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Amla Berry and Feminine Health

by vpk® Maharishi Ayurveda & Paul Schaefer on June 3, 2013

Amalaki (also known as Amla or Amla Berry) is considered good for both men and women, but especially so for women.

This traditional fruit is used in Maharishi Ayurveda to regulate and support a broad range of purifying and elimination actions in the body. Amla also balances Apana Vata, the Ayurvedic sub-dosha that governs the downward flow of energy in the body and helps maintain and manage elimination.

The Downward Flow of Energy – Why it Matters

Balancing Apana Vata and nurturing all the dhatus (body tissues) is important in Ayurveda. The herbs that help balance Apana Vata will also help keep menstruation regular and healthy. Certain traditional herbs are recommended for both men and women to support the reproductive system. These are known as “vrishya” herbs, which means they enhance all the seven tissues (dhatus), including the reproductive tissue nurturing the ovaries and sperm. Some also have a property called “garbhasthapana,” which means they support fertility and healthy conception. One in particular, Amla Berry, is especially nurturing for women, strengthening the uterus and supporting reproductive health.

Creating Ojas – Support for Feminine Health

The most refined product of digestion and metabolism is called ojas. Ojas supports natural immunity and strength. The more ojas your digestion produces, the greater your strength and immunity to disease. The Sushruta Samhita says, “By bala (strength) or ojas, the muscle tissue becomes full, all movements become free and perfectly coordinated, voice and complexion become clear, and externally and internally the activity of the organs of action and the sense organs become intelligent and evolutionary.” So supporting the production of ojas supports female health.

Rasayanas such as Amla Berry are metabolized easily into ojas, and thus infuse the qualities of ojas into the body. The skin becomes lustrous, the eyes sparkle, the temperament becomes stable and blissful, the mind intelligent and calm, and the body free of disease. The qualities of radiance in the face and skin, and generally a glowing complexion, are a result of healthy ojas production in the body.

Ayurvedic Keys for Wellness (tips)

Four key principles to long-term balance and wellness in Ayurveda are broadly summed up in four lifestyle approaches that apply directly to a smoother cycle:

  • Balancing/strengthening digestion (agni)
  • Reducing ama (toxins)
  • Increasing ojas
  • Living a balanced lifestyle without an overload of stress.

Each of these plays a powerful role in supporting long-term, life-changing wellness, according to Ayurveda.

These lifestyle choices include changes to diet; stress reduction practices like yoga, exercise and meditation; and traditional Ayurvedic herbals, to name just a few.

Amla – A Revered Rasayana

Amalaki is an important fruit – considered a “Rasayana” – the cream of Ayurvedic herbal substances and revered in the Ayurvedic tradition for their longevity-supporting and rejuvenative qualities. One of the most important ancient Ayurvedic texts, the Charaka Samhita, defines Rasayanas as “that which promotes strength and immunity against diseases.”

Of all the Rasayanas, the Maharishi Ayurveda preparation of Amalaki is revered as one of the most potent and nourishing. Creating it is time consuming and detailed. The traditional texts call for 21 steps of refinement, at low temperature, before the Amla is ready to be used. The texts specify this complex preparation process, rather than just preparing powdered Amla fruit.

The Charaka Samhita says, “Rasayana therapy has for its object the prolongation of human life, and the refreshment and invigoration of the memory and the vital organs. It includes formulas that enable one to retain youthful vigor up to a good old age, and which generally make the human nervous system strong and resist decay. Rasayanas also create ojas in the body.”

The Charaka Samhita also says, “Amalaki is the best among rejuvenative herbs.”

Amla and Urinary Tract Support

Because it enhances all the thirteen agnis (digestive fires) and supports Apana Vata, Amla Berry is especially supportive to the urinary system. It supports a natural diuretic action, but does not force water from the body like diuretic pills. In other words, it helps eliminate waste from the body but does not overstimulate the urinary system.

Amla and the Skin

Because Amla Berry strengthens digestion, helps the liver detoxify and is rich in Vitamin C and other minerals, it is very good for the complexion. Amla Berry moisturizes the skin and cleanses the tissues of toxins. It helps to enhance glow and luster. Amla Berry helps keep all forms of elimination regular and can also ease occasional constipation.

Amla - A Long History of Use

The Amalaki is a moderate-sized deciduous tree that grows in the tropical subcontinent of India. All parts of the plant are used in various Ayurvedic herbal preparations, including the fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark and flowers.

The herbal preparation Organic Premium Amla Berry and the Rasayana Amrit Nectar use the ripe fruit only.

The fruit is smooth on the outside, about one-half to one inch in diameter, and has many seeds. At Maharishi Ayurveda Products International, we use the smaller, forest variety that grows in the wild on the Indian subcontinent. There is a larger, hybrid variety now available that produces a bigger fruit, but we don’t use that, as it is not the traditional fruit mentioned in Ayurvedic texts.

Two Primary Herbs for Supporting Feminine Health

The Ayurvedic herbals listed below are core herbal products supporting important areas of Ayurvedic wellness. Although Maharishi Ayurveda has many herbals that specifically target feminine health, these two core products are the place to start.

Feminine Health: Organic Premium Amla Berry from Maharishi Ayurveda — Our Amla is prepared according to the ancient Ayurvedic texts — a 21-step process at a temperature below 90 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain the potency. Gram for gram, Amla has 20 times the Vitamin C content of an orange. Good nutrition requires a balance of the six Ayurvedic tastes — sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Amla is one of just a handful of herbs that contain five of the six taste categories — all except salty. Such balanced nutrition means that Amla helps balance all three of the basic operating principles (doshas) of mind and body — Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Amla produces total health benefits. It helps strengthen the mind, eyes, heart, skin, and digestion; boosts cellular regeneration; and promotes a positive nitrogen balance for improved growth of muscle tissue.

Digestion: Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) from Maharishi Ayurveda — This blend of herbs is a powerful tonic for the digestive system. If you are feeling sluggish, dull or occasionally constipated, chances are that toxins are building up in your body. Toxins accumulate when your digestion — and elimination — are out of balance, which can lead to skin breakouts, menstrual cramps, fatigue, feelings of sadness and many other health issues. Triphala, available in Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus), is the every-night, overnight detox and digestion balancer, supporting assimilation, balanced agni and ojas. This is Maharishi Ayurveda’s number 1 selling digestion herbal.

(Cover Photo By By Jeremy Hockin, Flickr Creative Commons. This photograph and credit do not constitute an endorsement of MAPI products by the photographer. The image is used under the terms of Flickr's Creative Commons rules: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en))


These articles provide a great resource from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians on the knowledge, practices, products, and applications of Maharishi Ayurveda.

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these newsletters is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area.