According to Ayurveda, amalaki, also known as Indian Gooseberry or amla, belongs to a group of herbs that promote longevity, induce nourishment, and prevent the deleterious effects of aging.
The amalaki fruit is a small fall-harvested berry that is among only a handful of herbs that are labeled “rasayana” or rejuvenation- and longevity-promoting agents.
The most authoritative Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, says:
The Vedic Puranas call amalaki “The Divine Plant,” because of its ability to balance and rejuvenate all body types or doshas.
In Ayurveda, there are six tastes that are recommended to be incorporated into every meal:
Amalaki is an extremely rare herb/fruit because it carries 5 of the 6 tastes in Ayurveda. Amalaki is sweet, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent—just lacking the salty taste!
In one study, amalaki was able to extend the life of unhealthy mice by 20 percent. (1)
Amalaki, along with two other rasayana herbs, ashwagandha and shatavari, was found to be an effective adaptogen against stress, supporting healthy blood sugar levels, sexual function, cognitive function, and immunity. (12)
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, respiratory, and antioxidant function. (2)
Amalaki is loaded with vitamin C—carrying more than oranges, lemons or tangerines. (2) It is also rich in active constituents such as gallic acid, ellagic acid, pyrogallol, some norsesquiterpenoids, corilagin, geraniin, elaeocarpusin, and prodelphinidins B1 and B2. (2)
Amalaki has been shown in numerous studies to protect the body’s DNA from the effects of heavy metals such as chromium, cadmium, arsenic, lead, aluminum, cesium chloride. (3-7)
I have used amalaki successfully for decades to support a healthy lining of intestinal skin.
If the body is stressed, this stress is processed through the gut and can irritate the mucosal lining. Chronic stress can either dry out the intestinal tract or trigger the production of excess reactive mucus and cause 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 bowel function. (15) In turn, this supports the needed environment for a healthy stable of beneficial gut bacteria.
Amalaki has also been found to support a healthy stable of microbes in the gut, creating an antagonistic environment for the proliferation of undesirable microbes and supporting the body’s natural gut immunity—which is responsible for up to 70-80 percent 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 already within a normal range while supporting the healthy function of the inner arterial endothelium or arterial skin. (9,10,11)
In addition, one study found that amalaki was able to protect the gut 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.
>>> Learn more about carrageenan here
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 tonic/superfood many thousands of years ago called chyawanprash.
The rich, fruity, and tangy chyawanprash paste was traditionally used to increase vitality, vigor, and for delaying the aging process.
One study reported that chyawanprash may be looked upon as a useful memory enhancer in aged animals, as the constituent herbs contain beneficial antioxidants that have shown to boost learning ability and retention capacity. (16)
>>> Learn more about amalaki and chyawanprash here