5 Amazing Benefits & Uses of Amalaki | Nellikai | Amla For Hair, Skin & Health

amla 1

Amla is a highly regarded fruit in India due it’s amazing nutritional, health and medicinal benefits. We have two amla trees in our farm and though I don’t like the taste of fresh amla much, I make sure to include it in my diet regularly in other forms like amla juice, amla murabba, amla candy, amla soaked in honey and also dried amla. Amla is one fruit that every one from small children to pregnant women and elderly people should include in their diet regularly. Amla is used extensively for promoting hair growth, treating gastritis, ulcer, pcos problems, cold, diabetes and also for aiding weight loss.

What Is Amla?

Amla is fruit and is one of the three ingredients in the famous ayurvedic formulation triphala which itself indicates its medical importance. Here in Tamilnadu, we call it nellikai and is widely consumed for it’s medicinal uses. Amla tree is medium in size with small leaves set closely together. Here in our home, my mother used to always advise us to consume amla regularly.

Amla has an astringent taste but once we swallow, it leaves a sweet taste in the mouth. There is a famous saying in Tamil about the taste of amla that goes like this “முன்னே கசக்கும் பின்னே இனிக்கும்” which means that every hard work is bitter in the starting but the results will be sweet just like amla. Amla stores well and here in Tamil Nadu we get different variety of amla pickles and amla soaked in honey is also quite famous.

Amla Botanical & Common Names

The botanical name of Amla is Emblica officinalis or Phylanthus emblica linn. It is called Indian gooseberry in English, Nellikai in Tamil, Amla in Hindi, Nellika in Malayalam, Usiri in Telugu, Nellikkai in Kannada, Amlaki in Bengali and Amla in Punjabi and Gujarati.

Amla Nutrition

100 grams of amla contains around 44 calories, .8 grams protein, .5 grams fat, 10.2 grams of carbohydrates, 4.3 grams of fibre and .31 mg of iron, 25 mg of calcium, 10 mg of magnesium, 27 mg of phosphorus, 198 mg of potassium, .12 mg of zinc, .07 mg of copper, .144 mg of manganese and 27 mg of vitamin C.

amla health benefits

10 Top Medicinal Uses Of Amla

Apart from the medicinal uses mentioned below, it also has antipyretic (treats fever), anti inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic(reduces pain) and hepatoprotective properties.

1. Anticancer Properties

The anticancer property of amla is due to the presence of of polyphenols especially tannins and flavonoids. Ellagic acid (tannin) present in amla is effective against colon, prostate and breast cancer cell lines. Corilagen (tannin) is effective against ovarian and liver cancers and also hepatocarcinoma.

Pyrogallol (tannin) is effective against lung and gastric cancer cell lines. Chebulagic acid (tannin) is effective against breast, prostate, leukaemia and colon cancer cell lines. Gallic acid (tannin) is effective against breast and lung cancer cell lines. Quercetin, a flavonoid present in amla is effective against numerous cancer cell lines.

2. Amla Metabolic Diseases

High blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol are considered metabolic diseases and consuming amla regularly helps with all these three diseases. In a study, patients who were given 1 to 3 grams of amla powder per day observed reduction in blood glucose and cholesterol levels after 21 days compared to the people who did not receive amla powder.

Amla also helps reduce blood pressure and here is a study supporting this claim. Along with reducing elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, it also improves insulin resistance caused due to high fructose diet.

3. Gastroprotective Properties

Traditionally amla juice has been used for treating various stomach ailments including ulcer and diarrhoea. It has a protective effect and helps heal stomach wounds very very effectively. If you are suffering from ulcer, consume a cup of amla juice on a regular basis. We also use amla for treating indigestion and it is very very effective, just chew on a fresh amla as often as you can to improve digestive health.

4. Treats Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders like depression, epilepsy and stress and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia and huntington’s disease affect lot of people around the world. Amla with its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties has a protective effect on our brain and helps prevent all neurological disorders. Amla also helps improve memory and can be a very excellent alternative therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Prevents Kidney Stones

Chebulinic acid, chebulagic acid, gallic acid, ellagic acid and quercetin present in amla helps prevent the formation of kidney stones. Amla also has a protective effect on our kidneys, several studies show that amla has a protective effect and prevents kidney damage, age related kidney dysfunction and also normalises kidney function. This is due to the high amount of antioxidants present in amla.

