Does Amla Powder Expire? (and How Best to Store It)
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
The Benefits of Amla Powder
Amla, also known as Phyllanthus Emblica or Emblica Oficinalis, is a superfood that grows in India and Southeast Asia.
This berry in all its forms (fresh amla, amla juice, amla powder) has been a pillar of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, but what sets amla apart is that the evidence actually supports its reputation as an ancient cure-all.
In recent years, researchers have begun to dig into the health benefits of amla, and the results have been astounding.
In test after test, study after study, amla has proven to be one of the most powerful plant-based medicines on the planet.
Amla impacts blood sugar and blood pressure, it impacts your immune system and scavenges free radicals with an incredible density of antioxidants and vitamin C.
It has a distinct anti-inflammatory effect, may prevent chronic diseases, and even contributes to healthy hair.
However, like any plant-based product, amla does expire, and can lose its beneficial effects, so we’ll touch on how long amla tends to last and how best to keep it fresh.
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How Long Does Amla Powder (Indian Gooseberry) Last?
Left unrefrigerated, amla powder lasts between 3-4 months. In the fridge, amla powder cn stay fresh for up to one year, which can be greatly extended if you keep it in a dry, airtight container.
Amla powder is one of the most common ways to consume this superfood, which consists of amla fruit (Emblica officinalis) ground up into a fine powder, which can then be mixed into drinks, added to food, or even mixed into a smooth paste for use as a skin or haircare product.
We’ll touch on some tips for storing each form of amla below.
How Should You Store Amla Powder?
We’ve gotten a little better at preserving food since the early years of home remedies from Ayurveda, and the best way to store amla powder is dry and refrigerated in an airtight container.
Amla actually has a mild antibacterial effect, and can last for an extended period of time if left sealed in a dry, cool space. Even if your amla powder starts to clump, it should still be effective.
Past a few months, amla may start to lose its efficacy, as the key nutrients like antioxidants, tannins, etc. all start to dry out or break down, but even older powder is likely still safe as long as it still looks, smells, and tastes like amla.
What this also means is that the best way to tell when amla has expired is the presence of any changes to its taste, smell, and color.
Beyond about one year in the fridge, it’s likely best to get some fresh amla anyway, which will have a more powerful taste and more powerful health benefits.
How Long Does Amla Tea Last?
Amla tea is one of the easiest ways to add amla to your diet. You can simply mix amla juice with a bit of lemon juice and ice, or add amla powder to warm water, add a little bit of honey, and then enjoy.
One of our favorites is Amla Green Hibiscus with a little bit of pomegranate juice.
Unrefrigerated, amla tea tends to last about a day. In a sealed container, it tends to last a little under a week, but after that it can start to turn, partially due to anything else that might be mixed in.
How Long Do Amla Powder Conditioners Last?
There are many reasons to use amla as a conditioner and hair treatment, as it can help prevent hair damage, improve hair health and hair growth, reduce dryness, and even improve your color.
There are many conditioners that have amla oil infused into them that can last as long as usual conditioners, but if you’re making your own amla hair treatment, we recommend doing so fresh each time.
Storage and refrigeration for a fresh amla hair treatment can be a bit complicated, and amla paste lasts a little under a week before starting to dry up.
It won’t be dangerous, but it will probably be crusty and likely unhelpful. Fortunately, you don’t need to condition with amla powder every day.
How Long Does Amla Hair Dye Last?
Much like with amla-based conditioners, there are many reasons to use amla for your hair color, especially because it helps reduce oxidative stress and provides nutrients like vitamin C and calcium, which can help prevent premature signs of aging like graying hair or wrinkles.
Alma paste has also historically been mixed with natural dyes like henna to help color graying hair roots. Simply mix in henna into your amla paste as needed until you reach a desired color.
Like with amla conditioners, we recommend preparing amla hair dyes as needed and not storing them afterward.
How Long Does Amla Oil Last?
Amla oil and products with amla oil tend to last longer (on the order of months if stored correctly), though we don’t recommend this as a preferred form of consuming amla.
Even though amla oil is often used interchangeably with other amla products in ayurvedic medicine, the lack of fiber and some other key nutrients, along with a higher density of fatty acids, makes the benefits (at least as a food) more limited.
As for topical use, there’s not quite as much research on the effects of amla oil vs amla paste, so we can’t draw as many conclusions. Our estimation would be that in exchange for better preservation, you lose some potential effects due to not having the full berry.
Side Effects of Consuming or Using Expired Amla
For your hair, there are relatively few side effects to using expired amla. The most notable is a sour flavor and gastrointestinal discomfort.
With amla intended for consumption, there’s a bit more risk to consider. While Emblica Officinalis has no clinical side effects, and only poses very small risks for people with low blood glucose and bleeding disorders, ‘expired’ amla’s presents an increased risk of contamination.
Bacteria and mold are the two main culprits, which can cause everything from slight stomach discomfort to food poisoning to worse sickness.
If you eat expired amla and start to feel very sick, reach out to your medical professional for advice.
It’s rare for amla to be contaminated to the point where it can require hospitalization, especially if it’s been sealed and refrigerated, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Try It Yourself with Amla Green
We think that amla powder is one of the simplest ways to add amla to your diet, both due to its versatility as a food and topical product and how easy it is to store.
That’s why we chose to produce Amla Green, a 20x concentrated amla powder where a little bit goes a long way.
If you’d like to try amla for yourself, we offer your first batch entirely risk free. If you don’t like it, you can tell us, and we’ll give you your money back. But we think you’ll like it!
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