Phyllanthus emblica commonly known as Indian Gooseberry or Amla, family Euphorbiaceae, is an important fruit plant used widely in India’s ancient Ayurvedic medicinal system. Amla plant is used both for its medicinal properties and as a tonic to build up on vitality and vigor. Amla is highly nutritious and an important dietary source of vitamin C, minerals, and amino acids. The plant also contains phenolic compounds, tannins, phyllembelic acid, phyllembelin, rutin, curcum-inoids, and emblicol.
Amla is very well known in India for its high vitamin C content. Research has shown that Amla contains 20 times more vitamin C as compared to orange. 100 grams of Amla fruit may contain up to 800 mg of vitamin C, which is more than any critic fruit. Amla is actually quite useful in the treatment of human scurvy caused due to the deficiency of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a very potent antioxidant that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures. Vitamin C also helps boost body’s immune response.
Medicinal Parts of Amla
Medicinal parts of Amla plant are fruits, seeds, flowers, leaves and bark. Fresh fruit pulp is used in different Ayurvedic preparations. Dried rind of fruits is grounded to make powder and used as Amla Powder (traditionally called Amla Churna). All parts of Amla plant have medicinal properties, especially the fruit. In Ayurveda science, Amla fruit is used in the management of diabetes, asthma, anemia, hyperacidity, peptic ulcers, skin diseases, intermittent fever, diarrhea and dysentery. Amla seeds are used for the management of bronchitis and asthma. Amla flowers are refrigerant, cooling and are used to relieve constipation.
Summary of Health Benefits of Amla (Phyllanthus emblica)
– Prevention of Skin Weakening
– Helps with Atherosclerosis
– Improvement of Oral Hygiene
– Helps with Heartburn
– Helps with Lipid Lowering among Diabetics
– Potent Anti-oxidant
– Anti-inflammatory Agent
– Anti-cancer Agent
– Aids with Digestion and Bloating
– Reduce Menstrual Cramps
– Increases Hair Growth
– Increase Urination and Eliminates Toxins
– Increase Immunity against Infections
Health Benefits of Amla (Phyllanthus emblica) found in Clinical Trials and Scientific Studies
Prevention of Skin Weakening
A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study including 99 healthy female subjects examined the effect of ingestion of Lingonberry and Amla fruit extract (LAE) on several human skin conditions (Uchiyama et al. 2019). This study found improvements in skin elasticity and thickness, as well as in the stratum corneum water content and the degree of wrinkles.
Helps with Atherosclerosis
Endothelial dysfunction (ED) has been observed in individuals with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and contributes to the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Usharani et al. (2019) found that Amla aqueous extract 500 mg twice daily significantly improved endothelial function, oxidative stress, systemic inflammation and lipid profile.
Dyslipidemia is one of the most frequently implicated risk factors for development of atherosclerosis. Upadya et al. (2019) found that Amla extract (500 mg) showed significant potential in reducing total cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as lipid ratios among 98 dyslipidemic patients .
Improvement of Oral Hygiene
Gao et al. (2018) studied Amla fruit extract for improving the effects on the imbalance of oral ecology, which may contribute to series of oral diseases. In this study, an examiner-blinded, randomized, and gum-base-controlled crossover manner was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of a sugar-free chewing gum containing Amla fruit extract in changing the oral microbiome among twenty healthy young adults. The investigators concluded that chewing Amla (PE) gum might be a safe means of improving oral hygiene.
Helps with Heartburn
Karkon et al. (2018) evaluated the safety and efficacy of Amla tablet for improvement of symptoms of patients with Gastroesophageal reflux disease in a double-arm, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial among sixty-eight patients who received 500 mg Amla tablets twice a day. This clinical trial demonstrated that Amla could reduce frequencies of heartburn and regurgitation and improve heartburn and regurgitation severity in patients with Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Helps with Lipid Lowering among Diabetics
Akhtar et al. (2011) evaluated the anti-hyperglycemic and lipid-lowering properties of Amla fruit in normal and diabetic human volunteers. The results indicated that diabetic subjects exhibited a significant decrease in total lipids on day 21.
A study by Chen et al. (2009) suggests that Amla supplementation may increase plasma antioxidant power and decrease oxidative stress in uremic patients.