6. Antimicrobial Properties

Amla has powerful antimicrobial properties and is effective against various bacterial strains, viruses and plasmodium. It is also a powerful anticaries agent, it is effective against Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus which cause dental caries. An interesting study was done on the effect of chewing amla based gum on oral microbiome, there was increase in salivary flow rate and reduction in total bacterial count after 75 to 80 minutes.

7. Snake Venom Neutralization

Another very interesting use of amla is its anti snake venom activity. The plant extract is effective against Vipera russelli and Naja kaouthia venoms. Here in our village, we used to have snake bites (but now it is greatly reduced) and herbs were used as a first aid always as it takes some time to reach the neighbouring town. It is very important to us to get to know effective anti venom ingredients like amla that are easily available to us.

8. Treats Anaemia

Traditionally amla has been used for treating anaemia. In our village, people who are anemic are given amla soaked in honey everyday. This traditional use has been proven through research too. A study was done on 302 women who were divided into four groups. The group that were given 20 ml of gooseberry juice three times a week improved their hemoglobin levels almost to the level of the group that took iron tablets! Many Indian women suffer from anemia and consuming just 2 tbsp of amla juice weekly thrice can be done by everyone as it is very cheap and without any side effects.

9. For Skin Care

Amla has antibacterial and wound healing properties making it effective for treating various skin problems. It promotes procollagen production and also inhibits UVB induced photoageing in human skin. Not only topical application but oral consumption of amla juice also improves skin conditions like skin elasticity, skin thickness, stratum corneum water content and wrinkle around eyes. We add amla powder to bath powder recipes and it is very effective in treating many skin problems.

10. For Hair Care

Amla is a very very popular hair care ingredient as it stimulates hair growth and protects against hair loss. The nutrients vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium and iron present in amla enhances hair growth and more importantly it inhibits 5-alpha reductase enzyme which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone which is the reason for androgenic alopecia. We use amla in the form of hair packs, hair serums and hair oils for promoting hair growth.

Amla Dosage:

Usually one to two amla per day will be good. If you are taking amla powder, start with half teaspoon a day and increase the dosage once your body gets used to it. If you are taking amla tablets, follow the instructions given in the bottle as the dosage per capsule can vary from brand to brand. Amla hair oil, hair packs and face packs can be used regularly for long durations of time without any side effects. The face pack and hair pack can be used weekly twice or thrice and amla hair oil can be used every single day.

Amla Side Effects:

As far as I know amla is safe to be consumed on a regular basis in moderation but for people who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, having it in empty stomach might cause discomfort. Also it has drug interactions with platelet and diabetic medications.

Where to get Amla?

Apart from fresh amla, we get dried amla, amla murabba, amla soaked in honey, amla juice, amla hair oil, amla powder, amla based face creams and hair packs and amla tablets in the markets too. We can get all these products in all the departmental stores in India, you can also order them online too.

amla uses

5 Top Ways To Use Amla For Skin Hair & Health

1. Amla Hair Oil

Amla hair oil is made by pounding amla and boiling it along with coconut oil till there is no moisture left. The oil will last well at room temperature for a few months and is very effective in conditioning the scalp and also for promoting hair growth. It can be used as a daily application hair oil.

2. Amla Juice

Amla juice can be made in many ways. In my opinion, amla juice doesn’t taste good on its own so I always prefer to add it to juices to mask the taste. Try  making the juice when the amlas are still fresh for better taste. You can find all my favourite amla juice recipes here.

3.Amla Murabba

Amla murabba is nothing but amla cooked in sugar syrup. It is so easy to make it at home and is a good substitute for packaged sweets filled with preservatives and colours that we get in the markets. You can find the recipe for it here. If you don’t want to make it at home, you can also order it online too.

4. Amla Hair Pack:

Amla hair pack can be made easily with just two ingredients. Grind amla into a fine paste along with little water and extract the juice. Mix it with fenugreek powder to form into a paste, let it gel for about 5 minutes and then apply as a hair pack. This hair pack treats all scalp problems from dandruff to itchy scalp and is also good for people suffering from androgenic alopecia.

