Overview

Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

"Fruit edible, also used for pickles. Highly valued for vitamin C, used extensively in ayurvedic medicine. Traded extensively in India."
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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Deciduous Forests, also Cultivated"
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Brief

Flowering class: Dicot Habit: Tree
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General Description

Trees 3-15 m tall, to 50 cm d.b.h., monoecious, deciduous; bark brownish; main stems terete, sparsely lenticellate, with very reduced short shoots producing groups of leafy shoots; leafy shoots angular, tawny pubescent, at start of growing season often with poorly developed leaves and densely flowered, later with fewer flowers and better-developed leaves. Leaves distichous; stipules triangular-ovate, 0.8-1.5 mm, brown, margins entire or denticulate, ciliate; petiole 0.3-0.7 mm; leaf blade oblong or linear-oblong, 8-23 mm long, 1.5-6 mm wide, papery to leathery, paler abaxially, green adaxially, drying reddish or brownish, base shallowly cordate and slightly oblique, margin narrowly revolute, apex truncate, rounded or obtuse, mucronate or retuse at tip; lateral veins 4-7 pairs. Fascicles with many male flowers and sometimes 1 or 2 larger female flowers. Male flowers: pedicels 1-2.5 mm; sepals 6, membranous, yellow, obovate or spatulate, subequal, 1.2-2.5 mm long, 0.5-1 mm wide, apex obtuse or rounded, margin entire or shallowly denticulate; disk glands 6, subtriangular; stamens 3; filaments coherent into column, 0.3-0.7 mm; anthers erect, oblong, 0.5-0.9 mm, longitudinally dehiscent, apex mucronate. Female flowers: pedicels ca. 0.5 mm; sepals 6, oblong or spatulate, 1.6-2.5 mm long, 0.7-1.3 mm wide, apex obtuse or rounded, thicker, margin membranous, ± lobate; ovary ovoid, ca. 1.5 mm, 3-celled; styles 3, 2.5-4 mm, connate at base, deeply bifid, lobes divided at tip. Fruit a drupe, globose, 1-1.3 cm in diameter, exocarp fleshy, pale green or yellowish white, endocarp crustaceous. Seeds reddish, 5-6 mm long, 2-3 mm wide.
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Distribution

"
Global Distribution

Throughout the tropics

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: All Districts

"
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"Found along the exposed hill slopes of deciduous forests. Common. Indian subcontinent, S. & S.E.Asia."
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Maharashtra: Common throughout Kerala: All districts Tamil Nadu: All districts
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Phyllanthus emblica L.:
Burma (Asia)
Bhutan (Asia)
Cambodia (Asia)
India (Asia)
Laos (Asia)
Madagascar (Africa & Madagascar)
Nepal (Asia)
Philippines (Asia)
Sri Lanka (Asia)
Thailand (Asia)
China (Asia)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan [Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand; South America (cultivated)].
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Phyllanthus emblica is occurring in Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan of China, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand; South America (cultivated).
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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India, Himalaya (Kumaun to Bhutan), Assanl, N. Burma, S. China, Indo-China, Malaysia.
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Physical Description

Morphology

"
Flower

In axillary fasicles, very small; reddish. Flowering from March-April.

Fruit

A depressed-globose drupe, fleshy, indehiscent; seeds many, trigonous. Fruiting May onwards.

Field tips

Bark light grey and exfoliating. Leaf feathery, smaller towareds the apex and the base, tip reddish.

