Amalaki’s botanical name is Emblica officinalis, Phyllanthus emblica, and the part that is used is the fruit of the tree. The Ayurvedic energetics are:
Rasa: amla/sour, tikta/bitter, kashaya/astringent, madhura/sweet, katu/pungent, lavana is absent.
Guna: ruksha/dry, laghu/light
Dosha: PV-, K+ in excess
Dhatu/Tissues: all, especially blood and muscle
Srotas/Systems: Annavaha/Digestive, Raktavaha/Circulatory, Elimination/Mahavahasrota
Ayurvedic Action: vajikarana/aphrodisiac, sukrala/increase reproductive fluid, vrsya/ increase sexual potency, dipanapachana/awakens digestion, anuloma/corrects the flow of vata, jvaraghna/, raktaprasadana/nourishes blood, raktasodhana/purifies blood, kesya/hair tonic, pramehaghna/destroys diabetes, , hrdaya/heart tonic, chakshushya/benefits the eyes, romasanjana, jivaniya, medhya/tonic to the mind, virechana/laxative, rasayana/rejuvenative,. (Srikanthamurthy 2001, 191; Warrier et al 1994, 259)(Pole, 2006)(Caldecott)
Starting dosage: 250mg-30g per day or 1-15ml per day of a 1:3 @ 25% tincture (Pole, 2006), 3-10 g per day or 1-10 ml per day of a 1:3 @ 30% alcohol tincture (Caldecott)
Constituents: Organic Acids ascorbic acid (vitamin C), as well as the diterpenes referred to as the gibberellins, the triterpene lupeol.
Flavonoids (e.g. kaempherol-3-O-ß-Dglucoside, quercetin-3-O-ß-Dglucoside), and Polyphenols (e.g. emblicanin A and B, punigluconin and pedunculagin).
Also present are the phyllantine and zeatin alkaloids, and a number of benzenoids including amlaic acid, corilagin, ellagic acid, 3-6-di-O-galloyl-glucose, ethyl gallate, 1,6-di-O-galloyl-ß-Dglucose, 1-di-O-galloyl-ß-Dglucose, putranjivain A, digallic acid, phyllemblic acid, emblicol, and alactaric acid (Yoganarasimhan 2000, 410; Bhattacharya 1999; Summanen 1999).
Biomedical indications: Dyspepsia, gastritis, biliousness, hyperacidity, hepatitis, constipation, flatulent colic, colitis, hemorrhoids, convalescence from fever, cough, asthma, skin diseases, bleeding disorders, menorrhagia, anemia, diabetes, gout, osteoporosis, premature graying, alopecia, asthenia, mental disorders, vertigo, palpitations, cardiovascular disease, cancer. (Caldecott)
Precautions: Acute diarrhea, dysentery (Frawley and Lad 1986, 157).
Safety: No data found. Amalaki is widely consumed throughout India as a medicinal food.\
8 Benefits of Amalaki Based on the Research:
1. Adaptogen: Active in vivo against free radical damage induced during stress (Rege 1999). One the highest naturally occurring sources of vitamin C (Katiyar 1997, 178), and its antioxidant properties have also been attributed to the tannoid complexes (emblicanin A (37%), emblicanin B (33%), punigluconin (12%) and pedunculagin (14%) (Bhattacharya 1999).
2. Antiinflammatory: An extract of the leaf of E. officinalis has been found to have significant anti-inflammatory activities in carrageenan- and dextran-induced rat hind paw oedema (Asmawi 1993).
3. Antimicrobial: Aqueous and ethanol extracts of E. officinalis have been found to be both antifungal and antimicrobial in vitro, without any indication of cellular toxicity (Dutta 1998; Ahmad 1998).
4. Antiviral: A bioassay-guided fractionation of a methanol extract of the fruit of Emblica officinalis (putranjivain A) was isolated as a potent inhibitory substance on the effects of human immunodeficiency virus-1 reverse transcriptase (el-Mekkawy et al 1995).
5. Cancer: Nandi et al. report that the supplementation E. officinalis to mice in vivo significantly reduced the cytotoxic effects of a known carcinogen, 3,4-benzo(a)pyrene, (1997). When an aqueous extract of E. officinalis is administered prior to radiation treatment, it has been found to have a protective effect upon radiation induced chromosomal damage (Yadav 1987).
6. Cardiovascular: The lipid lowering and antiatherosclerotic effects of Emblica officinalis fresh juice, given in doses equal to 5 mL/kg over a 60 day period, was evaluated in cholesterol-fed rabbits. Serum cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipid and LDL levels were lowered by 82%, 66%, 77% and 90%, respectively and regression of aortic plaques and increased excretion of cholesterol and phospholipids, compared to controls (Mathur et al 1996).In another study on cholesterol both normal and hypercholesterolemic subjects showed a decrease in cholesterol levels while taking Amalaki, but two weeks after withdrawing the supplement the total serum cholesterol levels of the hypercholesterolemic subjects rose almost to initial levels (Jacob et al 1988). Emblica officinalis was found to reduce serum cholesterol, aortic cholesterol and hepatic cholesterol in rabbits, but did not influence euglobulin clot lysis time, platelet adhesiveness or serum triglyceride levels (Thakur 1985). The effect of Amalaki on serum cholesterol was investigated in rabbits. Mean serum cholesterol levels in all three groups rose to significantly higher levels by the end of the second week, and continued to rise by the end of the third and fourth weeks except in those animals given Amalaki, which demonstrated significantly lower mean serum cholesterol levels (Mishra et al 1981).
7. Digestive: Research conducted at the Amala Cancer Research Centre in Kerala, India, has found that an extract of E. officinalis significantly inhibited hepatocarcinogenesis induced by N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) in experimental animals (Jeena 1999). In addition to its hepatoprotective activities, E. officinalis also appears to be functional in acute necrotizing pancreatitis, reducing inflammation and the damage to acinar cells (Thorat 1995).
8. Immune: E. officinalis has been found to enhance natural killer cell activity and antibody dependent cytotoxicity in tumor bearing mice, enhancing lifespan to 35% beyond the control animals (Suresh and Vasudevan 1994). An aqueous extract of E. officinalis has been shown to significantly reduce the cytotoxic effects of sodium arsenite when administered orally in experimental animals (Biswas 1999).
It is clear why Amalaki is so revered in Ayurvedic medicine and is part of triphala, which is a panacea in so many ways within the Ayurvedic system.
Caldecott, Todd, Herbal Profiles on www.toddcaldecott.com
Frawley, Dr. David, Lad, Dr. Vasant, The Yoga of Herbs, 2001 by Lotus Press
Pole, Sebastian, Ayurvedic Medicine, 2006 by Churchill Livingstone
Tillotson, Alan Keith, The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook, 2001 by Kensington Books
Tirtha, Swami Sada Shiva, The Ayurveda Encyclopedia, 1998 Ayurveda Holistic Center Press
Tierra, Michael, Planetary Herbology, 1998 by Lotus Press