Amla, or Indian Gooseberry, is a fruit tree native to India and other parts of Asia which is used in traditional herbal medicine.
Amla fruit is rich in vitamin C and has many potential health benefits, with amla extract benefits being linked to improved heart health and more.
In this article, we’ll closely examine this yellow-green berry, its potential benefits and drawbacks, and how best to use it.
Like many species of European Gooseberry, the amla tree has yellow-green flowers that blossom into round fruits, roughly the size of golf balls, with pits and thin peels. These fruits are described as sour, bitter, and astringent, but they are often used in Indian cuisine and traditional Ayurvedic medicine, with some users even using that amla extract for hair loss.
Furthermore, amla extract is gaining popularity as a dietary supplement, as it is believed to have many health benefits and is often called a ‘superfruit’. However, more research is needed to confirm the potential health benefits of amla supplements, so keep reading to learn more about this promising supplement.
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What is Amla Extract?
Indian gooseberry is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine and Indian dishes and is often dried and powdered to be used out of season. Finding fresh amla in the US can be difficult, but amla extract made from powdered, dried amla fruit is widely available as a dietary supplement.
Compared to fresh amla fruit, amla extract benefits from a much longer shelf life and contains the same beneficial micronutrients (vitamins, antioxidants, etc.) as fresh berries. However, you should look for trustworthy suppliers, ideally with 3rd party certification, as amla supplements are not regulated by the FDA and sometimes contain added ingredients, so you may not be getting pure amla.
Health Benefits of Amla Extract
Amla fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial compounds – a 100g serving of amla contains as much vitamin C as 20 oranges – and has many potential health benefits. Although more human research is needed to determine what is amla extract and how it can benefit us, supplementing with amla may provide benefits for:
A 4-week study in 50+ people with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) found that taking 1,000mg of amla extract supplements daily significantly improved symptoms of heartburn and vomiting.
Amla fruit is rich in vitamin C, which has antioxidant effects and can help prevent cellular damage, a large factor in your body’s aging process. Additionally, using amla extract for hair may help prevent hair loss by inhibiting an enzyme that contributes to hair loss.
Amla is widely used to promote heart health, as amla extract benefits cardiovascular health in many ways, such as protecting against oxidative damage, lowering blood pressure, and reducing inflammation.
RELATED: Omega-3 fatty acids support heart health, and these are the best omega-3 capsules to support your heart.
Vitamin C is well known for supporting immune health, and a single amla berry contains 600-800% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, so taking amla extract supplements is a potent way to boost your immune response.
RELATED: If you want to boost your immune response, consider these immune support gummy supplements.
In some animal and test-tube studies, amla extracts have killed certain cancer cells, such as lung, breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer. However, no human studies confirm whether amla extract benefits may help fight cancer, so you should not use amla instead of conventional treatments.
Uses of Amla Extract
Indian gooseberry can be eaten raw, cooked, candied, pickled, or dried and powdered. Fresh amla is rare in America, so you’re more likely to find it in amla supplements, which typically contain amla fruit powder. You can also buy amla fruit oils that are made for topical application on your skin and hair, as using amla extract for hair loss is a common use.
By far, amla fruit powder is the most versatile form of amla supplements, as it can be packaged into capsules or mixed into food and drink. The sour taste of amla is an acquired taste, so we recommend mixing a teaspoon of amla powder and missing with warm water and honey to enjoy the amla extract benefits without the tartness.
Alternatively, you could try making chyawanprash if you’re looking for a more traditional way to take amla:
How to Make Chyawanprash
Best described as a medicinal jam, chyawanprash is an ancient formulation of amla extract made from amla, sugar, herbs, and spices, which has many medicinal benefits. Although there are many ways to make chyawanprash, they all feature herbs and spices recommended by Ayurvedic texts, and we’ve included a simplified recipe below:
- 500g Indian gooseberries (amla)
- 1/3 cup Ghee (clarified butter)
- 400g Jaggery (raw cane sugar)
- Pinch of saffron strands
- 10g Ginger powder
- 10g Bamboo Manna (thorny bamboo extract)
- 10g Long Pepper (can be substituted with black pepper)
- 5-7 Green Cardamom pods
- 5g Nutmeg
- 5g Clove
- 1 Bay leaf
Wash and cook the amla until it is soft, then set aside.
While the amla cools, blend the spices in a mortar and pestle or spice blender until you get a fine powder.
De-seed the amla, then blend them into a smooth puree in a food processor or the spice blender.
Put a wide bottom pan on medium heat, and melt the ghee.
Add the amla puree and cook on medium heat until it starts to reduce.
Add the jaggery and mix well, stirring continuously.
Cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the mix is thick enough to leave the sides of the pan.
Add the spice mix and stir well to combine, cooking for 5-7 minutes more.
Add the saffron strands and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow the chyawanprash to cool completely.
Transfer to a sterilized glass jar and store in a cool, dry place.
Your chyawanprash should last for 4-6 months if stored properly and will provide many health benefits, thanks to the other medicinal herbs in the recipe. So whether you’re interested in using amla extract for hair loss or to support your heart health, there are plenty of ways to add this herbal extract to your daily routine.
Side Effects, Potential Risks
Hopefully, you now have a good idea of what amla extract is and its potential health benefits, but it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects when using amla extract. While Indian gooseberries are widely consumed as a food and alternative medicine, they may cause side effects when taken as a dietary supplement.
Amla has anti-platelet properties and can thin your blood, preventing normal blood clotting, which is especially risky if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking a blood thinner. Fortunately, this shouldn’t be a concern when using topical amla extract for hair, as the product doesn’t enter your bloodstream large enough to trigger the effects of blood thinning.
Indian gooseberries, also known as amla, are used in Asian cuisine and herbal medicine, though fresh fruits are rare in the US. Supplements made from amla have many potential benefits, with people using amla extract for hair loss, heart health, and its antioxidant effects.
Most of the health benefits of amla are linked to its high vitamin C levels, as this vitamin has antioxidant effects and is well-known for supporting immune health. However, more research is needed to determine a safe and effective dosage and the long-term effects of amla extract supplements on humans.
If you’re still unsure about what is amla extract, why not try experimenting with a small dose in the mornings or ask your doctor whether this herbal supplement is right for you?