Saturday, 24 July 2010

Emblica officinalis

Botanical Name: Phyllanthus emblica
Synonyms : Emblica officinalis
Common Name: Amlaki
Plant Family: Phyllanthaceae
Kingdom : Plantae



General Information
Amla is one of the most celebrated herbs in the Indian traditional medicine system, Ayurveda. Amla's traditional uses include as a laxative, eye wash, appetite stimulant, restorative tonic, and to treat anorexia, indigestion, diarrhea, anemia, and jaundice. Amla is becoming increasingly well known for its unusually high levels of Vitamin C, which is resistant to storage and heat damage due to cooking.

History
It is found natively in India. Indian gooseberry has been used as valuable ingredient of various medicines in India and abroad.
Different Name
The Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica, syn. Emblica officinalis) is a deciduous tree of the Euphorbiaceae family. It is known for its edible fruit of the same name.
Amlaki’s Indian name is – Indian Goosebery
Amlaki’s Guzrai name is – Aamla
Amlaki’s Marathi name is – Aavalaa
Amlaki’s Hindi name is – Amla
Amlaki’s Malayalam name is – Nellikkai
Amlaki’s Nepali name is - Amala
Uses of Parts
In traditional Indian medicine dried and fresh fruits of the plant are used. All parts of the plant are used in various herbal preparations (Ayurvedic /Unani Medicine ) including the fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark and flowers.

Culinary use
Particularly in South India, the fruit is pickeld with salt, oil, and spices. Amla is eaten raw or cooked into various dishes. In Andrha prodes tender varieties of amla are used to prepare dal (a lentil preparation), also amle ka murabbah a sweet dish indigenous to the northern part of India (where in the berries are soaked in sugar syrup for a long time till they are imparted the sweet flavor) is traditionally consumed after meals.
Religious use
Amla is regarded as a sacred tree attributed to Lakshmi in Hinduism
Other uses
Popularly used in inks, shampoos and hair oils, the high tannin content of Indian gooseberry fruit serves as a mordant for fixing dyes in fabrics. Amla shampoos and hair oil are traditionally believed to nourish the hair and scalp and prevent premature grey hair.
Chemical composition
Amla is highly nutritious and is an important dietary source of Vitamin C, minerals and amino acids. The edible fruit tissue contains protein concentration 3-fold and ascorbic acid concentration 160-fold compared to that of the apple. The fruit also contains considerably higher concentration of most minerals and amino acids than apples. Glutamic acid, proline, aspartic acid, alanine, and lysine are 29.6%, 14.6%, 8.1%, 5.4% and 5.3% respectively of the total amino acids. The pulpy portion of fruit, dried and freed from the nuts contains: gallic acid 1.32%, tannin, sugar 36.10%; gum 13.75%; albumin 13.08%; crude cellulose 17.08%; mineral matter 4.12% and moisture 3.83%. Amla fruit ash contains chromium, 2.5 ppm; zinc 4 ppm; and copper, 3 ppm.

Pharmacology
Emblica officinalis is effective in the treatment of amlapitta [peptic ulcer] and in dyspepsia. The fruits exhibit hypolipiadaemic and antiatherosclerotic effects in rabbits & rats. The fruit extract has antimutagenic activity on certain directly acting mutagens in some strains of Salmonella typhimurium.The extract of amla also has antimicrobial properties. Amlaki is an antioxidant with free radical scavenging properties which may be due to the presence of high levels of super oxide dismutase.
Important Medicinal Uses
Indian Gooseberry or Amla is used for
  1. all Pitta diseases,
  2. all obstinate urinary conditions,
  3. anemia,
  4. biliousness,
  5. bleeding,
  6. colitis,
  7. constipation,
  8. onvalescence from fever,
  9. cough,
  10. diabetes,
  11. gastritis,
  12. gout,
  13. hepatitis,
  14. hemorrhoids,
  15. liver weakness,
  16. to relieve stress ,
  17. osteoporosis,
  18. palpitation,
  19. spleen weakness,
  20. tissue deficiency,
  21. vertigo rebuilds blood,
  22. bones,
  23. cells, and tissues.

It increases red blood cell count and regulates blood sugar; heart tonic, cleanses mouth, stops gum bleeding, stops stomach and colon inflammation; cleanses intestines, strengthens teeth, aids eyesight, worms, acidity, eye and lung inflammations, ulcerations, G.I. disorders, painful urination, and internal bleeding.

Ref : Emblica officinalis Encyclopedia

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