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Wonder Herb – ‘AMLA’ or Indian Gooseberry

Print version of Wonder Herb –  ‘AMLA’ or Indian Gooseberry

Participating for the first time in Kalyn’s weekend herb blogging #9, hosted by Kalyn’s Kitchen. Its a great idea that it is helping us learn so much about herbs all over the world. Thank you Kalyn, for giving this wonderful opportunity to present one of the most potent herbs in the world today ‘amla’.

The English name of ‘amla’ — Indian gooseberry — denotes that it is indigenous to India. Its a light green fruit and grows on a small tree which is found in wet forests of hill areas throughout the Indian subcontinent. Though all parts of the tree have medicinal value, it is the fruit which is highly potent.

It is believed that what gold is to the minerals, amla is to the herbs. Called amalaki, dhatriphala and vayastha in Sanskrit and Emblica officinalis scientifically, it is the most widely used herb in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. This tangy fruit is considered to be the elixir of good health. The story goes that several 1000 years ago when the Indian Herbal System of Medicine Ayurveda was already developed, sages or rishis would go deep into the forests looking for newer and more effective remedies for ailments. One such sage Chyavan blended together certain energizing herbs, fruits and spices based on a secret recipe. The principle fruit used in his mixture Chyavanprash was ‘amla’ to which are attributed near magical powers. This dark brown tonic is till today sold and consumed in India and is believed to increase mental and physical well-being.

Amla is a rare fruit which contains all tastes except saltyflavor . With sourness as the foremost taste, it is at the same time sweet, astringent, bitter and pungent. It is light, dry and cold in effect and the most concentrated form of Vitamin C in the entire plant kingdom and is approximately 20 times the vitamin C content of an orange. Yes, sounds amazing, isnt it? Its true. It is a very potent form of Vitamin C and yet is easily assimilated by the human body. The Vitamin C in Amla fruit is bonded with tannins that protect it from being destroyed by heat or light. Amla enhances the absorption of food, by strengthening digestion. It does this by increasing the fire (known as “Agni” in Ayurveda) in the stomach, without creating any excess stomach acids. The rich source of Vitamin C from the fruit acts as a great detoxifying agent for a sluggish liver, and helps to make the skin clear and radiant.

It also promotes healthier hair, and boosts the absorption of calcium, thus creating healthier bones, teeth, nails and hair. Helps to maintain youthful hair color and retards premature greying. In India, you find many use amla powder to wash their hair than chemical based shampoos. This is the traditional form of washing one’s hair with dry amla pwd and one cannot find a better natural shampoo than amla. In fact even the water in which dried amla has been boiled makes a good finishing rinse and adds gloss and bounce to hair…:)

This wonder herb ‘Indian Gooseberry’ is cooling, diuretic, and a laxative. It has antibacterial, cardio-tonic, antiviral, and has resistance building properties. It’s antibacterial and astringent properties, help to prevent infection and helps in the healing of ulcers, and hyper acidity. It is antispasmodic, and has a mild stimulant action on the heart and helps in lowering cholestrol.

The medicinal value of this fruit is endless…

Coming to the culinary uses of amla, rural folk in India eat this highly acid, fresh, raw fruit, followed by water, producing a sweet and refreshing aftertaste. It is a common practice in Indian homes to cook the fruits whole with sugar and saffron and give one or two to their child every morning. During my childhood ,I remember mom pricking the gooseberries with a fork and soak them in salted turmeric water for 2 to 3 days. Loved eating these tangy berries soaked in turmeric water during summers.

In preserving it whole, the fruit is first brined, washed and pricked, blanched in an alum solution, layered with sugar until a syrup is formed, and then boiled. It is then packed in cans or crystallized as a confection. In India, a sauce is made from the dried, chipped flesh. In its preparation, the chips are cooked in water, mashed in a mortar with caraway seeds, and further seasoned with salt and yogurt. This is commonly eaten after fasting.

The fruits can be used fresh or dried. Dried amlas are sometimes ground into a powder and are also available stoned and chopped so they are easy to reconstitute. Store the dried pieces or powder in an airtight container for up to a year. If buying fresh, look for fruits that are green and have a tight smooth skin. The fresh fruits need to be stored in the refrigerator and will keep upto 2 weeks.

