Why Haven't I Heard of Amla?
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Amla is a fruit native to India that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and with recent research has been shown to actually live up to its reputation as an ancient cure-all!
In fact, amla has been shown to help with a variety of health problems, including diabetes, high cholesterol, weakened immunity, and signs of aging. In this article, we'll take a look at amla and its health benefits before answering the burning question: "why haven't I heard of amla?"
Table of Contents
The Secret Superfood: Amla
In recent years, the idea of a "superfood" has become common in the West. This term refers to a food that is not only nutrient-dense but also has other health benefits beyond basic nutrition.
Whether you're looking at bananas, quinoa, kale, goji berries, turmeric, or any of the other foods that currently fall under the "superfood" umbrella, you can find extensive research that supports one common fact -- these foods are almost as much a medicine as they are a part of a balanced diet!
But one that hasn't quite made the leap to health circles in the West is amla. Amla is a fruit that has been used for centuries as part of Ayurvedic medicine (Indian traditional medicine), and there's a reason -- it may be the most powerful superfood of them all.
What is Amla?
Amla, also known as Indian Gooseberry, Phyllanthus Emblica, or Emblica Officinalis, is a bright green fruit native to India and parts of Southeast Asia.
Amla has been used in Ayurvedic medicine (Indian Traditional Medicine) for centuries, but it wasn't until recently that amla became widely known outside of its home country!
The History of Amla
Amla has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It was first described by Susruta, an ancient Indian surgeon who lived between 750 and 500 BC. He wrote about amla's ability to improve vision, strength, memory retention, mental alertness, immunity against disease, overall vitality, blood circulation, fertility levels in men, and more.
And even with the fact that the amla fruit is mentioned in ancient Indian texts dating back to the fifth century BC, its use has continued into modern times, where it is commonly prescribed for everything from diabetes to high cholesterol levels to fighting cancer to promoting hair growth!
The amla fruit is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it's known as the "king of medicines" and classified with the highest level of importance by practitioners.
However, it was only very recently that Western researchers began to test these wide-reaching claims surrounding amla, and the results were pretty astounding:
Whether it's known as Indian gooseberry, Phyllanthus Emblica, Emblica Officinalis, or just plain old amla, the research was clear -- most of those claims were true!
The Incredible Health Benefits of the Indian Gooseberry
In fact, the amla fruit has been shown to be one of the most potent superfoods and natural medicines on the planet, thanks to an incredible blend of natural nutrients and medicinal compounds.
Most Powerful Antioxidant on the Planet
First off, amla is one of the most powerful antioxidants on Earth. In fact, compared to blueberries, blackberries, goji berries, acai berries, raspberries, and even turmeric, it's many times more potent!
Antioxidants are vital for fighting free radicals and oxidative stress -- harmful compounds in your body which are linked not only with aging but also a host of other health problems, including diabetes, high cholesterol levels, weakened immunity against disease, signs of aging (wrinkles), damage from smoking, and even cancer.
So from the start, amla helps improve your overall health.
Incredible Source of Vitamin C
One of these powerful antioxidants is vitamin C, and when it comes to this key nutrient amla is no slouch. In fact, amla is the second most powerful source of vitamin C on the planet, only losing out to the Barbados cherry.
Vitamin C is especially vital for your immune system, and helps with fighting colds and infections, improving your body's ability to create white blood cells, supporting the health of gums, providing an anti-inflammatory effect in joints or muscles from injury or arthritis, helping wounds heal quickly after surgery or a trauma like a broken bone, and keeping teeth healthy by preventing cavities and gum disease!
A powerful place to start!
Lowers Blood Sugar and Benefits Diabetes
Moving on from its purely nutritional capabilities, amla has been proven to help control blood sugar levels, which is a key factor in preventing the complications of diabetes.
In fact, regular amla supplementation was shown to have an anti-diabetic effect on par with many blood-sugar-lowering medications.
Weight Loss and Anti-Obesity Effect
Amla also has a proven weight loss and anti-obesity effect, thanks to amla's ability to improve your digestion, help you feel full longer, and prevent sugar cravings.
In fact, one clinical trial showed that amla helped support safe weight loss, and is being studied as a possible anti-obesity supplement.
Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Another huge benefit amla provides is that it can lower both your total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, while also increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. This is a big deal, as high cholesterol is one of the top risk factors for heart disease, and can lead to a stroke or a heart attack if it's not lowered.
Amla has also been shown to improve blood vessel function by preventing oxidation (potentially damaging compounds) from sticking to your artery walls, which naturally helps lower high cholesterol levels as well.
In tandem with this benefit, as well as its natural anti-inflammatory effect, amla is hugely beneficial to lowering high blood pressure, and was shown in clinical trials to be comparable to common statins without their side effects!
Too Many More to Count
And the most interesting part? As it turns out, these are just the start of amla's many benefits. This powerful plant has been shown to affect everything from liver damage to cancer prevention, from skin health to hair growth, and also provides a number of antifungal and antimicrobial benefits.
