Amla or Amalaki can be said as the most used Ayurvedic ingredient. It is both a food and medicine. This small 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, Awla, Anwala, ambala, amlika, anwala.
English name: Indian Gooseberry
Telugu name: Usiri Kaya, Usheeri Kayi, amalakamu, nelli, peddausiri, putlayusirika, usiri,usirikayi.
Tamil name: Nellikkai, perunelli, nellikaay.
Malayalam and Kannada name: Nelli
Farsi name: Amlaj
Kannada name – Nelli, Nelli Kayi, Bettada Nelli Kayi
Malayalam name – Nelli, nellikai.
Urdu name – Aamla, amal khushk.
Arabic name – Amlakhushk.
Marathi: Aouli, avalkati, avil, avla.
How to consume amla powder, fruit and murabba?
If fresh Amla fruit is available, then you can eat it as such, or make salads, chutney, pickle with it and enjoy the fresh Amla fruit in different ways. If fresh Amla is not available, then Amla powder can be consumed.
How To consume Amla Powder?
If you wish to take Amla, then consuming chyawnaprash is a good way. But for some reason, if you do not like chyawanprash, you can make Amla recipes along with different liquids, based on your body type, body needs, disease conditions and Dosha imbalance.
Before food or after food?
Amla is well tolerated both ways. If the digestion strength is very good, then it can be taken before food.
Amla for Vata balance
If you have Vata imbalance, like joint diseases, gas trouble, then Amla can be taken along with Sesame oil (gingelly oil). The quantity can be – one teaspoon of amla with two teaspoons of sesame oil. If you do not like the taste of sesame oil, you can make a paste of amla powder and sesame oil and swallow it with hot water.
1 teaspoon of dried gooseberry powder is mixed with a teaspoon of sesame oil and consumed with lukewarm water. This is because, usually after consuming sesame oil, lukewarm water is advised for better digestion.
Evening is the time when Vata is more dominant. So, to balance Vata Dosha, this remedy can be taken in the evening.
If needed, 100 grams of dry Amla powder can be made into a combination with 100 ml of sesame oil. Mixed thoroughly and store it in a glass jar. Whenever required, this in 1 – 2 teaspoons dose can be consumed.
Amla for Pitta balance
If you want to achieve Pitta balance, if you have digestion problems, or some skin related issues like acne, you can have Amla along with ghee (clarified butter). The dose can be – one teaspoon of Amla churna with one teaspoon of clarified butter. Follow it up with a glass of hot water.
1 teaspoon of dried gooseberry powder is mixed with a teaspoon of ghee and consumed with lukewarm water. This is because, usually after consuming ghee, lukewarm water is advised for better digestion.
Because ghee and Amla both are Pitta balancing, afternoon is the best time to administer this remedy. Afternoon is the time of Pitta dominance.
If needed, 100 grams of dry Amla powder can be made into a combination with 100 grams of ghee. Mixed thoroughly and stored in a glass jar. Whenever required, this – in 1 – 2 teaspoons dose can be consumed.
Keep in mind that if taken in excess, Amla with ghee can cause slight weight gain.
Another way to take Amla powder for Pitta is to take it along with jaggery. Learn how to do it – Amla Home remedy for Pitta
Some people boil its powder with jaggery and consume. This is also a very valid method of intake.
Amla for Kapha balance
For Kapha balance, for diseases like obesity, respiratory diseases etc, you may have Amla churna along with honey.
If none of these are available, you can simply add amla powder into water and drink it as such.
So in one way or the other, make sure to include some Amla in your diet.
Amalaki with honey causes weight loss. This remedy is good for obese persons.
Morning is the time when Kapha is most dominant. If one has high Kapha and desires to take Amlaki, then morning is the best time to take it along with honey.
If needed, 100 grams of dry Amla powder can be made into a combination with 100 grams of honey. Mixed thoroughly and store in a glass jar. Whenever required, this – in 1 – 2 teaspoons per day dose can be consumed.
Amla for Pitta and Kapha Dosha –
Amla is made into a combination with other two herbs – Haritaki and Vibhitaki – this combination is called Triphala. Triphala balances Pitta and Kapha Dosha.
Amla for skin and eye health
Amla for improving skin qualities and complexion –
A teaspoon of Amla is mixed with half a strand of saffron and consumed with water.
A teaspoon of Amla is mixed with quarter teaspoon of turmeric and consumed with water.
