The Wild in Amla! As a child perhaps your imagination was also swayed by tales where enchanted trees and fruits gave superhuman powers to the pure and heroic at heart. Fiction and our wildest dreams are more true than reality, and nowhere is this better seen than in Ayurveda. When it comes to the kingdom of plants, the Amla berry tree fulfills that promise. Officially classified as Indian Gooseberry tree, (Phyllanthus emblica or Emblica officinalis), the Amla or Amalaki plant is a deciduous tree of the Phyllanthaceae family. It is small to medium size with spreading branches. It is a very generous tree, as no part of the Amla plant goes to waste! The fruit, seeds, leaves, root, bark, and flowers are all beneficial and are used in different preparations and carry all kinds of different healing properties. But what really makes up Amla’s balancing power? What is it in this berry that defies our common expectations? The ancient rishi-s, or enlightened seers of India who cognized the universe and lay down Vedic knowledge, explaining every aspect of it on a cosmic as well as minute level, also taught us that in order for us to be happy with healthy bodies, we need to maintain a daily diet that contains six different tastes. According to them, all the food items, whether natural or prepared, that have existed or will exist, are made up of 3 three primary elements that make-up our universe, Soma, Agni, and Marut. When these 3 primal cosmic element come together in different proportions, they create 6 tastes, which are: • Sweet (Madhu) • Sour (Amla) • Salty (Lavan) • Bitter (Tikte) • Astringent (Kashay) • Pungent (Katu) These 6 tastes have a deep effect on our physiologies. They help balance it on the gross and molecular level, as well as on the emotional and spiritual levels. Ayurveda explains that we daily need to ingest food with six existing tastes to maintain a balanced nutrition as well as nurture the various bodily systems. Taste is a critical element as it provides key actions on digestion, the emotions, and the entire body. Tastes also have the capacity to adversely affect certain organs in the body, when used in excess. A little more or less, in am imbalanced manner, can result in disease. But when taken in a balanced manner, they create long-lasting youth and happiness.
Different foods (fresh or prepared) have more or less of these 6 tastes in thousand of combinations. But you guessed it! If there could be one food item that contained all 6, or almost all 6 in a balanced manner, that we could eat all the time, wouldnâ€™t that take care of our health and happiness in an easy and guaranteed manner? Definitely! Mother Nature has given us such a gift: the Amla berry! Out of the possible 6 tastes, Amla berry contains 5, to the exception of salt, which is one of the easier tastes that can be added on. In fact, in India, the Amla berry is sold by peddlars on busy market streets, with a pinch of salt added on, for a quick healthy refreshing snack!
What are the ayurvedic properties of Amla? Based on Ayurvedic principles, Amla has the following properties: - Rasa (taste): Amla is primarily sour (appropriately, the Sanskrit term is Amla) as well as sweet (Madhur), bitter (Tikta), astringent (Kashaya), and pungent (Katu), yet not salty (Lavana). The pungent taste helps to open up the bodyâ€™s channels, astringent taste helps the body absorb what it needs from the food, and bitter taste helps to detoxify. - Veerya (potency): cooling (sheeta) - Vipaka (post-digestive effect or taste developed through digestion): sweet - Guna (qualities): light and dry It is the simultaneous co-existence of these properties that makes Amla so special, but Amlaâ€™s gifts do not stop here. Amla also contains other properties that, in ayurvedic terms, balance all three Doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) simultaneously without imbalancing one or the other. Most herbs will balance one or the other, but may imbalance the third if not taken in proper quantities and with proper combinations. But Amla takes care of all three without any side-effects. Amla is referred to as Dhatri in Sanskrit, which translates to maternal or motherly to the extent that it has a giving/bestowing nature, a beautiful name that supports the highly nurturing characteristics of this enchanting plant. Amla is also generally considered a Rasayana, a substance with anti-aging or rejuvenative properties. Meaning: when prepared properly and consumed regularly, it is an age-defying longevity elixir! Based on the Shaka Vansya Ayurveda (SVA) principles, Amla contains a good amount of Soma, Agni and Marut, the three primary components of Prana, our life-sustaining vibrational energy force. Soma is the raw, cool material that nurtures us (water and earth elements), Agni (fire and water elements) provides the power of transformation of Soma into Ojas, and Marut (space and air elements) translates into the role of circulating energy and intelligence throughout the body.
