Amalaki – A Disease-Fighting SuperFood

The age-old motto "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is common in the US. The apple provides ample vitamin C as well as anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral benefits. However, there is a powerful and sour little fruit that heralds from the Himalayan mountain region that may be set to take over the US health market. This unlikely hero of rejuvenative health is known the Amalaki berry.

It's no larger than a golf ball, but is a nutritional giant. Known also as Indian gooseberry, amla or its scientific name of Emblica officinalis, Amalaki has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years and has one of the richest legacies of any fruit known today. Ayurvedic Medicine, the 5,000 year old medical tradition of India, is known as the "Mother of all Healing Systems". Ayurveda is a sister-science to Yoga and has become increasingly popular in the West today, through proponents such as Deepak Chopra MD

Written in the ancient language of Sanskrit, Ayurveda contains the oldest and some of lengthiest medical texts in the world and is rich with information of natural medicine

aiming to establish balance in all areas of life. Nutrition and lifestyle considerations, such as, sleep, exercise, and stress are fundamental components of Ayurveda.

The ancient texts of Ayurveda describe more than 5,000 herbs and fruits in great detail, and of all those, Amalaki is considered the most effective rejuvenative agent in the plant kingdom. It has for centuries been fondly referred to as Dhatri, meaning the "mother" or "nurse," a tribute to the fruit as the ultimate caregiver, sustainer and healer. It is highly regarded for promoting Ojas – or the end product of perfect digestion – which leads to radiant health, shining eyes, skin, and hair, and youthful aging.

So what is the composition of Amalaki, this little nutritional super-hero? The fruit is a powerhouse of antioxidants, polyphenols, tannins, bioflavanoids, amino acids, trace minerals and other beneficial phytonutrients.

It is arguably the most concentrated and bio-available source of Vitamin C in all of Nature. Although only one inch in diameter, the Amalaki fruit has far more vitamin C than oranges; some say 20 times more. Plus, it contains SuperOxdide Dismutase, one of the most powerful cellular antioxidants.

The amalaki fruit has been extensively validated by peer-reviewed research in the modern scientific community, with hundreds of scientific studies into its role in promoting rejuvenation and combating a wide range of maladies. Try these on for size:

* Promotes cellular rejuvenation, energy, and vitality

* Improves digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall intestinal health

* Fights against inflammation

* Boosts anti-aging properties

* Enhances the immune system

* Improves metabolism

* Destroy harmful free-radicals (anti-oxidants)

* Promotes luster of skin and hair

* Improves liver health and combats hyperacidity

* Promotes mild detoxification

Writings about Amalaki in India suggest it is actively beneficial to the intestinal flora and corrective to colon function, helping to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract while assisting the bowels and strengthening the heart .. Such comments appear in a publication called the Indian Materia Medica, which lists 2,000 remedies, mainly of vegetable origin.

Amalaki is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac, antipyretic, antidiabetic and cerebral tonic. It is also touted as an immunity booster, adaptogen and a powerful antacid. It can raise the total protein level and increase body weight due to positive nitrogen balance and its anabolic effect, building muscle and body mass by stimulating protein sythesis.

Ancient texts proclaim Amalaki as the best medicine to prevent aging. It's believed to be the richest natural source of the powerful and well-known antioxidant vitamin C.

Alan Tillotson of the Tillotson Institute for Natural Health writes that Amalaki is helpful in "removing the toxic wastes of poor digestion which remain in the body." A study published in 2003 found "the presence of amla (amalaki) resulted in an enhanced cell survival, decreased free radical production and higher antioxidant levels.

Cancer studies in mice have shown that the Amalaki fruit reduces the effects cancer cells have on ravishing the body and, when used prior to radiation, offers a protective shield to damaging the chromosomes.

During medical studies conducted on rabbits, Amalaki had a cholesterol-reducing effect on rabbits whose numbers were elevated over a 60-day timeframe. This provides overall health benefits to the body's cardiovascular system as a whole.

Like many other potent antioxidants, the Amalaki fruit contributes to a boost in your immune system. Life-spans in mice subject to tumors increased by up to 25% with the consumption of an Amalaki extract. Other conditions for which it's used include constipation, colic, asthma, anemia, gout, and even mental disorders.

The West now is embracing more and more medicinal practices of the East. The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon, has been recommending a daily dose of amla for more than a decade. Today, Amalaki is available in powder or tablet form and more recently in a flavorable, liquid nutritional supplements such as Zrii.