Ayurveda

Ayurveda, an ancient Indian stream of medicine, is basically a Sanskrit term that has been drawn from two roots – ‘Ayus’ denoting life and ‘vid’ meaning knowledge. In effect, life or ‘Ayus’ manifests an amalgamation of the body, the mind, the sense organs as well as the soul. It may be noted here that the Vedas are earliest Hindu texts of knowledge which are known to have been exquisitely discovered by the sages or wise men of India several thousand years back. The four Vedas enclose the information, cadence as well as the makeup of the universe, in addition to the secrets behind the ailments and health.

As aforementioned, there are four Vedas – the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and the Atharva Veda. Precisely speaking, Ayurveda is an element of the fourth Veda, which comprises comprehensive critiques related to treating the sick by means of using mantras, potions, and herbs. Actually, Ayurveda is an amalgamation of both science as well as the philosophy that specifies the numerous physical, emotional, mental as well as spiritual elements that are essential for complete or universal health. The superiority of this system is evident in the most prominent among all the ancient ayurvedic manuscripts – the Charaka Samhita.

Charaka Samhita is a significant manuscript regarding internal medicine that was written over 2,000 years prior to the invention of the microscope. This document presents a detailed explanation of the manner of the composition of the cells, in addition to listing as many as 20 dissimilar microscopic organisms that may be responsible for various ailments. Another such text in Atharva Veda – the Sushruta Samhita elucidates surgical techniques, surgical tools, suturing as well as the significance of hygiene during the period or as well as following any surgery. Thorough medical knowledge is merged with philosophical and spiritual guidance regarding the manner to lead a healthy as well as meaningful life. As per the Vedic way of life, human lives would be complete with purpose when they endeavor to accomplish their utmost potential, but this is not possible to achieve devoid of health on a primary level.

AYURVEDIC MEDICINE

Ayurvedic medicine, mainly practiced in India as well as Sri Lanka, is a customary and comprehensive system of medicine of these two nations. In effect, Ayurvedic medicine is an all-inclusive healthcare system and has several elements that function in conjugation stipulating a lifestyle or routine, instead of a cure for particular ailments. Ayurvedic medicine comprises several elements and some of them comprise the following.

  • Detoxification by means of ‘panchakarma’ wherein in Ayurveda, ‘panchakarma’ – a Sanskrit term – denotes the five purifying therapies used in this ancient Indian medicine stream.
  • Yoga
  • Diet
  • Meditation and prayer
  • Herbal medication

The fundamental belief in Ayurveda is that all things in the universe, counting ourselves, are made up of five elements known as ‘panchamahabhutas’ and ‘tridoshas’. By means of rectifying the equilibrium of the tridoshas inside us as well as concerning the environment and humanity around us, we will be able to endorse health on every level.

It is interesting to note that Ayurvedic cure is customized to suit the requirements of every individual. In fact, in Ayurveda, there is no single cure that works for any disease in all the patients. Precisely speaking, the combination of the different doshas that comprise an individual may possibly result in the best possible health for him or her. In the instance of another individual, the equilibrium of doshas may be responsible for the origin of the ailment. Therefore, in Ayurvedic medicine, each individual ought to be treated separately. The talent of a practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine actually lies in evaluating every individual’s nature, make a diagnosis of the reasons in case there is any lack of equilibrium of the doshas, recognizing the constitutional types as well as identifying the location of the doshas’ equilibrium and, subsequently, making a decision on the optimum treatment.

Ayurveda is also a wonderful guide for well-being and leading a good and ethical lifestyle. Similar to several other comprehensive treatments, the stress of Ayurveda is on the body, mind as well as spirit. Moreover, in Ayurveda, this theology is inherent for good health as well as a dignified and righteous manner of life. The objective of ayurvedic medicine is not just to treat ailments, but also to develop well-being and happiness.

Ayurvedic conjecture is founded on the individual structure of a person depending on which he or she is vulnerable to specific ailments. Ayurveda takes into account the sway of psychosomatic aspects in the majority of the ailments as well as the lack of balance of the fundamental constitutional aspects that are liable to cause any ailment.

Ayurvedic treatment aims at reinstating the troubled mechanisms. The primary constitutional aspects are the three doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and reinstating their dynamic equilibrium controls the life cycle as well as regulates the total body, thereby restoring our health.

