Indian gooseberry, neli, yu gan zi, amla, amlaki, amalaki, gooseberry
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. 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.
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.
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.,
Dried fruits, seeds, roots, leaves, bark and flowers.
Most Frequently Reported Uses
3-6g dried leaf, bark or flower
Most Common Dosage
2g powdered herb daily in divided doses
There is no known standardization.
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.,, 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. The antioxidant properties may be the reason that E. officinalis is used in chelating heavy metals.
Extracts of this plant’s berries have also been studied for their use as a hepatoprotective. The hepatoprotective effects were demonstrated in animal studies as enzymatic protective properties. In addition, the use of E. officinalis has demonstrated a moderate decrease in the severity of symptoms of hepatic fibrosis.,
At this time, there are no clinical studies available to validate the pre-clinical applications in humans.
Interaction with other Herbs
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.
Not to be used with pregnant or nursing women.
Not to be used with children.
No adverse events have been reported with the use of E. officinalis.