Amla: Benefits and Side effects
Indian gooseberry, popularly known as Amla (emblica officinalis) is the richest natural source of vitamin C which is considered great for hair and has many medicinal properties which is why it is considered great in Ayurveda. It has yellow-green flowers that bloom in circular, edible fruit of the same color. The taste of amla is sour, bitter and astringent. According to Ayurveda, amla has a cooling (shita) energy.
Amla has many health benefits. It is as good for health as it is for hair. Amla helps to boost immunity. Amla helps in skin whitening, improves eyesight and cleanses blood. It lowers the risk of diabetics as it helps control blood sugar levels. It also prevents aging and gray hair.
Importance of Amla in Ayurveda
Amla has a great importance in Ayurveda and all parts such as fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark, dried and fresh fruits and flowers are used for medicinal purposes. It helps to pacify vata, pitta, and kapha. It is especially helpful in calming pitta. Antioxidants and antiviral properties are present in Amla that are beneficial in leprosy. Amla is a rich source of dietary fibre, manganese, copper, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B5 and B6 and folic acid.
Amla is called a superfood because vitamin C present in it makes it an excellent source for building immunity and metabolism. It is known to be effective against viral and bacterial diseases and reduces the effects of various health problems such as cancer and heart disease.
Benefits of Amla
Amla is a rich source of various antioxidants. It is known to have antioxidant properties to scavenge free radicals that the human body produces when stressed. In addition to antioxidants, Amla contains a large amount of potassiumwhich helpsto regulate blood pressure, it is therefore regularly used in the diet of patients with blood pressure problems. The main mechanism in the treatment of high blood pressure with potassium is the dilation of blood vessels, which further reduces the chances of an increase in blood pressure. Drinking amla juice can be effective.
Amla helps with indigestion by increasing the Pachak Agni (digestive fire). It also helps with easy bowel movements due to its rechana (mild laxative) properties.
Amla helps in weight loss by increasing metabolism due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties.
Relieves pain and swelling
Amla helps in controlling joint pain and swelling due to aggravated Vata. It has Vata balancing properties which provides relief in pain and improves mobility.
Amla has vitamin C which is known to increase the activity of natural killer cells(a type of cytotoxic lymphocyte), leading to toxicity and elimination of cancer cells.
Helps to get rid of diarrhoea
Amla helps manage diarrhoea due to the presence of Kashaya (astringent), Sita (cold) and antispasmodic properties that help relax the abdominal muscles.
Provide relief in heartburn
Amla reduces the symptoms of heartburn and vomiting as it is rich in vitamin C.
Reduces Hair fall
Due to the presence of antioxidants, Amla reduces hair fall and promotes hair growth. Amla helps fight against free radicals and prevents premature greying of hair.
Precautions when using Amla
- Amla may increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. Therefore, Amla should be used in limited quantities in such cases.
- High doses of amla can cause dryness in the skin,therefore it should be avoided in case of aggravated Kapha problems like coughing.
- Avoid drinking amla juice at night because of its cooling power and astringent taste.
Where is Amla found?
Amla can be found in the subtropical South Asian countries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Amla is grown in tropical desert areas of India and is commercially produced in northern India.