HOW IT WORKS

Ayurvedic medicine is rooted in the theory that each individual person possesses a distinct constitution which is associated with energies inside their body. An excellent and balanced constitution is considered to be the greatest resistance against ailments. In case your body is performing at its best possible plane, there is no possibility of ailments gaining ground. Nevertheless, a feebly balanced constitution makes an individual vulnerable to physical as well as mental ailments. Ayurveda aspires to avoid the development of ailment by functioning with the individual foundation of a person. In effect, our constitutions are decided upon by the equilibrium of the three key energies within the body, which are also known as doshas or tridoshas. According to Sanskrit, the three doshas or tridoshas are known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Every personal constitution is regulated by all the three doshas to dissimilar extents, although an individual may have one or two prevailing doshas. A practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine will first evaluate the individual’s constitution and then decide on the prakrti or physical construction to which he or she belongs.

It may be noted that besides determining the attributes of our constitutions as well as the nature of ailment to which we are almost certainly going to give in, the three doshas also decide on the aspects that make us distinct, for instance our hair color, the shape of our body, our desire for food and the type of foods we ought to consume. The doshas have an effect on each and every feature of our lives.

We are in the pink of our health when there is equilibrium among all the three doshas or the tridoshas. Every dosha has a distinct function in our body. For instance, Vata creates movement and primarily has to do with the nervous system as well as the energy of the body. Pitta is actually fire and is concerned with digestion, metabolism, bile, enzymes and acids. Kapha is associated with water in the phlegm, mucous membranes, moisture, lymphatics and fat. To a great extent, the equilibrium of the tridoshas is dependent on an assortment of issues, especially appropriate diet as well as exercise, healthy elimination of body wastes, proper digestion as well as an even-handed emotional and spiritual well-being.

Every constitution is decided on by the condition of the parental doshas during the time of formation. In addition, every individual is born with a distinct prakrti (physical structure) – a blend of doshas that are exclusive to him or her. In fact, this is the individual’s constitution and this continues with you throughout your life. However, while we traverse life, environment, diet, trauma, stress, and injury make the doshas turn out to be imbalanced – a condition called the ‘vikrti’ state in Sanskrit. When the intensity of loss of equilibrium becomes too elevated or low, it may cause ill health. Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine endeavor to reinstate every individual to the optimum balance that is possible in their prakrti.

Constitutions or physical structures are basically innate and can never be altered. The philosophy of Ayurveda recognizes as well as acknowledges the dissimilarities between individuals and the uniqueness of each person. In effect, the science of Ayurveda assists us to comprehend our individual constitutions as well as to subsist in a manner that underlines their constructive features, which, of course, is not easy all the time.

It is important to note that in Ayurveda, every disease is associated with the tridoshas or the three doshas. Imbalances of the doshas have an effect on additional aspects that are at work within our body and result in disparities that are responsible for the development of diseases. These additional aspects comprise the five elements, also known as panchamahabhutas, the ten pairs of attributes of the tridoshas, Agni (fire), the three malas as well as the seven tissues (known as ‘sapha dhathus’ in Sanskrit).

Our body, as well as the mind, may be the dwelling of ailments in the same way and as easily like healthiness. We can achieve good health by means of the equilibrium of the biological elements, and ailments are a result of the imbalance of these elements. The aim of Ayurveda is to restore the balance at times when we are sick and also to sustain the equilibrium with a view to helping us maintain our good health.

THE TRIDOSHAS

In Ayurveda, the tridoshas, which denotes three doshas, are the basic and vital aspects of the human body that manage our complete physical formation as well as utility. The tridoshas include Vata, Pitta and Kapha and they are drawn from the five primary perpetual substances, called the ‘panchamahabutas’ in Ayurveda. In fact, every dosha has a prevalence of at least one of the five ‘bhutas’.

Vata comprises the collective prevalence of ‘vayu’ (air) and ‘akasha’ (space) while Pitta comprises of ‘tejas’ (fire) and ‘jala’ (water). Similarly, Kapha consists of ‘jala’ (water) and ‘prithvi’ (earth).

When our health is in the pink, all these three doshas are balanced or in a condition of stability. When the tridoshas are in their usual and balanced condition, they provide us with potency, an excellent complexion, standard or usual working of the fundamental organs as well as a long life. On the contrary, when these three doshas are unbalanced or unstable, they result in diseases.

It may be noted that all the three doshas have their respective subtypes, having attributes that carry out a variety of functions at dissimilar levels in our body.

Several of the bodily, as well as mental occurrences, which contemporary physiology attributes to the nervous system, may be related to Vata. In the same manner, the whole chemical progression functioning in your body may be attributed to Pitta, counting hormones, enzymes, and the entire dietary system. The actions of the skeletal, as well as anabolic system (the features of metabolism concerned in developing the physical body), may be credited to Kapha, which implies that the complete bodily volume in any living being is in the effect of Kapha.