Generally amla is used in pickles, preserves and jams. I will share with you a very tasty and healthy recipe made from amla called ‘amla murabba’.

Amla Murabba Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup of grated Amla (gooseberries)
2 tbsps water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp cardamom seeds (crushed)
2-inch piece of cinnamon stick

Preparation:
Wash and grate the amla.

Combine with sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and place over medium heat.
Stir constantly till sugar melts.
Reduce the heat to low and add remaining ingredients and simmer until the amla is clear and the juice gets thick, about 15 minutes and you get a semi thick consistency. It should appear like a a spread.

Remove the cinnamon stick from the murabba and cool.
Transfer it to a glass jar.
Store, refrigerated, for up to a month.

Use as a spread like a jam or have a tsp of murabba every day as amla is called sarvadosha hara – remover of all diseases.

Wonder Herb – ‘AMLA’ or Indian Gooseberry Recipe

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
Yield: 15
Main Ingredients: amla sugar

It is believed that what gold is to the minerals, Amla aka Indian Gooseberry is to the herbs. Called Amalaki, Dhatriphala and Vayastha in Sanskrit and Emblica officinalis scientifically, it is the most widely used herb in the Ayurvedic system of medicine and is considered to be the elixir of good health.

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By • Dec 4th, 2005 • Category: All Recipes, Ayurvedic Cooking - Ayurveda Recipes, Indian Sweets Recipes, Indian Vegetarian Recipes

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/8611628 Kalyn

    Hi,
    Welcome to WHB. You did a great job with this post. I really didn’t know anything about gooseberries, although they look familiar so I may have seen pictures somewhere. I can’t believe how much I am learning every week.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15096645 sailu

    I should be thanking you Kalyn for giving us this opportunity to present this wonder herb of India..:)

  • http://mtastes.blogspot.com Lera

    Surprising , I bought a whole pack of gooseberries yesterday in the market,was planning to try sury’s recipe but now, I seem to have yet another appetising murraba to try.sailu thanks for the recipe.

  • http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/ Indira

    Oh.. how I miss the taste of fresh amlas. The only thing avialble here with amlas is Priya’s amla pickle and we are lucky atleast to get that taste here.
    Chaala santhoshamuga unnadi, Sailaja, amla picture choosi. Mee daggari nunchi, ituvanti pictures and posts chudaalani unnadi, ekkuvaga.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15096645 sailu

    your welcome,lera

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15096645 sailu

    Tappakunda,Indira…:)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/800481 Stephanie

    You know, I’ve been interested in all things ayurvedic for over a decade, but I never do seem to get it all straight!

  • himanshu

    sir/madam
    i daily eat amla ka murabba in morning for strong hair but i am obese.will murabba increase my weight

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15096645 sailu

    Thanks for dropping by Himanshu.Murabba does have high sugar content and that is a lot of calories.”Triphala Churna” would be the best both for your hair and it will help remove toxics from your body.I am not an ayurvedic doctor and I would suggest you take advise from a ayurvedic doctor before taking any medication.

  • Sandeep

    I want to know where in US can I get amla murabba? My email id is given for reply.
    Thanks

    Sandeep, I am so sorry ..I cannot really help you in finding amla murabba in USA.
    I live in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh and not USA.

    Maybe some readers who live in USA will be kind enough to answer your question.
    Pls help!!

  • aisha

    you can find canned murabba at some indian groceries. i bought a can recently but haven’t opened it yet.

  • Bhavani

    Hi Sailu,
    I am impressed with your article. I heard from a friend that eating a spoonful of Amla powder with honey every morning along with glass of water will promote hair growth. I suggested this to another friend who has a serious problem of falling hair. I wanted to suggest her something that would act quickly as she has wedding coming in a month. It would be very helpful if you could suggest any better ideas that would react sooner?

  • Melody & Pei

    Hello

    Thank-you for your article,

    We would like to know how to preserve our fresh amla berries in oil or as a pickle does any one have a recipe or two?

