Indian gooseberry is a fruit tree that is native to northern and southwestern India. It is also known by its scientific name, Emblica Officinalis, and by its Indian name, Amla. Both the fruits and the seeds of the Indian gooseberry tree are used as nutritional supplements and as homeopathic remedies for a variety of digestive ailments. Indian gooseberry trees exist both in wild and cultivated varieties. The wild variety of Indian gooseberry is not particularly useful for human consumption, as the fruits from these trees are small, hard and fibrous. It’s the cultivated variety of Indian gooseberry that gets used most often, with fruits that are big, juicy and full of flavor. The flavor of these fruits could best be described as simultaneously sour and sweet.
As with most fruits, Indian gooseberry fruit is composed mainly of water. Specifically, the composition of Indian gooseberry fruit is approximately 80% water, with the remaining 20% of the fruit’s composition consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals. One of the most prevalent vitamins in Indian gooseberry is vitamin C. A 100-gram serving of Indian gooseberry contains approximately 700 mg of vitamin C. This makes the fruit particularly useful in keeping the immune system strong enough to ward off cold and flu viruses, as well as reducing blood pressure, lowering blood lead levels, and keeping eyes healthy and functioning well. Additionally, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, destroying free radicals that can lead to various forms of cancer. Another valuable antioxidant found in Indian gooseberry is gallic acid, which is known as a polyphenol. Gallic acid also works to kill off free radicals in the body.
Along with Indian gooseberry’s nutritive and antioxidant properties, the fruit is also used as a natural remedy. Digestive ailments that are purportedly helped by ingesting Indian gooseberry fruits include constipation and flatulence. The fruit is also considered helpful in eliminating bodily toxins by increasing the flow of urine. Homeopaths also consider Indian gooseberry to be useful as an astringent, and use the pulp and juice for cleansing and shrinking small skin cuts and abrasions. Lastly, there are also claims that Indian gooseberry strengthens hair, teeth and nails. There are no conclusive medical studies which verify these claims, though the completely nontoxic and otherwise nutritious nature of Indian gooseberry make it, at the very least, a harmless attempt at natural healing.
Shoppers will be hard pressed to find actual Indian gooseberry fruits for sale in the marketplace, though the fruit can be readily obtained in liquid and powder form. Natural health food stores, online ayurvedic stores, and major online merchants sell both juice and powder forms of Indian gooseberry. Given the exotic nature of the fruit, the price of Indian gooseberry juice and powder can be slightly high, with a 32 fluid ounce bottle of the juice costing anywhere from $16 to $20. Indian gooseberry powder often takes the form of vitamin-like capsules, with 60 tablets often costing between $12 and $18.