The Benefits of Amla or Indian Gooseberry While Fasting

The Indian gooseberry, known as nellikai or amla, can be used to ward of hunger when fasting. Let’s take a look at how this works.

Questioner: Namaskaram, Sadhguru. My question is about nellikai (amla or Indian gooseberry). Why do we have it on Ekadashi in the ashram? Is this just for health reasons or is there something else to it?

Sadhguru: If you go to someone’s house for lunch or dinner, and they serve you something sour like lemonade or lemon juice before the meal, it means they are trying to kill your appetite. Drinking lemonade reduces your appetite. We are a 10,000-year-old culture – people are crafty! Certain especially crafty communities will serve a sweet first, which also reduces your appetite by half. They had to evolve strategies because treating a guest is not a choice in India – it is a must. But you can use your intelligence, for your own economic reasons and for your guests’ health. Because if something is free, people will have a little more. Some kill themselves by having too much!

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Infographic - Ekadashi

Ekadashi means fasting. When you are fasting, just put a nellikai in your mouth and keep chewing it to ward off hunger. Otherwise, when you fast, your digestive juices will play and after some time, they will build up. And if they spill over, you will puke. If you put puli into the system – puli means sourness – it will settle. There is nothing better than a nellikai for that purpose. This comes from a certain understanding of the human system. Just one nellikai in your mouth will keep you going for three to four hours without feeling hungry, because it will keep the digestive juices down. Even with morning sickness, nellikai helps.

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This article is based on an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of Forest Flower. Pay what you want and download. (set ‘0’ for free). Print subscriptions are also available.

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5 years 10 months ago

Isnt it more acidic in nature? Which might result in more acids in the stomach?

5 years 10 months ago

That's exactly how the feedback mechanism works. Stomach thinks there is enough acid in body when u eat lemon or amla, so it stops secreting its own acid. Also sugar, enough sugar so no more needed

5 years 10 months ago

That is interesting, fooling the body. But if we have too much acid in stomach, suffering from acidity is it advisable to take amlas? I want to understand more. Would you mind sharing?

Does it work on diabetic patients too, can they eat sugar to reduce it?

5 years 10 months ago

diabetic person eating sugar may not be a good idea. their ''feedback mechanism'' is disturbed due to other reasons. Suffering from acidity, one should take alkaline food products i suppose, like avocado, apples and there is big list online for alkaline food products, of course dink lots of water. If someone has acidity already then i think they should avoid acidic foods. Someone having acidity means that their ''feedback mechanism'' might not be completely same as a person who is not suffering from it.

5 years 10 months ago

The picture shown above is that of 'Star Gooseberry/Eurasian Gooseberry (Phyllanthus acidus)', which is soft. The gooseberry with all the medicinal properties is 'Nellikka/Indian Gooseberry/ Amla or Amalika (Phyllanthus emblica), shown below! According to the Hindu Mythology, it is originated from the drops of 'Amrit' spilled during the fight between the Demons and the Devas, and therefore, the claims of longevity and cure of all diseases, associated with the Amla/Nellikka! 'Amla' has high levels of Vitamin C, antioxidants, flavanoids,etc, and is good for diabetes and obesity, dehydration, arthritis, and improves liver function, reduces cholesterol and symptoms of Pancreatitis, and has antiviral and antibacterial properties among many other benefits! The tree is also considered sacred for the belief that Lord Krishna dwells here and hence, the tree is worshipped on 'Amalaka Ekadashi.

4 years 1 month ago

Does it have to be fresh amla or dried will do? If someone knows the answer, please advise.

4 years 1 month ago

Fresh is better. If you cannot find one, then go for the dried.