To be precise, the whole productive procedure in any living being may be credited to Kapha; the total chemical process may be attributed to Pitta; while the sensory, as well as the motor movements or activities, may be credited to Vata.

VATA

In Sanskrit, Vata denotes ‘to progress’ or ‘to stimulate’. In effect, Vata comprises the most significant component of the tridoshic structure and has a prevalence of ‘akasha’ (space) and ‘vayu’ (air) mahabhutas. Vata is accountable for all the movements of our body (including physical and mental). In addition, this dosha sustains the entire supportive framework as well as tissue, in addition to managing circulation all through the body.

Vata has numerous physical attributes and they have been depicted in the form of:

  • Chala (unstable)
  • Laghu (light)
  • Ruksha (dry)
  • Suksma (subtle)
  • Site (cold)
  • Visada (clear and transparent)
  • Khara (rough)

Every one of the above-mentioned physical attributes of Vata originates from one’s intra-uterine life, which denotes the life inside the womb. These attributes actually determine one’s individual prakrti (physical structure).

Generally, Vata is accountable for the total physiological performance of your body. In addition, Vata also controls the mind as well as its functioning. Hence, when Vata is unstable or not in equilibrium, it is likely that you will undergo a variety of psychosomatic problems. In fact, it results in weight loss and depleting strength and, at the same time, generates various emotions, such as concern, nervousness, apprehension, sorrow and even anger.

Vata can be present in these five forms according to its role and the site of action:

  • Apana
  • Prana
  • Samana
  • Udana
  • Vyana

When the equilibrium of Vata is bothered, it brings about:

  • Abnormal blood pressure and heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Constipation
  • Mental instability
  • Rheumatic and joint pain

Diseases that can be caused by unbalanced Vata:

  • Aksepaka (violent muscular convulsion, as in “clinic” fits in epilepsy)
  • Aksibheda (eye pain)
  • Aksivyudasa (sunken eyeball)
  • Aksisula (pinching pain in the eye)
  • Atipralapa (delirium)
  • Anavasthitacittatva (mental instability)
  • Arasajnata (ageustia – loss of the sense of taste)
  • Ardita (facial paralysis)
  • Asabdasravana (tinnitus)
  • Asvapna (sleeplessness)
  • Badhirya (deafness)
  • Bahusosa (atrophy of the arm)
  • Bhrama (giddiness)
  • Bhruvyudasa (drooping of the eyebrow)
  • Dandaka (continuous muscular convulsion)
  • Dantasaithilya (loose teeth)
  • Dantabheda (a toothache)
  • Ekangaroga (monoplegia – paralysis of one limb)
  • Ghrananasa (anosmia – loss of the sense of smell)
  • Grdhrasi (sciatica)
  • Grivastambha (stiff neck)
  • Gudarti (tenesmus, a bowel disorder)
  • Gudabhramsa (rectal prolapse)
  • Gulphagraha (stiffness of the ankle)
  • Hanubheda (pain in the jaw)
  • Hikka (hiccup)
  • Hrddrava (tachycardia – rapidity of heartbeat)
  • Hrnmoha (bradycardia – slowness of heartbeat)
  • Jrmbha (yawning)
  • Januvislesha (genu valgum – club feet where the feet are turned outward)
  • Janubheda (genu varum – “knock-knees,” where the feet are turned inward)
  • Kanasula (an earache)
  • Kanthoddhvamsa (hoarseness)
  • Kasayasyata (astringent taste in the mouth)
  • Kesabhumisphutana (dandruff)
  • Khanjatva (lameness)
  • Kubjatva (kyphosis – curvature of the spine)
  • Lalatabheda (frontal pain)
  • Manyastambha (torticlorosis – twisted neck)
  • Mukatva (aphasia – loss of speech)
  • Mukhasosa (dry mouth)
  • Nakhabheda (cracking of the nails)
  • Osthabheda (pain in the hip)
  • Padabhramsa (fallen arches)
  • Padasula (pain in the feet)
  • Padasuptata (numbness of the feet)
  • Paksavadha (hemiplegia – half body paralysis)
  • Pangulya (paraplegia)
  • Parsvamarda (chest pain)
  • Pindikodvestana (cramps in the calf)
  • Prasthagraha (stiffness of the back)
  • Rauksya and Parusya (dryness and hardness)
  • Sankhabheda (temporal pain)
  • Sephastambha (priapism)
  • Sarvangaroga (polyplegia – paralysis of all limbs)
  • Siroruk (a headache)
  • Sroni bheda (pelvic girdle pain)
  • Syavarunavadhasata (dusky red appearance)
  • Tama (fainting)
  • Timira (cataract)
  • Trikagraha (sacroiliac arthritis)
  • Uccaihsruti (hard of hearing)
  • Udaravesta (gripping abdominal pain)
  • Udavarta (misperistalsis – difficulty with passing food down into the gut)
  • Urusada (pain in the thigh)
  • Urustambha (stiffness of the thigh)
  • Vaksanga (slow speech)
  • Vaksastoda (stabbing pain in the chest)
  • Vaksa uparodha (impaired thoracic movements)
  • Vaksa uddharsa (friction pain in the chest)
  • Vamanatva (dwarfism)
  • Vanksananaha (groin tension)
  • Vartmasamkoca (entropion – introversion of the eyelids)
  • Vartmastabha (ptosis – drooping of the eyelids)
  • Vatakhuddata (clubfoot)
  • Vepathu (tremor)
  • Vidbheda (diarrhea)
  • Vipadika (cracking of the feet)
  • Visada (weakness)
  • Vrsanaksepa (scrotal pain)
PITTA

