The Best Alternatives to Amla Fruit | Tea, Oil, Powder...
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Amla is one of the most powerful superfoods on the planet, and it has been used for centuries to promote immunity, cardiovascular health, younger and healthier hair, skin, nails, and even support weight loss.
But what if you want to reap all those benefits without dealing with a bitter fruit? In this post, we'll explore amla in several different forms - tea, oil, extract, and powder - and determine which is best for you!
Table of Contents
The Amla Berry (aka Indian Gooseberry)
The amla berry, also known as Indian gooseberry or Emblica Officinalis, is the actual fruit of the amla plant. The berry is usually green in color, and can be eaten raw to enjoy its tangy taste!
Amla is native to India, where it has been used for centuries to promote health as a part of traditional Indian medicine.
Like with many ancient remedies, evidence for the health benefits of amla was mainly anecdotal and based on testimonials from traditional healers, until very recently, when modern research has begun to confirm some of its incredible claims.
The result is that amla is slowly growing in popularity in the West and is now considered one of the most powerful natural health supplements on Earth.
Why You Might Want Alternatives to Amla Fruit
So why are we discussing alternatives to amla fruit? Well, it's because amla is an acquired taste! Some people don't like the tartness of real amla berry juice or its grainy texture. That doesn't mean they can't enjoy all the benefits that come with eating amla - there are plenty of other forms to try out instead!
There's also the case of availability. It can be difficult to get fresh amla berry powder in a lot of places. In fact, if you're reading this from outside India then it's probably safe to say that it isn't available at all!
That doesn't mean we shouldn't explore alternatives though; especially ones that come with their own set of benefits and aren't lacking the key benefits of the fresh fruits.
The Incredible Health Benefits of Amla
The amla berry has been called the most important medicinal plant in India by many, and with good reason. For centuries, its benefits have been touted in Ayurvedic medicine, where amla is considered one of the most important herbal remedies for preventing and treating a variety of health conditions.
We'll explain the truth behind Amla's incredible health-boosting power below!
The World's Most Powerful Antioxidant
Amla is an antioxidant powerhouse and contains one of the highest levels of antioxidants per serving that you can find in any natural product, including fundamental nutrients like vitamin e and beta-carotene.
Antioxidants are important because they help protect your body from free-radical damage, which causes oxidative stress in your body that can result in everything from advanced aging to an increased risk for cancer.
In fact, the ORAC value of the Indian gooseberry fruit (ORAC measures antioxidant power) is orders of magnitude stronger than other fruits like blueberries, orange, goji berries, and even antioxidant powerhouses like turmeric.
It's actually incredible how much the antioxidant effects of amla and other natural supplements have on your body simply by fighting oxidative stress.
The Second Densest Source of Vitamin C
In addition to being a powerful free radical-fighter, amla is also the second densest source of vitamin C content on the planet, coming in right behind the Barbados cherry.
Vitamin C is incredibly valuable to your body because it's involved in everything from fighting off infection to protecting your cells to providing an anti-inflammatory effect. It even helps produce collagen, the protein that keeps all of your connective tissues strong and supple.
Lowers Your Blood Sugar
Another major area where the Indian gooseberry fruit is powerful is lowering your blood sugar (or blood glucose).
In fact, the amla berry is so effective at this that it's actually been used in developing countries as a treatment for diabetes. When patients eat amla powder or drink its juice every day their blood sugar levels drop significantly and they become less dependent on insulin medication.
In fact, recent studies have shown that the anti-diabetic activity of amla can reduce the need for insulin in type-II diabetes patients on a level comparable with most leading medications, without the negative side effects.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Another area where Indian gooseberries thrive is in regulating your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
The phytochemicals in amla have been shown to support a healthy lipid profile by reducing the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol while promoting HDL ("good") cholesterol.
This can your risk for heart disease, and in fact, Indian gooseberries have been shown in some studies to produce blood-pressure-lowering effects on par with leading medication. Another point for medicinal plants, and one of the reasons why the fruit is called a "wonder berry" by some.
