Amla Powder, the Perfect Fall Supplement
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
It's the end of summer, and as we enjoy this late summer season and prepare for fall, there's a supplement that can help you prepare for everything from the flu season to weight loss...
Amla is a powerhouse superfood that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and recently surged onto the scene in the US thanks to its incredible, evidence-based benefits.
Amla contains powerful antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, calcium, making it a nutritional superfood in its own right -- and that's before you talk about its incredible health benefits.
Whether you're improving your heart health, looking for a little weight loss before the fall, or preparing your immune system for the fall flu season, you might want to think about amla powder...
Table of Contents
Amla, the Indian Gooseberry
Amla, also known as Amalaki or Indian Gooseberry, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a rejuvenating tonic to boost the immune system and promote heart health.
In fact, amla has historically been prescribed for this and much more, including:
- Treating anemia and other blood disorders
- Dissolving gallstones, purifying the blood, treating jaundice
- As a hair tonic to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss
- Boosting cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol levels and preventing heart attacks.
- As an antioxidant that can help fight free radicals in your body to prevent cancer and premature aging.
- To reduce inflammation and help with joint pain
- As an adaptogen that can help balance your body's systems and restore homeostasis after stress or illness.
- And to support healthy weight loss by improving the metabolism while also helping to suppress hunger cravings and reduce sugar levels in diabetics.
There's a reason that people in India call the Indian gooseberry a wonder berry!
Taking the US By Storm
For a long time, amla hadn't made it to the west for a few reasons.
First, when eaten raw amla isn't the tastiest fruit. It can be an acquired taste that's bitter and sour, has a fibrous inner texture, and even has a sort of unpleasant greenish-yellow tint, which made Indian gooseberry unattractive as a commercial fruit.
This led to the second hurdle, which is that it's historically been very hard to get certified organic amla fruit (or any other form of amla like amla powder) in the US.
The berry is native to Southeast Asia and India, and without huge demand, no one developed the supply chain.
Third, even though amla was a traditional medicine prescribed for millennia, it took a long time for modern medicine to start testing amla's effects.
The best part though? It turns out almost all of those claims are true!
So now, we have an incredible superfood that the western world is just discovering, and thanks to enterprising importers, amla and its incredible health benefits are now taking the US by storm!
Fall is Coming, Brings Its Own Challenges
Each season brings its own health challenges, and you'll want to be prepared for each of them.
Heart Health Before Hearty Food
As the fall comes, we're surrounded by tons of tempting fall treats like pumpkin spice lattes, apple cider donuts, pies... and let's not forget all of the many holidays of the fall and winter!
It can be hard to stick with your heart-healthy goals when you're surrounded by so much temptation, and sometimes you have to accept that you might not always be nailing your dietary goals.
That's why it's important to be focused on your heart health before and during the fall. Keeping on top of your cardiovascular health early will definitely pay off when Thanksgiving comes around!
Fall and Flu Season
Another big challenge of the fall is flu season.
You know the drill: you start seeing a few people here and there coughing, sniffling -- it's everywhere! Then, it happens to you.
You get a fever, aches, and pains everywhere... it's definitely not your favorite time of year!
Add in the fact that we're currently experiencing the most dangerous pandemic in recent years, and it's worth focusing on your immune system.
Your immune system protects your body from pathogens that can make you sick or even kill you. It's a complex system, one that can be affected by your cardiovascular health, oxidative health, and immune-boosting nutrients, but the key benefits are clear -- the difference between sickness and health!
Losing a Little Weight
The great thing about summer is that everything seems a little easier.
You've got the nice weather to encourage you to get outside and exercise, and it's not too hard to stay on track with your meals because of all the fresh produce available at farmer's markets.
But then autumn rolls around...and sometimes we're ready for some comfort food! No one wants to be struggling with their weight while they're sipping on a cozy mug of hot cocoa.
It's a struggle of being pulled in multiple directions, but a little extra effort towards losing weight early can help make those tasty treats every once in a while a little bit more guilt-free!
Hair and Skin Health in Changing Weather
Another big challenge as the weather changes and the seasons' shift is keeping your skin and hair healthy! Sun damage, dry air, cold wind... these all take their toll on how healthy you look.