Amla for eye improvement –
Compared to Dhatri, Triphala is more effective in improving eye sight. Hence, it makes sense to administer Triphala than Amalaki for good eye sight.
Amla powder for grey hairs, respiratory health
Amla powder for grey hairs –
Equal parts of Gooseberry powder and Bhringaraj powder are mixed. This is administered in a dose of half a teaspoon 2 times a day after food with water for a month’s time.
Amla powder for respiratory health –
Amla powder with cinnamon and turmeric is good for respiratory health.
Amla with ghee and turmeric is good for allergic rhinitis and hives
Amla chatpata is another combination made out of Amla with spices like cinnamon, ginger and jaggery.
Consuming Amla during winter –
Because it is a natural coolant, it can cause increased dryness of skin and hair. To counter this effect, it is consumed along with sesame oil.
Pickle made with a few fruits of Amla pulp slices mixed with 1 tablespoon of mustard oil with a little salt, curry leaves, green chilli (optional) and cumin seeds is useful to improve digestion strength.
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.
The fruits of gooseberry / Emblica officinalis has sweetness as its primary taste and sourness and astringent as secondary tastes.
Also known as dhAtriphala, the gooseberry fruits is tridoSha pacifying. By the virtue of its sourness, it addresses the increased vAta and by the virtue of its cold potency and sweetish taste it appeases the aggravated pitta. The aggravated kapha gets addressed by the qualities of dryness and astringent taste of the Embilica officinalis fruits.
Gooseberry fruits are beneficial in patients with urinary ailments like dysuria and is also wholesome to be consumed as such in patients of prameha.
It relieves constipated bowels when taken regularly. Gooseberries act as a tonic in maintaining the vision, physical strength, complexion of skin, and eroticism.
It is one of the intelligence promoter widely used in the form of rasAyana chikitsa.
AmalakI is beneficial to patients with itching sensation, skin diseases, fever, uncontrolled thirst, burning sensation within the channels of the body, anorexia etc.
The fresh juice and raw fruits of AmalakI is cold in potency, tastier to drink, sweetish in taste, alleviates kapha doSha, reduces fever and burning sensation. It promotes virility and increases the lifespan of the individual when taken in the prescribed format of dosages and rasayana therapy modality.
For weight loss, weight gain
Amla being rich in nutrients and anti oxidants is useful in weight loss. For this purpose, its powder – half a teaspoon 2 times a day before food is advised along with a teaspoon of honey. Honey being anti kapha, is useful in weight loss and also it potentiates the effect of amla.
For weight gain –
If amla powder is to be consumed, a teaspoon of it is mixed with a teaspoon of ghee and gulped with a cup of lukewarm water. If amla fruit is consumed for weight gain, then a teaspoon of ghee is consumed after eating amla, then a cup of hot water is drunk. If it is taken along with honey, then it does not cause weight gain.
Amalki with Aloe vera juice – for liver health, radiant skin and long hair.
Gooseberry, mint leaves and jaggery in hot water – useful to have a calm stomach, useful in acid peptic disorders.
Amla candy – usually made with sugar or jaggery. It is good for gastritis, to gain weight and to cool down the body during summer.
Amla is mixed with flours of black gram, green gram etc to prepare several Indian dishes such as Vada. (read how to prepare Amalaki Vada)
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.
It is available naturally or cultivated throughout Tropical parts of India.
Vayasthapana – Of all the anti aging herbs – Amla is the best.
Chakshushya – good for eyes, improves vision
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
Amla side effects
Being a natural coolant, amla, in some people can increase urine frequency. For them, it is best to take amla with a pinch of sandalwood powder. This should resolve the problem.
It is safe in children, during pregnancy and lactation.
But because it is a natural coolant, some people with cold or cough may observe that the symptoms are worsening, if they are eating Amla fruit or taking Amla powder alone.
Consuming excess of Amla fruits – More than 4 per day can cause skin dryness in some people. Some people alsofeel dryness of hair due to this. Dryness is associated with coldness. Hence, taking excess of amla can cause dryness. For such people, it is best to take it along with a little ghee or oil.
Read related: How to eat Amalaki based on your body type
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 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.
Read related: Amla remedy for excess body heat
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 a gap of at least 30 minutes between intake 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.
Read related – How to make Amla hair oil
Is milk to be avoided with Amla? In Astanga Hridaya, in vajikarana chapter, Vagbhata prescribes amla powder with milk.
