We have a regional saying which is often repeated and reminded by my grandparents: “Elder’s words are like gooseberries. They are bitter at first but turn out to be sweet later on.” What it means is that the advice given by the elders sound bitter and irritating to the young ones. Only on a later stage as they see the world do they realize that those were true and hence sweet. Gooseberries are bitter to taste but once you sip a little water you get to feel the left-over sweetness and their endless benefits.
Gooseberry indigenous to India are the fruits of a small feathery tree. Indian gooseberry or Amla (Emblica officinalis) is a vitamin C bomb in a natural form. It has an astonishing place in the oldest medical science, Ayurveda. There is hardly a medicine in Ayurveda made without Amla. Amla is considered as a gift from Mother nature as it contributes to good health and longevity. Charaka makes a remarkable reference to Amla as it protects one from premature aging and harmful diseases.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant which your body needs to fortify its immune system and to reduce the severity of cold. Vitamin C is also found to have good effect on TB and can lower the risks of different types of cancers like mouth, throat, stomach and cervical as it can scavenge cancer-causing free radicals.
Apart from its amazing Vitamin C content, gooseberry also contains calcium, iron, protein, garlic and tannic acids, sugar, phosphorus, carbohydrates and the like. For optimum benefit the juice of the fruit is extracted. The juice of Amla is a good anti-bilious remedy offering cure to many digestive complaints. It also helps with over thirst, burning sensation,dyspepsia, diarrhea and so on. People with acidity can find relief by taking the powder of dried Amla. Further, ingestion of gooseberry can treat ulcers and blood impurities. It also increases Hemoglobin.
Gooseberry is a great herb to preserve good eye sight. It is also a known treatment for conjunctivitis and glaucoma. It is traditional in many ancient household to keep dried gooseberries in their pantry since it can treat many diseases.
A powerful food for the brain to increase memory and intelligence, Amla can also lower cholesterol and help with the functioning of the liver. Fresh gooseberry juice taken between the meals can get rid of fatigue.
Amla can easily tackle with the premature graying of the hair. You get small handy sachets of Amla powder in the market for cosmetic purposes. This powder can be soaked in warm water and strained, and henna can be mixed in this water for optimum effect. This mixture will condition the hair, camouflage the gray hair and help hair growth. The cool amla is great for healthy eyes and a sound sleep. It also has an astringent property making it ideal for external application.
To summarize, Amla fruit is acrid, cooling, refrigerant, diuretic, laxative, aphrodisiac, tonic and trichogeneous.
Some interesting health tips with Amla
- One teaspoonful of powder of dry amla mixed with two teaspoonfuls of jaggery can be taken twice daily for a month to alleviate the symptoms of rheumatism.
- Dried gooseberry soaked in water can help ease constipation and to improve eye sight. A cupful of this juice can be taken along with honey twice daily for good vision.
- A drink made from amla, lemon juice and misri (crystallized sugar lumps) is considered beneficial for acute bacillary dysentery.