Phyllanthus emblica Also known as: Indian Gooseberry, Alma, Emblic Myrobalan
A wild deciduous tropical tree noted for its edible fruit and the ornamental qualities of its pale gray bark and feathery foliage. Over time it will reach a mature height of roughly 60 feet. The leaves are fern-like, oblong but narrow, up to 2 cm and flowers are inconspicuous as they are green in color. The flowers are bisexual and appear in clusters. Fruits are smaller in size with a diameter up to 3 cm, in greenish-yellow color that changes into orange-brown after maturity. The flesh is tart, juicy, and crisp. All parts of the tree are useful, its leaves, roots, fruits, seeds, bark, and flowers are used to prepare a variety of items like juice, chutney, jam, infusions, lotions, concentrates, herbal teas and other natural concoctions.
The fruit has been an herbal component of Thai traditional recipes believed to slow down the aging process but is also used to treat many ailments such as common cold and fever, as a diuretic, laxative, liver tonic, refrigerant, stomachic, restorative, alterative, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, hair tonic, to prevent peptic ulcer and dyspepsia, and as a digestive.
Popularly used in inks, shampoos and hair oils, the high tannin content of Indian gooseberry fruit serves as a mordant for fixing dyes in fabrics. Shampoos and hair oil are traditionally believed to nourish the hair and scalp and prevent premature grey hair.
It prefers a location that is less windy and more sunny. Well-drained, loamy to light heavy soil that is deep and rich in organic matter is required for growing the amla tree. A pH level can be between slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. The waterlogged and clay-rich soil is detrimental and must be avoided. It is sensitive to prolonged freezing temperatures and grows best when it is not exposed to frost. USDA zones 9b to 11.
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