Muthu et al. (2018) investigated the protective effects of Amla on the pathogenesis of oxidative stress (OS) and inflammatory response in hypothyroid rats. The study found that Amla improves hepatic and renal oxidative stress and the inflammatory response in hypothyroid female wistar rats fed with a high-fat diet.
A review study conducted by Yadav at el. (2017) analyzed and summarized the pharmacological actions, experimental studies and clinical trials of Amla with emphasis on its immuno-enhancer, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities and possible mechanism of actions to provide future directions in translating these findings clinically.
Zhao et al. (2015) provide a brief overview of the evidence supporting anticancer activity of Indian Gooseberry extracts, suggest possible mechanisms for these actions, and provide future directions that might be taken to translate these findings clinically.
Additional Benefits of Amla
Amla has also been seen to aids digestion and bloating; reduce menstrual cramps; increases hair growth; increase urination and eliminates toxins; and increase immunity against infections.
So how can I consume Amla to improve my health?
Although it might be difficult to eat raw Amla fruit due to its high vitamin C content, there are so many ways to relish this fruit and enjoy its benefits mentioned above. Amla fruit is commonly pickled with salt, oil, and spices. Most commonly, people of India make Amla marmalade (commonly called Amla Murabbah), a sweet dish made by soaking the berries in sugar syrup until they are candied. This is traditionally consumed after meals as dessert. Other way to consume Amla is by mixing its powder into water and making a delicious drink (add salt and/or sugar as desired).
|Amla Pickle||Amla Marmalade||Amla Drink|
Uchiyama T, Tsunenaga M, Miyanaga M, Ueda O, Ogo M. (2019) Oral intake of lingonberry and amla fruit extract improves skin conditions in healthy female subjects: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Biotechnol Appl Biochem. 2019 Sep;66(5):870-879. doi: 10.1002/bab.1800. Epub 2019 Aug 16.
Usharani P, Merugu PL, Nutalapati C. (2019) Evaluation of the effects of a standardized aqueous extract of Phyllanthus emblica fruits on endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress, systemic inflammation and lipid profile in subjects with metabolic syndrome: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled clinical study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 May 6;19(1):97. doi: 10.1186/s12906-019-2509-5.
Upadya H, Prabhu S, Prasad A, Subramanian D, Gupta S, Goel A. (2019) A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, multicenter clinical trial to assess the efficacy and safety of Emblica officinalis extract in patients with dyslipidemia. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 Jan 22;19(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s12906-019-2430-y.
Gao Q, Li X, Huang H, Guan Y, Mi Q, Yao J (2018) The Efficacy of a Chewing Gum Containing Phyllanthus emblica Fruit Extract in Improving Oral Health. Curr Microbiol. 2018 May;75(5):604-610. doi: 10.1007/s00284-017-1423-7. Epub 2018 Mar 21.
Karkon Varnosfaderani S, Hashem-Dabaghian F, Amin G, Bozorgi M, Heydarirad G, Nazem E, Nasiri Toosi M, Mosavat SH (2018) Efficacy and safety of Amla (Phyllanthus emblica L.) in non-erosive reflux disease: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Integr Med. 2018 Mar;16(2):126-131. doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2018.02.008. Epub 2018 Feb 13.
Akhtar MS, Ramzan A, Ali A, Ahmad M. (2011) Effect of Amla fruit (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) on blood glucose and lipid profile of normal subjects and type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Sep;62(6):609-16. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.560565. Epub 2011 Apr 18.
Chen TS, Liou SY, Chang YL. (2009) Supplementation of Emblica officinalis (Amla) extract reduces oxidative stress in uremic patients. Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(1):19-25.
Muthu PR, Bobby Z, Sankar P, Vickneshwaran V, Jacob SE. (2018) Amla (Emblica officinalis) improves hepatic and renal oxidative stress and the inflammatory response in hypothyroid female wistar rats fed with a high-fat diet. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2018 Mar 28;29(2):175-184. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp-2017-0116.
Zhao T, Sun Q, Marques M, Witcher M. (2015) Anticancer Properties of Phyllanthus emblica (Indian Gooseberry). Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2015;2015:950890. doi: 10.1155/2015/950890. Epub 2015 Jun 9.
Yadav SS, Singh MK, Singh PK, Kumar V. (2017) Traditional knowledge to clinical trials: A review on therapeutic actions of Emblica officinalis. Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Sep;93:1292-1302. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.07.065. Epub 2017 Jul 23.