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Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience

Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry, is already known for boosting immunity and is great for healthy hair and skin. And new research studies are now bringing to light the potential anti-diabetic effects of amla.

Antioxidants – the key to amla’s benefits

The chemical reactions occurring in the body generate what are called as free radicals. These free radicals tend to cause damage to the cell by a process called oxidation. An antioxidant is a substance that can neutralize this oxidative process. Amla is a rich source of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant, and this property is responsible for most of its health benefits.

Okay, but you’re probably wondering …

How is oxidation related to diabetes?

Research suggests that oxidative stress is the underlying cause of diabetes and associated complications. (1, 2)So, it is assumed that substances rich in antioxidants can reverse the damaging effects of oxidation and thus, help you deal with diabetes. (3)

How to use amla to control diabetes

The best way is to consume the fresh fruit. If you find the tart, sour taste to not agree with you, try sipping some water immediately after eating the fruit – it will give you a sweet aftertaste.

To prepare amla juice, remove the seed, crush the pulp and extract the juice — have about 5-10 ml every day.

Another option is to dry the amla pulp, grind it into a fine powder and use. Start with a small quantity – maybe a quarter of a teaspoon – and then go up gradually to the maximum of one teaspoon per day. This will give you the equivalent of 4 grams of amla powder every day. Here are some more research-backed home remedies for controlling diabetes that really work.

You can mix the amla powder into water or fresh lime juice, or sprinkle it on papaya or other soft fruits to give a tart flavour.

You can also make amla chutney by grinding the pulp (after removing the seed) with a few green chillies, a little cilantro, a tiny bit of ginger and some salt.

Some people prefer to stir amla powder into honey. We have discussed the benefits (and precautions) of taking honey in another article.

But a word of caution for having amla. While commercial varieties of amla juice and amla candy are easily available, they are best avoided because these products generally contain sugar to make them more palatable. So any benefit you hope to gain from the amla will be lost because of the additional sugar.

Points to keep in mind

Ayurvedic principles suggest that amla is not compatible with milk. Although there is no hard evidence to back this claim, you can exercise caution and allow a gap of at least half an hour between consuming amla and milk or milk-based beverages.

Amla may increase the risk of bleeding; so don’t use it if you suffer from any bleeding disorder. Also, don’t take any product that combines amla with herbs like ginger or guduchi if you have any liver disorders.

Scientific proof that amla is good for diabetes:

A laboratory study using amla extracts on diabetic animals showed that Amla has anti-diabetic action and causes blood glucose to drop. (4)

A study on diabetic rats found that amla juice may help to treat certain cardiac problems found in persons with Type 1 diabetes mellitus. (5)

A 2011 study on people with and without diabetes found that consuming amla fruit powder caused a significant decrease in both fasting and post-prandial blood glucose levels. (6)

These promising results from animal studies have stoked a lot of interest in the anti-diabetic potential of amla. Although we await results from trials on persons with diabetes, the amla fruit has so many definite benefits that consuming it regularly may be one of the best ways to a healthier life.

Photo Source: Pixabay

References:

  1. A. Ullaha, A. Khana, I. Khan. Diabetes mellitus and oxidative stress—A concise review. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal. 24(5); 2016 September; 547-553 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsps.2015.03.013
  2. A.C Maritim, R.A. Sanders, J.B. Watkins. Diabetes, oxidative stress, and antioxidants: a review. J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2003;17(1):24-38. Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12616644
  3. S. Bajaj, A. Khan. Antioxidants and diabetes. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Dec; 16(Suppl 2): S267–S271. doi:  10.4103/2230-8210.104057
  4. N. Pathak, G. Kumar, R.C. Chaurasia. Evaluation Of Anti-Diabetic Activity Of Commercially Available Extracts Of Phyllanthus Emblica In Streptozocin Induced Diabetic Rats. Int J Pharm Bio Sci 2016 Oct; 7(4): (P) 139 – 145 Available online at: https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiqqpea1InYAhUM5o8KHWsACk0QFghEMAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ijpbs.net%2Fdownload.php%3Fdownload_file%3Dcms%2Fphp%2Fupload%2F5527_pdf.pdf%26did%3D5527&usg=AOvVaw1u-XzFdFGy-uPAPlO_NGS4
  5. S.S. Patel, R.K. Goyal. Prevention of diabetes-induced myocardial dysfunction in rats using the juice of the Emblica officinalis fruit. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2011 Fall;16(3):87-91. Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22065939
  6. M.S. Akhtar, A. Ramzan, A. Ali, M. Ahmad. Effect of Amla fruit (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) on blood glucose and lipid profile of normal subjects and type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Sep; 62(6): 609-16. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.560565.

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