Leaf Arrangement

Alternate-spiral

Leaf Type

Simple

Leaf Shape

Oblong

Leaf Apex

Apiculate

Leaf Base

Truncate-cordate

Leaf Margin

Entire

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Description

Trees 3-8(-23) m tall, to 50 cm d.b.h., monoecious, deciduous; bark brownish; main stems terete, sparsely lenticellate, with very reduced short shoots producing groups of leafy shoots; leafy shoots angular, tawny pubescent, at start of growing season often with poorly developed leaves and densely flowered, later with fewer flowers and better-developed leaves. Leaves distichous; stipules triangular-ovate, 0.8-1.5 mm, brown, margins entire or denticulate, ciliate; petiole 0.3-0.7 mm; leaf blade oblong or linear-oblong, 8-23 × 1.5-6 mm, papery to leathery, paler abaxially, green adaxially, drying reddish or brownish, base shallowly cordate and slightly oblique, margin narrowly revolute, apex truncate, rounded or obtuse, mucronate or retuse at tip; lateral veins 4-7 pairs. Fascicles with many male flowers and sometimes 1 or 2 larger female flowers. Male flowers: pedicels 1-2.5 mm; sepals 6, membranous, yellow, obovate or spatulate, subequal, 1.2-2.5 × 0.5-1 mm, apex obtuse or rounded, margin entire or shallowly denticulate; disk glands 6, subtriangular; stamens 3; filaments coherent into column, 0.3-0.7 mm; anthers erect, oblong, 0.5-0.9 mm, longitudinally dehiscent, apex mucronate. Female flowers: pedicels ca. 0.5 mm; sepals 6, oblong or spatulate, 1.6-2.5 × 0.7-1.3 mm, apex obtuse or rounded, thicker, margin membranous, ± lobate; ovary ovoid, ca. 1.5 mm, 3-celled; styles 3, (1-)2.5-4 mm, connate at base, deeply bifid, lobes divided at tip. Fruit a drupe, globose, 1-1.3 cm in diam., exocarp fleshy, pale green or yellowish white, endocarp crustaceous. Seeds reddish, 5-6 × 2-3 mm. Fl. Apr-Jun, fr. Jul-Sep.
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Elevation Range

150-1400 m
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Deciduous trees, to 15 m high, bark grey-brown, rough, irregularly flaking; blaze pink-red. Leaves simple, alternate, bifarious on short deciduous branchlets, closely overlapping, subsessile; stipules minute, lateral, linear; lamina 0.4-1.5 x 2-4 mm, oblong or linear-oblong, base round, apex obtuse and shortly apiculate, glabrous, membranous; nerves obscure. Flowers unisexual, 2-3 mm across, greenish-yellow, densely clustered in leaf axils; male flowers: tepals 6, oblanceolate, 1.5 mm, obtuse, stamens 3, anthers oblong, connate by their connectives; apiculate; disc glands 6; female flowers: tepals 6, oblanceolate, obtuse; ovary superior, 1.5 mm, 3-celled; ovules 2 in each cell; styles 3, broadly fimbriate, recurved, stigmatiferous. Fruit a capsule 1.5-2.5 cm across, subglobose, dehiscing into 6 cocci, disc enlarged to give an appearance of fleshy yellowish-green, indehiscent berry."
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Diagnostic

"Habit: A small deciduous tree, upto 8m."
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Diagnostic

Habit: Tree
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Synonym

Diasperus emblica (Linnaeus) Kuntze; Dichelactina nodicaulis Hance; Emblica officinalis Gaertner; Phyllanthus mairei H. Léveillé.
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Ecology

Habitat

General Habitat

"Found along hill slopes, on exposed slopes in dry deciduous forests above 800-1500m. Indian subcontinent, South and Southeast Asia."
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General Habitat

"Dry and moist deciduous forests, also cultivated in the plains"
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Dry open sparse forests or scrub, village groves; 200-2300 m.
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Growing in dry open sparse forests or scrub, village groves; 200-2300 m.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: July-February
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Flowering from April to June; fruiting from July to September.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

The basic chromosomal number of Phyllanthus emblica is X = 26 (Gill et al., 1981).
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Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Phyllanthus emblica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Emblica officinalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

"The twigs are used to purify water, especially saline water. Fruit eaten by Sambar and Spotted deer.

The fruit (Amla/Aonla) is highly medicinal and is edible fresh, pickled or cooked.It is one of the highly esteemed fruits in the indian system of medicine and is included in many formulations. The fruit is rich in vitamin C and immuno-modulators.