In Sanskrit, the term Pitta denotes ‘to burn’ or ‘to heat’. The entire biochemical activities, counting heat generation, are attributed to Pitta. Pitta is made up of ‘jala’ (water) and ‘tejas’ (fire).

The inherent ordinary attributes of Pitta are:

  • Acrid and sour tastes (arnlam)
  • Blue and yellow colors (neelpitta)
  • Fluidity (sara)
  • Fleshy and unpleasant smell (pichhila)
  • Heat (ushma)
  • Liquidity (drav)
  • Sharpness (teekshna)
  • Slight oiliness (sneham)

The prakrti or individual constitution of a person possesses aspects that are analogous to these natural attributes. When one is ill or suffering from any disease, the natural attributes as well as actions of Pitta are present, often completely or to some extent.

Pitta has been divided into five categories:

  • Alochaka
  • Bhrajaka
  • Sadhaka
  • Ranjaka
  • Pacaka

When the equilibrium of Pitta is disturbed, it can bring about:

  • Subnormal or abnormal temperature
  • Burning feelings all over the body
  • Confused mind and anger
  • Impaired skin health, luster, complexion, and color
  • Impaired visual perception
  • Impaired skin health, color luster, and complexion
  • Yellowness of urine, eyes, feces, and skin

Diseases that can be caused by unbalanced Pitta:

  • Aksipaka (conjunctivitis)
  • Amlaka (acid eructation)
  • Amsadaha (burning sensations in the shoulder)
  • Angavadarana (cracking pain in the body)
  • Ashwagandha (foul odor of the body)
  • Antardaha (burning sensations in the body)
  • Asyavipaka (stomatitis – inflammation of the lining of the mouth)
  • Atisveda (excessive perspiration)
  • Atrpti (dissatisfaction)
  • Carmadalana (itiching of the skin)
  • Daha (burning)
  • Davathu (boiling)
  • Dhumaka (fuming)
  • Galapaka (pharyngitis)
  • Gudapaka (proctitis – inflammation of the anus)
  • Haridratva (icterus, jaundice)
  • Haritaharidra netra, mutra, purish (greenish yellow coloration of the urine, eyes, and feces)
  • Haritatva (greenishness)
  • Jivadana (hemorrhage)
  • Kamala (jaundice)
  • Kaksa (genital herpes)
  • Lohita gandhasyata (smell of blood from the mouth)
  • Mamsakleda (sloughing of the muscles)
  • Medhrapaka (inflammation of the penis)
  • Miluca (skin warts)
  • Osa (heat)
  • Plosa (scorching)
  • Putimukhata (foul odor of the mouth)
  • Raktakoshtha (urticaria)
  • Raktapitta (bleeding tendency)
  • Raktavisphota (red vesicles)
  • Rakta mandala (red wheals)
  • Sonitakleda (sloughing of the blood)
  • Tamahpravesa (fainting)
  • Tiktasyata (bitter taste)
  • Trsnadhikya (excessive thirst)
  • Tvagavadarana (cracking of the skin)
  • Tvagdaha (burning sensation of the skin)
  • Usmadhikya (high temperature)
  • Vidaha (burning sensations in the chest)
KAPHA

In Sanskrit, the word Kapha basically denotes ‘phlegm’. In addition, it also means ‘to keep together’ or ‘to embrace’. Kapha is known to be the basis of potency as well as resistance (known as ‘bolla’ in Ayurveda). Going by Ayurveda, Kapha is accountable for the formation of the living body, and Kapha comprises water (‘jala’) and earth (‘prithvi’) elements. Owing to the composition of Kapha, it is additionally stable in nature compared to the two other doshas – Vata and Pitta. When it is in its usual state, Kapha is accountable for the power as well as the construction of the body.

