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Articles

Emblica officinalis

 

Emblica officinalis

Synonyms

No documentation

Vernacular Name

Indian gooseberry, neli, yu gan zi, amla, amlaki, amalaki, gooseberry

Description

Emblica officinalis has a long history of use in Ayuvedic medicine with a range of applications.  Indications for use reported in the Indian Materia Medica include giddiness and vertigo.[1] It was also used traditionally as a poultice and applied to the head of those suffering from mental disorders.

E. officinalis tree grows upwards of 18m. The branchlets are glabrous about 10cm long. It produces greenish flowers and the fruits are the same in color. The fruits are edible.

Origin / Habitat

The fruiting, deciduous tree, E. officinalis can be found in the warmer, tropical areas of India, specifically the coastal areas and Kashmir. The tree produces small yellow berries growing in bunches, and is found across the country at elevation up to 1,500m.

Chemical Constituents

E. officinalis is very high in Vitamin C, pectin, polyphenol compounds, gallic acid, ellagic acid, corilagin, phyllantidine and phyllantine (both alkaloids).  Its ascorbic acid content ranges from 1000mg to 1700 mg per 100 grams. Also found are hydrolysable tannins punigluconin, pedunculagin and emblicanin A and emblicanin B.[2],[3]

Plant Part Used

Dried fruits, seeds, roots, leaves, bark and flowers.

Medicinal Uses

General

Antioxidant

Glucose Levels

Hepatic Issues

Gastric Ulcers

Hyperlipidemia

Antimicrobial

Most Frequently Reported Uses

Antioxidant

Glucose Levels

Hepatic Issues

Dosage

Dosage Range  

3-6g dried leaf, bark or flower

 

Most Common Dosage 

2g powdered herb daily in divided doses

 

Standardization Dosage

There is no known standardization.

Pharmacology

Pre-clinical

While it has become a staple in several traditional medical systems, E. officinalis is currently used in at least 17 countries around the world for its strong antioxidant properties, which have primarily been discussed in animal studies.[4],[5],[6] This antioxidant activity was originally thought to be due to the high vitamin C content but later studies revealed that it is also due to the action of emblicanin A and emblicanin B. This strong antioxidant activity is also thought to be related to its anti-diabetic and anti-hyperlipidemic properties.[7] The antioxidant properties may be the reason that E. officinalis is used in chelating heavy metals.

The extracts of E. officinalis have shown protective effects in treating gastric ulcers as it decreases gastric secretions and acidity and increases the mucous secretions in animal models.[8],[9]

Extracts of this plant’s berries have also been studied for their use as a hepatoprotective.[10] The hepatoprotective effects were demonstrated in animal studies as enzymatic protective properties.[11] In addition, the use of E. officinalis has demonstrated a moderate decrease in the severity of symptoms of hepatic fibrosis.[12],[13]

E. officinalis has demonstrated antimicrobial properties in in-vitro studies against various different types of microbial assaults including human pathogens.[14],[15]

Clinical

At this time, there are no clinical studies available to validate the pre-clinical applications in humans.

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

There are no reports of drug interactions with E. officinalis. However, based on some animal studies, it should not be used in combination with drugs used to treat liver disorders or with drugs that are metabolized in the liver.

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

No documentation

Pregnancy

Not to be used with pregnant or nursing women.

Age limitation

Not to be used with children.

Adverse reaction

No adverse events have been reported with the use of E. officinalis.

Read More

  1)  Ayuverda

References

  1. Nadkarni AK, Indian Materia Medica, Volume 1. 3rd Edition. Bombay: Popular Prakashan Pvt. Ltd;1982.
  2. Premila, M.S. Ayurvedic Herbs: A Clinical Guide to the Healing Plants of Traditional Indian Medicine. Binghamton, NY: The Hayworth Press; 2006.
  3. Parmar Dr, C. Purdue Aromatic and Medicinal Plant Index. Available from: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/CropFactSheets/amla.html. [Accessed on 4 February 2009].
  4. Bajpai M, Pande A, Tewari SK, Prakash D. Phenolic contents and antioxidant activity of some food and medicinal plants. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2005;56:287-291.
  5. Rao TP , Sakaguchi N , Juneja LR , Wada E , Yokozawa T . Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) extracts reduce oxidative stress in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Med Food. 2005;8:362-368.
  6. Naik GH, Priyadarsini KI, Mohan. Evaluating the antioxidant activity of different plant extracts and herbal formulation. Res Chem Intermed. 2005;31:145-151.
  7. Sabu MC, Kuttan R. Anti-diabetic activity of medicinal plants and its relationship with their antioxidant property. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002;81(2):155-160.
  8. Sairam K, Rao ChV, Babu MD, Kumar KV, Agrawal VK, Goel RK. Antiulcerogenic effect of methanolic extract of Emblica officinalis: an experimental study . J Ethnopharmacol. 2002;82:1-9.
  9. Bandyopadhyay SK, Pakrashi SC, Pakrashi A. The role of antioxidant activity of Phyllanthus emblica fruits on prevention from indomethacin induced gastric ulcer. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000;70:171-176.
  10. Jose JK, Kuttan R. Hepatoprotective Activity of Emblica Officinalis and Chyavanaprash. J Ethnopharmacol. Sep 2000;71(1-2):135-140.
  11. Pramyothin P, Samosorn P, Poungshompoo S, Chaichantipyuth C. The protective effects of Phyllanthus emblica Linn. extract on ethanol induced rat hepatic injury. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;107:361-364.
  12. Tasduq SA, Mondhe DM, Gupta DK, Baleshwar M, Johri RK. Reversal of fibrogenic events in liver by Emblica officinalis (fruit), an Indian natural drug. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005;28:1304-1306.
  13. Haque R, Bin-Hafeez B, Ahmad I, Parvez S, Pandey S, Raisuddin S. Protective effects of Emblica officinalis Gaertn. in cyclophosphamide-treated mice . Hum Exp Toxicol. 2001;20:643-650.
  14. Ahmad I, Mehmood Z, Mohammad F. Screening of some Indian medicinal plants for their antimicrobial properties. J Ethnopharmacol. 1998;62:183-193.
  15. Rani P, Khullar N. Antimicrobial evaluation of some medicinal plants for their anti-enteric potential against multi-drug resistant Salmonella typhi. Phytother Res. 2004;18:670-673.