Not so many Nigerians are familiar with the Amla fruit; even though if you pay close attention to labels its a major ingredient in some hair care products. However, it is something we all should pay close attention to in our quest for natural means to attaining wellness.
The amla fruit also known as the Indian gooseberry is a common ingredient in Ayurveda, which is the 3,000 year-old Indian traditional medicine system. It belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family and ripens in the autumn in wet, forest, hilly areas on the Indian subcontinent and is considered as a sacred tree in India. The fruit is very nourishing, but it tastes sour. Both, dried and fresh fruits can be consumed for their respective health benefits.
Amla is very rich in vitamin C and contains many minerals and vitamins like calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, and vitamin B complex. It is also a powerful antioxidant agent that is perfect for diabetes patients as well.
1. It boosts eye-sight
It contains Vitamin A and carotenes that reduce macular degeneration and night blindness while strengthening vision before the age-related degeneration from free radicals can occur. As a result of its high carotene content, it improves near-sightedness (short-sightedness) and cataracts while reducing intra-ocular tension especially if you take the juice with honey.
2. Makes Calcium Absorption easier
Calcium as we all know does wonders for our bones, teeth, nails and hair. Eating or drinking this fruit ensures that our bodies take in this essential calcium easily and more positively.
3. It can treat Jaundice
Especially if the jaundice is anemia related, taking amla with some iron can make a load of difference
4. Bacteria, Fungi and Viruses stand no chance
Obviously its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral game is very strong. Studies have shown it was effective in inhibiting bacterial growth of the Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans, and Enterococcus faecalis strain. Another group of researchers found it was able to help battle no less than 186 bacterial isolates drawn from as many as 10 different genera.
5. It Lowers Blood Sugar
Which is amazing news for diabetics. Its antioxidant content and ability to fight free radicals, help to fight or even avoid hypoglycemia, as well as related problems that diabetics face, including diabetic nephropathy and cardiac complications. Its ability to improve glucose metabolism in your body, makes it a great antidiabetic agent.
6. It is effective in fighting Cancer
Amla is extremely rich in antioxidants with 18 compounds that can inhibit the progress of breast cancer, gastric cancer, and uterine cancer. It is a natural antimutagenic agent with chemopreventive properties. It prevents the proliferation of tumor cells by helping to kill them naturally as well as boosting immunity.
7. It keeps Heart Disease at bay
Amla is effective in the fight against cardiovascular disease because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It not only reduces inflammation in the arteries as well as throughout the body, it also reduces cell membrane damage brought about by reactive free radicals. It balances cholesterol levels and its power combo of vitamins and minerals thelps it support protein synthesis, boosting the metabolism that aids faster fat burn. It helps with hypertension; as the high levels of vitamin C helps keep blood vessels dilated
8. It helps to stop Diarrhea and Dysentry
When mixed with lemon; taking the amla juice helps to stop a runny tummy dead in its tracks. Eating the dried amla fruit too can ease diarrhea.
9. It boosts Digestive Health
Since it is very high in fiber; its antimicrobial property means your body is able to restore digestive health as well. Fiber adds bulk to the stool and helps move food through the bowels and keeps their movements regular. This reduces the chances of constipation. Fiber can also bulk up loose stools and reduce diarrhea. It also stimulates the secretion of gastric and digestive juices, so food is digested efficiently, nutrients are absorbed in an optimal way, and you feel lighter and healthier. Reducing constipation can also protect you from various gastrointestinal disorders, and even colorectal cancer.
10. It boosts Appetite
No appetite? No problem. Take amla juice or powder mixed with butter and honey before a meal will do wonders. It also helps balance nitrogen levels, thereby increasing weight in a healthy way.
11. It boosts overall Beauty wellness
Mostly because of its high antioxidants and calcium content; it goes a long way in ensuring dental care, skin care, healthy hair and nails.
As amazing as the alma fruit is, there is a note of caution. It does come with some side effects
1. Sudden drop in Blood Sugar
an excessive or incorrect dosage could cause your blood sugar levels to dip suddenly. This can be potentially dangerous for someone who already has sugar regulation problems as a result of diabetes. If you plan to take amla in addition to an existing allopathic diabetes medication, do keep your healthcare specialist/doctor in the loop. The dosage of your medication may need to be adjusted accordingly.
2. It can increase Bleeding
If you already have a problem with bleeding easily, as a result of some disorder or medication you take, you should exercise extra caution while using amla as a herbal remedy or consuming very large quantities in your diet. The vitamin C content of amla can make the elasticity of your blood vessels increase, softening and dilating them and potentially helping improve circulation and lowering blood pressure, which could cause you to bleed more too. This property of amla is also why pregnant women are advised to consult their doctor before taking an amla-based supplement. Also, avoid this fruit in any form for at least 14 days prior to any surgery to minimize the risk of major bleeding during the surgery or after
3. It can bring about Constipation
As a result of its ability to fight diarrhea and dysentry, it can easily cause constipation if its not well balanced with adequate water intake.
4. It can lead to Liver Damage
On its own, amla is not a culprit. However, some care is warranted, due to possible interactions, when using it with drugs like acetaminophen, amiodarone, methyldopa, methotrexate, isoniazid, and carbamazepine