Physical features of Kapha are described as:

  • Guru (heavy)
  • Ishat (viscous)
  • Madhura (sweet)
  • Mirdu (soft)
  • Picchila (slimy)
  • Sita (cool)
  • Sthira (stable)

Kapha can bring about:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Plumpness
  • Sturdiness
  • Virility
  • Wisdom

Kapha is of five categories, depending upon their location and purpose:

  • Avalambaka
  • Bodhaka
  • Kledaka
  • Sleshmaka
  • Tarpaka

When the equilibrium of Kapha is disturbed, it can bring about:

  • Confusion, lack understanding and ignorance
  • Emaciation of the body
  • Flabbiness
  • Immobility and loss of function of the joints
  • Impotency and sterility
  • Loss of oiliness
  • Weakness and susceptibility to disease
  • Lethargy and weariness

Ailments that can be caused by unbalanced Kapha:

  • Alasya (laziness)
  • Apakti (indigestion)
  • Atisthaulya (obesity)
  • Balasaka (loss of strength)
  • Dhamanipraticaya (atherosclerosis – narrowing of the arteries)
  • Galaganda (goiter)
  • Gurugatrata (heaviness of the body)
  • Hrdayopalepa (mucus around the heart)
  • Kanthopalepa (mucus in the throat)
  • Maladhikya (excess bodily excretion)
  • Mukhasrava (salivation)
  • Mukhamadhurya (sweet taste in the mouth)
  • Nidradhikya (excessive sleep)
  • Sitagnita (suppressed digestive power)
  • Slesmodgirana (excess mucus production)
  • Staimitya (timidity)
  • Svetavabhasata (pallor)
  • Tandra (drowsiness)
  • Trpti (anorexia nervosa)
  • Udarda (urticaria – irritation and inflammation of the skin)
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Amla {Phyllanthus emblica}

Also, Known As:

  • Amla
  • Indian Gooseberry

Amla (botanical name Phyllanthus emblica) is an elegant ornamental tree, which usually grows up to a height of 60 feet (18 meters). In some rare cases, the tree may even be 100 feet (30 meters) tall. The bark of amla tree is somewhat smooth and has a light grayish-brown hue. Similar to the bark of guava, amla also peels off its bark in thin flakes. Although amla is a deciduous tree, which sheds its leaves and branches from time to time, the tree is rarely found completely bare. Hence, this tree is often described as an evergreen species. Amla trees bear tiny, oblong-shaped leaves that grow up to a length of anything between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch (1.25 cm and 2.0 cm) in length and they are just 1/8 inch (3 mm) broad. These miniature leaves are disposed distichously (arranged alternately in two vertical rows on opposite sides of an axils) on extremely thin branch-lets, which may make one deduce that they are delicately pinnate foliage.

The greenish-yellow flowers of amla are also small and unremarkable. The flowers appear in dense clusters in the axils of the leaves at the lower rung leaves axil. Generally, the male flowers appear at the base of a growing branch-let, while the female blooms grow above the male flowers. Occasionally, some trees produce flowers having distinct male and female organs (dioecious).

Amla fruits are almost bereft of any stem. The fruits have an oblate or round shape, with an indented base. They are smooth having anything between six to eight lines, which occasionally appear as faint ridges. These lines begin at the base of the fruit and continue to the apex making the fruits appear as lobed or divided into sections. When they appear, the fruits have a pale green hue, but gradually their color changes to whitish or a pale, greenish-yellow. Although rare, some fruits may also become brick-red when they mature. The fruits are firm and unyielding when touched. The skin of the fruit is flimsy, translucent and compatible with the fruit’s extremely crispy, succulent flesh, which is the same color throughout (concolorous). A somewhat hexagonal stone, enclosing six tiny seeds, is firmly fixed in the fruit’s center.

The Indian gooseberry or amla is indigenous to the south-eastern regions of Asia having tropical climatic conditions, especially in southern and central India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, southern China, Malaya and the Mascarene Islands. All over India, people generally grow this species in their home gardens. In Uttar Pradesh (a northern state in India), amla is cultivated commercially. These days, people in Singapore, southern Malaya and all over Malaysia have planted numerous amla trees. The amla tree is held in high esteem by people in India and, to some extent, in Malaya. The fruit of this tree is consumed raw as well as preserved in these countries. The Indian gooseberry also holds a very important position in the folk medicine of these countries.

