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Home sjmtoc 8.3 Famous Ayurvedic Herbs

8.3.1 AMLA, Amalaka [Emblica officinalis, Gaertn.)

Taste: Swet, sour, and astringent
Attribute: Oily
Potency: Cold
Long-Term: Sweet
General Action: Digestive stimulant, rejuvenating, antioxidant
Specific Action: Aphrodisiac
Therapeutic Action: Balances all three humors; very good for high pitta

Amla is perhaps the single most often mentioned herb in the Caraka Samhita. It has a reputation as a powerful rejuvenating herb and is used in many Ayurvedic rejuvenation formulas, the most famous of which is Chavana Prash. Amala is especially useful for pitta constitutions, as it has a cold potency, but it will not aggravate the other himors. The fruit is reputed to have the highest content of vitamin C of any natural occurring substance in nature. It promotes ojas and the reproductive fluids, and is useful in the treatment of ulcers and hyperacidity.

Modern scientific research has found many different uses for the fruit, the part predominantly used in Ayurvesa. For example, a research team discovered that when amla is taken regularly as a dietary supplement, it counteracts the toxic effects of prolonged exposure to environmental heavy metals, such as lead, aluminum, anc nickel. These metals are prevalent in the environment of industrialized countries. In the studies the pro-oxidant or oxygen radical scavenger qualities of amla suggest that it is also very effective in lowering the risk of many cancers. Other studies indicate that it is much more effective than vitamin C alone in reducing chromosomal abnormalities. Amla juice has twenty times more vitamin C than orange juice and natural tannins prevent oxidation of the vitamin content in a dry condition - in other words, it is heat stable. Studies indicate that the naturally occurring vitamin C is easier for the ody to absorb than synthetic vitamin C. This and other studies indicate that naturally occurring vitamin C may be ten times more beneficial to the body than synthetic vitamins. The vitamin C content of amla is between 625 mg-1814mg per 100 grams!

Other studies show that amla increases red blood cell count and hemoglobin percentages, and patients started their anabolic phase (metabolic processes involved in protein synthesis) sooner. The dried fruit reduced cholesterol levels, and no irritant or tumor-promoting activity was found, indicating that amla is safe to consume on a lon-term basis.
Amla reduces unwanted fat because it increases total protein level this is due to its ability to create a positive nitrogen balance and it also significantly reduces the levels of free fatty-acids. In addition, amla, in a raw or natural form, reduces cholesterol and reduces cholesterol induced atherosclerosis (obstruction of the arteries), making it a useful natural product to fight obesity. One study shows that it prevented atheroma (degeneration of the artery walls due to fat and scar tissue). Furthermore, amla has exhibited considerable effect in inhibiting the HIV virus which ultimately results in the disease AIDS.

Therefore, one can draw the conclusion that amla is good for almost everyone on a regular basis. It reduces or eliminate the risk of environmental pollutants, normalizes cholesterol, reduces unwanted fat, cures ulcers, reduces or prevents cancer, has the highest content of vitamin C of any natural source, detoxifies the body, regulates digestion, has inhibiting effects against the HIV virus, promotes metabolic function and can produce these results in a dried natural, unprocessed form. The only thing that could possibly be better than amla for a daily herbal supplement is the Triphala formula, of which amla constitutes one third (see triphala).

Dose: 2 to 4 grams per day with meals

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