What is Amla Powder and Why is it So Good for You?

AmalakiAmla, botanically known as Amilica Embillicus, is a small tree native to the Indian subcontinent that produces plum sized yellow fruit with some amazing benefits for our health.

If you’ve ever read anything about amla powder before you’ve probably heard it’s one of the world’s best sources of vitamin C.

Actually, that may not be the case. The real reasons amla is so good for you appear to be far more exotic and interesting.

Ahead is why powdered amla fruit like this, a superfood most people outside of India have never heard of, could be the key to a higher level of health, well-being and energy in your life.

Amla in Ayurveda

Also known as Indian gooseberry and amalaki, amla is one of the most important plants in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and has been prized for its beneficial properties for thousands of years in India.

Some of its amazing health benefits of amla are covered in detail next, but it is primarily seen as a powerful rejuvenator to promote longevity and well-being in general.

In Ayurveda, amla powder is described as having a cooling effect on the body. It is known as a very beneficial aid to digestion and obtaining more nourishment from the food you eat.

According to the Caraka Samhita text of Ayurvedic medicine, it is a rejuvenator and aphrodisiac for ‘those who have been weakened by sexual indulgence and wine and poisons’ and to ‘alleviate all varieties of ailments, and impart strength to the intellect and senses’.

Amla berry is particularly revered in Ayurveda because it has a unique balance of sour, sweet, pungent, bitter and astringent tastes all in one fruit and is said to balance all three of the doshas — vata, kapha and pitta. In doing so it is believed to help alleviate the underlying causes of a variety of health problems and even psychological imbalances.

Another Ayurvedic herb which is said to balance the three doshas is mucuna pruriens. I’ve found it to be particularly good for gently raising dopamine levels for better mood and less stress and tension in your life. Taking mucuna and amla powder together also seems to enhance the positive effects of both.

There’s a lot to be learnt from traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda that have been healing people for thousands of years in India.

From a different perspective, what are some of the specific nutrients and compounds that have been identified in this unique fruit that could help explain why amla powder can have such a powerful effect on your health.

Amla Nutritional Properties

Amla contains a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals, but unless you have access to the fresh fruit you’re unlikely to eat enough of it to have a significant impact on your overall vitamin and mineral intake. What is amla good for then and just what is in Indian gooseberries that makes them so healthy?

For many years, and based on initial scientific studies, amla was believed to be an extremely rich source of vitamin C. However vitamin C alone would be unlikely to explain the unusually wide range of health benefits so many people report from taking it regularly. As mentioned earlier, amla’s true nutritional properties appear to be far more interesting.

It seems initial tests some decades ago weren’t sophisticated enough to distinguish between certain organic acids and other compounds and classified some of them incorrectly as vitamin C, thus leading to a remarkably high figure.

More recent scientific testing has shown amla powder contains an extremely broad and rich range of antioxidant polyphenols, far more powerful in their various beneficial effects on your body than vitamin C alone.

Some of the more important polyphenols that have been identified so far in amla include gallic acid, ellagic acid, chebulinic acid, chebulagic acid, quercetin, apigenin, ethyl gallate, luteolin, corilagin, isostrictiniin, beta glucogallin and galloyl-glucose.

It is also said to be particularly high in bioactive tannoid principles like emblicanin-A, emblicanin-B, punigluconin and pedunculagin, that exhibit strong oxidative free radical scavenging activity. Interestingly, they are also believed to significantly increase the antioxidant actions of vitamin C.

Most of these polyphenols, bioactive tannoid principles and other compounds are not household names like vitamin C. While some, such as gallic acid have a large body of scientific research behind them, others have only recently been studied (though often with very promising results).

Why is Amla Good for Health

Personally, I think what makes amla so good for you is not any specific individual element, but rather the incredible range of different antioxidants it contains. These nutrients appear to work synergistically within the body to extinguish oxidative damage from free radicals — a primary cause of disease and aging within our bodies.

Amla powder is one of those superfoods that, in my opinion, makes supplements formulated in a lab obsolete. That’s why I use this antioxidant rich organic powdered whole fruit in my breakfast or afternoon smoothies pretty much every day. It certainly seems to wakes you up and give you more energy.

