Hello out there!
I want to share with you the wonderful benefits of Amalaki.
I’ve known about Amalaki since I began studying Ayurveda 20 plus years ago. But only in the last year have I been experimenting with taking small regular doses of this wonder fruit, as a whole fruit dried powder with wonderful results! Amalaki , also called Indian Gooseberry, Phyllanthus, Emblic myrobalan or simply Amla is native to India and the north of Australia. In Australia it is known as the Billy Goat or Kakadu Plum. In fact the Loving Earth brand has been working with the traditional community of Nyul Nyul in The Kimberleys to harvest what they call Gubinge Powder with all profits from their product sent back to the community!
In India Amalaki is known as Dhatri meaning ‘nurse’ or ‘mother’ which eludes to its powerful healing properties. Its Sanskrit name Amla literally translate as ‘sour’ and indeed this little green fruit is sour as most natural sources of Vitamin C are. Amalaki sure packs a punch with the highest percentage per weight of Vitamin C of any known food!
There has been much debate over the years about just how much Vitamin C this little fruit contains. Dr. John Douillard, of Lifespa, conducted some scientific tests and these were his results. “A medium orange weighs about 130 grams and has about 70mg of vitamin C. If we were to compare the vitamin C content in an orange to an amalaki berry, pound for pound, the amalaki berry would have 10 times more vitamin C than the orange!” (1)
Amalaki’s vitamin C component is also heat stable, meaning it can be cooked into preparations, such as the popular Ayurvedic tonic jam Chyavanaprash, and maintain its potency. FYI – Chyavanaprash is a wonderful tonic for kids, those whose suffer from frequent colds and flu, the elderly and anyone who feels run down. It contains primarily Amalaki with approximately 40 other supporting herbs (depending on recipe variations), with a base of ghee, sesame oil, sugar and honey. It tastes a little like slightly spicy prunes. Yum!
According to Ayurveda, Amalaki is considered a Rasayana or rejuvenative type of herb/food. Herbs in this category give nourishment and are anti aging and as such promote longevity. Charaka states in the ancient text the Charaka Samhita, that “Of all the rasayanas, Amalaki is revered as one of the most potent and nourishing; Amalaki is the best among rejuvenative herbs.” By the use of this medicine, Chyavana, a sage who had become very old, became young once again.[thus] even an old man can shed all his aging related problems and emerge with fresh youthful complexion. (4)
Amalaki has 5 out of the 6 tastes, lacking only in salty. It is sour, sweet, bitter, astringent and a little pungent/spicy. This range of tastes make it beneficial for all Doshas (constitutions). Its sweetness and sourness creates a strengthening and balancing effect on Vata. Its sweetness and astringency balances Pitta. And its astringent and pungent aspects help to dry out the dampness of Kapha.
Post digestion it has a cooling effect on the body which is why Amalaki is an excellent rejuvenative especially for Pitta, the fire energy of the body, and the tissues that this energy supports. It cleanses and nourishes the blood thus creating glowing skin and helps build red blood cells. It assists in detoxifying the liver thus assisting digestion, hormone production and removal of toxins. It strengthens the heart and the arteries of the body.
In the digestive tract Amalaki “improves appetite, cleanses the intestines and regulates blood sugar” (2). I have felt these benefits since taking Amalaki regularly. I have less of that craving, (you know the one!), to eat chocolate after meals and my blood sugar is more stable! My appetite is more balanced and regular and elimination is more regular too!
Amalaki is especially good for helping the bowels move for people who are dry (that’s me, and many others out there too!). The traditional Ayurvedic cleansing formula Triphala (three fruits, of which Amalaki is one) is often prescribed to help keep the bowels moving easily. However, if there is dryness in the GIT (gastro intestinal tract) then Triphala can be too drying and exacerbate the condition. Amalaki alone is best for this scenario taken in a dose of ½ tsp in warm water before bed. Taken first thing in the morning Amalaki’s rejuvenative properties for the whole body come to the fore.
Amalaki’s antioxidant properties help to maintain the health of many different systems of the body. It also:
Supports a healthy reproductive system and menstrual cycle for women; promotes stable and healthy energy levels; protects and tonic for the heart by supporting healthy cholesterol levels and integrity and cleanliness of the arterial walls; strengthens digestion and elimination; creates healthy hair; is a tonic for a clear mind; and has been long revered as a tonic for the eyes. (3)
In my clinic I use Organic dried powdered Amalaki grown sustainabley in India. I source Chayavanaprash , called Yogi Jam, from Bio Veda in Mullumbimby.
If you would like to experience the health giving benefits of this humble little gooseberry contact your local Ayurvedic practitioner to ensure that it is prescribed according to your specific needs.
(2)‘The Yoga of Herbs’ Dr. David Frawley