Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry, is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on Earth. Though unfamiliar to many, particularly in Western countries, it is commonly used in Ayurvedic herbal preparations.
What Is Indian Gooseberry (Amla)?
Indian gooseberries, not to be confused with Barbados gooseberries, Cape gooseberries, Chinese gooseberries (also known as kiwi fruit), Jamaican gooseberries, Tahitian, or star gooseberries. The true Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, is arguably the most important medicinal plant in Ayurvedic medicine, and is also used in traditional Chinese and Thai medicine.
What Are the Indian Gooseberry (Amla) Benefits?
Powerful Source of Antioxidants
The #1 most antioxidant-packed single whole food on the planet, on average, is amla. A teaspoon of that gooseberry powder (that’s about four cents’ worth of amla) provides 1,500 units of antioxidant power! That’s more than the average person gets in an entire week. See how this compares to common breakfast foods in my video A Better Breakfast.
Reducing Cholesterol Levels
As discussed in the video Amla vs. Drugs For Cholesterol, Inflammation, & Blood-Thinning, 500 milligrams (which is like a tenth of a teaspoon) of powdered amla works just as well as Zocor, a leading cholesterol-lowering drug.
Amla reduces artery stiffness. So it may be a good alternative to statins in diabetic patients with artery dysfunction because of its benefits without the adverse effects of drugs (including muscle damage or liver dysfunction).
Dyspepsia is a fancy word for an upset stomach—feelings of fullness, discomfort, nausea, bloating, belching—affecting up to one in five individuals. One teaspoon of dried Indian gooseberry powder three times a day works just as well as a gel antacid every three hours: significant decreases in peak acid output, and a cutting of dyspepsia symptom scores in half. Check out The Best Diet for Upset Stomach.
Amla kills cancer cells, but leaves normal cells alone. It was tested against six human cancer cell lines: lung cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and colon cancer. As you drip amla on cancer cells, the growth rates cut in half, and then stop completely. And then, amla starts killing the cancer off; the growth goes negative. By the end, more than half the cancer cells are dead. Check out my video Amla vs. Cancer Cell Growth. Not only does it block cancer cell growth, it also blocks metastasis potential almost as well as chemo.
In Amla vs. Diabetes, I explore how for a dollar a month, amla powder may work as well as a leading diabetes drug—without the side effects.
It appears to decrease the effects of stress on the heart. In a study, they had people plunge their hand into ice water, and keep it there until the pain became “unbearable.” This causes your arteries to constrict and blood pressure to go up—but not as much if you’re taking amla extract.
How to Eat Amla Fruit?
Amla can be bought in various forms: frozen, dried, sweetened, salted, pickled, packed in syrup, packed in nitrogen. Add a teaspoon of powder to smoothies, and you probably wouldn’t even taste it.
Can Indian Gooseberries (Amla) Be Cooked Without Losing the Health Benefits?
They are so astringent (and sour and bitter and fibrous and overall nasty-tasting) that they are typically processed in some way (dried, pickled, or made into jam). So one would expect to find lots of good data on the effects of cooking, but I could find only one single paper. And all they looked at was the decline in vitamin C levels (amla is one of the most concentrated sources–nearly 1% of their weight). After boiling for an hour a 27% drop in vitamin C was noted. As per all the other antioxidant phytonutrients, we simply don’t know.
As I detailed in my video Best Cooking Method, the nutrition of some fruits and vegetables declines with cooking, others remain just as healthful, and a few actually become healthier.
The way my family gets amla into our diet is putting it into our A Better Breakfast smoothies.