In This Article
The Power of Amalaki
According to Ayurveda, amalaki, also known as Indian Gooseberry or amla, belongs to a group of herbs that promotes immunity, nourishment, and longevity, helping keep the deleterious effects of aging in check.
The amalaki fruit is a small, fall-harvested berry that is among only a handful of herbs labeled as rasayana, or rejuvenators. In fact, the most authoritative Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, says that of all rasayanas, amalaki is revered as one of the most potent and nourishing.
The Six Tastes and Their Associated Emotions, According to Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, there are six tastes that are recommended for every meal for emotional satiety:17
- Sweet: supports satisfaction and fulfillment
- Sour: supports heightened awareness and insight
- Salty: supports a zest for life, passion, and desire
- Bitter: supports focus, discernment, and calm
- Pungent: supports ambition and drive
- Astringent: supports composure and introspection
Amalaki is an extremely rare herb, or technically fruit, because it carries five of the six tastes in every bite. Amalaki is sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent all at once. It’s just lacking the salty taste!
The Science-Backed Benefits of Amalaki
Amalaki has been referred to as “The Wonder Berry,” and its traditional uses are now backed by exhaustive pre-clinical studies that describe its support for healthy liver, adrenal, stomach, heart, cardiovascular, kidney, nervous system, intestinal, digestive, and respiratory function, plus it’s a potent antioxidant.2 Amalaki, along with two other rasayana herbs, ashwagandha and shatavari, has been found to be an effective adaptogen against stress, supporting healthy blood sugar levels, sexual function, cognitive function, and immunity.12
Amalaki is loaded with vitamin C—carrying more than oranges, lemons, or tangerines. It’s also rich in active constituents such as gallic acid, ellagic acid, pyrogallol, some norsesquiterpenoids, corilagin, geraniin, elaeocarpusin, and prodelphinidins B1 and B2.2
Numerous studies have also shown that the Wonder Berry protects the body’s DNA from the effects of heavy metals such as chromium, cadmium, arsenic, lead, aluminum, cesium chloride.3-7
In one study, amalaki’s effects on aging were pronounced: the superfood was able to extend the life of unhealthy mice by 20%.1
Amalaki + Digestive Health
I have used amalaki successfully for decades to support a healthy intestinal lining, especially during times of stress
Stress is processed through the gut and can irritate its mucosal lining. Chronic stress can either dry out the intestinal tract or trigger the production of excess reactive mucus, causing occasional bouts of diarrhea.
Amalaki has been shown to support the healthy and balanced production of intestinal mucus and support the resolution of occasional loose bowels. 15 In turn, this supports the needed environment for a healthy stable of beneficial gut bacteria. Amalaki can also create an antagonistic environment for the proliferation of undesirable microbes, supporting natural gut immunity—which is responsible for up to 70% to 80% of the body’s immune response!13,14
In the liver and bloodstream, many studies have shown that amalaki supports levels of HDL cholesterol and triglycerides and the healthy function of the inner arterial endothelium, or arterial skin.9-11
In addition, one study found that amalaki was able to protect you from the toxic effects of carrageenan—a gut-irritating food additive found in many alternative milk products.8 While carrageenan has been removed from many food products, the FDA still considers it a safe food additive.
See also Carrageenan, Toxic or Not?
Chyawanprash–Ayurveda’s #1 Amalaki-Based Superfood Tonic
As if taking amalaki alone wasn’t a potent enough rasayana, the Ashwini Kumaras—who were some of the most famous Ayurvedic doctors—formulated an amalaki-based longevity superfood tonic many thousands of years ago called chyawanprash.
This rich, fruity, and tangy chyawanprash paste was traditionally used to increase vitality, vigor, and for delaying the aging process.
One modern-day study has reported that chyawanprash may be considered a useful memory enhancer, as the constituent herbs contain beneficial antioxidants that have been shown to boost learning and retention.