Amla berry, or Indian gooseberry, is an ancient food that has a special place in Ayurvedic medicine. Exhibiting nearly twice the antioxidant power of acai berry and 17 times that of the pomegranate, amla berry contributes to better immune, heart, skin, liver, and kidney function. It also acts as a diuretic agent, which helps to balance stomach acids, fortify the liver, and enhance food absorption.
What Is Amla Berry?
According to Indian folklore, this berry came from “…the first tree to appear on earth.” Manifested from the tears of Brahma during meditation, the amla berry has been revered by ancient health practitioners. It’s an extremely sour berry that grows on a tree native to India, the Middle East, and parts of Southeast Asia. It exhibits powerful antioxidant properties, which is why many people consume it to boost the health of the skin, hair, and immune system. Amla berry has a fibrous texture and people in India eat it with salt and chili powder. It is also available in powder, tea, pickled, and dried form.
Amla Berry Nutrition
One cup of amla berries contains one gram of protein, seven grams of fiber, 15 grams of carbs, and less than one gram of fat. Amla berry also contains copper, vitamins B5 & B6, manganese, potassium, and lots of vitamin C. In fact, one cup of amla berries offers 46% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C. Continue reading to learn how amla berry can benefit your overall health.
Supports Healthy Digestion
Some research indicates that amla berry may support a healthy digestive system. One study monitored 68 people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) who took two 500-milligram tablets of amla extract twice daily for four weeks. The results found that the participants experienced significant reductions in frequency of heartburn and regurgitation. Older animal studies found that amla extract may work to heal or even prevent stomach ulcers. Researchers believe that this is due to the antioxidant content. Amla berry also stimulates the secretion of gastric and digestive juices, helping the body digest food easily while absorbing nutrients optimally.
May Control Blood Sugar
Amla berry contains chromium, which has therapeutic effects for people with diabetes. Chromium works to stimulate the isolated group of cells that secrete insulin, which may reduce blood sugar in people with diabetes. By reducing blood sugar, cells can use glucose as functional energy, which prevents the plunges and spikes of blood sugar. Additionally, a 2011 study found that amla fruit exhibited anti-hyperglycemic and lipid-lowering effects on type 2 diabetics.
Promotes Heart Health
Many studies suggest that consuming the juice of amla berries can positively impact heart health. One study found that supplementing with amla extract for 12 weeks helped reduce several risk factors of heart disease in overweight or obese adults. This study also found that cholesterol levels and inflammatory markers reduced after amla extract consumption. In a separate study, people consumed 500-milligrams of amla extract twice daily for 12 weeks. The participants, who had abnormal blood lipid levels, were able to reduce total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol. Additionally, the participants who consumed amla extract had a 39% reduction in atherogenic index of plasma. Atherogenic index is used to evaluate the risk of excess cholesterol build-up in the arteries.
May Boost Immunity
The vitamin C, vitamin A, alkaloids, flavonoids (like quercetin and kampferol), and polyphenols in amla berry all contribute to optimal immune function. One study found that amla berry exhibited potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. According to Ayurvedic medicine, amla berry works to increase white blood cell production, helping the body defend itself against foreign invaders. A review of studies determined that vitamin C may help prevent certain infections and shorten the duration of the common cold, provided people consume it regularly.
May Increase Hair Growth
There are several studies surrounding amla berry’s ability to prevent hair loss or contribute to hair growth. One study found that amla berry was able to block a specific enzyme that is involved with hair loss. A separate test-tube study found that amla extract may stimulate hair growth by promoting the growth of specific cells in hair follicles. Amla powder is a common addition to many hair tonics because it helps enrich hair pigmentation and growth. Applying amla oil to the roots may strengthen roots and help hair maintain color. Researchers attribute this ability to the carotene content of amla.
You can consume amla fruit fresh, as a fruit juice, or in dried powder form. It’s typically safe to consume, but consult a medical expert if you want to use it for medicinal reasons. Certain cautions may be advised, depending on the state of your health.