And while we all love enjoying the crisp autumn air, sometimes enjoying all that fall has to offer involves a little bit of extra work in your hair and skin routine to make sure that your skin and hair health are as potent as possible.
You Guessed It, Amla Helps with Everything
So why are we talking about amla as a fall supplement? Well, because it helps with each of the points we just outlined above.
How Amla Boosts Heart Health
Amla has a trifecta of heart-health improvement properties.
First, it lowers your blood sugar. Amla has traditionally been used to treat diabetes, and it works by suppressing glucose production in the liver. Amla is also a potent antioxidant that helps your cardiovascular system fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Second, it has been proven to improve your cholesterol. Amla has been shown to lower your LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL. Amla also contains an amino acid called lysine, which is used by the body to synthesize carnitine -- ideal for heart health.
This cholesterol improvement also leads to the third benefit -- amla reduces your blood pressure.
In studies, Amla extract was shown to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, leading to improved cardiovascular health. Amla also reduces blood pressure thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
A great three-pronged strategy to keep your health on point!
Improve Your Immunity with Amla
And as we face flu season, amla's there to help too.
Let's start with antioxidants. Amla is one of the best antioxidant-rich foods you can find (we're talking about the most powerful antioxidant on the planet here).
Amla powder contains anthocyanins, which are an important class of antioxidant molecules that work to decrease inflammation caused by oxidative stress and free radicals.
And that’s not even counting the fact that antioxidants just plain improve your immunity!
They also help your cardiovascular system fight disease, just like amla's other antioxidants do!
Amla is high in vitamin C too. In fact, it's the second strongest source on the planet behind Barbados cherries, and orders of magnitude stronger than oranges and other citrus.
The benefits of vitamin C for your immunity are well documented, including helping with the production of white blood cells (immune system soldiers) and boosting your immunity.
Amla is also high in iron, which you probably know helps your body produce red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your body, helping to improve immune function!
And finally, amla even has an independent antimicrobial and antifungal effect. A true, multifaceted immune booster!
Amla Helps with Weight Loss Too!
Looking to lose some summer pounds or stay lean in the fall? Amla's got your back. Amla powder is a great source of soluble fiber, which has been shown to help improve satiety and decrease appetite. Amla also contains several compounds called tannins, which have the ability to bind with dietary fat -- this makes your body "think" it's eating less when you've consumed amla!
In fact, pure amla powder has been extensively tested as a weight-loss supplement and has been shown to be as effective as some leading supplements in promoting weight loss!
Improving Hair Growth and Health
There's no way that amla can improve your hair quality too, right? Well, amla's the gift that keeps on giving! Amla powder and amla oil specifically are the source of several critical vitamins and minerals that your hair needs for growth.
Amla contains vitamin B-12 (which as we know helps with energy production), biotin (a water-soluble B vitamin that has been shown to improve brittle nails, thinning hair, and dandruff), and vitamin E (the "skin vitamin" that helps improve skin health and appearance).
Amla is also a great source of zinc, which has been proven to help with hair growth -- perhaps this is why amla powder's been used for centuries as a balding treatment!
And the results back amla up. Studies have shown that people who add amla powder as a natural conditioner experienced hair growth, more shine, and improved hair thickness.
Amla is truly a powerful supplement for your beauty routine!
Reversed Signs of Skin Aging
But with cold breezes, we don't want to ignore skin health either, and your super supplement Emblica Officinalis is here for you!
Amla powder contains several skin-friendly compounds that can help with signs of aging.
Amla's antioxidant properties are always good for your skin, but it also has another important benefit -- Amla is astringent!
Astringents have the ability to tighten and tone your skin by removing dead cells on its surface. This helps improve your skin's natural glow, making your face appear younger.
Amla also has the ability to make your skin smoother and more radiant by helping with collagen production! This helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles, while at the same time reducing redness or inflammation in your complexion.
Amla will definitely keep you looking fresh-faced throughout fall weather changes.
The Many Ways to Enjoy Amla
So it's pretty clear amla is worth adding to your life, but what are the best ways to enjoy amla? Well...