5. Amla Bath Powder

I usually make a bath and face wash powder with amla powder, besan, orange peel powder and kasturi turmeric powder. It is very effective for reducing dark spots and blemishes. For using, you can mix it with either rose water, rice water or milk depending upon your skin type, you can find the recipe for it here.

amla side effects

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50 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    February 9, 2015 / 7:08 am

    nice blog 🙂

  2. Anonymous
    February 9, 2015 / 7:10 am

    Hi..Ramaya…. NELLIKAI JUICE instead of adding a pinch of salt shall we replace with honey.. is it provides any side effects?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      February 10, 2015 / 9:04 am

      Hi, you can replace the salt with honey and it won't have any side effects as far as the person does not suffer from diabetes……

    • Sridhar K
      April 2, 2015 / 8:35 am

      can i eat raw amla daily?? for hair growth??

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 3, 2015 / 5:15 pm

      Yes, you can eat raw amla daily and it will help in hair growth as it is very rich in vitamin C…….

  3. Sarita Pathania
    February 18, 2015 / 5:00 am

    Hi can be heat gooseberry juice or coconut oil together ……….as u told in 2. NELLIKAI HAIR OIL FOR HAIR LOSS….but our Elders use to say we shoudn't apply heated oil on Scalp …….so plz Advice us ………not confident about heating oil along with Gooseberry and after that applying it on scalp……..?????

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      February 18, 2015 / 5:13 pm

      Hi Sarita, Oils made with fresh plant materials have to be heated till the moisture evaporates, else they will spoil very quickly. That is the best way to get the essence of the plant material into the oil. Most of our traditional hair oils were heated, for example: For oil bath sesame oil was always heated and applied on the scalp and this has been done for centuries, same way henna oil and curry leaf oil are always made by heating the oil with the plant material and they offer wonderful benefits. I do love and prefer heating the oil under the sun but only certain oils can be made that way. Hope this clears your doubt…..

  4. vijay ramesh
    July 22, 2015 / 2:13 am

    How many amla we need to consume daily?????

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      July 28, 2015 / 1:52 am

      Consume one amla everyday consistently for best results…

  5. sedupathi sankar
    September 5, 2015 / 11:06 am

    Hi Ramya,I am 26 years old, already i lost most of my hair.Is there any possibility to regain it?What food i need to take to protect hair fall?Please advise. thank you

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 8, 2015 / 6:28 am

      Hi, if it is due to hereditary baldness, you have to take DHT blockers (the hormone responsible for baldness in men). It can either be natural like green tea, pumpkin seed oil or you can consult a doctor about DHT blocker medicines. Along with it try applying a homemade hair oil like curry leaves oil and homemade hair packs (recipe in the blog) to strengthen the existing hair..

  6. Pulsar Bala
    September 7, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    I drink Raw amla juice in an empty stomach with 3 Amlas daily… is tat good for bad fat removal

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 12, 2015 / 4:42 am

      Amla juice is full of nutrients especially vitamin C and boosts immunity and metabolism. So it is very good to include it during weight loss especially if combined along with exercise and a good diet it is very effective. But drinking it in empty stomach daily may irritate the stomach for some, if it does try to consume it between the meals…

  7. Unknown
    September 18, 2015 / 9:14 am

    AMLA JUICE instead of adding a pinch of salt shall we replace with honey.. is it provides any side effects?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 22, 2015 / 3:57 am

      You can add honey for the amla juice and there will be no side effects…:)

  8. Unknown
    September 21, 2015 / 7:23 am

    Hi Ramya I have a shoulder pain nellikai is best and treat that pain

    • Anonymous
      September 23, 2017 / 5:21 am

      Poy doctors kanikkedi

    • Anonymous
      September 23, 2017 / 5:25 am

      Shoulder pain may be due to any disorders of internal organs.plz consult doctor

  9. ela
    October 17, 2015 / 5:39 pm

    Hi ramya I m 25 yes old I had one grey hair can u pls suggest me a gud idea for growth hair with black natural colour

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 21, 2015 / 5:12 pm

      Hi Ela, try the curry leaves hair oil from the blog regularly and along with it, try the amla hair pack (recipe in the blog) both will greatly help in promoting hair growth and prevent premature greying…

  10. Divya
    November 28, 2015 / 3:25 pm

    Hi Ramya,. My hair is not at all growing. I am about to get marriage. Eating honey dipped amla helps for hair growth??how many days to eat to get my hair growth

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      December 14, 2015 / 3:02 pm

      Congrats on your marriage! Try to up your intake of protein and iron in your diet. Eating amla is very good too as the vitamin C in it helps in iron absorption. You can eat one honey dipped amla everyday, try to eat it at least for 3 to 4 weeks regularly to see results…

    • Anonymous
      December 22, 2015 / 4:27 am

      Hi Ramya, where we can get a virgin coconut hair oil to prepare amla hair oil or else can we use Patanjali coconut hair oil instead of virgin hair oil?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      December 25, 2015 / 3:32 am

      Virgin coconut oil is sold in most of the departmental stores, ask for it. We have only few brands of virgin coconut oil in India but we do get it easily…

  11. Govindaraju .P
    January 20, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    hi madam i have row amla, and how make oil?

