also known as emblic, emblic myrobalan, myrobalan, Indian gooseberry, Malacca tree, or from Sanskrit amalaki is a deciduous tree of the family Phyllanthaceae. It has edible fruit by the same name.
Amla is a small to medium sized deciduous tree, reaching 8 to 18 m in height, which is known for its edible fruit of the same name. The tree has crooked trunk and spreading branches. The leaves are simple, nearly stalkless and closely set along slender branchlets. The leaves are often mistaken for leaflets of pinnate leaves. The genus name Phyllanthus
is derived from Greek words meaning leaf-flower, an allusion to the apparent bearing of flowers on the leaves. Amla flowers are small, greenish-yellow or pinkish. The flowers have six segments, but no real petals. Male and female flowers are carried separately on the same branch. The fruit is nearly spherical, light greenish yellow, quite smooth and hard on appearance, with 6 vertical stripes or furrows. Ripening in autumn, the berries are harvested by hand after climbing to upper branches bearing the fruits. The taste of Amla is sour, bitter and astringent, and is quite fibrous. In India, it is common to eat gooseberries with salt and water to make the sour fruits palatable.
The amla fruit is eaten raw or cooked into various dishes, such as dal(a lentil preparation) and amle ka murabbah
, a sweet dish made by soaking the berries in sugar syrup until they are candied. It is traditionally consumed after meals.
In the Batak area of Sumatra, Indonesia, the inner bark is used to impart an astringent, bitter taste to the broth of a traditional fish soup known as holat.
In traditional Indian Medicine, dried and fresh fruits of the plant are used. All parts of the plant are used in various Ayurvedic medicine herbal preparations, including the fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark and flowers.