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Amla Health Benefits & Side Effects


Ayurveda Herbal Therapy
Cancer Care
Diabetes: Type II
3

Amla is commonly known as Indian gooseberry or Amalaki. It is a superfood or superfruit with a powerhouse of nutrients. The fruit has found to be beneficial in treating a variety of diseases because of its constituents, which contain numerous vitamins and minerals. Amla has been used in Ayurveda since ancient times. The components of Amla are known to treat various diseases by maintaining a balance between Vata, pitta, and Kapha. In addition to this, it also rejuvenates all the tissues present in the body and builds Ojas.

Emblica Officinalis (Amla or Indian gooseberry) is one of the herbs being described in Ayurveda and Unani system to possess multiple therapeutic activities. It is a potent tonic that helps manage various diseases related to heart, the respiratory system, the arterial system, the sense organs, and the mind. Every part of this herb can be used for medicinal purposes like fruits, serve their function in treating digestive issues, act as a laxative, and antipyretic. Leaves can act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Whereas, the root bark and bark of this tree has shown its functions in treating stomach ulcer, jaundice, gonorrhea, and diarrhea.

Active Compounds found in amla fruit include tannins, alkaloids, and phenols. The primary tannins in Amla, which have antioxidant properties, include ellagitannins, emblicanin B and A,  and geraniin.  Phenolic compounds include ellagic acid, gallic acid, kaempferol, and quercetin.

Amla or Indian gooseberry is a potent source of vitamin C (478.56 mg/100 ml), including more than oranges, lemons, and tangerines. Additionally, it comprises some minerals and amino acids.

Indian gooseberry is a shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and a few Southeast Asian countries. As Amla has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, people still use the fruit of this tree to generate medicine. Indian gooseberry is most frequently used for high or abnormal levels of cholesterol or blood fats (dyslipidemia), and persistent heartburn. Additionally, it is used for diarrhea, nausea, and cancer, but there isn't any good scientific evidence to support these applications.

The bark is useful in gonorrhea, jaundice, diarrhea, and myalgia. The leaves are helpful in inflammation, dyspepsia, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, and dysentery. The fruits are helpful in a long list of conditions such as diabetes, ophthalmopathy, dyspepsia, cough, asthma, bronchitis, cephalalgia, colic, flatulence, hyperacidity, peptic ulcer, erysipelas, skin diseases, leprosy, haematemesis, inflammations, anemia, emaciation, hepatopathy, jaundice, strangury, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhages, menorrhagia, cardiac disorders, leucorrhoea, intermittent fevers and greyness of hair. It's the principal constituent of the renowned Ayurvedic restorative paste named chyawanprash.

Health Benefits of Amalaki

Amalaki has been used for a long time in Ayurvedic medicine. The health benefits of this herb have been analyzed, tested, and proven for its effectiveness in many scientific studies. Some of these benefits are:


1.   Amla for managing high cholesterol:

Amla is a powerhouse of various constituents which contains high amounts of vitamin C flavonoids, pectin, and tannins. Pectin, as well as flavonoid content of Amla, has been reported to decrease the serum cholesterol levels and produce hypolipidemic effects in human beings.

Numerous research studies have shown Amla to induce favorable changes in the lipid profile through several mechanisms which may include: 

Interfering with the cholesterol absorption

By inhibiting the HMG Co-A reductase activity involved in cholesterol synthesis. And, thus contributing directly to plaque stabilization.

Enhancing the Lecithin-Cholesterol Acyltransferase (LCAT) activity which plays a vital role in removing the excess cholesterol from the blood and tissues.1.


2.   Benefits in the management of high blood pressure:

Vitamin C, a significant constituent of Amla, is a potent antioxidant that has been reported to reduce oxidative stress. Thus, prevent the development and progression of hypertension. It can also protect your heart by reducing the cardiac and renal hypertrophy and by modulating the activated Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase (eNOS), and electrolyte levels.1.


3.   Benefits in the management of diabetes:

Oxidative stress in the body can damage and destroy the ß-cells of the pancreatic islets. This causes insulin resistance which leads to an increase in the blood glucose levels. In the various scientific studies, researchers found out that quercetin, an essential constituent of Amalaki, was able to protect the pancreatic ß-cells from oxidative damage. Thus, neutralizing the free radicals that cause diabetes .2.


