Botanical Description

Emblica officinalis is commonly called the 'Indian gooseberry'. It belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae, and is known as Amla in Hindi, and Amalaki in Sanskrit. It is a small to medium-sized tree with a crooked trunk and spreading branches, and grayish-green bark that peels off in flakes. The branchlets are glabrous or finely pubescent, 10—20 cm long, usually

664 deciduous, with the leaves simple, subsessile, and closely set along the branchlets. The leaves are light green, resembling pinnate leaves. The flowers are greenish-yellow, borne in axillary fascicles, and give way to globose fruit. The fruits are depressed globose in shape, 1—2.5 cm in diameter, fleshy, and obscurely six-lobed, containing six trigonous seeds. They are green when unripe, and turn light yellow or brick red when mature.

The seeds are acrid and sweet, with aphrodisiac and antipyretic properties, and are useful in treating biliousness, leukorrhoea, vomiting, and vata (in Indian medicine, vata is associated with cold; increased vata is obtained by cooling). They yield about 16% of brownish yellow oil containing 44% linoleic acid, 28.4% oleic acid, 4.8% linolenic acid, 2.2% stearic acid, 3.0% palmitic acid, and 1.0% myristic acid. The seed weight is about 570 g/1000 seeds. The seed oil resembles linseed oil.

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Health And Fitness 101

Health And Fitness 101

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