"
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Folklore

Indigenous Information:Branchlets are used to purify the saline water.

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Uses

Medicinal
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Uses

The mature fruits of Phyllanthus emblica are very sour and contain 1%-1.8% Vitamin C. They are eaten raw or sweetened or preserved. The seeds, roots, and leaves are used as medicine. The dried leaves are sometimes used as fillings in pillows.
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Wikipedia

Phyllanthus emblica

Phyllanthus emblica (syn. Emblica officinalis), the Indian gooseberry, or Dhatrik (in Maithili), or amla from Sanskrit amalika, Tamil நெல்லி, Malayalam നെല്ലിക്ക, Oriya ଅଁଳା, Marathi आवळा, Hindi आवला, Bengali আমলকি, Suaklu in Zomi is a deciduous tree of the family Phyllanthaceae. It is known for its edible fruit of the same name.

Plant anatomy and harvesting[edit]

The tree is small to medium in size, reaching 8 to 18 m in height, with a crooked trunk and spreading branches. The branchlets are glabrous or finely pubescent, 10–20 cm long, usually deciduous; the leaves are simple, subsessile and closely set along branchlets, light green, resembling pinnate leaves. The flowers are greenish-yellow. The fruit is nearly spherical, light greenish yellow, quite smooth and hard on appearance, with six vertical stripes or furrows.

Ripening in autumn, the berries are harvested by hand after climbing to upper branches bearing the fruits. The taste of Indian gooseberry is sour, bitter and astringent, and it is quite fibrous. In India, it is common to eat gooseberries steeped in salt water and turmeric to make the sour fruits palatable[citation needed]. It is also used to straighten hair.

Medical research[edit]

Indian gooseberry has undergone preliminary research, demonstrating in vitro antiviral and antimicrobial properties.[2] There is preliminary evidence in vitro that its extracts induce apoptosis and modify gene expression in osteoclasts involved in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.[3] It may prove to have potential activity against some cancers.[4] One recent animal study found treatment with E. officinalis reduced severity of acute pancreatitis (induced by L-arginine in rats). It also promoted the spontaneous repair and regeneration process of the pancreas occurring after an acute attack.[5]

Experimental preparations of leaves, bark or fruit have shown potential efficacy against laboratory models of disease, such as for inflammation, cancer, age-related renal disease, and diabetes.[6][7][8]

A human pilot study demonstrated a reduction of blood cholesterol levels in both normal and hypercholesterolemic men with treatment.[9] Another recent study with alloxan-induced diabetic rats given an aqueous amla fruit extract has shown significant decrease of the blood glucose, as well as triglyceridemic levels and an improvement of the liver function caused by a normalization of the liver-specific enzyme alanine transaminase activity.[10]

Chemical research[edit]

Although these fruits are reputed to contain high amounts of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), 445 mg/100g,[11] the specific contents are disputed, and the overall antioxidant strength of amla may derive instead from its high density of ellagitannins[12] such as emblicanin A (37%), emblicanin B (33%), punigluconin (12%) and pedunculagin (14%).[13] It also contains punicafolin and phyllanemblinin A, phyllanemblin other polyphenols: flavonoids, kaempferol, ellagic acid and gallic acid.[12][14]

Cultural and religious significance[edit]

In the Sanskrit Buddhist tradition half an amalaka fruit was the final gift to the Buddhist sangha by the great Indian emperor Asoka. This is illustrated in the Asokavadana in the following verses: "A great donor, the lord of men, the eminent Maurya Asoka, has gone from being lord of Jambudvipa [India] to being lord of half a myrobalan." (Strong, 1983, p. 99)[15] This deed became so famous that a stupa was created to mark the place of the event in modern day Patna and was known as the Amalaka stupa.

According to Hindu tradition, Adi Shankara of Kerala composed and recited the Kanakadhara stotram in praise of Mahalakshmi to make a poor Brahmin lady get wealth, in return for a single amla presented to him as bhiksha on an auspicious dwadashi day.

