Amalaki – The Ultimate Healer
According to Ayurvedic medicine, Amalaki (also called amla) is helpful for a wide variety of health problems, improving functioning of the liver, heart, brain, and lungs. It is also a component of a popular Ayurvedic herb mix called triphala, said to enhance immunity and treat many health conditions. Amalaki is considered the best among rejuvenative herbs, called” Rasayanas”. In Ayurveda, rasayanas are rejuvenating herbs & therapies which support antiaging and longevity. Amalaki is a medicinal plant of very high importance in Ayurveda
Amalaki Body and Mind Benefits
Amalaki is categorized as an adaptogen. Research shows adaptogens can help reduce fatigue, enhance mental performance, ease depression and anxiety, and help you thrive, supporting the body’s healthy response to environmental, physical, and emotional stress. It is a “rasayana,” or rejuvenator.
Because of its high Vitamin C content, it has traditionally been used for seasonal coughs and influenza as well as protection from Vitamin C insufficiencies such as scurvy. It is known as a rich source of nutrients, including vitamin C, amino acids, pectin, and antioxidant-rich polyphenols such as tannins and gallic acid. In Ayurveda, Amalaki is believed to tonify the heart, support healthy blood sugar levels, and protect and strengthen the liver and digestive system.
Amalaki is considered to have healing properties such as anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Amalaki has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
Benefits of Amla – It
- Supports healthy metabolism, digestion, and elimination.
- Promotes anti-inflammatory properties that cool, tone, and nourish tissues and organs.
- Nourishes the heart and respiratory system.
- Assists natural internal cleansing and maintains regularity.
- Is natural antioxidant.
- Promotes healthy eyes, hair, nails, and skin.
- Balances agni (digestive fire).
- Builds ojas to support a healthy immune response and youthfulness.
- Amla pacifies vata, pitta, and kapha, though it is especially calming to pitta. In addition, amla rejuvenates all the tissues in the body and builds ojas, the essence of immunity and youthfulness. In general, amla is a powerful friend for many systems of the body. It is known to promote energy, reproductive health, and healthy cholesterol levels. Amla is also a tonic for the heart, the arterial system, the respiratory system, the sense organs, and the mind.
Amalaki has also been used as a complementary treatment for specific conditions. E.g.
- High Cholesterol
- Age-Related Conditions
Some Questions answered about Amalaki
Is Amalaki good for your liver?
According to a 2013 review, Amalaki has been found to prevent or improve toxic effects from chemicals in the environment that damage liver cells.
Is Amalaki good for your hair and skin?
Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, Amalaki can be used in beauty products such as facial masks, shampoos, and soaps. Amalaki is thought to strengthen hair as well as brighten your complexion. Amla hair oil and shampoo have been used from long time traditionally.
Is Amalaki good for detoxification?
Amla very directly promotes detoxification with its rich antioxidant content. On a systemic level, detoxification begins with healthy agni (digestive fire), not only in the GI tract, but also in all the tissues. Amla helps to balance agni throughout the body.
Is Amalaki good for healthy elimination?
The elimination of toxins relies on healthy circulation, digestion, and elimination, and amla supports all three of these functions. Amla also particularly supports the blood, the liver, and the spleen, and supports the elimination of natural toxins as well as nourishing and protecting the body’s natural defence systems. Amla encourages bowel health and regularity.
Is Amalaki good for digestion?
From an Ayurvedic perspective, digestion begins with the experience of taste and amla contains five of the six tastes, lacking only the salty taste. Amla sharpens the sense of taste itself and so it is both stimulating and tonifying to initial stage of digestion. Amla also improves appetite and kindles agni (the digestive fire), which are both the core of healthy digestion. Amla is good for clearing excess pitta from the digestive tract, helping to flush excess heat out through the bowel.
Is Amalaki good for Healthy Blood Sugar Levels?
Amla’s ability to stimulate microcirculation and to build ojas (there is no English equivalent for this, a distant translation will be immunity) are thought to help promote healthy blood sugar levels. Amla is also useful for the urinary tract and balanced excretion of urine and balanced blood sugar levels go together and so amalaki is good for blood sugar. Amla supports entire digestive process and enhances body’s ability to process food efficiently.
Is Amalaki good for Rejuvenation?
Amla is a highly revered rasayana (rejuvenative) for the entire system. Specifically, it is said to promote youthfulness and vitality, enhances immunity, tonifies all the body’s tissues and promotes overall health and well-being. It is a brain tonic, it promotes memory, and it is sattvic in nature, bringing clarity of mind, balanced emotions, and enhancing subtle levels of awareness.
Amalaki in Triphala
Triphala literally means ‘three fruits’ namely amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. Triphala is the most widely used formula in Ayurveda. Like amla, triphala contains five of the six tastes—all but salty—and is mainly used to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Triphala is nourishing and detoxing, cleansing to all tissues. Triphala also benefits the lungs, skin, and eyes, and it can be used as part of a weight loss program.
Amalaki in Chyawanprash
Chyawanprash is a nutritive jam, mainly used for enhancing the immune system. It is particularly supportive of the respiratory tract as it nourishes the mucous membranes and helps keep the respiratory passages clean and clear. Chyawanprash also strengthens vata, nourishes the reproductive tissues, helps in the elimination of ama (toxins), and builds ojas. Chyawanprash can be taken on a long-term basis as part of support for overall strengthening, or recovery from an illness or stress. For others, it is more appropriately used seasonally, as a tonic in the winter months.
Modern Research on Amla
There has been significant scientific research evaluating the benefits of amla both on its own, and as an ingredient in chyawanprash and triphala. Among other things, studies have looked at amla’s ability to encourage appropriate glucose levels, cholesterol levels, and its immunomodulatory and antioxidant effects. Below are a few links that summarize some of these findings:
- Effect of Chyawanprash and Vitamin C on Glucose Tolerance and Lipoprotein Profile. PubMed Abstract. Jan 2001.
- Effect of the Indian Gooseberry (Amla) on Serum Cholesterol Levels in Men Aged 35-55 Years. PubMed Abstract. Nov 1988.
- Immunomodulatory effects of agents of plant origin. PubMed Abstract. Sep 2003.
- Cytotoxic Response of Breast Cancer Cell Lines, MCF 7 and T 47 D to Triphala and its Modification by Antioxidants. PubMed Abstract. Jul 2006.
So Amalaki justifies its name and position as the ultimate healer and “mother” as it is considered to perform the job of taking total care of the mind-body system. In the Charaka Samhita – one of the ancient texts of Ayurveda, its author, Charaka says, “Of all the rasayanas, Amalaki is revered as one of the most potent and nourishing; Amalaki is the best among rejuvenative herbs.”