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Amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica)

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Also listed as: Phyllanthus emblica, Indian gooseberry
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Aller-7, Aller-7/NR-A2, amalaki, amblabaum, amla (Phyllanthus emblica L.), Anna Pavala Sindhooram (APS), aonla, aovla, ascorbic acid, Bangladeshi medicinal plants, Chyawanprash, corilagin (beta-1-O-galloyl-3,6-(R)-hexahydroxydiphenoyl-d-glucose), Curcuma longa L-EtOH, dgg16(1,6-di-O-galloyl-beta-d-glucose), dhatriphala, emblic, emblic myrobalan, Emblica officinalis, Emblica officinalis Gaertn., Emblica officinalis polyphenol fraction (EOP), EO-50, gallic acid, groseilier de Ceylan, immu-21, mirobalano, myrobalan emblic, neli nellikkai, niacin, norsesquiterpenoids, OphthacareT, phyllanemblinins A-F, Phyllanthus emblica, Phyllanthus emblica L-EtOH, proanthocyanidin polymers, pyrogallol, riboflavin, tannins, thiamin, triphala, vitamin C.

Background
  • Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis), also known as amalaki, is a small- to medium-sized deciduous tree native to India and the Middle East. In addition to its medicinal uses, the fruits are often eaten raw and used as ingredients for various Indian recipes.
  • In folk medicine, dried and fresh Indian gooseberry is used, including the fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark, and flowers. Traditionally, Indian gooseberry is used alone and in combination with various Ayurvedic herbs for various medical conditions, including pancreatitis, hepatitis, inflammation, cancer, diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, and stomach problems. It is also considered a natural adaptogen.
  • Indian gooseberry juice contains high levels of vitamin C. Ayurvedic preparations that contain Indian gooseberry may increase the concentration of ascorbic acid by up to three times.
  • Indian gooseberry has been studied for its effects on diabetes, eye diseases and high cholesterol. However, more research is needed before conclusions can be made in these areas.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


A combination product containing amalaki may improve blood sugar control compared to vitamin C alone. More studies testing amalaki alone are needed.

C

A combination product containing amalaki may improve eye conditions resulting from infection, inflammation, or degeneration. More studies testing amalaki alone are needed.

C


Based on human research, raw amalaki may improve serum cholesterol levels. However, there is not enough scientific evidence to form clear conclusions about its safety or effectiveness in humans.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Adaptogen (improves response to stress), allergic rhinitis, anti-aging, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), breast cancer, cancer prevention, cancer treatment, cough, dyspepsia (indigestion), fever, heart disease, hepatitis, immune function, jaundice, liver conditions, pancreatitis, skin care, stomach problems, sunscreen.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • Various doses have been studied, and there is no proven effective dose for amalaki. 1-2 capsules have been taken three times daily after meals.
  • For hyperlipidemia, 50 grams of raw amalaki has been used for four weeks.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for amalaki in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid with known allergy/hypersensitivity to amalaki (Emblica officinalis Linn, Phyllanthus emblica L.), its constituents, or members of the Phyllanthus family. Other members of the Phyllanthus family include Phyllanthus acidus (Otaheite gooseberry), Phyllanthus acuminatus (Jamaican gooseberry tree), Phyllanthus mirabilis, Phyllanthus niruri (Chanca piedra), and Phyllanthus urinaria (chamberbitter).

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Use cautiously in patients with low iron levels.
  • Use cautiously in patients taking anticoagulants ("blood thinners") or anti-platelet drugs.
  • Use cautiously in patients with low blood sugar levels.
  • Use cautiously in patients with decreased immune system function.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Amalaki is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Amalaki may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin; anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®); and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Amalaki may reduce blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar levels. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes should be monitored closely by qualified healthcare professionals, including pharmacists. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Amalaki may lower cholesterol levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower cholesterol.
  • Amalaki may shrink tumors and cause tumor cell death, but the effects of amalaki and tumor-killing agents are not well understood.
  • Amalaki may protect the liver from damage caused by drugs used to treat tuberculosis, such as rifampicin (RIF), isoniazid (INH), and pyrazinamide (PZA).
  • Amalaki may protect the heart from damage caused by doxorubicin.
  • Because amalaki reacts with iron, it may lower iron levels.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Amalaki may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs or supplements that increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Amalaki may reduce blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar levels. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes should be monitored closely by qualified healthcare professionals, including pharmacists. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Amalaki may lower cholesterol. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower cholesterol.
  • Amalaki may shrink tumors and cause tumor cell death, but the effects of amalaki and tumor-killing agents are not well understood.
  • Amalaki may prevent oxidation.
  • Amalaki may protect the liver from damage caused by drugs used to treat tuberculosis, such as rifampicin (RIF), isoniazid (INH), and pyrazinamide (PZA).
  • Because amalaki reacts with copper, it may lower copper levels.
  • Amalaki may affect immune function. Caution is advised in patients taking immunosuppressants.
  • Because amalaki reacts with iron, it may lower iron levels.
  • Amalaki may increase the amount of vitamin c when mixed with other fruit juices.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. D'Souza, P., Amit, A., Saxena, V. S., et al. Antioxidant properties of Aller-7, a novel polyherbal formulation for allergic rhinitis. Drugs Exp.Clin.Res. 2004;30(3):99-109.
  2. Jacob, A., Pandey, M., Kapoor, S., et al. Effect of the Indian gooseberry (amla) on serum cholesterol levels in men aged 35-55 years. Eur J Clin.Nutr. 1988;42(11):939-944.
  3. Jose, J. K. and Kuttan, R. Hepatoprotective activity of Emblica officinalis and Chyavanaprash. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000;72(1-2):135-140.
  4. Kumar, M. S., Kirubanandan, S., Sripriya, R., et al. Triphala promotes healing of infected full-thickness dermal wound. J Surg.Res. 2008;144(1):94-101.
  5. Rajak, S., Banerjee, S. K., Sood, S., et al. Emblica officinalis causes myocardial adaptation and protects against oxidative stress in ischemic-reperfusion injury in rats. Phytother.Res. 2004;18(1):54-60.
  6. Sabu, M. C. and Kuttan, R. Anti-diabetic activity of medicinal plants and its relationship with their antioxidant property. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002;81(2):155-160.
  7. Srikumar, R., Parthasarathy, N. J., Shankar, E. M., et al. Evaluation of the growth inhibitory activities of Triphala against common bacterial isolates from HIV infected patients. Phytother.Res. 2007;21(5):476-480.
  8. Yokozawa, T., Kim, H. Y., Kim, H. J., et al. Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) prevents dyslipidaemia and oxidative stress in the ageing process. Br.J Nutr. 2007;97(6):1187-1195.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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