Friday, 4 June 2010

Amla (Indian Gooseberry)

English Name: Indian Gooseberry

Common Hindi Name: Amla

  • Amla (Emblica officinalis) or Indian Gooseberry belongs to family Euphorbiecae.
  • There are two varieties of amla - cultivated (gramya) and wild (vanya). The wild amla is small, hard and has lots of fiber while the cultivated amla is big, smooth and juicy.
  • The fruit is nearly spherical, light greenish yellow, quite smooth and hard on appearance, with 6 vertical stripes or furrows.
  • The amla fruit contains more than 80% of water. It also has protein, carbohydrate, fibre, minerals and vitamins. It also contains Gallic acid which is a potent polyphenol.
  • The taste of Indian gooseberry is sour, bitter and astringent.
  • In India, it is common to eat gooseberries steeped in salt water and turmeric to make the sour fruits palatable.
  • Amla is known as ‘amritphala’ in Sanskrit, which literally means the ‘fruit of heaven’ or nectar fruit. It is so called because it is rich in many desirable properties.
  • It may be used as a rasayana (rejuvenative) to promote longevity, and traditionally to enhance digestion, treat constipation, reduce fever, purify the blood, reduce cough, alleviate asthma, strengthen the heart, benefit the eyes, stimulate hair growth, enliven the body, and enhance intellect.
  • According to Unani System of Medicine the Mizaj of Amla is Sard Khushk so that it is very good remedy for Haar Amraz (Hot Diseases).
  • The amla fruits can be used fresh or dried. Dried Amlas are sometimes ground into a powder and are also available stoned and chopped. The dried pieces or powder can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year.

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