ITS roots in mythology, religiosity, spirituality and many other stories aside, Amla is one tree (and fruit) that has captured a strong position in the health and lives of people.
Thanks to the overzealous nature-loving elders, the dada-dadi, nana-nani and naturopath practising relatives, Amla has earned a great vantage point in our lives. And why should it not – from a coolant post meals, being rich in Vitamin C, good for blood purification and rejuvenation of the body, excellent for digestion and asthma to improve strength, eyesight, hair, constipation, used in oils, shampoos, it’s quite a “wonder fruit”.
Also known as the Indian Gooseberry, Aonla and Amlika, Amla’s quite popular in kitchens – along the pickles, one will always see amle ka murabbhah on the table. One can consume it raw, in pickled form, as dried powder or inthe form of homemade sweet berry concoctions that are extremely beneficial to our health.
A native of tropical Asia, the Emblica officinalis (Phyllanthus emblica) belong to the Euphorbiaceae family and is a mid-sized deciduous tree you will spot almost all over the city, especially in residential areas, grown privately by Chandigarhians. It’s a slender tree with flattened branches that stand out. It usually flowers around March-April. While the wood and branches are used for fuel and fodder, the tree itself is considered sacred and has quite a revered spot in the Hindu mythology.
Apparently, it is believed that Lord Vishnu dwells in it and so is worshipped on Amalaka Ekadashi. According to mythology, the tree is a result of Amrit drops spilled on the earth during a fight between the Gods and demons, and hence, it has the potential to cure diseases and improve human lives. Fascinating, isn’t it! From Buddhism to Adi Shankara’s time, Amla’s got quite a history. Nourishing and stimulating, Amla’s propagated through seeds, needs good soil, plenty of sun, and yields fruit within seven years of planting. But you do have to protect it from excessive heat. So plant one and enjoy the fruit of your labour.