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Amla and Its Wild Himalayan Strain

Contributor Dr. Chiranjit Parmar

Copyright © 2000. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.


Common Indian Name

Amla, Aonla

Botanical Name

Species: Emblica officinalis Gaertn.

Syn.: Phyllanthus emblica L.

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Origin

India.

Habit

A deciduous tree of small to medium size up to 5.5 meters.

amla

Fruit

Fruits, fleshy, almost depressed to globose, 2.24 cm in diameter, 5.68 g in weight, 4.92 ml in volume, primrose yellow 601/2 (Horticultural Colour Chart of the Royal Horticultural Society).

The stone of the fruit is six ribbed, splitting into three segments, each containing usually two seeds: seeds 4–5 mm long, 2–3 mm wide, each weighing 572 mg, 590 microliters in volume.

Analysis of the fruit pulp:

Fruit pulp

90.97% of the whole fruit by weight

 

70.5% moisture.

Total soluble solids (juice)

23.8% of the juice

Acidity

3.28%

Total sugars

5.08%

Tannins

2.73%

Pectin

0.59%

Protein

0.75%

Minerals (represented by ash)

2.922%

Ascorbic acid

1094 mg/100 ml of juice

Utilization

The fruits are used for making preserves and pickles, several Ayurvedic medicinal preparations, hairwash powders, hair oils etc. The fruit and bark is also used in tanning of leather by the village tanners.

Special Features

Amla is a very rich source of vitamin C. Its ascorbic acid content ranges from 1100 to 1700 mg per 100 grams which is said to be the second highest among all the fruits next only to the Barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra).

Amla has been held in very high esteem in old Sanskrit and other Indian language books on medicinal plants.

Medicinal Uses

The root bark is useful in ulcerative stomatitis and gastrohelcosis. The bark is useful in gonorrhoea, jaundice, diarrhoea and myalgia. The leaves are useful in conjuctuvitis, inflammation, dyspepsia, diarrhoea and dysentery. The fruits are useful in diabetes, cough, asthma, bronchitis, cephalalgia, ophthalmopathy, dyspepsia, colic, flatulence, hyperacidity, peptic ulcer, erysipelas, skin diseaes, leprosy, haematemesis, inflammations, anaemia, emaciation, hepatopathy, jaundice, strangury, diarrhoea, dysentery, haemorrhages, leucorrhoea, menorrhagia, cardiac disorders, intermittent fevers and greyness of hair. It is the principal constituent of the famous Ayurvedic restorative tonic called CHAYAVAN PRASH.

A Wild Amla

The cultivated amla is basically a tropical fruit and is highly sensitive to temperatures below 32 F. It is grown as an orchard crop in several parts of warmer India. There is a great demand for its fruits.

A wild strain grows in the forests of the Western Himalayas up to an altitude of 5000 ft even at places experiences mild snowfall during winter months. So it is cold resistant. The fruits of wild amla are relatively smaller.

This variant can be planted at places where the winter temperatures do not fall below 25 F. Superior cold hardy cultivars might be produced by breeding.

Resource Person

Dr. Chiranjit Parmar
186/3 Jail Road
Mandi HP 175 001 INDIA
Phone: 01905-22810
Fax: 01905-25419
E-mail: parmarch@vsnl.com

Copyright © 1995. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.