Amla fruits are collected from wild as well as from the tress grown in the home gardens as well as orchards. They are used for personal consumption and also sold in the market. People in the southern regions of Thailand gather amla fruits from wild trees and sell them in the market.

Plant Parts Used:

Berries.leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, bark and root.

Ayurveda Use:

In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicine stream, amla is frequently used to treat a variety of health conditions. In addition to being loaded with vitamin C, this fruit also contains several other vitamins, antioxidants and essential minerals. Frequently, Ayurvedic practitioners in India use amla to treat conditions like fevers, joint inflammations, infections of the urinary tract and also to regulate the glucose levels in the bloodstream. The high dietary fiber content of amla makes this fruit a valuable herbal remedy for curing constipation.

The Indian gooseberry is a very potent antioxidant and helps to put off damages caused by free radicals, which are responsible for cell oxidation. Antioxidants are vital for treating problems related to aging and they also help to put off a number of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer. In addition to the previously declared health benefits offered by amla, this herb is also wonderful for alleviating stress. This herb facilitates the body to unwind, and quiet down. This is the main reason why several people also use amla to cure insomnia.

It is also believed that amla helps to augment fertility, make the lungs stronger and also perk up the immune system, enhancing the disease fighting ability of people who use this herb. Occasionally, amla is also employed to treat sunburns as well as sunstroke’s.

Amla is also regarded to be an astringent and exfoliating agent. Using this herb on a regular basis makes one’s skin have a more youthful appearance. In addition, this herb is also useful for reducing sagging of the skin, because it works to tense up the skin. Often, this herb is also used to put off hair loss as well as to prevent hair from becoming grey – another sign of old age. In fact, regular use of amla helps to make the hair look healthy and shiny.

The fruit of the Indian gooseberry tree is also wonderful for the health of the bones, teeth, and nails because it helps the body to take up calcium from the ingested foods. In effect, this herb makes the bones, teeth, and nails stronger. This herb is useful for promoting long life and, at the same time, it augments the functioning of the digestive system.

Amla is also useful in lessening coughs and alleviating fevers. This herb works in the form of a blood purifier. In addition, this herb is excellent for the health of the eyes, hair growth, make the body livelier and augment one’s intellect. Amla is also beneficial for people with mental problems and suffering from memory effects.

People enduring high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream, suffering from stiffening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and pancreatitis (painful pancreas), aching joints, dysentery, diarrhea, stomach disorders, obesity and cancer will find this herb beneficial. It is also useful for organ restoration.

Amla is loaded with a potent antioxidant ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which is useful for reducing wrinkles, holding back pigmentation and also helps the skin to retain its normal moisture. In addition, consumption of amla fruit juice on a regular basis helps to cure elevated body temperature, gastritis, digestive disorders and also provide relief from the burning feeling of the body.

If you massage the scalp with the oil obtained from the dried Amla fruits, it works as an excellent hair tonic and also promotes sound sleep.

Traditional Indian medicine like Ayurveda and Unani uses both dried as well as fresh fruits of the Indian gooseberry plant. In fact, these medicine streams use all parts of the tree, including the leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, bark and root to prepare a variety of herbal formulations.

Amla is of immense value in the traditional medicine of various Asian countries. It is not only used in the form of an anti-scorbutic, but also employed for treating varied health conditions, particularly those related to the digestive tract. In order to use the fruit for treating digestive disorders, its juice is extracted and prepared into a sherbet. Alternatively, the juice can also be fermented and drank. In fact, herbal medicine practitioners prescribe people suffering from coughs, dyspepsia and jaundice to drink the fermented amla juice.

Even licensed drug stores sell the dried out chips of amla flesh, which is often combined with honey and grape juice for adjusting the dosage to treat digestive disorders. The gooseberry is known to possess laxative as well as diuretic properties.Triphala, an amla decoction prepared with Terminalia bellerica Roxb. and Terminalia chebula Retz. is prescribed for people suffering from biliousness, chronic dysentery, enlarged liver, hemorrhoids and several other health problems. The powder of the dried out amla is said to be a very useful expectorant, because it helps to stimulate the bronchial glands.

When fruits that are still on the trees are scored, they exude a juice, which is considered to be valuable eyewash and is excellent for treating inflamed eyes. An infusion prepared by steeping dried out amla in water throughout the night also works as excellent eyewash. An infusion prepared from amla seeds also serves as effective eyewash. A liquor prepared by fermenting amla is recommended for people suffering from indigestion, jaundice, anemia, nasal congestion, specific cardiac ailments and also to retain urine.