According to a Tamil legend, Avvaiyar (Tamil: ஔவையார்), a female poet, ethicist and political activist of the Sangam period was gifted with one amla by King Athiyaman to give her long life.

The tree is considered sacred by Hindus as the Vishnu is believed to dwell here. The tree is worshipped on Amalaka Ekadashi.

In other Hindu myths, Aamla is said to have originated from the drops of Amrit which spilled on earth accidentally, due to the fight of Gods and Demons after ksheera sagar manthan. And hence also this religious belief makes claims that it almost cures every disease and is also good in extending the longevity of life.

Traditional uses of amlaki[edit]

Medicinal use[edit]

In traditional Indian medicine, dried and fresh fruits of the plant are used. All parts of the plant are used in various Ayurvedic/Unani medicine (Jawarish amla) herbal preparations, including the fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark and flowers.[16] According to Ayurveda, aamla fruit is sour (amla) and astringent (kashaya) in taste (rasa), with sweet (madhura), bitter (tikta) and pungent (katu) secondary tastes (anurasas).[16] Its qualities (gunas) are light (laghu) and dry (ruksha), the postdigestive effect (vipaka) is sweet (madhura), and its energy (virya) is cooling (shita).[17]

According to Ayurveda, aamla balances all three doshas. While aamla is unusual in that it contains five out of the six tastes recognized by Ayurveda, it is most important to recognize the effects of the "virya", or potency, and "vipaka", or post-digestive effect. Considered in this light, aamla is particularly helpful in reducing pitta due to its cooling energy.[16] It also balances both Pitta and vata by virtue of its sweet taste. The kapha is balanced primarily due to its drying action. It may be used as a rasayana (rejuvenative) to promote longevity, and traditionally to enhance digestion (dipanapachana), treat constipation (anuloma), reduce fever (jvaraghna), purify the blood (raktaprasadana), reduce cough (kasahara), alleviate asthma (svasahara), strengthen the heart (hrdaya), benefit the eyes (chakshushya), stimulate hair growth (romasanjana), enliven the body (jivaniya), and enhance intellect (medhya).[16][17]

In Ayurvedic polyherbal formulations, Indian gooseberry is a common constituent, and most notably is the primary ingredient in an ancient herbal rasayana called Chyawanprash.[12] This formula, which contains 43 herbal ingredients as well as clarified butter, sesame oil, sugar cane juice, and honey, was first mentioned in the Charaka Samhita as a premier rejuvenative compound.[18][19]

A jar of South Indian Andhra amla pickle

In Chinese traditional therapy, this fruit is called yuganzi (余甘子), which is used to cure throat inflammation.

Emblica officinalis tea may ameliorate diabetic neuropathy due to aldose reductase inhibition.[20] In rats it significantly reduced blood glucose, food intake, water intake and urine output in diabetic rats compared with the non‐ diabetic control group.[21]

Culinary use[edit]

Particularly in South India, the fruit is pickled with salt, oil, and spices. Aamla is eaten raw or cooked into various dishes. In Andhra Pradesh, tender varieties are used to prepare dal (a lentil preparation), and amle ka murabbah, a sweet dish indigenous to the northern part of India (wherein the berries are soaked in sugar syrup for a long time till they are imparted the sweet flavor); it is traditionally consumed after meals.

Other uses[edit]

Popularly used in inks, shampoos and hair oils, the high tannin content of Indian gooseberry fruit serves as a mordant for fixing dyes in fabrics.[16] Amla shampoos and hair oil are traditionally believed to nourish the hair and scalp and prevent premature grey hair.[citation needed]

Alternative names for Indian gooseberry[edit]