4.   Benefits in the management of cancer care

There is substantial evidence that extracts of Amla contain cancer-preventative and antitumor activity. Amlaki serves its potential to fight cancer through several modes of action like by

Flushing out of free radicals - Amla extracts have free radical scavenging properties that might prevent DNA damage and oncogenesis due to reactive oxygen species.

It also shows anti-inflammatory activities that might act against inflammation-related cancers like pancreatic, liver, and colon cancers.

Exerts antitumor activity by regulating the immune system.3.


5.   Benefits in management of aging:

Amalaki constitutes the lower molecular weight hydrolyzable Tannins that make it the most potent antioxidant herb. Tannins like emblicanin- A and –B isolated from the fresh juice of fruits of Amalaki. Free radicals are being presented as natural byproducts of our body metabolism that can enhance the cell aging. Amalaki juice acts as anti-aging, which can flush out these free radicals from the body due to high quantities of vitamin-c and flavonoids.4. 


6.   Benefits as Hepatoprotective:

We are surrounded by various hepatotoxic agents like heavy metals, ethanol, hexachlorocyclohexane, carbon tetrachloride, and ochratoxins. Also, certain medications like paracetamol, anti-tubercular drugs can damage the liver cells. Amalaki and its several phytochemical constituents like ellagic, quercetin, gallic acid, and corilagin, exerts hepatoprotective effects against several xenobiotic compounds.4. 


7.  Amla as Immunomodulator:

Scientific evidence has proved the benefits of Emblica Officinalis (Amla), which produces anti-oxidative and immunomodulatory properties. There can be considerable damage to the cells if they are exposed to oxidative stress. In such cases, treatment with amla extracts can decrease the levels of lipid peroxidation, the activity of caspase-3, ROS production, apoptosis, and increased cell viability. Thus it protects the cells and modifies the immune response.


8.  Management of eye diseases:

The purgative potential of Amalaki is considered to be beneficial among patients who are suffering from numerous ophthalmic disorders. Ayurveda describes Amalaki as Chakshyushya, which was used effectively in treating several eye diseases like glaucoma, conjunctivitis, diabetic eye diseases like Retinopathy. It also helps in reducing the intraocular pressure by virtue of its purgative potential. Other conditions like rubor, mucosa xerosis, pterygium or pinguecula can also be treated by Amla extracts.6

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9. Management of gastric ulcer:

Amla extracts have shown to protect the stomach mucosa by enhancing the protective factors like secretion of mucus, and cellular mucous. It has also demonstrated dose-dependent protection against ulcers by significantly reducing acid and pepsin secretion. 5.


11. Irritable bowel syndrome or disease (IBS or IBD):

Amla fruit contains hydrolyzable tannins as its main component that produces antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses. Amla extracts may also help maintain a homeostatic regulation of the gut microbiota that can help prevent and mitigate IBS/IBD and GIT disease ulcerative colitis.7.


Having too much of a good thing can still cause issues - and Amla is a good case in point. Moderate consumption is fine, but you need to watch out for some possible side effects listed below.

1. Acidity

Indian gooseberry is the 2nd richest natural source of vitamin C. A single fruit contains over 600 to 700 milligrams of vitamin C. Extra vitamin C intake can cause digestive distress. This may occur if you have more than 2,000 milligrams of the nutrient at the same go. Some research finds that an excessive intake of vitamin C can lead to acid reflux and other types of gastrointestinal upset. These side effects can occur more in people with preexisting conditions. Excessive intake of vitamin C may also be accompanied by nausea and diarrhea. If you experience heartburn symptoms, there are particular home remedies to deal with it. The simplest of these is using baking soda.

2. Constipation

Indian gooseberry is a potent source of fiber. While sufficient fiber can cure constipation, some think an excess of it may result in constipation. Excess fiber may also have negative effects on colonic transit. It may get fermented immediately in the colon, resulting in a surge of microbial activity. This contributes to abdominal cramps and bloating. Consuming a lot of Indian gooseberries can bulk up and harden your stools.

3. Complications in people with diabetes

Amla is a popular treatment for diabetes. Extensive research has demonstrated that the fruit exhibits anti-diabetic effects. The fruit also helps reduce blood sugar levels.

These anti-diabetic advantages of Amla may prove detrimental to get a few individuals. Excessive or incorrect dosages of Amla can lead to blood glucose levels to drop too low. This can aggravate the situation if the person is already on diabetes drugs. Though it might be impossible to consume too many amlas (because of their sour flavor ), it's essential to be careful.

