better. However, due to seasonality of the Amla fruit, it is not available all throughout the year. Hence, for the sake of convenience, it can be frozen and used as and when required. I would say, it is not as good as fresh amla, but still good enough to use.
Is Amla incompatible with milk?
Yes, all sour foods and herbs, including amalaki, are incompatible with milk, because Amla curdles it.
Solution? You need to give at least 30 minutes gap between Amla and milk. For example, if you are prescribed Amla capsule, along with Turmeric capsule with milk, then take Amla capsule before food, have food, and then take turmeric capsule with milk. This will ensure that the milk and amla are separated.
Use of Amla in Rasayana – anti ageing therapy:
Amla is extensively used in many Ayuredic anti ageing medicines such as Brahma Rasayana, Chyawanprash etc. Amla fruit alone is also an excellent anti ageing recipe.
Charaka explains usage of amla fruit in following manner for rejuvenation benefits:
Source: Charaka Chikitsa Sthana, 1.3/9-14
- A person among the cows, living on cow milk for one year mentally reciting Savitri Mantra with Celibacy (Brahmacharya) and controlled senses should at the end of the year,
- On a suitable day of the white fortnight (15 days, leading to full moon day) of Pushya (January- February), Magha (February- March) or Phalguna (March-April), observe fast for 3 days and
- Enter into a garden of Amalaki – Indian gooseberry fruit – Emblica officinalis.
- He should then climb upon an Amalaki tree laden with big fruits.
- Holding one such fruit in hand, he should stay there reciting Brahma Mantra (Omkara chanting) till the fruit gets impregnated with Amruta (Ambrosia).
- Ambrosia will come to that fruit for a moment due to the Sacred effect of Mantra, these fruits become sweet like sugar and honey in taste, unctuous and soft.
- Long life with youthfulness regained, depending on number of Amla fruits he takes in this process.
- He becomes brilliant, like the Gods. He will be blessed with Shree (auspiciousness), the Vedas (knowledge) and Vak (Divine oration power) .