Emblica officinalis

Emblica officinalis Gaertn. (Euphorbiaceae)

(2n = 28, 98, 104, 196)

Read: Phyllanthus emblica L.

English name: Emblica myrobalan.

Sanskrit names: Adiphala, Amlaka, Amritaphala, Dhatri, Hatha, Nellikka.

Vernacular names: Asm : Amluki; Ben: Amla, Amlaki; Guj : Amali; Hin : Amla, Aon, Aonala; Kan : Amalaka; Mal: Amalakam, Nelli; Man: Heikru; Mar: Anvala; Mun : Meral daru; Orn : Amra; Ori : Amla; Pun: Ambli, Ambuli; Sad: Aonra; San: Aohal; Tam: Nelli, Toppunelli; Tel: Amlakamu, Usirika.

Trade name: Amla, Amlaki.

Traditional use: ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF SAGAR DISTRICT (Madhya Pradesh) : Fruit: antiemitic, used in fever, indigestion; ETHNIC COMMUNIT/ES OF DEHRA DUN and SIWALIK DISTRICTS (Uttar Pradesh) : Fruit: in bronchitis, indigestion; Seed: in asthma; DANG (Gujarat) : Bark: on burn, wounds, stomach complaint; IRULAR (Tamil Nadu) : Leaf: against cold; BIRHoRE(West Bengal) : Fruit: in constipation, headache, liver complaint, madness; THANES (Uttar Pradesh) : Fruit: in constipation; ETHNIC COMMUNIT/ES OF GARHWAL : Fruit: laxative, cooling, in diabetes, dysentery, and as diuretic; ETHNIC COMMUNIES OF TIRAP (Arunachal Pradesh) : Fruit: in diabetes; NAGA: Fruit: in eye complaint; KHASI and JAINTIA : Fruit: in eye complaint; TRIBES OF MIRZA PUR DISTRICT (Uttar Pradesh) : Fruit: in eye complaint; TRIBES OF HAZARIBAGH DISTRICT (Bihar) : Fruit: used to revive taste; KOL (Uttar Pradesh): Fruit: on scorpion sting; ETHNIC COMMUNIT/ES OF MAYURBHANJ (Orissa) : Fruit: against thirst; ORAON : (i) Fruit: in cough; (ii) Juice of fresh fruit and (ii) Infusion of seed: in inflammation of eyes; (iv) Crushed fruit with fruit of Terminalia citrin a and Terminalia belerica macerated in a tumbler of water in the evening: a very good stomachic and tonic; MANIPURI: (i) Boiled extract of leaf: in controlling high blood sugar; (ij) Fruit: in constipation, bleeding gum, piles, blood diseases and also as brain and nerve tonic; SANTAL: (i) Leaf: in anaemia, diarrhoea, dysentery, fever, gravel, sores (agya ghao, rokoc ghao); (ii) Stem-bark: in cholera, profuse diarrhoea (haga sitka) , fistula, sores (bonga khoda, nason

ghao, pachiari ghao, palania ghao); (iii) Powder of male inflorescence: in nasal haemorrhage; (iv) Infusion of green fruit: in gripe; (v) Ripe fruit: in cystitis and diarrhoea.

RAJAN/GHANTU: it is acidic (amla) , astringent (kashaya) , pleasant(madhura), cooling and light, beneficial in burning sensation caused by deranged bile, vomiting, oedema and is rejuvenating; the fruit is appetising, antiemetic and removes fatigue, useful in constipation and flatulence.

AYURVEOA : Fruit is useful in acidity, urinary trouble, hiccup, vomiting, leucorrhoea, biliary colic, urticaria, conjunctivitis and dysentery.

SIOOHA : Root-bark, fruit-juice and dried fruit are used to prepare a medicine named Nelli.

Modern use: Fruit: pronounced expectorant, antioxidant, anticancerous; EtOH (50%) extract of fruit: antiviral, carminative, stomachic; Aqueous extract of fruit: increases cardiac glycogen level and decreases serum GOT, GPT and LDH in rats; Fruit-juice: (i) mixed with turmeric powder and honey: cures diabetes insipidus; (ii) in ghee: used for abdominal and glandular tumours; a constituent of the medicine SG-1-Switradilepa used against vitiligo, and of an antibiotic drug Septilin.

Phytography : Deciduous tree with flaky bark, greenish, grey or red; leaves distichously closely set, bipinnate, dark green, leaflets linear-oblong; flowers densely fascicled, yellowish, unisexual, males on slender pedicels while females subsessile; fruits light green when young, yellowish when mature, globose, depressed, succulent, obscurely six-lobed, one-seeded; seed trigonous.

Phenology: Flowering: February-May; Fruiting: May onwards.

Distribution: Common in the mixed deciduous forests of India, ascending up to 1500 m, often cultivated in gardens and homeyards; Bangladesh, Pakistan. Ecology and cultivation: Plant of tropical climate; predominantly wild, cultivated in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh.

Chemical contents: Root: ellagic acid, oleanolic acid, oleanolic aldehyde, lupeol; Stem-bark: lelucodel-phinidin, procyanidin, 3-0-gallated prodelphinidin and tannin; Stem and Leaf: lupeol, β-sitosterol; Fruit: vitamin C, carotene, riboflavine, D-glucose, D-fructose, myoinositol, nicotinic acid, D-galacturoniaacid, phyllemblic acid, mucic acid, fatty acids, D-arabinosyl, D-xylosyl, L-rhamnosyl, D-glucosyl, D-mannosyl,

D-galactosyl. .

Remarks: Santals use bark in rinderpest, anthrax and convulsion of cattle. Fruits are eaten raw or as pickle and used to make ink. Wood is not attacked by insects.