Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry, is extremely high in antioxidants. In fact, it has the highest antioxidant levels of any so-called superfood. As with all antioxidants, amla has been shown to reduce oxidative stress, thus inhibiting the production of cell-damaging free radicals.
Beyond its super-antioxidant status, amla is being studied for use in cancer prevention, treating inflammation, and in relation to diabetes and cardiovascular health.
Studies related to cancer prevention have suggested that amla possesses radiomodulatory, chemomodulatory, chemopreventive effects, free radical scavenging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic and immunomodulatory activities, all of which may be beneficial in cancer prevention.
Meanwhile, as further research is ongoing in relation to diabetes and cardiovascular health, amla has been shown to improve blood vessel function and has demonstrated a significant effect on lowering lipids.
Gallic acid, ellagic acid, emblicanin A & B, phyllembein, quercetin and ascorbic acid
Cautions and warnings
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a health care practitioner prior to use.
If you have or develop abdominal pain, nausea, fever or vomiting, consult a health care practitioner.
Known adverse reaction
A laxative effect may occur with amla, in which case discontinue use.
In this study, researchers procured food samples from countries worldwide and assayed the samples for their total antioxidant content using a modified version of the FRAP assay. The results found that in a sample of 13 berries, “amla was found to have an especially high antioxidant capacity.”
Carlsen, Monica H et al. “The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide.” Nutrition journal vol. 9 3. 22 Jan. 2010, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-3
This study investigated the chemistry and antioxidant properties of four commercial mbilica officinalis fruit extracts in order to determine if there are any qualitative-quantitative differences. The research found that “extracts demonstrated varying degrees of antioxidative efficacy.”
Poltanov, Eugeny A et al. “Chemical and antioxidant evaluation of Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis Gaertn., syn. Phyllanthus emblica L.) supplements.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 23,9 (2009): 1309-15. doi:10.1002/ptr.2775
The aim of this study was to determine whether supplementation with amla extract could reduce oxidative stress in patients with uremia. The data concludes that “amla supplementation may increase plasma antioxidant power and decrease oxidative stress in uremic patients.”
Chen, Tung-Sheng et al. “Supplementation of Emblica officinalis (Amla) extract reduces oxidative stress in uremic patients.” The American journal of Chinese medicine vol. 37,1 (2009): 19-25. doi:10.1142/S0192415X09006680
The hepatoprotective activity was studied by observing the effect of herbal extracts (including amla) on t-BH induced reduction in cell viability of HepG2 cells. In addition, the reducing power of the extracts and their ability to scavenge free radicals were evaluated using two antioxidant assay systems. The results found that “these extracts have potential hepatoprotective activity which is mainly attributed to the antioxidant potential, which might occur by reduction of lipid peroxidation and cellular damage.”
This review identifies the plants with antioxidant activity in Ayurveda medicine. A formulation of some rasayanas with well-defined antioxidant properties has been examined, which includes amla.
Scartezzini, P, and E Speroni. “Review on some plants of Indian traditional medicine with antioxidant activity.” Journal of ethnopharmacology vol. 71,1-2 (2000): 23-43. doi:10.1016/s0378-8741(00)00213-0
There is ongoing research on the effects of amla as it relates to the following health concerns:
Amla is reported to possess radiomodulatory, chemomodulatory, chemopreventive effects, free radical scavenging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic and immunomodulatory activities. These properties may be beneficial in cancer prevention.
Baliga, Manjeshwar Shrinath, and Jason Jerome Dsouza. "Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn), a wonder berry in the treatment and prevention of cancer." European Journal of Cancer Prevention 20.3 (2011): 225-239.
This animal study suggested that alma exhibits anticancer activity against selected cancer cells. Further study is warranted to determine whether it has anti-invasive and cancer preventing properties.
Ngamkitidechakul, C et al. “Antitumour effects of Phyllanthus emblica L.: induction of cancer cell apoptosis and inhibition of in vivo tumour promotion and in vitro invasion of human cancer cells.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 24,9 (2010): 1405-13. doi:10.1002/ptr.3127
Diabetes and Cardiovascular Effects
This study shows that “P. emblica (amla) significantly improved blood vessel function in type 2 diabetics, possibly via the reduction of biomarkers of oxidative stress and systemic inflammation.”
Usharani, Pingali et al. “Effects of Phyllanthus emblica extract on endothelial dysfunction and biomarkers of oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, double-blind, controlled study.” Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity : targets and therapy vol. 6 275-84. 26 Jul. 2013, doi:10.2147/DMSO.S46341
This study demonstrated a significant effect on lowering lipids in patients taking alma powder.
Akhtar, Muhammad Shoaib et al. “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 vol. 62,6 (2011): 609-16. doi:10.3109/09637486.2011.560565
The phenols in alma may decrease acute inflammation. The mechanism of this action is likely due to the effect of phenols on quenching free radicals.
Middha, Sushil Kumar et al. “Toxicological Evaluation of Emblica officinalis Fruit Extract and its Anti-inflammatory and Free Radical Scavenging Properties.” Pharmacognosy magazine vol. 11,Suppl 3 (2015): S427-33. doi:10.4103/0973-1296.168982
AVAILABLE RESEARCH ON CONTRAINDICATIONS
Laxative effect may occur, in which case, discontinue use.
This study was aimed to provide pharmacological basis for the medicinal use of phyllanthus emblica fruit in indigestion and constipation using the in-vivo and in-vitro assays. The research concludes that the phyllanthus emblica possesses prokinetic and laxative activities, thus provides a rationale for the medicinal use of phyllanthus emblica fruits in indigestion and constipation.
Mehmood, Malik Hassan et al. “Studies on prokinetic, laxative and spasmodic activities of Phyllanthus emblica in experimental animals.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 27,7 (2013): 1054-60. doi:10.1002/ptr.4821
This document provides accurate data to guide consumers in safe utilization of herbal products. It includes information that describes the effects of amla in circumstances that may cause abdominal pain, nausea, fever or vomiting.