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What is Amalaki?

Amalaki and Digestive Health

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Updated August 18, 2012

The fruit of the amalaki tree has long been believed to be helpful in promoting digestive health.

Amalaki is a tree that grows throughout Asia and bears a lemon-sized fruit for several months out of the year. Herbal preparations using different parts of the amalaki tree have long been considered to hold healing qualities by the practitioners of ayurvedic medicine, an ancient Indian healing system. The fruit has a bitter taste and so is not usually eaten on its own, but rather prepared as part of a meal or condensed into supplement form. Amalaki has different names depending on where it is grown and thus is also known as amla and Indian gooseberry.

Amalaki is considered to be high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Ayurvedic medicine maintains that amalaki is helpful for a wide variety of health problems as it has a positive effect on many of the body's systems. In terms of specificity for digestive health, amalaki is thought to facilitate digestion, to regulate elimination, and to ease constipation. Amalaki is also used as one of the three main ingredients in a popular ayurvedic preparation known as triphala. Although there is some preliminary research supporting the health benefits of triphala, amalaki alone has not yet been studied.

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