Amla tea is a great way to enjoy the benefits of amla in all three forms -- powder, oil, and fruit! Simply add one teaspoon of amla powder or two teaspoons pure Amla oil (ideally organic) into your favorite green tea.
If you choose to use amla powder, mix it with warm water for best results. Amla powder isn't always easy to dissolve, but adding it to your favorite tea will give you all the benefits of amla!
For Amla oil users, simply add two teaspoons (or more) of Amla oil in with one or two cups of hot water for delicious results. You can even prepare this ahead of time and store it in your fridge for up to a week so you can enjoy Amla every day!
Amla juice is a great way to enjoy the benefits of Amla in its whole food form. Amla fruits contain up to 40% water, and are typically harvested from the amla tree through hand-picking during January and February -- making them available for juicing only once every year!
Amla fruit pulp (the soft fleshy part of Amla) is edible and delicious, but Amla oil seeds (the hard part of Amla fruit) are not. So you can drink your Amla juice as-is without worrying about the chalky taste!
One thing to be aware of with amla juice is any added sugars. Amla has an astringent taste, so keep an eye out for any added sugar.
Like extracts of other fruits, amla extract can be used to add amla's benefits to your favorite beverages, baked goods, and desserts. This extract is made by using amla powder and boiling it in alcohol (usually vodka or brandy).
Amla extract has a higher concentration of amla than amla juice, but is still more diluted than the amalaki fruit itself. Amla extracts can be found at many health food stores and online shops like Amazon.
Maybe the most popular form of amla for skin and hair health is amla oil. Amla oil is made by soaking amla fruit in a carrier oil like almond, sesame, or coconut oil for several weeks. You can even make your own Amla oil at home!
Then, you can use amla oil just like you'd use another natural conditioner or hair product (like coconut oil), or you can even just gently massage amla oil to deliver the benefits of amla directly into your scalp.
Amla is a great option for dandruff sufferers, as it helps regulate sebum production and reduce itchiness associated with dry skin.
Our Favorite: Organic Amla Powder
When it comes down to it, if you're looking for the absolute most versatile way to enjoy amla powder, we can't recommend anything more highly than amla powder.
Made into Teas
Amla powder is highly concentrated, so amla can be mixed into your favorite teas for powerful results. Amla powder is also easily dissolved in warm water and lukewarm water, making it great to add to any tea you enjoy!
One of our favorite ways to take advantage of amla powder is to add it to our smoothies. Amla powder is great for many reasons, but one of the best things about Amla Powder is that it doesn't have an overwhelming taste or flavor!
This makes amla a perfect addition to just about any fruit-based smoothie you can think of -- especially berry and tropical flavors!
Another fun mix is salad dressings! Amla powder can be added to any homemade dressing you like, and Amla Green is a fantastic way to add some extra flavor.
Amla Green has an incredibly mild taste that won't overpower your salad (perfect for those who don't enjoy the bitter aftertaste of many superfoods).
As a Flavoring
And finally on the culinary side, Amla powder is a perfect way to add some bitterness and astringent flavor without overpowering your recipe.
Amla powder can be stored in an airtight container for up to six months, so you'll always have Amla Powder on hand when it's time for some creativity! Fun veggie curries, here we come!
Amla Hair Mask
And amla powder's use doesn't stop there. In fact, Amla powder can even be used to create Amla hair masks!
The hair growth benefits of amla extend to amla powder too, and many people use amla powder as a hair mask. Just mix amla Powder with amla oil, warm water (at low temperatures), or raw honey to achieve the perfect consistency, apply to your hair for about an hour, then wash out!
Amla Green Powder
And we'd be lying if we didn't say that our favorite way to enjoy the Indian gooseberry was through Amla Green.
Amla Green uses 20x concentrated, certified organic Indian Gooseberry to create an amla powder that's one of the strongest and most pure on the market.
Add in crowd-pleasing flavors like green tea, hibiscus, and elderberry -- which each bring their own health benefits to the party -- and you have a versatile, tasty mixture that brings all of the benefits of this incredible superfood right to you.
In fact, we're so excited to share Amla Green with the world that we're offering a risk-free guarantee while you try it. If you don't like Amla Green, just tell us, and we'll give you your money back with no questions asked.
But we think 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.
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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