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Amla : A Divine Plant - Amla or Indian gooseberry is worshipped in several Vedic festivals. It is being referred as divaushadhi (a divine plant) in the sacred texts of Hinduism including the Puranas. Amla berry contains five of the six tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent, which makes it divine. The only taste missing is 'salty'. It is suitable for all seasons, weather conditions and body types. All parts of the plant are used in various ayurvedic herbal preparations, including the fruit, seeds, leaves, roots, barks and flowers.
Botanical Description :
- Amla tree is small to medium sized, which grows to a height of 8 to 18 m. It bears subsessile leaves and greenish-yellow flowers. The branches of the tree are glabrous which are around 10-20 cm long.
- Amla fruit is spherical in shape and light greenish-yellow in colour. It looks quite smooth and hard in appearance, with 6 vertical stripes or furrows.
- It is planted throughout tropical India and on the hill slopes up to 2000 meter. Light as well as the heavy soils are suitable for cultivating amla plant.
Medicinal Properties of Amla :
- Besides being an exceptionally rich source of Vitamin C, amla also contains wonderful antioxidant properties. It also holds many other healing properties like anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-mutagenic, anti-hyperhidrosis, anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic, and hypotensive relieving properties. It also increases protein synthesis and is useful in cases of hypoglycemia. Chinese researchers have discovered that amla fruit is a rich source of therapeutic chemicals, including quercetin (which is also found in apples), gallic and ellagic acids, and various other less well-known ones such as chebulinic acid, chebulagic acid, corilagin, and isostrictiniin. All these chemicals are powerful antioxidants that protect you from harmful free radicals that can increase the risk of a wide range of serious diseases including cancer.
- It cures insomnia and is healthy for hair and also prevents vision loss resulting from diabetes-related cataracts.
Amla is very beneficial in various ailments such as :
- Cough, bronchitis, asthma, intermittent fevers
- Hyperacidity, bilious vomiting, gastritis
- Ulcer, jaundice, hepatitis
- Hemoglobin, red blood cell count, anemia
- Cholesterol, hypertension, cardiac disorders
- Ophthalmopathy, cataract
- Rheumatism, osteoarthritis
- Diarrhea, dysentery
Other Uses : Amla is immensely used in preparing shampoos and hair oils. It is also used in sauces, candy, dried chips, pickles, jellies and powder. Its extracts are popularly used in ink while its high tannin content serves as a mordant for fixing dyes in fabrics.