4. Pregnancy

There's not any documented proof of Indian gooseberries causing the problem while pregnant. While the Indian gooseberry is one of the most nutritious foods, the only concern is the consequences of its surplus intake. Thus, consume it in moderation.

How many of these gooseberries can you take every day? Is there any particular dose we could arrive at? One Indian gooseberry a day ought to be fine. This translates to 10 to 20 ml of the gooseberry juice or 4 g of the powder. Anything beyond this may cause side effects. When you have any particular medical condition, please consult with your physician on the dosage.


The Indian gooseberry is full of vital nutrients. Various studies have stated its significance in the human diet. However, like any other food on the market, moderation is crucial. Adhere to the dose mentioned. If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your physician as it might have different effects on different individuals.

1. Srinivasan, Prabhu & Vijayakumar, Subramaniyan & Kothandaraman, Swaminathan & Manogar, Palani. (2017). Anti-diabetic activity of quercetin extracted from Phyllanthus Emblica L. fruit: In silico and in vivo approaches. Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis. 8. 10.1016/j.jpha.2017.10.005. 

2. Srinivasan, Prabhu & Vijayakumar, Subramaniyan & Kothandaraman, Swaminathan & Manogar, Palani. (2017). Anti-diabetic activity of quercetin extracted from Phyllanthus Emblica L. fruit: In silico and in vivo approaches. Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis. 8. 10.1016/j.jpha.2017.10.005. 

3. Zhao, Tiejun & Sun, Qiang & Marques, Maud & Witcher, Michael. (2015). Anticancer Properties of Phyllanthus Emblica (Indian Gooseberry). Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2015. 1-7. 10.1155/2015/950890. 

4. Chaphalkar, Renuka & Apte, Kishori & Talekar, Yogesh & Ojha, Shreesh & Nandave, Mukesh. (2017). Antioxidants of Phyllanthus Emblica L. Bark Extract Provide Hepatoprotection against Ethanol-Induced Hepatic Damage: A Comparison with Silymarin. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Volume 2017. 10.1155/2017/3876040.

5. Sairam, K & Rao, Ch & Babu, Madhura & Kumar, K & Agrawal, V & Goel, Ruchika. (2002). Antiulcerogenic effect of methanolic extract of Emblica Officinalis: An experimental study. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 82. 1-9. 10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00041-7. 

6. Suryanarayana, P & Saraswat, Megha & Petrash, Mark & Reddy, G.. (2007). Emblica Officinalis and its enriched tannoids delay streptozotocin-induced diabetic cataract in rats. Molecular vision. 13. 1291-7. 

7. Saxena, Arpit & Kaur, Kamaljeet & Hegde, Shweta & Kalekhan, Faizan & Baliga, Shrinath & Fayad, Raja. (2014). Dietary Agents and Phytochemicals in the Prevention and Treatment of Experimental Ulcerative Colitis. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine. 4. 203-17. 10.4103/2225-4110.139111. 

8. Swetha Dasaroju*, Krishna Mohan Gottumukkala Centre for Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPS), Institute of Science and Technology (IST), Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University – Hyderabad (JNTUH), Andhra Pradesh, India, http://globalresearchonline.net/journalcontents/v24-2/25.pdf

9. Enhancing the functional properties and nutritional quality of ice cream with processed amla (Indian gooseberry), Journal of Food Science and Technology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4648887/

10. Vitamin C in Health and Disease, The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15150630-vitamin-c-in-health-and-disease/

11. Possible Adverse Health Effects of Vitamin C and Ascorbic Acid, Seminars in Oncology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6364356-possible-adverse-health-effects-of-vitamin-c-and-ascorbic-acid/

12. Sodium Bicarbonate, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682001.html

13. Fiber and colorectal diseases: Separating fact from fiction, World Journal of Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4250613/

14. Anti-diabetic effects of the Indian Indigenous Fruit Emblica Officinalis Gaertn: Active Constituents and Modes of Action, Food & Function, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24577384-anti-diabetic-effects-of-the-indian-indigenous-fruit-emblica-officinalis-gaertn-active-constituents-and-modes-of-action/

15. Effect of Amla Fruit (Emblica Officinalis Gaertn.) on Blood Glucose and Lipid Profile of Normal Subjects and Type 2 Diabetic Patients, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21495900-effect-of-amla-fruit-emblica-officinalis-gaertn-on-blood-glucose-and-lipid-profile-of-normal-subjects-and-type-2-diabetic-patients/