For convenience, high quality capsules like these are also available and make it easier to take amla at work, when travelling or if you just don’t like the taste of it.

Up ahead is a detailed guide to the best dosage to take and different ways to add amla powder to your diet so you can feel its positive effects for yourself.

You can also see the best amla powder, organic capsules, whole fruit, Indian gooseberry juice and special amla hair oil I’ve found in this new article here.

Photo 1 credit with thanks: Gladson Machado 



Please advice in ZAR how would one gain access to fresh fruit if not an amla plant.

Can the oil be used for any treatment other than application on hair

Jim Dillan

Hi Nafisa and thanks for commenting. You can sometimes find the fresh fruit at good Indian stores but the powdered amla and capsules on this page are better for regular use – https://superfoodprofiles.com/how-to-take-amla-better-health

The amla oil I make ahead is edible but it’s designed for the hair. I wouldn’t use commercial amla oil for anything but hair treatments.


I would like to know we’re I can get hold of the Amalaki tree in South Africa or a tree/ scrub with similar health enhancing properties. Thank you. Maya

Jim Dillan

Hi Maya. I’d try a large garden center that has Indian native plants.


Does Amla help improving Libido? if yes where in Kenya can I get it?

Jim Dillan

Hi Peter,

Any food that improves your overall health and inner balance can help with libido though amla isn’t specifically known as an aphrodisiac. The iHerb website delivers internationally otherwise I would try a specialty Indian store.


Where can one access the Amla plant in Nigeria
Please when information on plants or fruits are written about, can accessibility of the plant be made known so the information can be complete
I am trying out the oil on my hair to reduce gray or restore hair color

Jim Dillan

Hi Moi,

I wouldn’t know on the Amla plant as it’s native to India not Africa, but the powder can be bought online and would be much easier to use for that purpose – https://superfoodprofiles.com/go/organic-amla-fruit-powder-amazon


what is the relationship between Amla and tomatillo. I live in USA and we get tomatillo very easily. And if not where can I get Amla here in USA?

Jim Dillan

Hi Shabbir,

Amla and tomatillo are not related. A good source of amla in the USA is this powdered version that can be added to smoothies or food https://superfoodprofiles.com/go/organic-amla-fruit-powder-amazon

Hope this helps,



Pls where can i get this powder in nigeria is urgent.

Jim Dillan

Hi there,

iHerb is almost always cheaper and better quality than local health stores. There’s $4 International delivery and $10 Off the first order at the checkout with this link https://superfoodprofiles.com/go/iherb

All the best,



Hi, I am at work and cannot read through all of the replies, so I apologized if my question is repeated. I want to use Amla for my hair. Which is better for the hair, oil, powder or used combined together?


Jim Dillan

Hi Gayle,

This article has a good recipe for amla oil for hair https://superfoodprofiles.com/homemade-amla-oil-hair It would be more effective than commercial products.

Taking amla powder regularly will also improve hair from the inside.

All the best,



I just bought some Alma powder and it is cream colored. I also have some black Alma in a small jar. It must have been exposed to air because is it quite solid now and unscoopable. Thing is, I don’t know if it something else that was placed in the jar and I forgot to change the label, or if it is, in fact, black Alma powder. In any case, I will throw it out. I’m just asking if there is actually Black Alma and the lighter, cream colored Alma.

Jim Dillan

Hi Donna,

I’m not aware of black amla powder and suspect it has oxidized and would be far less effective.

All the best,



Hey Jim,

I’m 47 yrs old , A mother of 5, and married 27 yrs.. I have severe white hair from over coloring / bleaching from over the years. I started this Coconut oil n lemon juice treatment for a month and a half now , but have’nt seen results with the white hair but, my hair has gotten stronger with less hair fall which is good. So my question is,,, Will using Amla powder reverse my white hair? And how long till I see results ? Thank You.

Jim Dillan

Hi Suha,

Making amla hair oil has helped many people with darkening hair https://superfoodprofiles.com/homemade-amla-oil-hair but it’s not possible to predict whether it will work for specific individuals or how long it will take.

All the best,


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