Fights Liver Disease
Amla works throughout your body, but one of the pronounced effects in your liver, where it fights against the buildup of plaque in your liver and other liver damage.
Amla also helps liver function by promoting healthy bile production and flow to support your digestive health by preventing constipation caused by poor digestion.
Skin and Hair Health
Amla has also been proven to boost skin and hair health!
The antioxidant activity of amla makes it a powerful anti-aging treatment for your hair and skin, keeping you looking young and vibrant.
Amla is also an excellent source of vitamin E which has been shown to be incredibly effective at treating dry or damaged scalp.
In fact, one study showed that Indian gooseberry was as beneficial in treating dandruff as the leading anti-dandruff shampoo on the market.
And May Help Prevent Cancer
And finally, the research has begun to show that this powerful plant may be helpful in cancer prevention.
Apart from its powerful antioxidant activity reducing oxidative damage, which has been known to be a factor in cancer risk, amla may actually target cancerous cells directly.
One study, in particular, has shown that amla extract was able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells without affecting normal human cell tissues.
Yet another reason to add amla!
So You Can See Why Amla Is Great!
It's no secret why amla became so prominent in the Indian traditional system of medicine, but again, the raw fruit may not be for everyone.
That's why we've put together a list of some amla fruit alternatives you might consider.
Amla Fruit Alternatives
Amla oil is the oil derived from pressing amla seeds, making it a great option if you can't stand the taste of the fruit.
This is especially true on an empty stomach or when taken orally in capsules but also makes for some delicious cooking with vegetables and meats that need an extra punch of flavor.
Amla oil also prominently features in many beauty products and is considered a favorite way to use amla topically.
One of the major strikes against amla oil is that it can be expensive.
Amla/Indian Gooseberry Extract
Amla extract is the concentrated form of amla fruit powder so it's a great way to enjoy all the benefits in a more potent dosage for faster results.
This extract is made by first dehydrating the fruit and grinding it into a fine powder to make an amla tea, then straining out the solids.
Amla extract also comes in many forms, with most being dried and powdered fruits that can be put into capsules or taken orally with water just like any other supplement.
Much like amla oil, amla extract can be a bit expensive for many people.
Amla juice is a great option if you want a more liquid form of amla, and is made by soaking the fruit pulp in water for several hours before pressing it to release the juice.
The juice is then filtered with a cloth or through other materials that will help remove any solids or particles from the mixture while keeping all the important nutrients like vitamin C intact.
It's important to be aware of which form of juice you're consuming when trying to find amla juice, as these juices can sometimes include additional sweeteners that may counteract some of amla's benefits.
Also, another potential problem with amla juice is that it can result in a loss of some of the fiber, which is a key part of amla's benefits.
Amla powder is probably our favorite recommendation here. Amla powder is created by dehydrating the fruit and grinding it into a fine powder that can be either taken orally or added to recipes.
The key benefit behind amla powder is that you get all of the power of the raw amla fruit since you're using the entire Indian gooseberry, but you also get flexibility of storage and usage.
For example, you can use amla powder for everything from teas to capsules to salad dressings and smoothies, making it incredibly versatile!
Our Favorite: It's No Secret It's Amla Green
And when it comes to amla powder, it's no secret that Amla Green is the best choice for several reasons.
Amla Green combines organic, 20x concentrated amla powder with green tea, herbal tea, or other fan-favorite flavors! The result is a zero-calorie supplement that has immense medicinal and antioxidant power, but without the sour or bitter taste that some people dislike from amla.
And you can get it with free shipping anywhere in the US!
So though you may not have heard of this powerful plant, due to its taste and difficulty in getting it, all of a sudden you have a natural supplement that compresses an awe-inspiring amount of medicinal power into a simple spoonful.
The research is there, and with our risk-free guarantee, you can try Amla Green without worry. If you don't like it, just let us know, and we'll give you your money back!