In Ashtanga Hrudaya, Uttaratantra, Vajikarana Chapter (40th chapter) – 27th verse, there is a reference of usage of long pepper, amla, processed with amla juice, sugar candy and honey. – Here, milk is not used in processing the product, but is only used as Anupana. Moreover, by processing it with honey and sugar candy, the product would be sweet than sour. Hence, milk as after drink can be substantiated.
Is amla hepato-toxic? I read in Wikipedia that hidrolizable tannins can be hepatotoxic.
Tannins only in a very high dose, amounting to 20-30 amla fruits per day would be toxic. But no one takes that amount of amla in a single dose.
Are amla capsules and tablets as effective as powder?
Amalaki powder gets absorbed and shows effect very quickly than tablets and capsules. More often capsules contain only selected extracts of the fruit rather than the whole herb.
Ayurveda recommends whole herb than extracts.
Can Amla be taken throughout the year?
Yes. But it is always best to give a break once in a while, when using any Ayurvedic herb. If one is taking this fruit throughout the year, because it is a coolant, consider stopping it during winter.
Does amla cause any type of bleeding?
No. Usually coolant herbs are styptic in nature. Amla is a coolant fruit. This is why, it is used in bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, menorrhagia. In children with repeated nasal bleeding, amla hair oil is advised for the same reason.
Q: Do Amla candy and Amla ka murabba has same benefits as Amla powder? Can I take them on empty stomach in the morning with luke warm honey-lemon water? Or what is the best time to take it?
A: I assume that Amla candy is Amla + sugar. Murabba is also made with amla fruits dipped in sugar syrup. So, I think they both should be similar. Morning or afternoon, one hour before food is the best time to take it. You can take it with honey-lemon water.
Q: Is Amla chutney recipe a great way to consume Amla?
A: Yes it is. You can make Chutney with Amla pulp paste by adding a few spices and reap its benefits.
Q: What are the health benefits of amla juice?
A: Amla juice is made with fresh fruits with sweetening agents. It helps to balance Pitta and useful to relieve burning sensation. Other than this, it contains all the inherent benefits of Amalaki.
Q: Is eating Amla during pregnancy good?
A: As per Ayurveda, Amla can be consumed during pregnancy. But make sure that the powder or fruit that you collect from market is of very good quality.
Can Amla murabba be eaten on empty stomach?
Usually those substances that cause stomach irritation are advised to be taken after food. But in case of Murabba, Amla, though having sour taste, is soothing to stomach, so is the sugar syrup used in Murabba. Hence, it can be taken on empty stomach / before food.
Does drinking Amla juice create weakness and impotence?
No. In fact, Amla juice is indicated to improve strength and sexual power.
Use of Amla in Rasayana
Amla is extensively used in many Ayurvedic 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 the 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) .
Amla for skin diseases
Charaka Chikitsa Sthana 7/70
Administration of Lelitaka (purified Sulphur) along with the with the juice of Amla together with honey is the remedy par excellence for the cure of 18 types of Kustha (skin diseases).
Amla in Takradhara
Use of Amla in Takradhara procedure:
Takradhara is a traditional Ayurvedic procedure used for the treatment of psoriasis, hypertension etc. Here, medicated buttermilk is poured over a particular body part for a specified period of time.
To prepare the medicated buttermilk (Takra), amla is used, as below.
- The powder of Amalaki and water are taken in the mentioned proportions
- They are heated on moderate fire on the stove until 1/6th of water remains (i.e. until 38 tola – 456 grams)
- The contents are filtered
- To this equal quantity of sour buttermilk – 38 tola (456 grams) is added
- The medicine for Takra Dhara is ready for use
- Read more about methodology and benefits of Takradhara treatment
Amla for dysuria
Tree turmeric (Daruharidra) with the juice of Amalaki – Phyllanthus emblica mixed with honey is useful in curing Paittika type of Dysuria. – Charaka Chikitsa Sthana 26/53
Amla during periods
During periods, Vata and Pitta Dosha can go up. Amla balances both these two Doshas, hence very useful during periods. But if the bleeding is less or periods are occurring late (once in more than six weeks), then it is best to avoid Amla.
Amla remedies for grey hair
(consult your doctor for the right advice)
- Amla with Coconut Oil: 1 cup coconut oil + 2 tbsp amla powder.
Boil coconut oil in a pan and add this powder to it. Heat it till this mixture turns dark brown. Store this oil in a bottle and use regularly.