The juice extracted from the leaves of the Indian gooseberry tree is also consumed for treating dysentery, diarrhea, and indigestion, particularly after combining it with sour milk, buttermilk or fenugreek. The tree exudes a milky sap, which is applied topically to foul sores. In fact, the Indian gooseberry tree is believed to be useful antiseptic for cleaning wounds. In addition, the herb is also considered to be an important analgesic for curing snakebites as well as scorpion stings. A decoction prepared with the leaves of this tree is also used in the form of a mouthwash as well as an ointment for tender eyes.

The flowers of the Indian gooseberry tree are also believed to be aperient (possessing laxative properties) and refrigerant (a medication that alleviates fevers), while the roots possess emetic properties. Hence, these are used for treating various disorders. Even the root bark of this tree possesses therapeutic properties. It is dried, powdered, blended with honey and applied topically to mouth inflammations. The bark of the Indian gooseberry possesses potent astringent properties and is employed for treating diarrhea as well as a stomachic for elephants. Juice obtained from the fresh bark of the tree is blended with honey and turmeric and prescribed for people suffering from gonorrhea.

It is evident that most of the uses of amla are founded on the astringent effect of the tannins contained in it. While the short-term consequences of tannins seem to be beneficial, using them on a regular basis may prove to be extremely damaging, as tannin is not only anti-nutrient, but it also promotes the development of cancer.

A lotion prepared from the scorched amla seeds and the oil extracted from them is applied to the skin to treat a number of problems. In addition, the seeds of Indian gooseberry are also effective for curing bronchitis, asthma, fevers and diabetes. Chemical analysis of the amla seeds has revealed that they enclose lipolytic and proteolytic enzymes and phosphatides, in addition to a very little quantity of essential oil.

CULINARY USES:

People in rural India assert that amla is an extremely acidic fruit. Drinking a glass of water after consuming the fruit fresh and raw will leave a sweet as well as refreshing sensation in the mouth. In fact, woodcutters in several south-eastern regions of Asia consume this fruit raw with a view to put off thirst. It has been found that consumption of the fresh fruit raw encourages saliva output. Therefore, even when people clear a forest, they do not fell the amla tree, because it is of immense value to them. In Thailand, drivers stop buses on the highways to allow thirst passengers to rush to the trees, collect the fruits and consume them raw.

The Hindus regard the Indian gooseberry tree to be sacred and the Hindu religion suggests that one should consume the ripe amla fruits for a period of 40 days following a fast with a view to reinstating his/ her health and vitality. In many Indian homes, it is a general practice to cook the whole amla fruits along with sugar and saffron and give one or two of them to a child in the morning every day. This therapeutic preparation is locally known as a “murabba.”

Freshly obtained amla fruits are also baked in tart and incorporated into other food items in the form of a seasoning item during cooking. In addition, the juice of the fresh amla fruit is added to vinegar to augment its flavour. The whole ripe as well as semi-ripe fruits of the Indian gooseberry trees are also used to prepare candies, besides using them to prepare jams, relishes, pickles and other preserves. The fruits are also mixed with different other fruits to prepare chutney. In Indonesia, people add the amla to several dishes with a view to impart its acidity to those preparations. Sometimes, amla fruits are also used in the form of tamarind substitute.

Soaking the amla fruits in a saline solution helps to reduce the bitterness or acidity of the fruit. You may also add tamarind, unripe mango or any citrus fruits to amla to overcome its bitterness. If you wish to preserve amla, you need to brine the whole fruit first, wash and prick it and subsequently blanch the fruits in an aqueous solution of alum. Then coat the fruit with sugar till it forms syrup and boil it. Finally the syrupy fruits are packed in cans made from enamel or crystallized in the form of a confection.

People in India, use the dried out, sliced flesh of amla to prepare a sauce. To prepare this sauce, you need to cook the chips in water, mash them along with caraway seeds using a mortar and season them further using salt and yogurt. In India, many people consume this preparation after breaking a fast. It is interesting to note that during World War II, the vitamin C rations of the Indian military personnel included powders of the dry emblic fruit, as well as tablets and candies made from the fruit of amla.

It is common in India to consume raw amla steeped in saline water and turmeric, as this makes the bitter fruit more appetizing.

Habitat of Amla:

Precisely speaking, the Indian gooseberry is native to the sub-tropical regions, rather than places having tropical climatic conditions. In India, amla trees thrive in places ranging from the sea-level to altitudes of about 5,000 feet (1,800 meters). These trees cannot endure very high temperature. The mature trees in India can tolerate temperatures up to 46ºC (115ºF) during the summer months while it is essential to provide shade to the younger plants.

