Benefits of Gooseberry (Amla)
Botanical Name : Emblica officinalis, Gaertn
Family Name : Eupho- rbiaceae
Hindi Name : Amla
Gooseberry is a small genus of tree.: native of India, Ceylon, Malaya and China. It is a medium-sized tree with smooth greenish grey bark. Leaves feathery with small narrowing oblong, pinnately arranged leaflets. Fruits globose, ½ -1" in diameter, fleshy six lobed containing six trigonous seeds.
It is cultivated throughout India, often found in backyard home garden. It is also reported to be found in forests of India ascending up to 4500 ft.
Astringent, sour, anti-scurvy, cooling, refrigerant, diuretic, anti- dysenteric, stomachic, laxative, hypoglycemic, anti-cancerous.
Forms of Use
Fruit, juice and its jam, jelly & pickles.
The fruit is green when tender, changes to light yellow or brick-red colour when matured. It is sour and astringent, and occasionally eaten raw. It is used for making pickles, preserves and jellies. Amla fruit is probably the richest known source of vitamin C. The fruit juice contains nearly 20 times as much vitamin C as orange juice and is single fruit with equal anti-scorbutic value. Feeding trials on healthy human subjects show that the vitamin present in the fruit is utilized as pure ascorbic acid. When administered to patients suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis, Vitamin C saturation is more quickly reached with Amla powder than synthetic vitamin C, thereby showing that the former is more readily assimilated, probably due to the presence of accessory factors or probably going synergic.
A tannin containing gallic acid, ellagic acid and glucose in its molecule and naturally present in amla fruit, prevents or retards oxidation of the vitamin and renders the fruit a valuable anti- scorbutic in the fresh as well as in dry condition. The anti- scorbutic value is better retained by preserving the fruits in salt solution or in the form of dry powder. The dried fruit loses only 20% of its vitamin in 375 days when kept in a refrigerator, but loses 67% in the same period when stored at room temperature.
Amla is very much liked in forms of pickles, murabba, jam and jelly. Since it contains ample vitamin C, it does not go stale easily.
Amla fruit has been held in high esteem in indigenous medicine. Its uses are:
(i) The raw fruit is eaten as an aperient.
(ii) Dried fruit is useful in haemorrhage, diarrhoea and dysentery.
(iii) In combination with iron, it is used as a remedy for anaemia, jaundice & dyspepsia.
(iv) A fermented liquor prepared from the fruit is used in jaundice, dyspepsia & cough.
(v) Emblic myrobalan is used in many compound preparations.
(vi) Acute bacillary dysentery may be arrested by drinking a sherbet of amla with lemon juice.
(vii) Triphala, consisting of equal parts of powdered emblic myrobalan, chebulic myrobalan (Terminalia chebula) and belleric myrobalan (Terminalia bellerica) is used as a laxative and in headache, biliousness, dyspepsia, constipation, piles, enlarged liver and ascites.
(viii) The exudation from incisions on the fruit is used as an external application for inflammation of the eye.
(ix) The dried fruit is detergent and is used as shampoo for the head.
(x) An oil extracted from the fruit is reported to have the property of promoting hair growth.
(xi) The seeds are used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and biliousness.
(xii) A preparation from amla fruit called Jawaris Amla Soda keeps liver healthy and amoebic dysentry at bay.