Amla also contains a good amount of the fire element, Agni, which is balanced by the liquid component of Soma. Amla is a substance (dravya) that is categorized in two ways: 1. Ahara Dravya: a. The dietary material or food value of Amla is primary for nourishment b. Amla as a food material (or any natural food for that matter) works through the way it tastes 2. Aushadha Dravya: a. The medicinal value of a food, herb or substance b. Amlaâ€™s medicinal value works through its qualities, properties, postdigestive effect, as well as its prabhava (unique subtle vibrational effect on the physiology) Since Amla is categorized as both a food and medicine in the primary classic texts on Ayurveda - the Charak Samhita and Sushrut Samhita1 - Amla is therefore regarded as the best of the best amongst rejuvenating herbs and foods. What does Science have to say about Amla vedic properties? Here is what the scientific findings confirm: The health benefits of Amla are vast and varied and range from anti-bacterial, to antidiabetic. May studies are showing that Amla possesses properties that address an extremely long and growing list of ailments. 1.
Protein synthesis: Amla is said to increase protein synthesis thus is useful in cases of hypoglycemia and has an anabolic effect on the body. Also good for strengthening muscles and building lean muscle mass2.
Anti-inflammatory: Research shows the anti-inflammatory activity of extracts from the leaves of the Amla tree3.
Charak Samhita Chapter, Sushrut Samhita Chapter
The Amazing Amla Berry - Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry) - From Rama Kant Mishra.
Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Extracts from Leaves of Phyllanthus emblica, Arja IhantolaVormisto, Jari Summanen, Hannu Kankaanranta, Heikki Vuorela, Zaini M. Asmawi, Eeva Moilanen. 3
Anti-oxidant: Has been found to have long-lasting and broad-spectrum antioxidant activity, which helps to reduce disease and slow the aging process 4.
Scar removal: Scar removal and wound healing based on topical application of Amla to the skin 5 6 .
Hepatoprotection: The ability to prevent damage to the liver. Phyllanthus emblica is a constituent of many hepatoprotective formulations available in market. Research shows Amla extract has produced significant hepatoprotection7.
Free radical scavenging: Experiments conducted have shown Amla to be a potent scavenger of free radicals 8.
Photo-protection: The results of a study suggest that Amla effectively inhibits UVB-induced photo-aging in human skin fibroblast via its strong ROS scavenging ability 910 .
Skin rejuvenation: Amla has long been revered as skin rejuvenator and overall rasayana11.
Emblica cascading antioxidant: a novel natural skin care ingredient. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2002. 4
Trends in aging and skin care: Ayurvedic concepts, Hema Sharma Datta and Rangesh Paramesh, Zydus Cadila, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, Himalaya Health Care, Research and Development, Bangalore, India. 2009. 5
Wound Healing Activity of Topical Application Forms Based on Ayurveda. Hema Sharma Datta, Shankar Kumar Mitra, Bhushan Patwardhan. 2008 6
Hepatoprotective studies on Phyllanthus emblica Linn. and quercetin. Gulati RK, Agarwal S, Agrawal SS. Department of Pharmacology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India. 1995. 7
Free Radicals and Antioxidants in Human Health: Current Status and Future Prospects. TPA Devasagayam, JC Tilak, KK Boloor, Ketaki S Sane, Saroj S Ghaskadbi, RD Lele. 2004. 8
Effect of Emblica officinalis (fruit) against UVB-induced photo-aging in human skin fibroblasts. Mushtaq D. Adila, Peerzada Kaisera, Naresh K. Sattia, Afzal M. Zargarb, Ram A. Vishwakarmaa, Sheikh A. Tasduqa. 2010. 9
Comparative inhibitory properties of some Indian medicinal plant extracts against photosensitization-induced lipid damage. Sayanti Bhattacharyaa, Jaya P. Kamatb, Sandip K. Bandyopadhyaya, Subrata Chattopadhyay. 2008. 10
Rasayana: Ayurvedic Herbs for Longevity and Rejuvenation. H.S. Puri. 2003.
Hair rejuvenation: Effective in hair loss, promotes hair growth, keeping hair shiny and glossy12.
