Amla, also known as Amalaki and Indian gooseberry, is one of the most famous Ayurvedic herbs all time. It can be used inside and out. On the outside, it has been used to treat thinning hair and improve the look and feel of skin; on the inside, Amla has been used to treat diabetes, improve digestion and vision, boost immunity and relieve menstrual cramps.
Amla’s most notable benefits
- Diabetes – A 2011 study proved what Ayurvedic practitioners have known for ages: Amla normalizes blood glucose. Learn more about it here.
- Improved digestion – Amla is rich in fiber, which promotes healthy bowel movements and keeps the GI tract clean.
- Boost immunity – Amla contains 445mg of Vitamin C per 100g serving, which many studies have shown helps to improve immune system function.
- Eye health – The antioxidants in Amla help prevent cataracts and protects the retinas from macular degeneration caused by oxidative stress. Also, since nerve cells in the eye require vitamin C in order to function properly and Amla has loads of that nutrient, eating Amla is sure to help improve one’s vision.
- Thinning hair – Massaging Amla oil into the scalp increases blood circulation in the scalp, which encourages hair growth and arrests hair thinning, by strengthening hair follicles. Amla oil conditions the hair and new hair tends to be thicker and softer. Amla oil is also an effective remedy for dry, itchy scalp and dandruff.
- Skin health – The mineral iron, vitamin C and other antioxidants found in Amla are very beneficial for skin health, as they protect the collagen in skin. This insures smoother and firmer skin texture. Also, since vitamin C helps flush toxins from the body, there will be fewer blemishes and pigmentation issues, especially from acne. Amla can be used topically as a juice, mixed with an oil, such as grape seed, to treat eczema and psoriasis.
- Menstrual cramps – has been found effective in relieving menstrual cramps, provided one begins consuming Amla at least few weeks, before one’s menses is due.
Lesser known benefits
- Weight loss – Amla’s high fiber content makes one feel fuller and sated, while Amla juice has been shown to boost metabolism making weight loss easier.
- Improves cholesterol levels – Amla not only lowers LDL cholesterol (aka “bad cholesterol”), it raises HDL cholesterol (aka “good cholesterol”).
- Improve brain activity and mood – Amla’s many antioxidants protect the brain from oxidative stress, while vitamin C, which is crucial to the manufacturing of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, improves mood and boosts brain activity.
- Age-related kidney disorders – Scientists from the Institute of Natural Medicine at the the University of Toyama, Japan discovered that Amla’s antioxidants are useful for kidney disorders IF they are the result of the aging process. Amla has a high percentage of water and is slightly diuretic, so consuming it makes one urinate more often. And, since urination helps our bodies eliminate toxins, waste and uric acid, diuretic substances help keep the kidneys healthy, as well as prevent urinary infections.
- Prevent cancer – Amla is naturally anti-inflammatory and has an alkalizing effect on the body. This helps prevent cancers that results from inflammation and irritation in the body. Amla’s wealth of antioxidants help to impede the growth of carcinogenic cells and neutralize cancer causing free radicals. The antioxidants in Amla may even counterattack the side effects of anti-cancer drugs. It’s believed that stomach, skin and liver cancers can be prevented by consuming Amla regularly.
The Amla berry, sometimes called “Wonderberry”, has many amazing benefits for the entire body; from more beautiful skin and thicker hair to improved brain function and cancer prevention, Amla helps us from head to foot, inside and out. These are just some of the reasons why you’d be wise to give Amla a try.
Caldecott, Todd, Tierra, Michael. Ayurveda: The Divine Science of Life, 2006. Print. August 2014
Dr. Yeshi Dhonden “Amla and Cancer”. YeshiDhonden.com, November 22, 2013. Web. September 2014
Oregon Health & Science University. “Scientist discover new role for vitamin C in the eye and the brain”. Science Daily, July 16, 2011. Web. September 2014