Many are surprised to find hundreds of articles on amla in the medical literature, and even more surprised to find papers with titles like “Amla, a Wonder Berry in the Treatment and Prevention of Cancer,” published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention.
Botanically known as Emblica Officinalis, amla is a very sour fruit and is found mostly in India and tropical South East Asia. The taste might not appeal you at once, but do not dismiss it right away because the health benefits of Indian gooseberry are much more than you can imagine.
Dried gooseberry is a rich source of furosin, corilagin, tannis, gallic acid, proanthocyanidins, methyl gallate, and polyphenols. These vitamins and phytochemicals are responsible for the health benefits of gooseberries so it is important to retain as much of the nutrition as possible- so you want to choose a minimally processed (or raw) powder form.
Amla has a range of potent antioxidant molecules, including Vitamin C, flavonoids, pectin, and tannins (30 percent). Benefits come primarily from its rich array of antioxidants, rather than unusually high vitamin C content. Experts from The Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Lucknow recently conducted a research on the antioxidant profile and activity of amla, spirulina and wheat grass. Amongst the three, amla, by far was found to be the richest in vitamin E like activity, total phenolic content, reducing power and antioxidant activity.
Studies show that gooseberries are beneficial for people with diabetes and diabetic complications. A study published in 2012 stated that gooseberries had positive effects on fasting glucose levels. It also lowered hemoglobin A1c (HB-A1c).
In a 2011 study, patients with kidney disease and diabetes were subjected to an intake of herbs including amla berry extract, for three months. A significant improvement in the antioxidant defenses as well as diabetic and atherogenic indices in patients was observed.
Amla is seen to be effective in controlling diabetes. It works by reducing oxidative stress and impacting the hormones associated with the condition. A recent study conducted in 2011 by Akhtar et al, studied the effects of amla fruit on blood glucose and lipid profile of normal subjects and type 2 diabetes patients. The results of the study indicated a significant decrease in fasting and post prandial blood glucose and total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in both normal and type 2 diabetes patients receiving 1, 2 or 3g of amla powder per day for 21 days continuously as compared to the baseline values.
Amla is an extremely effective natural hypolipidemic agent. It works in the following ways to promote heart health:
- Reduces oxidant damage
- Reduces total cholesterol and LDL
- Inhibits production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that contribute to endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis.
- Reduces both serum and tissue lipid levels by mechanisms similar to those of the “statin” drugs minus the adverse effects
- Prevents oxidant-induced thickening of vessel walls
Compelling preclinical studies with both in-vitro and in-vivo systems have shown that amla possesses anticancer
, chemopreventive, cytoprotective, and radioprotective effects.
Various studies have shown amla extracts to inhibit growth of lung, liver, cervical, breast, ovarian and colorectal cancer cells.
Amla and some of its phytochemicals (gallic acid, pentagalloylglucose, ellagic acid, pyrogallol quercetin, and kaempferol) have found to be cytotoxic to neoplastic cells.
Several mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the cancer preventive effects of amla.
- Induction of apoptosis of neoplastic and preneoplastic cells
- Free radical scavenging, antioxidant, antimutagenic, anti-inflammatory activities
- Increase in glutathione S-transferase levels (an antioxidant enzyme)
- Decrease in excessive Phase 1 liver enzymes (which can convert chemicals into carcinogens)
Decrease in lipid peroxidation
- Protection against DNA damage from various carcinogens
Alma is also known to assist in reproduction, bone health, eye sight, stress, aging, mental health, infections, respiratory disorders, digestion and skin disorders.