Names of this tree in Indian and other languages include:

amalika (अमलिक) in Sanskrit
Dhatric (धात्रिक) in Maithili
āmlā (आमला) in Hindi
āmla (આમળાં) in Gujarati
aavnlaa (awla) (or awla) in Urdu
āvaḷā (आवळा) (or awla) in Marathi
ambare (अमबरे) in Garo language
āvāḷo (आवाळो) in Konkani
Suaklu in Paite
sunhlu in Mizo
amalā (अमला) in Nepali
amloki (আমলকী) in Bengali
amlakhi in Assamese
anlaa (ଅଁଳା) in Oriya
Aula (ਔਲਾ) in Punjabi
nellikka (നെല്ലിക്ക) in Malayalam
heikru in Manipuri
halïlaj or ihlïlaj (اهليلج هليلج) in Arabic
sohmylleng in Khasi
rasi usiri ( రాశి ఉసిరి కాయ) (or rasi usirikai ) in Telugu
nellikkai (நெல்லிக்காய்/ ನೆಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಯಿ/ ಗುಡ್ದದ ನೆಲ್ಲಿ) nellikkaai or nellikaayi) in Tamil, Kannada and Tulu
nelli (නෙල්ලි) in Sinhala
mak kham bom in Lao
ma kham pom (มะขามป้อม) in Thai
anmole (庵摩勒) in Chinese
Kantout Prei (កន្ទួតព្រៃ) in Khmer
skyu ru ra (སྐྱུ་རུ་ར་) in Tibetan
melaka in Malay, A state in Malaysia, Malacca was named after this tree.
zee phyu thee (ဆီးၿဖဴသီး) in Myanmar

Also found are the names emblic, emblic myrobalan, malacca tree and the variants in spelling aola, ammalaki, aamvala, aawallaa, dharty, nillika, and nellikya.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Phyllanthus emblica information from NPGS/GRIN". US Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  2. ^ Saeed S, Tariq P (Jan 2007). "Antibacterial activities of Emblica officinalis and Coriandrum sativum against Gram negative urinary pathogens". Pak J Pharm Sci 20 (1): 32–5. PMID 17337425. 
  3. ^ Penolazzi, L.; Lampronti, I.; Borgatti, M.; Khan, M.; Zennaro, M.; Piva, R.; Gambari, R. (2008). "Induction of apoptosis of human primary osteoclasts treated with extracts from the medicinal plant Emblica officinalis". BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 8: 59. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-59. PMC 2587459. PMID 18973662.  edit
  4. ^ Ngamkitidechakul, C.; Jaijoy, K.; Hansakul, P.; Soonthornchareonnon, N.; Sireeratawong, S. (2010). "Antitumour 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". Phytotherapy Research 24 (9): 1405–1413. doi:10.1002/ptr.3127. PMID 20812284.  edit
  5. ^ Sidhu, S.; Pandhi, P.; Malhotra, S.; Vaiphei, K.; Khanduja, K. L. (2011). "Beneficial Effects ofEmblica officinalisinl-Arginine-Induced Acute Pancreatitis in Rats". Journal of Medicinal Food 14 (1–2): 147–155. doi:10.1089/jmf.2010.1108. PMID 21138365.  edit
  6. ^ Ganju L, Karan D, Chanda S, Srivastava KK, Sawhney RC, Selvamurthy W (Sep 2003). "Immunomodulatory effects of agents of plant origin". Biomed Pharmacother. 57 (7): 296–300. doi:10.1016/S0753-3322(03)00095-7. PMID 14499177. 
  7. ^ Yokozawa T, Kim HY, Kim HJ, et al. (Sep 2007). "Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) attenuates age-related renal dysfunction by oxidative stress". J Agric Food Chem. 55 (19): 7744–52. doi:10.1021/jf072105s. PMID 17715896. 
  8. ^ Rao TP, Sakaguchi N, Juneja LR, Wada E, Yokozawa T (2005). "Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) extracts reduce oxidative stress in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats". J Med Food 8 (3): 362–8. doi:10.1089/jmf.2005.8.362. PMID 16176148. 
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The mature fruits are very sour and contain 1%-1.8% Vitamin C. They are eaten raw or sweetened or preserved. The seeds, roots, and leaves are used as medicine. The dried leaves are sometimes used as fillings in pillows.
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