How to grow Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
Amla (Nelly) is a medium sized deciduous tree. Each gooseberry is rich in vitamin C and this is its main medicinal content.
According to Ayurveda, amla soothes Tridosha, increases immunity and mineral nutrition and reduces diabetes and fever. It is also a nerve stimulant.
The tree is a small to medium-sized tree that may grow up to 18 metres high but is usually about 10 metres tall. It has a spreading crown and a twisted or curved trunk.
Amla Plant Profile
- Origin: India
- Sunlight requirement: Full sun
- Growth habit type: Tree
- Average Height: 15-45 meters
- Average width (canopy span): 12-15 meters
- Growth rate: Medium
- Ease of growing: Moderate
- Fruiting season: February-March
Suitable climate and soil conditions:
Amla grows well in tropical and subtropical regions. It also tolerates a variety of soil types, but grows best in slightly acidic soils.
Amla prefers full sun to partial shade.
Amla trees should be planted at least 6 metres apart. Grafted varieties of Amla plants can be grown in containers too.
The Amla tree only needs minimal pruning. Dead or diseased branches should be removed.
Once established, amla is relatively draught tolerant. Provide water under sever draught conditions. Amla grown in containers require regular watering.
Amla is a round, greenish to pale yellow berry about 1-3 centimetres in diameter. As it ripens, the colour become paler. The amla berries has a sour and slightly bitter taste.
Red-coloured hybrid varieties of amla are also available now.
The amla / nellikka is used in cooking to add a sour flavour to dishes. It's also used for making chutneys, pickles and preserves. Amla is often eaten with salt and red chilli powder as a snack.
Amla health benefits and medicinal Use:
- Amla has been used in traditional Indian medicine for thousands of years. It is well known for its health benefits, including improving digestion, strengthening the immune system and reducing inflammation.
- Amla is the main ingredient in the Chyavanprash, an age old ayurvedic preparation for good health and immunity. It is also one of the three main ingredients of Triphala, a popular Ayurvedic herbal formula.
- Nellikka (amla) arishtam is a common health tonic used in Indian households.
It is a common ingredient in hair care products as it strengthens hair roots and prevent hair loss.
- When cooked, the vitamin C content in amla reduces. Studies show cooking amla for an hour resulted in a reduction of about one-third of vitamin C content.
- Amla is one of the constituent of Triphala Churna.
Amla is a rich source of vitamin C, antioxidants and other nutrients. It's also low in calories and rich in dietary fibre.