Ayurvedic Health Benefits of the Indian Gooseberry

Uses for Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry) in Ayurvedic Medicine

Gooseberry-Indian Gooseberry-Amla-Ayurveda
The Indian Gooseberry is integral to Ayurvedic formulations. Veena Nair / Getty Images

The Amalaki (or amla berry) is considered one of the most potent and nourishing of all the rasayanas -- ayurvedic formulations revered for their positive influence on the overall physiology and health of the human body. The Charaka Samhita says, "Amalaki is the best among rejuvenative herbs."

What Is the Amla Berry?

The Amalaki is also known as the amla berry or Indian gooseberry. The fruit comes from a moderate-sized deciduous tree with gray bark and reddish wood that grows in the tropical subcontinent of India.

All parts of the plant are used in various ayurvedic herbal preparations, including the fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark, and flowers.

Fresh Amalaki fruit is used to make chutneys and relishes in India. For Ayurvedic purposes, amla berry tablets are a convenient way to enjoy the healing benefits of this remarkable fruit no matter where you live. 

Processing for Potency

Amalaki fruit requires a meticulous process at low heat for preparation. This approach maintains the potency of the vitamins and minerals as well as the biological intelligence of this remarkable plant.

The processing method makes the amla berry tablets many times more powerful than the simple fruit or fruit powder. The traditional ayurvedic processing enhances its potency and increases the natural intelligence of the fruit, without destroying or disturbing any of its delicate qualities.

18 Ayurvedic Health Benefits of the Amla Berry

In ayurvedic healing, the amla berry is known for a number of health benefits.

While this traditional practice has long been in use, it's important to note that scientific studies remain limited on the use of Amalaki.

Excellent source of Vitamin C. Amalaki is the most concentrated form of Vitamin C found in the plant kingdom. When the whole fruit is used rather than an active ingredient, the Vitamin C is easily assimilated by the human body.

The Vitamin C in the Amalaki fruit is bonded with tannins that protect it from being destroyed by heat or light.

Enhances food absorption. The regular use of amla berry tablets can strengthen digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food. People taking it notice that they enjoy the taste of food better. It enhances all thirteen digestive fires (agni).

Amla berry works more slowly and gently than ginger or other digestion-enhancing herbs. This means that it can be taken by people with a lot of Pitta without fear of creating excess stomach acid. In addition, it improves assimilation of iron for healthy blood.

Balances stomach acids. Because it improves digestion but does not heat the body, amla berry is ideal for calming mild to moderate hyperacidity and other Pitta-related digestive problems. It should always be taken with food in this case.

Fortifies the liver. Amla berry helps purify the Rasa Dhatu (nutrient fluid) and Rakta Dhatu (blood), thus supporting the functions of the liver. It also strengthens the liver, helping it eliminate toxins from the body. Research shows that Amalaki helps lower cholesterol.

Nourishes the brain and mental functioning. Amla berry is good for the brain.

It is medhya -- nurturing for the mind and enhancing coordination among dhi (acquisition), dhriti (retention), and smriti (recall). It helps sharpen the intellect and mental functioning. It supports the nervous system and strengthens the senses.

Supports the heart. Amla berry is hridya, which means it nurtures the heart, blood, and circulation. It supports the cardiovascular system. On the other hand, it sometimes acts as a cardiac stimulant. For this reason, if you have a heart condition, you should check with a medical doctor before using amla berry tablets.

Strengthens the lungs. The amla berry tablets help pacify Kapha dosha as well. Therefore, amla berry is a wonderful tonic for strengthening and nourishing the lungs (which are a major seat of Kapha dosha in the body) and the entire respiratory tract.

It also pacifies Shleshaka Kapha, which among other things, governs moisture balance in the lungs.

Regulates elimination. Amla berry tablets pacify Apana Vata, thus helping with the downward flow of energy in the body. They keep the function of elimination regular and ease constipation.

Enhances fertility. By balancing Apana Vata and by nurturing all the dhatus (body tissues), amla berry also keeps menstruation regular and healthy. Amla berry supports the reproductive systems of both men and women and can help overcome a difficulty in conceiving.

It is a vrishya herb, which means that it enhances all the seven tissues (dhatus), including the reproductive tissue. This herb nurtures the ovaries and sperm. It also has a property called garbhasthapana, which means it enhances fertility and the possibility of conception. It is especially nurturing for women, strengthening the uterus and supporting reproductive health.

Helps the urinary system. Because it enhances all the thirteen agnis (digestive fires) and supports Apana Vata, amla berry is especially supportive of the urinary system and can be helpful if you experience a mild burning sensation while urinating.

It supports natural diuretic action but does not force water from the body like diuretic pills. In other words, it helps eliminate waste from the body but does not over-stimulate the urinary system.

Good for the skin. Because amla berry strengthens digestion, helps the liver detoxify, and is rich in Vitamin C and other minerals, it is very good for the complexion.

Amla berry moisturizes the skin, cleanses the tissues of toxins, and supports immunity of the skin against bacterial infection. It helps enhance glow and luster.

Promotes healthier hair. Amla berry boosts absorption of calcium, thus creating healthier bones, teeth, nails, and hair. It also helps maintain youthful hair color and retards premature graying, and supports the strength of the hair follicles, so there is less thinning with age.

Acts as a body coolant. Although amla berry is good for all doshas and seasons, it is especially effective in the hot season to cool Pitta dosha. It is an especially good rasayana for people with Pitta and Vata body types.

Flushes out toxins. Individuals who have been eating "junk" food for a while tend to have accumulated deposits of preservatives and additives in the liver. Amla berry helps support the liver in flushing out chemicals and additives from the physiology.

Increases vitality. Because it has five tastes and supports all the doshas and many body functions and cleanses the blood and the microchannels of the body, amla berry increases energy and removes fatigue. It supports regeneration of cells, the process by which tired old cells are replaced by vital, new ones.

Strengthens the eyes. Amla berry is called chakshushya, which means "strengthening the eyes"(Chakshu means "eye" and ayushya means "rasayana" so it is literally a "rasayana for the eyes"). It supports the health of the eye by enhancing both Ranjaka Pitta (the subdosha of Pitta that governs liver function and the blood plasma) and Alochaka Pitta (the subdosha of Pitta that governs the eyes and vision).

The tridoshic nature of Amalaki also makes it a good tonic for the eyes.

Improves muscle tone. Amla berry enhances protein synthesis, which is why it is good for strengthening muscles and building lean muscle mass. Its unique ayurvedic action offers athletes and bodybuilders a natural way to tone muscles and build lean mass.

Acts as an antioxidant. Amla berry tablets and other rasayanas that contain Amalaki are effective broad-spectrum antioxidants and free radical scavengers, helping to reduce disease and slow the aging process.

Enhances immunity. All of the benefits already mentioned help to make alma berry a strong immunity booster.

Disclaimer: This ayurvedic information is educational and is not intended to replace standard medical care or advice.

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Mishra, Rama Kant. "Ayurvedic Health Benefits of the Indian Gooseberry." ThoughtCo, Oct. 20, 2017, thoughtco.com/amla-berry-1730138. Mishra, Rama Kant. (2017, October 20). Ayurvedic Health Benefits of the Indian Gooseberry. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/amla-berry-1730138 Mishra, Rama Kant. "Ayurvedic Health Benefits of the Indian Gooseberry." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/amla-berry-1730138 (accessed November 20, 2017).