But we're pretty sure you'll like it.
Amla Green has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles, and we rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
“A Systematic Review on the Cardiovascular Pharmacology of Emblica Officinalis Gaertn.” ”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6203864/"
“Akhtar, Muhammad Shoaib, Ayesha Ramzan, Amanat Ali, and Maqsood Ahmad. “Effect of Amla Fruit (Emblica Officinalis Gaertn.) on Blood Glucose and Lipid Profile of Normal Subjects and Type 2 Diabetic Patients.” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 62, no. 6 (September 2011): 609–16. ” ”https://doi.org/10.3109/09637486.2011.560565"
“Amla (Indian Gooseberry): Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation Information, and More.” ”https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-amla"
“Bendich, A., and L. Langseth. “The Health Effects of Vitamin C Supplementation: A Review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 14, no. 2 (April 1995): 124–36.” ”https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.1995.10718484"
“De, Alok, Archana De, Chris Papasian, Shane Hentges, Snigdha Banerjee, Inamul Haque, and Sushanta K. Banerjee. “Emblica Officinalis Extract Induces Autophagy and Inhibits Human Ovarian Cancer Cell Proliferation, Angiogenesis, Growth of Mouse Xenograft Tumors.” PLoS ONE 8, no. 8 (August 15, 2013): e72748.” ”https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0072748"
“D’souza, Jason Jerome, Prema Pancy D’souza, Farhan Fazal, Ashish Kumar, Harshith P. Bhat, and Manjeshwar Shrinath Baliga. “Anti-Diabetic Effects of the Indian Indigenous Fruit Emblica Officinalis Gaertn: Active Constituents and Modes of Action.” Food & Function 5, no. 4 (April 2014): 635–44. ” ”https://doi.org/10.1039/c3fo60366k"
“Fernández, Estibalitz, Blanca Martínez-Teipel, Ricard Armengol, Clara Barba, and Luisa Coderch. “Efficacy of Antioxidants in Human Hair.” Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology. B, Biology 117 (December 5, 2012): 146–56. ” ”https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2012.09.009"
“Gopa, Biswas, Jagatkumar Bhatt, and Kovur G. Hemavathi. “A Comparative Clinical Study of Hypolipidemic Efficacy of Amla (Emblica Officinalis) with 3-Hydroxy-3-Methylglutaryl-Coenzyme-A Reductase Inhibitor Simvastatin.” Indian Journal of Pharmacology 44, no. 2 (2012): 238–42.” ”https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7613.93857"
“Packirisamy, Rajaa Muthu, Zachariah Bobby, Sankar Panneerselvam, Smitha Mariam Koshy, and Sajini Elizabeth Jacob. “Metabolomic Analysis and Antioxidant Effect of Amla (Emblica Officinalis) Extract in Preventing Oxidative Stress-Induced Red Cell Damage and Plasma Protein Alterations: An In Vitro Study.” Journal of Medicinal Food 21, no. 1 (January 2018): 81–89. ” ”https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2017.3942"
“Preiser, Jean-Charles. “Oxidative Stress.” JPEN. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 36, no. 2 (March 2012): 147–54.” ”https://doi.org/10.1177/0148607111434963"
“Thilakchand, Karadka Ramdas, Rashmi Teresa Mathai, Paul Simon, Rithin T. Ravi, Manjeshwar Poonam Baliga-Rao, and Manjeshwar Shrinath Baliga. “Hepatoprotective Properties of the Indian Gooseberry (Emblica Officinalis Gaertn): A Review.” Food & Function 4, no. 10 (October 2013): 1431–41.” ”https://doi.org/10.1039/c3fo60237k"
“Zhao, Tiejun, Qiang Sun, Maud Marques, and Michael Witcher. “Anticancer Properties of Phyllanthus Emblica (Indian Gooseberry).” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2015 (2015): 950890.” ”https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/950890"
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Cyrus Khambatta