What whole food has a hundred times more antioxidants by weight than blueberries? What is possibly the highest antioxidant whole food on the planet? If you guessed Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry, you are correct!
Amla is revered and considered the most important medicinal fruit in Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine in India. One of the purposes traditional healers used it for was in the treatment of diabetes. Another use, because of its sky-high vitamin C content, (one small fruit contains as much vitamin C as 20 oranges), was for the treatment of scurvy, the bane of long-voyage sailors in past times due to lack of fresh fruits and vegetables.
This amazing fruit has been the subject of hundreds of articles in medical literature touting its potential benefits, from helping protect against cancer, to lowering blood cholesterol, pressure, and blood sugars. Yet, it’s not very well known to a majority of western consumers, even the
most health-conscious ones.
But it should be.
Clinical research shows that those traditional healers were onto something when using amla to treat diabetes. A clinical trial in 2011 comparing amla vs the leading diabetes drug found that it may work just as well in reducing blood sugar levels. In the study, giving participants as little as a quarter teaspoon a day of amla helped bring blood sugars down to normal levels. And this without the cost and side effects of the drug.! (1)
Researchers in this study also found a very important side effect from the use of amla in the study participants: it noticeably lowered their bad cholesterol levels. So, in a newer study, researchers compared amla use vs atorvastatin (sold as Lipitor). They found that those who took a tiny amount of amla a day, about 500mg, had about a 15% drop in cholesterol levels. This was almost as much as those who were given the commercial drug. In addition, those given the amla experienced improvements in arterial function, like reduced artery stiffness, inflammation and a 50% drop in C-reactive proteins.(2)
Another study compared amla against simvastatin (sold as Zocor). In this study, those given a similarly tiny amount of amla experienced a 10 to 15% drop in their LDL cholesterol, which was not that much less than the commercial drug. . The study also found a notable drop in blood pressure from both treatments; however, this beneficial effect was greater in participants who received the amla. And to boot, these favorable results for those given the amla came without the negative side effects and expense of the commercial drug.(3)
Amla also seems to offer blood thinning benefits. Researchers in a clinical study pitting amla vs aspirin and Plavix, a blood thinner, found that amla is about ¾ as effective at thinning blood–reducing blood platelet aggregations– in participants.(7)
The inescapable conclusion is that amla appears to be a multi-purpose powerhouse when it comes to keeping your blood healthy and flowing well!(4)(5)(6)