10. Anti-tumor and cancer treatment: Amla has been shown to be good for its antitumor properties13 14 15. 11. Radioprotection: Amla among other natural products is being researched as an approach for locating a potent radioprotector16. 12. Phytoprotection: protection against plant diseases 17. 13. Immunomodulating: Amla is regarded as a traditional immunomodulator and a natural adaptogen18. 14. Gastroprotection: Amla has played a role in the prevention from indomethacin induced gastric ulcers 19. 15. Chemoprotection: Active principles or extracts of Amla have been shown to possess Chemoprotective activities20.
Emblica (Phyllanthus emblica Linn.) Fruit Extract Promotes Proliferation in Dermal Papilla Cells of Human Hair Follicle. S. Luanpitpong, U. Nimmannit, V. Pongrakhananon and P. Chanvorachote, 2011. 12
Synergistic growth inhibitory effects of Phyllanthus emblica and Terminalia bellerica extracts with conventional cytotoxic agents: Doxorubicin and cisplatin against human hepatocellular carcinoma and lung cancer cells. Khosit Pinmai, Sriharut Chunlaratthanabhorn, Chatri Ngamkitidechakul, Noppamas Soonthornchareon, and Chariya Hahnvajanawong. 2008. 13
Ethnopharmacology of Phyllanthus emblica. 1997.
Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn), a wonder berry in the treatment and prevention of cancer. Baliga, Manjeshwar Shrinath; Dsouza, Jason Jerome. 2010. 15
Some novel approaches for radioprotection and the beneficial effect of natural products. Maurya, Dharmendra K Devasagayam, Thomas P A Nair, Cherupally Krishnan K. 2006 16
Indian medicinal plants as a reservoir of protective phytochemicals. Arora S, Kaur K, Kaur S. 2003 17
Augmentation of murine natural killer cell and antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity activities by Phyllanthus emblica, a new immunomodulator. K. Suresha, D.M. Vasudevan. 1994. 18
The role of antioxidant activity of Phyllanthus emblica fruits on prevention from indomethacin induced gastric ulcer. Sandip K Bandyopadhyaya, Satyesh C Pakrashia, Anita Pakrashi. 2000. 19
A Chemical and Ethnopharmalogical Study on Phyllanthus emblica. Jari Olavi Summanen. 1999 20
16. Antitussive: Alleviates or suppresses coughing21. 17. Anti-fatigue: Amla is known for its quality to improve anti-fatigue agents in human bodies. 18. Supports entire biological system: Amla is considered a rasayana (rejuvenative) that supports the entire biologic system22 . 19. Diabetes type II: The effect of fruit extract was studied on type-II diabetes, and the study showed that the fruit extract significantly decreased the blood glucose level after its intraperitoneal administration23. Wild Amla vs. Cultivated Amla: The term “Wild Amla” has gained popularity over the past years after Vaidya Mishra launched it in the west with his product of Wild Amla tablets. The two varieties of Amla; wild (Vanya) and cultivated (gramya) produce different fruits with different qualities. •
Wild Amla is, as the name indicates, grown in the wild, untended, un-harvested. It yields a smaller fruit that is harder and contains a lot of fiber. A native of the forests throughout India and Nepal, it is naturally hardy and winter resistant. This plant remains free from any serious disease and major insect pest.
Cultivated Amla fruit is large, smooth, juicy and produces a higher yield. Cultivated Amla is grown in orchard crops due in part to the high demand of its fruits. The cultivated version is considered a tropical plant and is susceptible to frost damage. Cultivated Amla may also be genetically reformed through the process of hybridization.
Based on the principles of Shaka Vansya Ayurveda (SVA), Vaidya Mishra recommends using only Wild Amla. Vaidya Mishra’s team follows strict guidelines for harvesting Wild Amla (in its natural state) from Jharkhand, a state in eastern India, and Chhattisgarh, a state in central India. Please note that sometimes “Wild Amla” and “Amla” are used interchangeable on product and supplement packaging, so please consider taking some extra time to research the Amla source.
