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Amla fruit and its juice have immense nutritional value and many health benefits. Amla aka Indian gooseberry, belongs to Phyllanthaceae family and species Phyllanthus emblica (syn. Emblica officinalis).
Amla plant is a deciduous medium size tree with edible fruit. The fruit are hard and spherical in shape with six vertical stripes or furrows. The unripe fruit are light green in color whereas ripe ones are light greenish yellow.
Amla is fibrous and tastes slightly bitter, astringent and very sour. Amla is consumed as such or its juice, powder or pickle is prepared and consumed. To reap the full health benefits of amla fruit it must be eaten raw or its juice must be consumed.
Health benefits of amla fruit juice
Health benefits of amla fruit are in its juice which is very rich in vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and antioxidants like ellagitannins, polyphenols, ellagic acid, gallic acid and flavonoids.
The presence of these antioxidants in juice contribute to its antimicrobial, antiviral, cholesterol lowering, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, hypoglycemic, hypotriglyceridemic and anticarcinogenic health benefits.
Antimicrobial health benefits of amla fruit juice
Many bacterial strains have been found to be eliminated by amla fruit juice.
In an investigation focussed on the effects of amla juice and aqueous decoctions on bacteria like Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, K. ozaenae, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi, S. paratyphi A, S. paratyphi B and Serratia marcescens, a very potent antibacterial activity was observed. (Saeed S, Tariq P., Department of Microbiology, University of Karachi, Pakistan PMID: 17337425).
Saini A et al (Department of Microbiology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India / PMID: 19001683) reported that health benefits of long term feeding of amla juice extract is protection against respiratory tract infection induced by Klebsiella pneumoniae.
Oral fungal infections by Candida albicans and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) infections have been treated successfully with amla fruit juice.
Possible positive role of amla juice in alleviation of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis
The amount of bone tissue is controlled by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Osteoblast benefits bone tissue health by matrix formation whereas osteoclasts remove the matrix by bone resorption.
In rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis there is bone destruction and loss involving osteoclasts. In vivo amla extract and juice were used to induce programmed apoptosis (cell death) of mature osteoclasts successfully without altering the process of osteoclastogenesis.
Induced cell death of osteoclasts may benefits health by interrupting rheumatoid arthritis complications leading to skeletal and joint destruction. The apoptosis of osteoclasts may prevent and reduce osteoporosis. (Letizia Penolazzi et al, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/8/59,(CC BY 2.0), PMCID: PMC2587459)
Antitumor effects and health benefits
Amla juice is found to inhibit tumor growth and to help in killing the malignant cells. Research studies were conducted to find out the potential anticancer and antitumor effects of amla aqueous extract (juice).
The results suggest that amla juice extract exhibits antitumor activity, reduces the tumor numbers and volume, induces apoptosis of tumor cells and inhibits invasiveness. Amla juice possibly has a function as chemopreventive and anti invasive agent.
(Ngamkitidechakul, C., Jaijoy, K., Hansakul, P., Soonthornchareonnon, N. and Sireeratawong, S. (2010), Antitumor effects of phyllanthus emblica L.: Induction of cancer cell apoptosis and Inhibition of in vivo tumour promotion and in vitro invasion of human cancer cells. Phytother. Res., 24: 1405–1413. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3127/ PMID 20812284)
Research results have confirmed that aqueous fruit extract (juice) of P. emblica has a significant hypoglycemic activity. This antidiabetic activity further contributes to hypotriglyceridemic effects. (Shamim A. Qureshi, Warda Asad and Viqar Sultana, 2009. The Effect of Phyllanthus emblica Linn on Type – II Diabetes, Triglycerides and Liver – Specific Enzyme. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 8: 125-128).
Cataract prevention in diabetics and health benefits
The secondary complication in diabetes like cataract are brought about by Aldose reductase (AR). The tannoids present in amla juice inhibited and prevented aldose reductase activation and reduced osmotic stress. (Suryanarayana P et al, Biochemistry Division, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India /PMID: 15031705)
Health benefits in prevention of heart diseases
The antioxidants present in amla fruit extend health benefits by bringing down the levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and neutralizing the free -radicals, the primary causes of hypertension and heart diseases.
Oral administration of amla fruit juice significantly benefits in hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels). Hence its juice benefits as an effective agent for prevention of atherosclerosis. (Kim HJ et al, Institute of Natural Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan, PMID: 16521700).
The total serum cholesterol and its lipoprotein fractions were decreased in normal and hypercholesterolaemic men when amla was included in their diet. (Jacob A et al, Department of Foods and Nutrition, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, India / health benefits PMID: 3250870)
Considering the health benefits, Amla fruit is also used in hair care products and its juice is recommended in many beauty recipes.
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1.Amla fruit (Phyllanthus emblica) health benefits
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phyllanthus_emblica_BNC.jpg
Image author: Prathyush Thomas
Image license: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:GNU_Free_Documentation_License,_version_1.2
2.Amla fruits on the tree
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amla1.JPG
Image author: Jonathaneo
Image license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
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