Of all the herbs in the world of Ayurveda, there is one that is considered to be the most important rasayana. Rasayanas are herbs, spices and fruits that have anti-aging properties and are used to enhance your overall health, vitality and longevity. In one of the ancient Ayurvedic texts it is says of all the rasayanas, amla is the best herb for rejuvenation. When we look at the wide range and number of benefits of this yellow to light green berry, it’s easy to see why.
The tree from which these berries are grown is actually worshipped in India. Amala Ekadashi is the name of the holiday at the beginning of the Holi festival in India, where people offer worship to the amla berry tree. Bathing in water that has been consecrated by the tree is also a common spiritual practice. It is believed that that the amla tree is the dwelling place of the divine lovers, Krishna and Radha.
Amla berries can be consumed in many different ways. It can be taken as a fruit – cooked or steamed – in mixtures with other herbal preparations, as a powder, as a pickle or in convenient tablets. It has been a daily part of life for thousands of years in India. The most widely herbal preparation of amla is triphala, a potent digestive rasayana.
One benefit of amla is that it works very gently in order to bring the body back into balance – its effects are generally not fast or harsh. According to Ayurvedic tradition, amla is unique in that it stimulates 5 tastes found in Ayurveda and it balances it all three doshas and enhances all 7 body tissues.
Amla berry is one of the greatest naturally occurring sources of vitamin C. It contains more than 20 times the amount of vitamin C in an orange without tasting too acidic. This berry also has a very dynamic range of free radical scavengers and antioxidants, which are great for helping to prevent premature aging and disease.
Using amla on a regular basis may aid in digestion. It works in a way that doesn’t create heat like other digestion enhancing herbs and foods, such as ginger. People with too much acidity tolerate amla well and may use it to help improve their digestion. Amla also helps protect your liver and heart from toxins and has been shown to lower cholesterol. Amla oil is also sometimes added to Ayurvedic haircare products to help make thick, strong hair and has been used to treat prematurely graying hair.
For those of you afraid of premature aging, amla may provide benefits for the liver, digestion, heart, skin and hair. Amla is such a potent and easy herb to include in your life – it should be a part of your daily routine.