    Thank-you

    Pei & Melody

  • Melody & Pei

    Hello,

    For anyone who would like to eat amla and has exttra wieght or sugar issues to consider. An alternative which is really good for you too is Triphala/Amla rice. You Put Ghee in a saucepan, then once fairly hot turn down to low heat then add Triphala or Amla powder, Then salt (if desired) then add rice immediately after and water a finger above the rice Then add amla berries to the mixture and boil for 15 min then turn to med low heat. Keep stirring every once and a while so that it doesn’t burn at bottom. We don’t have exact measurements just rough estimates.
    Approx 4 tbsp triphala or Amla to 4 cups rice and 6-8 Amla berries. small amount of salt.

    Thank-you

  • joyce dmello

    Hi dear,

    Thanks for the lovely information on amla. U said that it is good for hair growth, but how? How to use it, pleaseeeeeeeee tell me, I really need this information.

    Take dry amla pieces and boil along with coconut oil and store, use this oil everyday as a hair tonic.
    A good conditioner is the use of amla and shikakai pwd mixed with some curd and applied to the hair for 30 mts and rinnsed off with water.
    If you have some fresh amla, prepare a paste and apply to the hair, leave for half an hour and rinse off.

    Basically the above tips help to strengthen your hair and prevent hair loss.
    Hope this helps, Joyce.

  • sunny

    Hi,

    You did a great job with this post. I really didn’t know anything about gooseberries, although they look familiar so I may have seen pictures somewhere. I can’t believe how much I am learning every week.

  • Anna O.

    I had read about the HAIR and SKIN benefits of AMLA – Indian Gooseberry before. I do use powder AMLA for my hair treatment and facial too. Today, for the first time, I had the chance to buy the fruit and taste it.

    It has a good flavor. I have never seen this fruit before until today. I smashed a couple and use it as a fresh facial to get the benefits.

    Thanks for the complete information.

  • http://idonthavemypersonalwebsite Ma. Lourdes M. Angue

    I am Malou M. Angue. Im really interested to buy AMLA FRUIT and AMLA Powder. Im from Quezon City, Philippines. Can you help me to have it delivered here in the Philippines. my landline at home is 632-9610796 (residence) and 632-9510487 (office. Im willing to include payment for the freight and other incidental expenses. Pls. help me. Thanks a lot

  • http://idonthavemypersonalwebsite Ma. Lourdes M. Angue

    im interested to buy these amla fruit and powder for my hair. my email address in malou@coa.gov.ph & maloubabes@yahoo.com. Can anybody help me please where to find it in India since Im living here in the Philippines. Will it be possible to have it delivered here in the Quezon City, Philippines. Thanks a lot in advance!!!

  • http://www.thehealthyglow.com Dorothy Minichiello

    I have been taking Amalaki “Amla” (in chyavanprash form) for years as it helps with my pain and inflammation from Fibromyaligia (among other great benefits to my health). I see it is finally getting its much earned recognition here in the U.S. -finally! Thank you for your well written info! I didn’t know about using it for my hair -I would love to learn more about that!!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Be well,
    Dorothy

  • sameer

    just like “petha” is prepared ,can we make amla also and if so then how can it be prepared please reply me.

    sameer,raipur,india

  • Satya

    Hello Sailu garu

    I am looking for Amla Pickle in Andhra style and saw ur amla murabba, if u have the recipe of the pickle can u pls send me..ur site is very nice and all the recipes are very useful, thank u for ur good work & keep it up.

  • sowmya

    hi can anyone tell me how to make dry candied gooseberries- used as a digestive in india?

  • joyce

    im really dying to know what is the best remedy for gray hair … is it possible to avail this fruit in the Philippines? i think i need to have this fruit & India is not that far from here, i guess..=) i hope you could inform us where to find this in our loacal market/grocery store.

    Thanks for this wonderful hope in advance.

  • don

    hi!
    may i just ask. is this available in the Philippines? and if it is, where can i find someone or somewhere that sells this.
    i will anticipate your reply. thanks for this information :D

    live long and prosper,
    don

  • Mutaal1

    information abt. gooseberry sounds good.

  • Mutaal1

    information abt. gooseberry sounds good.

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