10/19/2015 Mind-Body Health
Amalaki, commonly known as Indian gooseberry or amla, is considered one of the most powerful rejuvenating herbs in Ayurveda. In Sanskrit, Amalaki means “the sustainer” and has traditionally been prescribed to strengthen the immune system and cool the body.
Amalaki is a small tree that’s native to tropical southeastern Asia, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and the Mascarene Islands. It bears a small round fruit that is about 1/2 to 1 inches in diameter.
Why Use Amalaki?
Do you have any of these conditions?
- High cholesterol
- Inflammatory conditions of the GI tract
- Urinary Tract Infections
Amalaki has traditionally been used to treat these conditions as well as symptoms associated with the common cold—cough and sore throat.
Benefits and Healing Effects
The herb is a strong natural antioxidant containing high levels of vitamin C. That’s one of the reasons why it such a powerful immune strengthener.
Amalaki provides support and nutrition to the digestive tract, inner and outer skin, arteries, and liver.
The healing properties of Amalaki extend to all tissues. It also has the ability to increase Ojas, meaning that it enhances energy, immunity, and fertility. Although it’s appropriate for all doshas, it’s particularly effective for balancing Pitta.
5 of the 6 Essential Tastes
Amalaki is well known among Ayurvedic practitioners for being the only food that contains five of the six essential tastes (Rasas): sour, sweet, bitter, pungent, and astringent. It lacks only the salty taste. This is a valuable property because in Ayurveda, a balanced diet needs to contain all six tastes at every meal to create optimal health.
How to Add Amalaki to Your Diet
If you’re taking an Amalaki powder, mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon into warm water once or twice daily or as directed by your health provider.
Another way to take Amalaki is through Chyawanprash, which is an herbal jam made from a base of Amalaki combined with sugar, honey, ghee, sesame oil, berries, and spices. Chyawanprash can be taken by itself, stirred into milk or water, or spread on toast. The usual dose is 1 to 2 teaspoons, once or twice daily.
Amalaki is also one of three ingredients in Triphala, which is one of Ayurveda’s most popular herbs. Although it can vary, a typical recommended dose of is 500 to 1,000 milligrams, twice daily.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.