What is Amla? - Health Benefits, Uses for Hair and Skin, and Ways to Eat the Indian Gooseberry
What is Amla?
Amla is a deciduous tree that grows up to 20 to 30 feet high. Its botanical name is Phyllanthus emblica or Emblica officinalis. The tree is usually found in India and Nepal and this is why it is often referred to as the Indian or Nepalese gooseberry.
The word "amla" is derived from the Sanskrit word "amlaki". The tree is best known for its round, small and green fruit. The fruit has a sour and bitter taste. Except for the seed, all parts of the amla fruit are edible.
A major ingredient in most ayurvedic products, especially the Chyavanprash and the Triphala churna, amla is a potent fruit known for promoting health and longevity.
Importance of Amla in Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, regular consumption of amla balances all three doshas, that is, vata, pitta, and kapha. Its cooling properties balance both vata and pitta, whereas its drying properties have a balancing effect on the kapha dosha. In ancient Ayurveda practice, amla is used for promoting longevity, improving digestion, purifying blood, strengthening the heart, stimulating hair growth, enhancing concentration and memory, and alleviating respiratory problems.
Needless to say that in Ayurveda, amla is considered to be one of most powerful herbs for improving health and well-being. This is why it is a major part of the Triphala Churna, which is a combination of three of the most potent herbs, including amla. It is also the basis of the Ayurvedica Chyavanprash, a medicinal concoction, which is believed to protect the individual from all diseases and disorders.
Do you use amla?
Quick Facts about Amla
- Amla is the richest source of Vitamin C.
- It has beneficial effects on each and every organ of the body.
- It is well-known ingredient in hair growth products.
- It can be used as a fresh fruit, as juice, in capsules, in dried form as well as a powder.
Health Benefits of Amla
Amla is rich in vitamin C. A glass of amla juice contains twenty times more vitamin C than a glass of fresh orange juice. So, you can easily see why amla is so revered in Ayurveda. It is the richest source of vitamin C.
The fruit is also rich in proteins and fibers. It contains minerals such as iron, calcium, and phosphorus besides vitamins A and B.
The rich vitamin C content of this fruit makes it one of the strongest immune boosters available to mankind. This means that regular intake of amla will prevent you from all kinds of bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
Its cooling properties make it ideal for treating all kinds of skin disorders. So, if you are looking for a natural cure for your acne, give amla a try. It slows down the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
The fruit promotes longevity and slows down the aging process. Its strong antioxidant properties have a protective effect on your heart, lungs, brain, and skin.
Amla is considered to have a beneficial effect on respiratory disorders as well. It has been found to alleviate asthma symptoms.
Due to its beneficial effects on the secretion of insulin, amla is believed to control blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Its rich chromium content is another reason why it is good for diabetics.
It works as a wonderful natural laxative for those with constipation. Amla strengthens the digestive system and improves its ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. The fruit is good for decreasing acidity. It is also an excellent liver tonic.
Amla is also considered to have a beneficial effect on your cardiovascular system. It strengthens the heart muscles, lowers cholesterol, and controls hypertension.
Regular consumption of amla juice or powder also purifies blood. Its rich vitamin C content promotes the absorption of iron. This is why it is beneficial in cases of anemia.
The rich antioxidant properties of amla make it a wonderful fruit for the brain. It prevents the cells of the brain from free radical damage, improves concentration and memory, and may prevent diseases such a dementia and Alzheimer's.
The health benefits of amla also extend to the reproductive system in both men and women. In women, it regularizes their monthly periods and strengthens the uterus. In men, amla increases the potency and sperm count.
Amla is also believed to improve eyesight and prevents the occurrence of all age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration. As part of triphala, it is used as an eye-wash to relax and comfort eyes as well as improve vision.
The benefits of amla are endless and the list can actually go on and on. In short, one can say, that if you want to include a healthy herb in your diet, include amla. Its manifold benefits will surely not disappoint you in any way.
Amla beauty benefits for hair and skin
Regular intake of amla can cure acne and pimples and prevent further breakouts. The amla extract can also be applied directly to the face to reduce pimples and oiliness and give a glow to the skin.
However, its major benefits are for the hair. Indian markets are flooded with hair products containing amla extract. You will find amla hair oil, shampoos and hair packs freely available in India.
Regular use of amla strengthens the hair follicles, stimulates hair growth, keeps dandruff away, straightens your hair, prevents split ends and nourishes your hair. It also prevents premature graying of hair and stops hair loss.
The best way to use amla for hair is to make a home-made shampoo. Dried amla is usually used for this purpose. It is boiled along with reetha (soapnuts) and shikakai for about 10 minutes in plain water.
The contents are allowed to steep in this water overnight or for about eight hours. The liquid can then be drained and used for washing hair.
How to use amla to enjoy its many benefits
The best way to use amla is to consume its fresh juice. However, since this can be bitter and sour, most people may not be able to handle it.
A wonderful quality of amla is that heat or drying does not reduce its nutritional properties. This is why pieces of fresh amla can be added to your cooked vegetables.
Amla pickles and chutneys is another wonderful way to include this wonderful fruit in your regular diet. Other popular ways to consume this wonderful fruit is in the form of candies, sweets or murabba. Since these are sweet in taste, many people prefer consuming this fruit in these forms.
Include amla in your regular diet and beauty routine
Now that you know about the many benefits of amla for health, hair and skin, make sure to include it in your daily routine. It's healthy and nutritious content will not only be beneficial for your health but also for the well-being and long life of your children.
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