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'Amla' (Anwla, Awla) or the Indian Gooseberry in English, is an Indian herb that's popularly regarded as the "Mother of all herbs" in Ayurveda. One of the best available sources of Vitamin C to mankind, Amla has 20 times the Vitamin C content of grapefruit and 15 times that of lemon!!
Not hard to guess, why some Ayurveda experts say, that "what Gold is to the minerals, Amla is to the herbs'!! Read on to know the health benefits of this great Indian herb- Amla!
Amla, called amalaki, dhatriphala and vayastha in Sanskrit and Emblica officinalis scientifically, is the most widely used herb in the ayurvedic system of medicine. According to legends, a Rishi named, Chayavana regained his youthfulness because of the specific use of a herbal compound which primarily consisted of amla.
Amla is very rich in Vitamin C, It has 20 times the Vitamin C content of grapefruit and 15 times that of lemon. In dried amla (pieces or powdered), vitamins are retained and protected due to the natural antioxidant properties of the fruit.
The fresh fruit contains more than 80 per cent water besides protein, minerals, carbohydrates and fibre. The mineral and vitamin contents include calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene and vitamin B complex. Even if dried in shade, amla retains much of its vitamin C. The leaves and bark of the tree are rich in tannin.
Taste and Varieties of Amla:
There are two main varieties of amla — one is wild (vanya) and the other is cultivated (gramya). In everday language, these are known as desi or banarasi. The wild amla fruit is small, hard and stony and contains a lot of fibre whereas the other one is big, smooth, fleshy and rich in juicy content. Dry amla is wrinkled and of grey-black colour.
With sourness as the foremost taste, it is at the same time sweet, astringent, bitter and pungent. It is light, dry and cold in effect and the richest source of vitamin C. Laboratory tests show that every 100 gm of fresh amla provides up to 700 mg of this vitamin which is 20 times higher than what is found in an orange.
Uses of Amla:
Amla in the Murabba form can be taken once a day as a Powerful tonic!! It helps in the formation of red blood cells and therefore, also used in treating anaemia. It is used in fever, hyperacidity, peptic ulcer and diseases of the urinary and genital tract. It is also a drug of choice in a number of other ailments such as epistaxis, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, leucorrhoea, menopausal syndrome, general emaciation, hair and eye problems, jaundice, oedema, cough and asthma.
Here are some easy tips to gain its medicinal benefits:
- Hyperacidity: In acute or chronic acidity, simply taking, twice a day, one gram of the powder of dry amla and a little sugar with milk or water gives magical relief.
- Bleeding piles: Being an effective haemostatic agent, the juice of fresh amla, if taken with 250 mg of giloy satva (extract of Tinosporia cordifolia), is an effective remedy for bleeding piles and non-specific epistaxis.
- Burning micturation: Taking 500 mg of turmeric powder with two or three teaspoonsfull of amla juice diluted in a glass of water proves effective in the case of burning sensation after passing urine.
- As a hair tonic: Soak some dried pieces of amla overnight and use them as the last rinse while washing the hair. This filtered water is also used to wash the eyes to prevent or treat allergic conjunctivitis. Amla-enriched oils and shampoos are very popular aids for hair care.
- Amalaki Rasayana: Take half a kg of dry amla powder and stir it in the fresh juice of amla fruits for 21 days. When dried, it becomes a fortified form of amla. This formulation known as Amalaki Rasayana can be taken as a tonic- half to one gm a day with milk throughout the year.
- Amla also serves well in various other forms as murabba, pickle, jam and chutney.