Herbs Profile

Amalaki( Indian Gooseberry)

amalaki fruit

‘Amla’ literally means ‘sour’; another name for amalaki is dha-trı-; dhatrı- means ‘mother’ or ‘nurse’, indicating that amalaki is the ultimate carer and healer. It is the major ingredient in Cyavanapra´sa-, the elixir tonic paste that is a superb rejuvenative for the lungs, all three dos.as and the reproductive system. Use amalaki for reducing inflammation in the digestive tract, assisting the bowels and strengthening the heart.

Common name Indian gooseberry (E), Amla (H) Sanskrit Amalakı-, Dha- trı- Latin Emblica officinalis–Fructus (Euphorbiaceae)

ENERGETICS

  • Rasa (taste) All but salty; primarily sour, bitter, astringent. Pungent and sweet are secondary
  • Vı-rya (energy) Cooling
  • Vipa-ka (post-digestive effect) Sweet
  • Gun.a (quality) Light, dry
  • Dos.a effect All dosas are reduced (tridosaghna) but primarily PV−,K+; increases ojas
  • Dha-tu (tissue) All tissues are affected, especially blood and muscles
  • Srotas (channel) Circulation, digestion and elimination

CONSTITUENTS

  • Organic acids Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) (750mg per 10g fresh fruit or 23mg per g dry), tannin
  • Bioflavonoids Quercetin, kaempherol
  • Polyphenols Gallic acid
  • Cytokinins Zeatin (Shishoo 1997, Williamson 2002)

AYURVEDIC ACTION

  • Rasa-yana Rejuvenative
  • Va-jı-karan. a Aphrodisiac
  • Jı-vanı-ya Promotes energy
  • Sukrala Increases reproductive fluids
  • Vrisya Increases sexual potency
  • Hridaya Heart tonic
  • Dı-panı-ya Awakens digestion
  • Rakta sodhana Purifies the blood
  • Raktavardhaka Nourishes rakta dhatu
  • Raktapittahara Cures bleeding diseases
  • Tridos.aghna Alleviates all three dosa
  • Kesya Hair tonic
  • Pramehaghna Destroys urinary diseases and diabetes
  • Medhya Tonic to the mind
  • Anuloma Corrects the flow of vata
  • Virecana Laxative
  • Stambhana Astringes and binds
  • Caks.us.ya Benefits the eyes

BIOMEDICAL ACTION
Antacid, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, alterative, adaptogen, digestive, laxative, hepatoprotective, astringent, haemostatic, antioxidant, cardiotonic, nutritive, ophthalmic, tonic, aphrodisiac

INDICATIONS
Digestion Specifically indicated for digestive sensitivity; constipation, ulcers, acidity, gastritis, colitis, hepatitis, haemorrhoids. Especially useful in inflammatory and bleeding conditions of the intestines. A small dose constipates while a larger dose is a laxative. It is a very effective liver cleanser; its sour flavor ‘squeezes’ the liver, and its antioxidant properties protect it (Tillotson 2001).

Heart Its affinity for the blood helps to nourish and protect the heart. It protects by reducing elevated cholesterol and healing arterial damage. It is a super antioxidant and a tonic for general debility and weakness; use for palpitations and for recovery post-illness (Tillotson 2001). It helps to nourish rakta dhatu and enkindles raktadhatvagni to function efficiently, hence alleviating deficiency conditions such as anaemia that can affect heart function. It specifically pacifies an aggravated sadhaka pitta and this influences the clarity and calmness of the mind (medhya rasayana).

Metabolic disorders Diabetes (pittaja prameha type) is treated by its microcirculatory-stimulating and ojas-enhancing properties, anaemia due to excess bile vitiating the blood, and hair loss from excess pitta burning the roots of the hair (Bhavapraka´sa, Paranjpe 2001). The oil is especially good at alleviating hair loss and early greyness. It is a renowned rejuvenative and adaptogen famed for slowing age (vayahsthapana), increasing virility, promoting immunityand inducing balanced health (satmikarana). Consider using amalaki as an immune restorative and hepatoprotective during radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments.

COMBINATIONS
Ø Haritaki, psyllium for constipation.
Ø Shatavari, licorice for acidity, ulcers and gastrointestinal tract
Ø (GIT) inflammation.
Ø Arjuna, bala, bibhitaki for heart conditions with arrhythmia.
Ø Guggulu for hyperlipidaemia.
Ø Gurmar, turmeric, neem, shilajit, black pepper for diabetes.
Ø Kutki, neem and guduchi for liver disorders.

CONTRAINDICATIONS
Caution in high kapha and ama.
Contraindicated in cases of diarrhoea, and dysentery at high doses.

SAFETY
No drug–herb interactions are known

DOSAGE
250mg–30g per day or 1–15ml per day of a 1:3 @ 25% tincture.

About the author

Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari

Experienced holistic doctor, healer, teacher, and writer
Specialized in Ayurvedic detox (Panchakarma)
Trained in India and Nepal, the original lands of Ayurveda
Graduate in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.) from the Institute of Medicine at Tribhuwan University in Kathmandu.
Professional member of Australasian Association of Ayurveda (AAA)
Owner of Sunshine Ayurveda

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