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Capsule Amalaki

Latin name: Emblica Officinalis
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Common name: Amla, Amalaki, Dahtriphal
English name: Indian gooseberry

Habitat: Wild or cultivated throughout tropical India from the root of Himalayas to an altitude of 1000m.It is usually found in deciduous forests.

Macroscopic identification: A small or medium sized tree with branchlets 10-20 cm long. Leaves are linear and small and feathery and smell like lemon. Flowers are greenish yellow in color, small in size and unisexual. Fruit is globose, depressed, about 2cm in diameter, with 6 prominent lines, greenish when tender and yellow when mature, sour and astringent followed by sweet taste.

Parts used: dried fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark, and flowers.

Pharmacological action: Tonic, erythrogenic, digestive, laxative, refrigerant, diuretic, laxative, gastric acidity regulator, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, restorative tonic, regulates blood sugar, aphrodisiac, nervine tonic, haemostatic, stomachic, antibacterial, antiviral.

Action and uses in Ayurveda: Rasa, all except lavana, kashayam dominates, seeth veeryam, mathur vepakam, tridosha haram, rasayanam, iacreases sukram, dha prashamani, cakshusya, kesya, medhya, rochni, dipani, hrdya, vrihya, medohara, pramehhar

Indications: bleeding, piles, anemia, diabetes, gout, vertigo, obesity, all types of diabetes, hyperacidity, eczema, psoriasis, hoarse voice, sore throat, inflammation, hiccoughs, hepatitis B, urethritis, sterility, gingivitis, glaucoma, diarrhea, constipation, active fistula, loss of hair, melanoma, inflammation of lungs, dyspepsia, headache, biliousness, gastritis, osteoporosis, liver and splenic weakness, palpitation, ascites.

Photochemical: Iron, calcium, silica, magnesium, B12, C, K. Fruit pulp contains moisture 81%, 5% proteins, fat1%, mineral matter 7%, fiber3.4%, carbohydrates 14%, calcium 0.05% and potassium 0.02%, iron 0.5mg/100g, nicotinic acid2mg/100g and vitamin C 600mg/100g. Fresh amla contains about 20 times more vitamin C than orange juice. Friuit is high in pectin & phyllemblin. Dry fruit contains tannins and 3-4 colloidal complexes. Other components are phyllembic acid, lipids, gallic acid, emblicol, mucic acid, ellagic acid, and glucose. Seeds contain a fixed oil, phosphatides, and some essential oil with linolenic, linoleic, oleic, stearic, palmitic, myristic acids, and proteolytic and lipolytic enzymes.

Properties and action:

Rasa: amla, kasaya, madhura, tikta, katu.
Guna: ruksha, guru
Virya: sita
Vipaka: madhura
Karma: tridosh-har, vrsya, rasayan, chaksusya.

Preparations: decoctions, infusions, powder, and paste.

Therapeutic classification index:

Amla has action on following anatomical systems of body:

  • Central nervous system: it is used as a memory booster. Powder of seeds is used to enhance intellect. Infusion for seeds is used for rejuvenation.
  • Blood and haemopoeitic tissue: dried amla is used to check bleeding. Amla powder is taken with loh bhasam helps in anemia. Pregnant women are advised to take ripe fruit of amla throughout pregnancy to combat anemia. It has erythrogenic properties i.e. it enhances production of red blood cells. Infusion of seeds is used as a blood purifier.
  • Cardiovascular system: It stimulates the heart, produces coronary dilation and peripheral vasoconstriction. Therefore, its action is adrenergic but it is neither completely like adrenaline nor like ephedrine. Phyllemblin, an active principle isolated from the 80% alcoholic extract of Emblica Officinalis acts on cardiovascular and other systems partly like adrenaline and partly like ephedrine. The investigations support the use of this drug by Avicenna (Sheikh Bu Ali Sina) in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and its present use in cardiovascular and chest diseases in the Indian systems of medicine
  • Digestive system: dried amla is appetizer. Infusion of seeds is carminative. Leaves with buttermilk help to cure indigestion. Trifala powder is an equal mixture of dried fruits from three plants, namely Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica Officinalis. This is used to co-ordinate digestion, nutrient absorption and metabolic processes. Fresh juice is mild laxative (helps the functioning of liver.). Decoction of amla leaves is used in stomatitis. Dried fruit powder controls diarrhea.
  • Respiratory system: Infusion of seeds is used in asthma and bronchitis and tuberculosis. Fresh fruit is used in inflammation of the lungs. Fruit pulp of Emblica Officinalis is a rich source of vitamin C and provides vitamin C in most stable form. Its bioavailability in cases of pulmonary tuberculosis is much better than synthetic vitamin C. It possesses powerful expectorant activity by directly stimulating the mucous cell of the bronchial tree. In addition the extract has mild antibacterial activity.
  • Skin: it is used in eczema and psoriasis.
  • Nutrition and metabolism: amla juice in different combinations is used to control blood sugar therefore is used in diabetes. It contains 600mg/100g of vitamin C and is used as an immunomodulator and to treat scurvy.
  • Genito-urinary system: fresh juice is diuretic. Paste of amla leaves if applied on abdomen helps in dysuria and excessive menstrual bleeding. Powder of raw fruit is used in chronic vaginal infection.
  • Musculoskeletal system: the whole plant prevents sudden muscular\r contraction, is antispasmodic, and relieves pain.
  • Eye: it is considered as a prime herb for treatment of eyes. In inflammation of eyes it lowers down pita without hampering the other two doshas. It improves near sightedness and is used in cataract as it has antioxidant properties and free radicals stand as one cause of cataract. Fresh juice from ripe amla is instilled in eyes in conjunctivitis and its decoction is used to wash eyes in severe infection and pain.
  • Immunity system: seedís infusion is a tonic and is used in general debility. It is known to improve immunity of the body and helps to control infection. The plant as a whole promotes resistance towards illness and counteracts infection. It is a potent anti-inflammatory herb and is used in piles, gastritis, colitis etc. Emblica Officinalis strengthened the defense mechanisms against free radical damage induced during stress. The effect of Emblica Officinalis appeared to depend on the ability of target tissues to synthesize prostaglandins.
  • Hair: it prevents graying of hair and promotes their growth making them strong and free from dandruff.

Anti tumor activity of amla:
Aqueous extract of amla was found to be cytotoxic to L 929 cells in culture in a dose dependent manner. Chyavanprash an herbal preparation of amla was found to reduce ascites and solid tumors in mice induced by DLA cells. Researches confirm the activity of herb on melanoma.

Hepatoprotective activity of amla:
Hepatoprotective activity of amla and chyavanprash were studied on carbon tetrachloride (CCL4) induced liver injury model in rats. Both were found to inhibit hepatotoxicity produced by acute and chronic CCL4. The level of liver lipid peroxides (LPO), glutamate pyruvate- transaminase (GPT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) was remarkably reduced and so was the fibrosis prevented.

Antioxidant activity of amla:
The antioxidant activity of amla resides in tannoids f fruits of plant, which have vitamin C like properties, rather than vitamin C itself. The antioxidant activity of tannoid active principle of amla consisting of emblicanin A (37%), emblicanin B (33%), punigluconin (12%), and pedunculagin (14%), was investigated on the basis of their effects on rat brain frontal cortical and striatal concentrations of oxidative free radical scavenging enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) and lipid peroxidation.

Activity of amla in acute pancreatitis
An increased amount of smooth endoplasmic reticulum and small condensed granules embedded in vacuole with healthy lacinar cells were seen in dogs with acute necrotising pancreatitis.

Effect of amla on serum cholesterol:
It was seen that amla reduces serum cholesterol, aortic cholesterol and hepatic cholesterol significantly in rabbits.

Effect of amla on lipids:Amla prevents lipid peroxidation in cell membranes therefore is used in obesity.

Amla a source of vitamin C:
It is probably the richest source of vitamin C. the fruit juice contains nearly 20 times as much vitamin C as orange juice. A tannin containing gallic acid, egallic acid and glucose in its molecule and naturally present in the fruits prevent the oxidation of vitamin and renders fruit valuable in vitamin C.

Dose: powder-3-6g
Fresh juice 10-20 ml

Capsule Amalaki contains pure and concentrated amla.
Dosage of one capsule twice a day
Package size: 60 capsules

References:

  1. Dr.KM Nadkarni, The Indian Materia Medica, Vol.I, pg 480-484
  2. Prof P.V Sharma, Dravya Guna Vigyana, Vol II, pg 758-760
  3. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India, Part I, Vol.I, pg 4-5
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