For centuries, we have seen the benefits of Ayurveda – the age-old therapeutic science that originated in India and is now accepted across world as an alternative form of medicine. The very basis of Ayurveda is to enhance life by emphasizing on using resources found in nature in the form of fruits, vegetables, animal products and minerals. And one the most beneficial fruits, according to Ayurveda, is the Indian gooseberry, or what we commonly call ‘alma’.
Amla is considered to be an especially revitalizing herb with multiple nutritional qualities. This highly fibrous round fruit with 6 vertical lines contains a variety of flavours, ranging from sweet and salty to bitter and sour.
Amla and its rich nutrients
Amla is one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin C – 100 gram of Amla contains 700 mg of Vitamin C or ascorbic acid which is 20 times more than that found in other fruits. Amla is also an excellent anti oxidant and one of its best qualities is that the nutrients don’t reduce on cooking or drying. Amla is 80% moist and contains calcium, carotene, iron, phosphorous and many essential oils. Even the leaves and bark of Amla plant are a good source of tannin (tannin works as an astringent).
Health benefits of amla:
Including amla in your diet can be highly beneficial:
Treats respiratory system: Amla acts as an astringent and helps in drying cough. Being a good source of vitamin C, it’s very helpful when it comes to treating cold, bronchitis and respiratory problems
Treats constipation: The fruit is a good source of fibre and has proved to be an effective laxative. It’s been known to reduce constipation and even helps in the treatment of piles.
Treats skin ailments: Amla contains antibacterial properties which prevent skin disease and ulcers. It can even help in treating acne.
Good for hair: Amla can do miracles with hair problems and is an important ingredient in many products made for stimulating hair growth. Amla soaked in water and kept in an iron utensil overnight could be used as a shampoo-conditioner-hair colour to check hair greying and to make it shiny.
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Improves vision: Amla is good for the eyes and can help in correcting eye problems like trachoma, glaucoma and cataract.
Treats acidity: One gram of Amla powder with a little sugar if taken with milk or water can help reduce acidity.
Treats cardiac disease: Cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes are ailments that contribute to heart disease. Vitamin C helps in widening blood vessels and strengthening heart muscles which can reduce the chances of getting a stroke because of high cholesterol levels which may have accumulated on the walls of blood vessels. Regular intake of a powder mix of Amla and sugar candy taken with water can help stabilize cholesterol levels. If taken in powder form or as triphala – a mixture of Amla with two other herbs; harada and bihara – helps in controlling blood pressure. Amla mixture taken with jamun and bitter gourd powder helps to normalize an enzyme – alanine transaminase found in liver responsible for high level of diabetes.
Good for reproductive health: Amla can act as an aphrodisiac and is supposed to increase sperm count. Dried amla seeds mixed with honey can help reduce white discharge in women.
Treats anaemia: Amla is high in ascorbic acid, which helps in good iron absorption, thus reducing deficiency.
Good for general fitness: The multi-beneficial fruit that amla is, it’s been known to improve metabolism, thus helping in maintaining body weight. Furthermore, it improves human immunity, and provides all-round health benefits.