Botanical Name :: Emblica officinalis
Indian Name :: Amla
Other English names :: Emblica myrobalan
Indian gooseberry is a wonderful fruit and one of the precious gifts of nature to man. It is probably the richest known natural source of vitamin C which is readily assimilated by the human system. It contributes greatly towards health and longevity
Indian gooseberry is globular small, round, six-lobed fruit, thick and hard in consistency. It is light yellow in color and is about 1.25 cm. to 2.5 cm. in diameter
Origin and Distribution
The Indian gooseberry is indigenous to India. It has been used as a valuable ingredient of various medicines in India and the Middle East from time immemorial. Shusrut, the great Ayurvedic authority, considers it as the best of all acid fruit and most useful in health and disease. Like Ayurvedic physicians Hakims of Unani medicine also use it very commonly and regard it as a good medicine for heart and bodily defects. They also use it in external applications due to its cool and astringent properties.
The Indian gooseberry is grown as a commercial crop primarily in Uttar Pradesh. It also grows wild at the foot of the Himalayas and at elevation up to 1,500 metres in South India. The tree flowers in the spring and fruit ripens in the winter.
Indian gooseberry is valued chiefly for its high vitamin C content. The vitamin C Value of amla increases further when the juice is extracted from the fruit. The dehydrated berry provides 2428 to 3470 mg. of vitamin C per 100 grams. Even when it is dried in the shade and then turned into powder, it retains as much as 1780 to 2660 mg’s. of Vitamins C.
Minerals and Vitamins
|Moisture – 81.8%||Calcium – 50 mg|
|Protein – 0.5%||Phosphorus – 20 mg|
|Fat – 0.1%||Iron – 1.2 mg|
|Minerals – 0.5%||Vitamin C – 600mg|
|Carbohydrates – 13.7%||Small amount of Vitamin B Complex|
|Fibre – 3.4%|
|* Value per 100 gm’s edible portion||Calorific Value – 48|
The best way to take it, with the least loss of vitamin C is to eat it raw with a little salt. The berry may also be used as a vegetable. It is often used in the form of pickles and marmalade. It can be preserved for a long period when it is dried and turned into powder
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties
Many medicinal virtues have been attributed to Indian gooseberry. The fresh fruit is light, laxative and diuretic. A tablespoonful each of fresh gooseberry juice and honey mixed together forms a very valuable medicine for the treatment of several ailments. It should be taken every morning. Its regular use will promote vigor in the body within a few days. When fresh fruit is not available, dry powder can be mixed with honey
- Respiratory Disorders:- This medicinal tonic is highly beneficial in the treatment of respiratory disorders. It is especially valuable in tuberculosis of the lungs, asthma and bronchitis.
- Diabetes:- Indian gooseberry, with its high vitamin C content, is considered valuable in diabetes. A tablespoonful of its juice, mixed with a cup of fresh bitter gourd juice, taken daily for two months will stimulate the islets of Lengerhans i.e. -the isolated group of cells that the secrete hormone insulin. It thus reduces the blood sugar in diabetes. Diet restrictions should be strictly observed while taking this medicine. It will also prevent eye complications in diabetes. Equal quantity of amla powder, jamun powder and bitter gourd powder also make a very useful food remedy for diabetics. A teaspoonful of this mixture once or twice a day would be effective in checking the progress of the disease.
- Heart Disease:- Indian gooseberry is considered an effective remedy for heart disease. It tones up the functions of all the organs of the body and builds up health by destroying the heterogeneous elements and renewing the body energy.
- Eye Disorders:- The juice of Indian gooseberry, mixed with honey, is useful in preserving eye sight. It will also be beneficial in the treatment of conjunctivitis and glaucoma. It reduces intra ocular tension ill a remarkable manner. A cupful of this juice should be taken mixed with honey twice daily in such cases.
- Rheumatism:- The Indian gooseberry is useful in the treatment of rheumatism. One teaspoonful of powder of the dry fruit mixed with two teaspoonfuls of jaggery should be taken twice daily for a month in this disease.
- Scurvy:- As an extremely rich source of vitamin C. Indian gooseberry is one of the best remedies for scurvy. Powder of dry gooseberry . nixed with equal quantity of sugar should be taken in doses of one teaspoonful three times daily with milk.
- Diarrhea and Dysentery :- The dried fruit is valuable in diarrhea and dysentery. A drink made from amla mixed with lemon juice and misri is considered highly beneficial in controlling acute dysentery. One tablespoonful of the paste of leaves mixed with honey or butter-milk also makes an effective medicare in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.
- Prevents Ageing :- Indian gooseberry has revitalizing effects. It contains an element which is very valuable in preventing ageing and in maintaining strength in old age. It improves body resistance and protects against infection. It strengthens the heart, hair and Different glands in the body. It is said that the great ancient sage Muni Chyawan rejuvenated himself in his late 70s and regained his virility by the use of amla.
- Hair Tonic :- Indian gooseberry is an accepted hair tonic in traditional recipes for enriching hair growth and hair pigmentation. The fruit, cut into pieces, is dried preferably in shade. These pieces are boiled in coconut oil till the solid matter becomes like charred dust. This darkish oil is an excellent oil to prevent graying. The water in which dired amla pieces are soaked overnight is also nourishing to hair. This water should be used for the last rinse while washing the hair.