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Botanical Sources & Phytochemical Investigation of Herbal Amaloki- Ascertaining Its Medicinal Value

Amalaki Herbal

Dehydrated Amalaki

Traditional Herbal Remedies for Primary Health Care



  • Heartburn is due to excessive secretion of gastric acid or its reflux to the food pipe along with delayed gastric emptying and fermentation of food. Gastric acidity and inflammation of the stomach is called gastritis, which produces a common symptom of burning sensation in the middle part of the upper half of the abdomen, while acid reflux causes throat and heartburn and delayed gastric emptying with fermentation leads to gaseous distension of abdomen and belching. These abnormalities lead to symptoms like nausea, loss of appetite, indigestion and mild to moderate upper abdominal pain and distress.
  • Frequent dietary irregularities and ingestion of irritant materials like too spicy and sour foods, alcohol and analgesic drugs like aspirin are the common causes of acidity and gastritis. Mental stress significantly aggravates the symptoms of acidity and gastritis.
  • Ayurveda designates the symptom complex of acid peptic disease as Amlapitta attributed to the impairment of digestive juices and protective lining of stomach. Improperly treated acidity may lead to peptic ulcer due to damage in the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum. Judicious use of Amalaki powder is effective in successful management of acidity and gastritis with certain do’s and dont’s described in the Ayurvedic texts:
  1. It is advisable not to overeat and have long gaps between meals. Small frequent meals of soft and easily digestible food items should be taken.
  2. Consumption of raw and leafy vegetables, fried, spicy, sour, salty, heavy and improperly cooked food, sheep’s milk, alcohol, curd, sesame seeds should be avoided. Amalaki powder for acidity and gastritis.
  3. Use of vegetables with bitter taste such as bitter gourd, banana flowers, and pumpkin, pomegranate, honey, boiled and cooled water and food grains like wheat, rice and barley is beneficial in patients with acidity and gastritis.
  4. Suppression of natural urges, particularly of vomiting and passing stools should be avoided.
  • Traditional systems of medicines, including herbal medicines, have been used for many centuries for health care by people in countries of the South-East Asia Region as well as in other parts of the world. Traditional medicine continues to be a valuable source of remedies that have been used by millions of people around the world to secure their health. It has been developed from empirical experiences and from observations made by people who use them. It embodies age-old wisdom and knowledge accrued over thousands of years, and forms an integral part of the social and cultural heritage of peoples and countries. The system has been inherited and handed down from one generation to the next by custom and tradition.
  • The global health scenario is facing new challenges due to global warming and economic down-turn that are now threatening health development. It is therefore crucial that all systems of medicine – whether conventional or traditional – in so far as they are beneficial and not deleterious to the health and well-being of the people must play their respective roles in promoting health, in preventing disease, in curing the sick, and in rehabilitating the infirm. It is through these concerted efforts that tangible gains can be achieved.


Amalaki (Phyllanthusemblica Linn.)

  • The formulation is made from the dried mature fruits of Amalaki, which is a small or medium-sized tree found abundantly in mixed deciduous forests and cultivated in gardens and home yards. Ripe fruits are collected in late winter or early summer and are dried in shade. Dried fruits are then separated from the seeds and are kept in airtight plastic bags or boxes under dry storage conditions.
  • Extensive uses of Amalaki as medicine and tonic are described in Indian Medicine and the medicinal plant is included in the AyurvedicPharamacopoeia of India.
  • Chemical Composition: The formulation is a fine powder made of single herbal ingredient Amalaki
  • English name : Indian gooseberry
  • Latin name : Phyllanthusemblica (Linn.)
  • Family : Phyllanthaceae
  • Plant part used : Fruit

Main chemical constituents :Vitamin C, minerals and aminoacids.

Distribution and Habitat Botanical description:

  • A small or medium sized, deciduous tree. Leaves: Subsessile, closely set along the branch lets, distichous, narrowly linear, obtuse, having appearance of pinnate leaves.
  • Flowers: Greenish-yellow, in axillary fascicles on the leaf bearing branchlets, often on the naked portion below the leaves.
  • Fruits: Fleshy, globose, with obscure vertical furrow, pale yellow.
  • Part used: Root Bark, Stem bark, leaf, Fruit, Seed
  • Chemical constituents Major:Ascorbic acid, chebulinic acid, chebulagic acid, 3-ethylgallic acid, gallic acid, ellagic acid, corilagin.
  • Other Isostrictinin, Terchebin, Emblicanin -A and B, Punigluconin, Pedunculagin, trigalloyl glucose, Quercetin.

Materials and Method Macroscopic and Microscopic description of Amalaki as described in API:

  • Macroscopic : Drug consists of curled pieces of epicarp and mesocarp of dried fruit occurring either whole or as separated single segment 1 to 2 cm long or united as 3 or 4 segments; bulk colour grey to black, pieces showing, a broad, highly shriveled and wrinkled; external surface convex to somewhat concave, transversely wrinkled showing a few whitish specks; occasionally some pieces may show a portion of stony endocarp; fracture, tough, cartilaginous, taste, sour and astringent; seeds and endocarp must be within the limits prescribed for foreign matter (Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part I, Volume VIII, First edition 2011).
  • Microscopic : TS of pericarp of fruit shows epicarp consisting of a single layer of epidermis, cell appearing tabular and polygonal in surface view; cuticle present; a few small rosette crystals of calcium oxalate present in epidermal cells; mesocarp cells tangentially elongated parenchymatous and cell with walls showing irregular thickenings; ramnified vascular elements occasionally present, lignified having wide lumen; stone cells present, either isolated or in small groups toward endocarp; pitted fibers with walls appearing serrated due to the pit canals leading into lumen, present (Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part I, Volume VIII, First edition 2011).
  • Powder microscopy of fruit powder of Amalaki : Coarse powder of grayish white, dark brownish or black in colour. In microscopic powder study it shows lignified tissues of brown in colour. Aleurone grains of green to brown colour, and prismatic crystals of silica of brown colour are seen.

