Ayurveda is one of the major and main traditional medicinal systems of India. The word Ayurveda means the ‘Science of Life.’
Definition of health according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) goes as ‘The state of complete Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual well-being and not merely absence of disease.’ But Ayurveda has mentioned this 5,000 years ago, that health is a balanced state of the functions of dosha (humors), agni (digestive fire), dhatu (tissues), mala (waste products), atma (soul), indriya(sensory and motor functions), and manas (mind).
The basic concept of prevention, diagnosis and treatment in Ayurveda is based on the ‘Tridosha’ theory, which includes Vata, Pitta, Kapha.
Amalaki, (Emblica Officinallis) also known as Indian Gooseberry or Amla, is known for its medicinal and therapeutic properties from the ancient times in the country and considered as a wonder fruit for health conscious population.
Owing to its significant medicinal and nutritive values, it finds a prominent place in ancient Indian literatures, like Vedas, Puranas , Ramayana, Mahabharata, Kadambari, all Laghutrayee and Brihatrayee and also various Nighantu etc, and it is considered as Amruta Phala, i.e ‘Life Giving Fruit’. It is believed that Amalaki is the first tree things to be created in the universe, and it is the native of India.
Amalaki is having a prime position amongst the anti-ageing drugs. It is the best tissue rejuvenating herb. It is potent herb rich in antioxidant , Vitamin C, Tannin and Gallic acid. It possesses key properties like Rasayana (Adaptogenic), Ajara (Anti-ageing), Ayushprada (Prolonged cell life), Sandhaneeya ( Improves cell migration and cell binding).
Amalaki Fruit has a special characteristics features that make it a nurturing herb that is credited with a number of health benefits. In Charaka Samhita, a comprehensive text on ancient Indian medicine credited to Charaka, the Amalaki fruit is mentioned under nitya sevaneeya ahara dravya , i.e, everyday consumption of one fruit of Amalaki, serves many purposes as mentioned above, like Rasayana, Ayushprada, etc, which are very much essential in this situation.
Amalaki has low molecular weight hydrolysable tannins (Emblicanin A and B), thereby considered as most strongest antioxidant herb in Ayurveda.
Amalaki has many number of formulations, some of the important ones are: Chyavanprash, Dhatriloha, Amalaki rasayana, Amalakyadi Churna, Triphala Churna, Kanakarishta, and Nishamalaki.
It has many major chemical constituents. They are: Root– Ellagic acid, Leupol, and Olenolic acid. Bark– Leucodephinidin, procyanidin, Tannin, etc.
It has many positive impacts on human body.
Amalaki contains low molecular weight hydrolysable tannins (Emblicanin A and B), so it is one of the strongest anti oxidant herb in Ayurveda. Emblicanin A and B enriched fraction from the fresh juice of fruits. Free radicals are natural byproducts of metabolism. Apart from supplementing nutrition, Amalaki gets obviate these free radicals that enhances cell ageing.
The fresh juice of Amalaki fruitrich in Emblicanin A and B and Vitamin C is helpful to prevent the ischemia- reperfusion induced oxidative stress on the heart. It reduces oxidative stress and prevents development and progression of hypertension.
Amalaki has been proved in protection of against a wide variety of hepato toxins, such as a heavy metals ethanol paracetamol, carbon tetrachloride, ochratoxins, hexacyclo chlorohexane and anti tubercular drugs.
Amalaki and its contents like phytochemicals, gallic acid ellagic acid, quercitin and corillagin possess hepato protective effects against various xenobiotic compounds.
Phenolic compounds from Amalaki extract are identified to be effective in many types of cancers , like ellagic acid(tannin) in colon, prostate cell lines, and breast & prostate xenografts; corillagin (tannin) in ovarian cancer cells, hepatocarcinoma xenografts etc.
Fruit extracts of Amalaki have cytoprotective properties against oxidative injuries induced by chromium (VI). It is due to the ability to inhibit free radical production and maintain high anti oxidant levels in cells even during oxidative stress.
In Eye diseases
Amalaki is called chakshushya in Ayurveda. It is effective in the treatment of conjunctivitis, glaucoma, diabetic eye diseases like retinopathy etc, it reduces intra ocular pressure by virtue of its purgative action.
In Intestinal diseases
Amalaki fruits contain tannins as its ,main component, and it is astringent in nature and tannin has high potential in treating intestinal disorders like diarrhoea and dysentery.
The contents like tannins, alkaloids, phenolic compounds, amino acids and carbohydrates are proved to be having antipyretic effects. Extracts of Amalaki fruits possess potent antipyretic and also analgesic activities.
Amalaki fruit is a rich source of Vitamin C and low molecular weight hydrolysable tannins, Because of these contents , Amalaki becomes a rich source of anti oxidant. Tannins like Emblicanin A(37%) and Emblicanin B(33%), Punigluconin and Pedunculagin conjointly give protection against oxygen radical enclosed haematolysis.
It has been demonstrated that extracts of Amalaki fruits have significant immunomodulatory action. Amalaki has shown immunostimulant action and moderate cytoprotective activity. But to get desirable pharmacological action, one need to trichurate Amalaki powder along with its own juice.
It is reported that an aqueous extract of Amalaki exhibits endogenous DNA polymerase of the virus and binds to the surface antigen of the virus. Also the aqueous and methanolic extracts of Amalaki showed antiviral effect. It prevents the replication of its own RNA with DNA of human nucleus.
As we have seen many benefits of Amalaki on our body, hence we can consider it to be the drug which can prevent the outbreaking disease, due to viral infection & other conditions like influenza, etc.
In this type of situation , as people rush to keep themselves protected, Amalaki is helpful in strengthening the immune system which is key to fight against the many deadly virus.
The series of virus primarily affects the upper and lower respiratory system. Hence Amalaki consumption in any form or formulation like Chyavanprash etc..,everyday , enhances immunity specifically that of lungs and respiratory system.
In Ayurveda , good digestion or strong digestive power plays an important role in fighting any disease. It is said that , vitiation of digestive fire is only the main cause of all diseases. Amalaki acts even on digestive system to maintain a good digestive power.
The ascorbic acid is very essential to control scurvy (a bleeding disorder) as well the Vitamin-C is very much required for the absorption of ferrous molecules from the GI Track, hence in combination with many iron compounds (Lohakalpa) Amalaki in general & ascorbic acid in specific is advised, the Vitamin- C is known to prevent the breakdown of proteins & haemoglobin content.
In some of the viral infection induced Fever, there will be damage to the Globulin & Haem part of the Haemoglobin or blood. Amalaki Kalpa is definitely advised as the great choice of medicine in these series of clinical issues.
Bhargavi J Joshi, BAMS Student, Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Hubballi, Karnataka, India.