Very Little Risk
Another characteristic of superfoods is that they have very few, if any, side effects. And amla is similar! In fact, the only potentially negative side effect of amla is if it's working too well.
Some people taking amla supplements have reported that their blood sugar or blood pressure dropped too low, but this can be easily solved by simply stopping taking amla!
Other than that, allergic reactions are exceptionally rare, and there are no other clinical side effects!
Note: Always Rely On Your Doctor to Provide Medical Advice, Diagnosis, or Treatment
One note before we answer the burning question of why you haven't heard of amla -- these health benefits have been reviewed and researched by experts around the world (otherwise we wouldn't recommend them), but you should always rely on your doctor to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment if you're facing serious health problems.
Why Haven't I Heard Of Amla?
So, why haven't you heard of amla, Indian gooseberry, Emblica Officinalis, and Phyllanthus emblica?
Well, two reasons.
Hard to Source
The first is that it's hard to source Indian Gooseberries in the United States! Amla is traditionally found in India and Southeast Asia, where the trees grow wild, but their cultivation hasn't spread around the world like acai berries, maca, or many other popular superfoods.
If you have a reliable Indian or Asian grocery, you can sometimes find amla extract, frozen amla fruit, amla powder, amla oil, or other related products, but even at these stores it's hard to get organic, fresh grown amla products.
Not the Best Taste
And the second reason that amla hasn't spread around the world (despite all of the evidence that supports it) is that it doesn't taste all that great by itself.
In fact, for most people, the sour, bitter taste of Indian Gooseberries has put off a lot of people from adding amla to their diet, no matter their antioxidant or health benefits. This is actually another reason why this superfood hasn't spread around the world -- people just didn't think it would sell well by itself!
Amla Green: Your Amla Solution
We tackled both of these challenges with Amla Green, a 20x concentrated amla powder that brings all of the benefits of this powerful Indian superfood to you right here in the US.
From India to You
The first step of this process is sourcing organic, fair trade amla berries from India. We work with local, high-quality farmers who we trust, and source fresh, organic, additive-free amla berries picked directly from the tree.
Then, we create a 20x concentrated powder that stores easily, and ship it directly to you in the US. It's a direct line to the freshest amla you can get outside of growing the trees yourself.
There are a few benefits of amla powder, especially compared to other forms.
For one, amla powder stores easily, and can be kept in your fridge or even at room temperature for a few weeks, which is rare in the superfood world.
And second, it's also easy to mix with other ingredients -- you can add it to smoothies, juices, oatmeal, yogurt, shakes... anything!
And speaking of the taste...
Blend the Benefits, Boost the Flavors
We also tackled the acquired taste of Indian gooseberry by mixing in green tea powder, natural hibiscus tea, or elderberries, three of our favorite superfoods that might not have the punch of amla, but make up for it with their far superior flavors!
And can read up on all of the impressive health effects of green tea powder, herbal teas like hibiscus, and elderberries, all on our website!
But the real big win here is that you boost the flavors of amla and add even more health-boosting power.
The Final Word? Double the Benefits, No Negatives
So it's pretty clear that amla is worth adding to your diet, and if you ask us, Amla Green is a hard option to pass up. Not only can you get organic, high-quality amla powder delivered right to your door, but you also get the incredible health power of this potent plant without the lame taste.
And we're so confident in Amla Green that we're sharing it with you risk free. That's right, if you don't like it, you can just tell us, and we'll send you your money back!
But we've got a feeling you're going to 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.
“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: An Ancient Super Berry Emerges from India | Clinical Education.” ”https://www.clinicaleducation.org/resources/reviews/amla-an-ancient-super-berry-emerges-from-india/"
“Amla (Indian Gooseberry): Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation Information, and More.” ”https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-amla#1"
“Carr, Anitra C., and Silvia Maggini. “Vitamin C and Immune Function.” Nutrients 9, no. 11 (November 3, 2017): 1211.” ”https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9111211"
“Emblic (Yu Gan Zi) in Chinese Medicine.” ”https://www.meandqi.com/herb-database/emblic"
“Jacob, A., M. Pandey, S. Kapoor, and R. Saroja. “Effect of the Indian Gooseberry (Amla) on Serum Cholesterol Levels in Men Aged 35-55 Years.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 42, no. 11 (November 1988): 939–44."
“Nazish, Iram, and Shahid H. Ansari. “Emblica Officinalis - Anti-Obesity Activity.” Journal of Complementary & Integrative Medicine 15, no. 2 (December 5, 2017): /j/jcim.2018.15.issue-2/jcim-2016-0051/jcim-2016-0051.xml. ” ”https://doi.org/10.1515/jcim-2016-0051"
“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"
“Supplementation of Emblica Officinalis (Amla) Extract Reduces Oxidative Stress in Uremic Patients - PubMed.” ”https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19222108/"
“Verywell Health. “Will Amalaki Help Your IBS Symptoms?”” ”https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-amalaki-1944986"
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