  12. Govindaraju .P
    January 20, 2016 / 12:41 pm

    Hi madam,I have row amla, could you please tell me how to making amla oil?

  13. fathima
    February 9, 2016 / 3:12 am

    May I apply this amma oil on my hair for 2 days continuously.usually I will take head shower twice a week till that I applied oil on my head is tat gud r I have to wash it off immediately after 1 hour as u told before.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 12, 2016 / 4:41 am

      You can leave amla oil on your hair for 2 days continuously, it won't do any harm…

  14. mayank dusad
    April 1, 2016 / 5:27 am

    Hello Ramya,What are the fruits which are DHT blockers? or how can we block DHT naturally?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      May 25, 2016 / 2:54 am

      Some of the natural DHT blockers are saw palmetto, nettle, green tea and pumpkin seed oil…

  15. Thiyaga Rajan
    May 17, 2016 / 8:06 am

    Hi iam rajan this is for my brother. he is having "Rheumatoid Arthritis" having more pain in joint.tell me important fruits, foods also oil to cure.waiting for your reply..

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 17, 2016 / 5:34 am

      For arthritis, including mudakathan keerai, pirandai and celery in the diet will be very helpful. Regarding medicine, boswellia serrata extract will be very helpful (should be taken under medical supervision). You can read all these four ingredients in the blog…

  16. Anonymous
    July 29, 2016 / 3:07 am

    Does amla oil helps to remove dandruff??

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 17, 2016 / 5:36 am

      Regular use of amla hair oil will helps treat dandruff…

  17. Anonymous
    October 10, 2016 / 2:53 am

    Hi Iam obesity by which method of using alma i can cut down belly fat.Iam taking cholestrol tab 10mg.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 17, 2016 / 4:14 pm

      I would suggest taking amla in the form of fresh amla juice for reducing cholesterol levels….

  18. Anonymous
    October 14, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    Hi Mam ramyaCan this herb help in ulcerative colitis or if you can recommend any alternate options Thanks

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      November 10, 2016 / 6:37 am

      I would suggest manathakali keerai, it will greatly help. You can read about it here

  19. Gayathri
    October 18, 2016 / 7:11 am

    Hi Ramya, Awesome tips . Thank you . Can I also add curry leaves along with amla juice and oil ?.Also my daughter is 7 and has a very thin hair . Can I apply this to her ?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 5, 2017 / 4:13 pm

      Hi Gayathri, you can add curry leaves to amla oil and you can safely use it for your daughter….

  20. Yuvaraj Malliah
    February 17, 2017 / 8:40 am

    hi Ramya, How far it is beneficial for diabetic patients? could you please explain.RegardsYuvaraj

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 5, 2017 / 4:23 pm

      Regular intake of nellikai reduces blood sugar levels for diabetic patients and it also prevents diabetic nephropathy,cardiac complications and protein wasting and has a protective effect and is a real boon for diabetic patients…

  21. Saravanan Sakthivel
    February 18, 2017 / 4:51 am

    I got waight lost of 8 kg for the lost 4 month now iam little weak so amla juice can help me

  22. Saravanan Sakthivel
    February 18, 2017 / 4:53 am

    Iam a diabitic patient too can amla juice help me to get my energy back

  23. Saravanan Sakthivel
    February 18, 2017 / 4:54 am

    Iam a diabitic patient too can amla juice help me to get my energy back

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 5, 2017 / 4:11 pm

      Yes, amla juice is great for diabetic patients too, take it without adding any sweetener…

  24. Kumar
    August 1, 2017 / 7:21 pm

    I'm using amla juice(15 Amlas) to clear my stomach. Is that good or bad. Using monthly once. using it for more that 5 years

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 5, 2017 / 3:40 pm

      Amla juice is very good for natural detox please continue having it…

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