Antitussive activity of the fruit extract of Emblica officinalis. G. Nosal'ovaa, J. Mokrýa, K.M. Tareq Hassan 21
The effect of amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica) rasayana on biologic system. Tewari, A., SP. Sen and L.V. Guru. 1968 22
The Effect of Phyllantus emblica Linn on Type - II Diabetes, Triglycerides and Liver, Shamim A. Qureshi, Warda Asad and Viqar Sultana, 2009 23
Amla Preparations: Fresh juice / pulp
Triphala (Powder or tablets)
Preserves / Jam
If available, the ideal dose is 500 milligrams to 1 gram of fresh wild amla juice / pulp with equal amounts of raw honey after breakfast in the morning. This dose can be repeated in the afternoon before 2 PM. Wild Amla Herbal Memory Nector drops - unique to chandika.com Place one or two drops in one to two liters of neutral pH spring water and sip throughout the day Wild Amla Tablets Balances all five pitta subdoshas; nourishes asthi dhatu (bone tissue); supports hair and nail health; supports protein synthesis and mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue); alkalizes the physiology Take with breakfast and lunch Triphala Tablets, Triphala for High Pitta, and Triphala Herbal Memory Nectar Triphala literally means "three fruits" in Sanskrit. This ancient, Ayurvedic formulation combines the fruits amla, haritaki and bibhitaki to provide a balanced detoxification that also reestablishes the intelligence of the channels of elimination. Note that triphala is slightly heating to the body Chyawanprash is a jam-like mixture of herbs, spices, and other ingredients. Its primary ingredient is the Amla fruit.
Contraindications of Amla: So far, Vaidya Mishra has observed only one key contraindication when using Amla. If oneâ€™s heart is racing or the person is on beta blockers, they should not take Amla as it stimulates the heart. Real wild Amla provides a good boost of energy to the heart and mind and may disturb sleep patterns. Therefore it is advised not to ingest Amla after 2 PM.
References: 1. Phyllanthus emblica. Wikiipedia. [Online] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Phyllanthus_emblica. 2. Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Extracts from Leaves of Phyllanthus emblica. https:// www.thieme-connect.com/ejournals/abstract/plantamedica/doi/10.1055/ s-2006-957754 3. Emblica Cascading Antioxidant: A Novel Natural Skin Care Ingredient. http:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12239434 4. Trends in aging and skincare: Ayurvedic Concepts. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC3151377/ 5. Wound Healing Activity of Topical Application Forms Based on Ayurveda. http:// www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2011/134378/ 6. Hepatoprotective studies on Phyllanthus emblica Linn. and quercetin. http:// ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/7558182/ reload=0;jsessionid=bMZSRfPX2EdDxknNl7Rd.8 7. Free Radicals and Antioxidants in Human Health: Current Status and Future Prospects. http://www.japi.org/october2004/R-794.pdf 8. Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology. 9. Effect of Emblica officinalis (fruit) against UVB-induced photo-aging in human skin fibroblasts. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0378874110005404 10.Comparative inhibitory properties of some Indian medicinal plant extracts against photosensitization-induced lipid damage. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ article/pii/S0308814608010078 11.Rasayana: Ayurvedic Herbs for Longevity and Rejuvenation. 12.Emblica (Phyllanthus emblica Linn.) Fruit Extract Promotes Proliferation in Dermal Papilla Cells of Human Hair Follicle. http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=rjmp. 2011.95.100&org=10 13.Ethnopharmacology of Phyllanthus emblica L. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/11038937 14.Some Novel Approaches for radioprotection and the beneficial effects of natural products. http://nopr.niscair.res.in/handle/123456789/6361
15.Indian medicinal plants as a reservoir of protective phytochemicals. http:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12616620 16.Augmentation of murine natural killer cell and antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity activities by Phyllanthus emblica, a new immunomodulator. http:// www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/037887419490099X 17.The role of antioxidant activity of Phyllanthus emblica fruits on prevention from indomethacin induced gastric ulcer. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ article/pii/S0378874199001464 18.A Chemical and Ethnopharmalogical Study on Phyllanthus emblica. http:// ethesis.helsinki.fi/julkaisut/mat/farma/vk/summanen/achemica.pdf 19.Antitussive activity of the fruit extract of Emblica officinalis Gaertn. (Euphorbiaceae). http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0944711304702676 20.Experimental Study of the Anti-Fatigue and Anti-Hypoxia Function of Phyllanthus emblica L. 21.The effect of amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica) rasayana on biologic system. http:// indianmedicine.eldoc.ub.rug.nl/root/T/125301/ 22.The Effect of Phyllantus emblica Linn on Type - II Diabetes. http://pjbs.org/ pjnonline/fin991.pdf