- Amla With Almond Oil: heat almond oil and add this powder to it. Allow it to boil until it becomes dark in color. Let this oil cool and then pour it into a bottle.
- Amla With Lemon Juice: Mix gooseberry powder with a few drops of lemon juice and 1 tbsp of curd to make a smooth paste. Apply this paste on the scalp and leave for 45 minutes. Wash it off with warm water. Repeat this remedy every alternate day until you see positive results
Can I leave amla powder on hair overnight?
It may cause dryness of hair.
If you wish to leave amla powder on hair, better to make a paste with sesame oil or coconut oil, Apply it on hair. Next day, morning, wash the hair. This way, there will not be dryness of hair and you will benefit due to the good effects of Amla.
The same thing can be done with other herbs that benefit hair – such as hibiscus flower powder or Bhringaraja or wild indigo.
Seed kernel qualities
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.
Laghu – light to digest
Kashaya – astringent
Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha
Madakrut – can cause intoxication on excess use.
useful in –
Trut – excess thirst
Chardi – vomiting
Ancient interesting facts about Amla
In Vedic period, it was added to bathing water. Charaka has mentioned Amalaki as the best among anti aging herbs.
Amalaki has sourness as its main taste. Usually sour taste increases Pitta but Amla balances Pitta.
Though amla has a slight 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.
Amalki, Amalaki – having sour taste
Dhatri – takes care of the patient like a mother
Shriphala fruit is auspicious
Amrutaphala – As good as nectar
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 a daily basis. (Pathya). (Reference: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5/12)
Research on Amla juice –
In a clinical trial, 30 obese persons, randomly selected were administered 20 ml of fresh fruit juice of Emblica officinalis on empty stomach, 2 times a day mixed with water. Duration of study was 45 days. Significant change in the body weight was noted. (1)
Anti cancer activity of Phyllanthus emblica (2)
The flavonoid quercetin of Amla is known to to attenuate tumor growth in multiple animal models. This includes xenograft model of leukemia and pancreatic cancer
S. Cheng, N. Gao, Z. Zhang et al., “Quercetin induces tumor-selective apoptosis through downregulation of Mcl-1 and activation of Bax,” Clinical Cancer Research, vol. 16, no. 23, pp. 5679–5691, 2010.
Anti diabetic activity – Amla was studied to demonstrate hypoglycemic activity in an animal experimental research study(3)
Analgesic Effect of Indian Gooseberry (Emblica officinalis Fruit) Extracts on Postoperative and Neuropathic Pain in Rats (4)
Toxicological Evaluation of Emblica officinalis Fruit Extract and its Anti-inflammatory and Free Radical Scavenging Properties (5)
Amla Pooja (worship)
Amla Navami (Awla navami) is the 9th day of Karthika Month of Hindu calendar. It is between October – november. It is the same month in which Deepavali – festival of light is celebrated.
During this day, Amla tree is worshipped along with friends and family. This festival is also known as Akshaya Navami. It is more celebrated in mid and northen part of India.
This worship is conducted to seek blessings to beget children and family peace.
This is the date in which God Sri Krishna stopped all the childhood activities. This date is when the Dwapara Yug started. This is the date in which God Vishnu killed a demon called Kushmandaka. For this reason, during this festival, Kushmanda (Ash gourd) is distributed for free to all. Amla itself is considered as God Vishnu. Hence, worship is offered to this tree.
Tulsi Pooja – Worship to Holy Basil is conducted on 12th day of Karthika month. During this worship, the Tulsi plant is decorated with Amla fruits.
This is the day in which Tulsi married Saligrama or Vishnu Avatar.
Amla with Ashwagandha
Both Ashwagandha and amla are potential ingredients in ayurveda which is used in the preparation of several formulation. Both these have a wide range of actions on the body. Thus its action on the body varies between individuals.
Here it is to be noted that Amla juice can be taken on daily basis as the constitution easily suits with the internal body system at its best. Ashwagandha on the other hand is powerful in action and hence it shall be used only for a limited period of time.
Basically Ashwagandha is used to relieve stress and secondly as an aphrodisiac. Most of the formulations in Ayurveda which is meant for treating mental conditions have ashwagandha as one of the prime ingredients. When used as an aphrodisiac it shall be used by those above 23 years of age as on an average it is only after this age that means body becomes suitable enough to handle the action of ashwagandha. When both Ashwagandha and amla are used together, ashwagandha acts as a chief ingredient and amla acts as a medium and catalyst in enhancing the action of ashwagandha.