It appears that the Indian gooseberry (also referred to as the emblic plant) grows well in humid conditions too. This species is distinguished for its ability to succeed even in places that are extremely arid and in very poor soils. However, the trees need a deep soil, which may range from light to heavy, sandy loam to clay, somewhat acidic to slightly alkaline. The trees suffer from nutritional deficiencies when the pH level is very high (for instance, 8.0).

Generally, the Indian gooseberry is propagated by means of its seeds collected from overripe fruits. These fruits are dried out in the sun to make it easy to take away the stone. Alternatively, the ripened fruits are sliced into half through the stone to extract the seeds. After being extracted, the seeds undergo a float test and only the seeds that sink completely in water will germinate. Four months from the day the seeds are sown, the stem of the seedlings usually measure 1/3 inch (8 mm) in diameter. In India, the seedlings can be grafted or budded between June and September as well as during February-March.

Seedlings that are about 1.5 years old can be used in the form of rootstocks for chip-budding. This process is quite simple and the success rate is about 60 percent to 80 percent provided it is undertaken in September-October or February-March. Occasionally, cultivators in India grow amla trees by inarching. However, the success rate of this process is usually very low (just about 25 percent to 30 percent) after the young plants are separated from the stock. More plants may die after they are planted in their permanent positions in the field.

The amla trees that produce low-quality fruits cut back in heights of about four feet (1.2 meters) and coal tar is applied to the surface where they are cut for promoting budding of new shoots. For best results, the amla trees should be cut back in height anytime between June and September.

Research:

Scientists have undertaken primary research with the Indian gooseberry and in vitro studies have shown that possesses antimicrobial and antiviral attributes. In vitro studies have also provided with initial evidence that extracts of this fruit not only generate programmed cell death (apoptosis) but also alter gene expression in osteoclasts involved in osteoporosis andrheumatoid arthritis. In fact, amla or the Indian gooseberry may also have the potential to combat specific cancer forms.

Trial preparations using the leaves, fruits, and bark of amla tree have demonstrated that they may be effective against a number of in vitro disease models, including inflammation, diabetes, renal disorders related to old age and even cancer.

A pilot study undertaken on humans has shown that treating normal as well as hypercholesterolemic men with amla helped to reduce the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Findings of a recent study undertaken on alloxan-induced rats with diabetes showed that when they were administered an aqueous solution of amla extract, their blood glucose as well as triglyceridemic levels decreased considerably. In addition, the use of this diluted amla extract also demonstrated an improvement in the functioning of the liver. It was found that the liver function normalized due to the activities of a liver-specific enzyme known as alanine transaminase.

Constituents:

Chemical analysis of amla fruits or the Indian gooseberry has revealed that they contain a high concentration of ellagitannins like emblicanin A (37 percent), emblicanin B (33 percent), punigluconin (12 percent) and pedunculagin (14 percent), which contribute to the fruits’ antioxidant strength. In addition, amla fruits also enclose phyllanemblinin, phyllanemblinin A, punicafolin and various polyphenols, such as flavonoids, gallic acid, ellagic acid, and kaempferol.

Amla Juice:

Drinking 20 ml of amla juice on a regular basis along with meals serves as a wonderful tonic for the liver. Similarly, consuming 20 ml of amla juice blended with honey early in the morning every day is good for the health of the eyes and also improves vision.

On the other hand, consumption of half to one teaspoon of powder with the dried food twice every day helps to purify the blood. It also helps to cure hyper-acidity, ulcers, and wounds.

 Harvesting Amla:

Amla fruits, also known as the Indian gooseberry, is vulnerable to day-length. Trees in northern India blossom during the period between March and May, while those grown in the southern part of the country like Chennai (earlier known as Madras) flower twice – once during June-July and again in February. The blossoms in February produce a very small crop. Amla trees grown in Florida produce flowers in summer, while the main crop is ready for harvesting between winter and the beginning of spring. However, some fruits that develop from late flowering may be found on the trees in summer as well as in fall.

People in India collect mature amla fruits by shaking the branches when they are just ready to drop on the ground. In addition, they also collect the fruits that have already dropped on the ground and sell them in the market. The fruits remain in good condition for a longer period, provided they are handled properly. The yield of amla fruits differ a lot, because numerous fruits drop on the ground when they are still young, especially during their development period. In addition, the yield of plants grown from seeds as well as different cultivars differs greatly.