Amla is the name of a fruit also referred to as Indian gooseberry which is mainly found in India. It is about the size of a lemon, spherical, bitter and yellow-green in colour. Amla is an important element in the age old tradition of ayurvedic medicine. Its value undoubtedly stems from its rich store of vitamin C (approximately the equivalent of ascorbic acid found in two oranges). In fact it is believed to be the richest natural source of vitamin C around, making it a very powerful antioxidant which combats free radicals and aids the anti-aging process.
Apart from vitamin c, amlaâ€™s nutritional composition includes water (more than 80%), protein, carbohydrate, fibre, minerals (chromium, zinc and copper) and other vitamins. It also contains Gallic acid which is a potent polyphenol. The uses of amla are varied. Amla is used to treat constipation, ulcers and scurvy. It regulates blood sugar levels and is therefore beneficial to diabetics. Pregnant and lactating mothers and those with memory issues will find it useful. It fortifies the heart and rejuvenates the organs of the body. The juice in combination with honey aids in conjunctivitis and glaucoma. It is also said to be help in ailments such as bronchitis, asthma and tuberculosis of the lungs.
Amla is also becoming increasingly popular in the beauty industry and is presently a significant part of womenâ€™s hair and skin care regimens. It has cell rejuvenating properties and is effective in clearing the skin of infections. Amla powder or amla oil, which are applied externally, promotes hair growth by strengthening the hair roots and preventing hair fall, which eventually results in longer, thicker hair. Amla also darkens the hair and is useful in preventing the premature graying of hair and some believe can even reverse gray hair. Amla powder can be used alone or in combination with other ayurveda powders to nourish and condition the hair. The powder is used either as a hair rinse or paste which is later washed off. Amla oil is applied to the scalp usually as a pre-shampoo treatment, but if left on the scalp overnight does wonders to induce sound sleep.
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