Microscopical Characteristics of Powdered Amalaki Fruit:

Sr.No. Reagents Observations Characteristics
1 Phloroglucinol + Conc. Hcl Pink Lignified Vessels
2 Dil. Sulpuric Acid White Starch grains
3 Alcoholic Picric Acid Yellow Starch grains
4 Sudan Red III Red Oil globules and cuticles

Certificate of Analysis of Amalaki

Sr.No. Parameters Observations
1 Physical tests
Nature Coarse powder
Colour Brownish or black
Odour Characteristic
Taste Bitter & sour followed by sweet astringen
2 Foreign matter Nil
3 Moisture content (w/w %) 6.8
4 Ash value (% w/w) 6.8
Total ash 4.55
Acid insoluble ash 1.9
Water soluble ash 1.6

Genuine sample of amalaki gave the presence of following phytochemicals

Phytoconstituents (+) indicate present, (-) indicate absent
Alkaloids +
Glycosides +
Flavonoids +
Steroid -
Phenolic & tannins +
Terpenoid -
Sterol -
Carbohydrates -
Proteins +
Amino Acids +
  • TLC of hydroalcoholic extract of amalaki : Thin layer chromatography is a technique in which a solute undergoes distribution between two phases, a stationary phase acting through adsorption and a mobile phase in the form of a liquid.
  • Mobile phase : A mixture of 6 ml of Toluene, 6 ml of Ethyl acetate, 1.8 formic acid, 0.25 methanol.
  • Heat: Heat at 110 °C for 10 minutes and examines the plate under day light.
  • Discussion &Conclusion : Plants have played a significant role in maintaining human health and improving the quality of life for thousands of years and have served human as well as valuable components of medicines, seasoning, beverages, cosmetics and drugs. The plants are used in medicine since antiquity. Rigveda, one of the oldest Veda had quoted the use of plants in medicine. Much of the medicinal plants are documented in the old medical sciences like Ayurveda. Nearly five hundred plants of vegetable origin are documented in Caraka Samhita and Sushruta has given the number of plants 573 in Sushruta Samhita. These plants are still used successfully to treat different ailments. The use of the plants depends on the basic theories brought up by ancient scholars. Number of pharmacological activities is attributed to these plants. Quotations of wonder and miracle plants are also found in literature. However, these plants require detailed taxonomical and pharmacological studies. ‘Pharmacognosy’ is meant by identification of drugs by its every aspect, habit, cultivation, procurement, micro and macroscopic characters, physical and chemical properties etc. In present study pharmacognostical standards have been established with regards to Fruit of Emblica officinalis Gaertn. In Powder microscopy of Fruit of Emblica officinalis Gaertn. Showed the presence of lignified tissues, Aleurone grains and prismatic crystals of silica on physiochemical analysis, the moisture content was found in-Amalaki 6.8%. The Total ash was found 4.55%; Acid insoluble ash was 1.9%, and; water soluble ash was 1.6% in fruit of Amalaki.The phytochemical investigation shows the presence of Alkaloids, Glycoside, Flavonoids, tannins, Protein, Tannins and Phenolic Compounds in the fruit of Emblica officinalis Gaertn. The TLC and HPTLC was performed and the developed plates were visualized in UV 254nm, 366nm.

Method of preparation:

  1. Seedless dried fruits of Amalaki are cleaned and ground into fine powder using a grinder or pulverizer.
  2. Powder is sieved through mesh 80 to remove coarse particles and fibers.
  3. The powder should be kept in a dry airtight container to prevent exposure to moisture.
  4. Potency of the properly preserved dried fruits lasts for one year.

Therapeuticproperties : Antacid, anti-ulcer, anti-emetic, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulator, rejuvenator and a rich source of vitamin C.

Dose and mode of administration :

  • Adults, the dose of Amalaki powder is 3 to 6 grams
  • Children 500 mg to 1 gram, twice a day, to be swallowed on an empty stomach or just before meals with water.

Indications and uses

  1. Hyperacidity, gastritis, anorexia, vomiting during pregnancy and anaemia associated with chronic acid peptic disease are the common indications for Amalaki
  2. Clinical trials have proven Amalaki to be effective in the management of acidic gastritis, non-ulcer dyspepsia and duodenal ulcer with significant prevention of recurrence of symptoms.
  3. Amalaki powder can also be used as a natural supplement of vitamin C in nutritional deficiencies, pregnancy and chronic diseases.

References :

  1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Department of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homeopathy, New Delhi, India, Reprinted Edition, 2001 Part I, Vol. I, p. 5-6.
  2. Sharma PC, Yelne MB & Dennis TJ. Database on Medicinal Plants Used in Ayurveda, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda & Siddha, New Delhi, 2001, Vol. 3, p. 14.
  3. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Department of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homeopathy, New Delhi, India, Reprinted Edition, 2001, Part I, Vol. I, p. 5.
  4. Sharma PC, Yelne MB & Dennis TJ. Database on Medicinal Plants Used in Ayurveda, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda & Siddha, New Delhi, 2001, Vol. 3, p. 12, 14.