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Amla: medicinal Food and Source of High Quality Vitamin C

The Amla berry (Emblica officinalis) is a traditional food and medicine that inspires awe in the mind of the serious herbalist due to its many known nutritional and medicinal benefits and uses.

Amla has long been recognized as a famous member of the myrobalan family of fruits and grows into a small or middle-sized deciduous tree with feathery leaves. The juicy green and fleshy fruit grows to over 2-3 centimeters six soft-defined ridges and six seeds.

1 Amla berries are wild-crafted and gathered in the foot hills of the Himalayan regions of Asia and they are also often cultivated in groves in many regions of India. Amla berries have the highest amount of naturally occurring vitamin C of any ripe fruit in the world used as a traditional food. Numerous studies conducted on Amla fruit suggest that it has anti-viral properties and also functions as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent.

2 The gelatinous plum-sized Amla fruit contains naturally occurring vitamin, heatstable vitamin C.

3 A clinical study on patients with pulmonary tuberculosis showed that the vitamin C contained in Amla berries was better assimilated than synthetic vitamin C.

4 Further research of contemporary and traditional medical literature indicates that Amla either in combination with other herbs or alone has been useful in the amelioration of colds, warts, skin afflictions, influenza, anemia, diabetes, lung conditions, elevated cholesterol and as an immune restorative in cancer conditions.

5 Experiments conducted at the Niwa Institute of Immunology in Japan have shown Amla to be a potent scavenger of free radicals, the stress-related reactive oxygen-based ions which clutter up an unhealthy body.
The list of traditional medicinal uses for Amla berries is nearly endless. Amla berries are also enjoyed as a food and eaten like strawberries with cream or as an ingredient in sherbets and other confections. Amla is also used traditionally in cosmetics such as shampoos and hair conditioners. Amla forms the base for the most popular ancient herbal restorative formula in the world, known as Chayavan Prash. Chayavan Prash is an herbal gel or paste that contains mainly Amla berries with other herbal ingredients and is used daily by hundreds of millions of Asians as a general panacea tonic for the entire family. Sometimes the Amla berries are concentrated into a full-spectrum extract with a high amount of naturally occurring vitamin C and associated vitamin C factors and bioflavonoids such as ellagic acid, rutin, hesperidin, and quercitin.

1. Jain, S.K., Medicianl Plants, New Delhi, National Book Trust, 1968. 2. Udupa, K.N., Ayurveda for Promotion of Health, Journal of Ayurveda, Vol. 3, Jan.-Mar., 1985. 3. Thakkur, Chandrasekkar, Introduction to Ayurveda, Bombay, Ancient Wis. Pub.,
4. Puri, H.S., An Ancient Preparation for Respiratory Diseases, Drug Research Jour.,
pp. 15-16, 1970.
5. Tarasa, T.L., Effects of Chayavan Prash, Jour. Research Ayur., SID (3), 1970.
6. Asmawi et al. Anti-inflammatory activities of Emblica offcicinalis, Jorn. Pharm. Paharmacol; vol. 45 (6); pg 581-584, June, 1993.
7. Jacob, Panday, Kapoor & Saroja, Effect of the Indian Gooseberry (Amla) on
serum cholesterol levels in men aged 35-55 years, European Jorn. Clin. Nutrit.,
Vol 42, pgs 939-944, 1988.
8. Bhattacharya, A., Antioxidant activity of tannoid principles of Emblica officinalis (amla) in chronic stress induced changes in rat brain., Drug Research & Dev. Ctr.,
Calcutta, 1994.