An excellent source of vitamin C, amla fruit is the edible produce of the Indian gooseberry, or amalaki tree. The berries resemble lemon-sized, light green striped watermelons and contain many beneficial medical properties. For this reason, they are often used as Ayurvedic herbs or dietary supplements.
As a food source, amla fruit can be consumed raw or cooked. Nearly entirely made up of water, amla does contain many important nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The fruit is very bitter or sour on its own. As a snack, it is often pickled and treated with spices or salt, and oil.
This fruit is also considered to be high in antioxidants. Containing 30 times the amount of vitamin C of an orange, it also contains the antioxidant quercetin, a flavinol found in onions and apples. It also contains a polyphenol antioxidant called gallic acid. This combination may make the fruit a worthy one to study in combating disease, and some research has indicated that the extract may help ward off or treat conditions such as hay fever, arthritis, stress, cataracts, and cancer.
Several South Asian dishes rely on the amla fruit. Split lentil dishes, such as dal, often call for the berry. Sweet desserts, like amle ka murabbah, may also be created with it. It can be used fresh, dried, or cooked in any manner desired.
The benefits of amla fruit are wide and varied. In traditional Ayurveda, amalaki extract has been used to treat hair conditions. Some herbalists say that the fruit can help increase food absorption and manage digestive acids in the stomach. The urinary and reproductive systems of some people have been aided by its extract.
A skin enhancer, this fruit is sometimes used as part of a beauty regimen. It can also help strengthen the lungs, liver, brain, muscles, eyes, and heart. If taking the fruit for its medicinal properties, 0.07 ounces (2 grams) are generally recommended to be taken daily with water.
Drinking amla fruit juice mixed with honey is said to improve eye health. Anemia, diabetes, diarrhea, general infections, indigestion, dysentery, heart disease, and bad cholesterol may all be treated with the amla oil or extract. The fruit's antioxidant properties also make it a popular herbal remedy used in purported anti-aging formulas.
In addition to its nutritional content and medicinal benefits, amla is used for many other purposes. It can be used as a treatment for fabric dye, and it is also used in inks. The plant is considered sacred to the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Other names the fruit may be known as include awla, amlakhi, olay, aonla, dharty, usirikai, and many others.