(Indian Gooseberry)


Article by Kaniz F. Shah

Botanical Name: Phyllanthus emblica, embilica officinalis
English Name:  amla
Hindi Name:  amalika, amlaki
Popular Name(s): emblic, emblic myrobalan, myrobalan, Indian gooseberry, Malacca tree,amla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Phyllanthaceae
Genus: Phyllanthus
Species: P. emblica
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Plant Description:

Amla (Indian Gooseberry) is a fruit native to tropical southeastern Asia including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the Mascarene Islands, China and Bangladesh. The tree may reach up to 18 m in height, with a crooked trunk and spreading branches. The leaves are light green and the flowers are greenish-yellow. This juicy fruit has a smooth round shape light greenish yellow in color and normally has six vertical stripes. The fruit interestigly has a sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and astringent taste- all in one. It contains a very high amount of vitamin C and is said to have 20 times more vitamin C than an orange. This fruit has a cooling nature and thus has been used in treatments of burning sensations including inflammation and fever. In Ayurvedic medicne, it is considered amongst the best of Ayurvedic rejuvenative herbs because it is tridoshagna- rebalances the water, fire and air elements within the body.

Its cooling, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and antibacterial properties make this plant an important ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine for the healing of many diseases. This plant has been used in the form of teas, copresses, capsules, etc. for the treatments of boils, constipation, dental problems, diabetes, diarrhea, fevers and much more! It is also a popular ingredient in hair care and skincare products. It is known to help stimulate hair growth,make the hair shiny, strong and healthy and provide nourishment, hydration and antibacterial properties for the skin and hair. It is also used in skincare to brighten the complexion and give your skin a healthy glow.
Below are a variety of recipes for you to try.


Amla oil is traditionally used as a hair conditioning and rejuvenating treatment that helps the hair grow long and stong. It is made from immersing the the dried amla fruit in a base oil (usually, sesame, coconut, mustard or mineral oil). It is left in the oil for a few days until the essence is immersed into the oil. The oil is then filtered and purified. Amla oil contains essential fatty acids and the fruit is high in vitamins (especially vitamin C) and minerals, flavonoids, polyphenols, proteins and carbohydrates. The oil is used as a treatment for all hair types. It is massaged into the hair and scalp and often left on overnight before being washed out thoroughly. For hydration, a light amount may be applied daily to the strands and ends of clean and dry hair.
This oil can be used in many hair care and skincare products such as shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, lotions, soaps, moisturizers, masks, etc.


Try substituting honey with 2 teaspoons shikakai powder. This also helps with dandruff conditions.


Do not use in the area of eyes or cut/abraded skin. Perform an allergy or patch test before using. Discontinue use if irritation persists and consult a doctor if needed. Amla is not intended as a cure for any disease or ailment. Consult a doctor before using internally.


  1. Mix 2 teaspoons of amla powder into just enough warm water to form a smooth paste of toothpaste consistency.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of yogurt and 1 teaspoon of honey.
  3. Mix to a smooth consistency and apply to the hair and roots for 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.