Amla is The Most Amazing Medicinal Plant You Haven’t Heard Of

Nature has given a wonderful gift to mankind in medicinal plants to promote healthy, happy and disease-free life. These plants play a vital role in natural healing. If I were allowed to choose the most amazing medicinal plant to treat medical conditions, it would be Indian gooseberry (amla). This plant has some exceptional benefits to health and our overall well-being.

Amla or Phyllanthus Emblica belongs to family Euphorbiaceae.  It is a small to medium sized deciduous tree found throughout India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, China, and Malaysia. According to the national institute of health, Phyllanthus Emblica is highly nutritious and could be an important source of vitamin c, amino acids, and minerals. It can be used as a medicine and as a tonic to improve vitality and resistance power.  Research shows that a unique complex within Indian gooseberry is super nutritious.  It has more antioxidant activity than blueberries; it has 20 times more vitamin c than lemon juice. It has 30 times more polyphenols than red wine and has more gallic acid (a potent antioxidant) than any other fruit.

What are the uses of amla in traditional Indian medicine? What are the benefits of this wonderful superfood? How can we use it easily at home with simple DIY recipes? Read on to know more.

Related: The Brain Boosting Benefits of Gingko Biloba

Use of Amla in Traditional Indian Medicine

Amla has been used in Ayurveda and Unani system of medicine for the therapeutic purpose for long years. The fruits, seed, leaves, root, bark, and flowers are parts of the plant that used in traditional Indian medicine. According to Ayurveda, amla balances all three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). It contains 5 out of 6 tastes recognized by Ayurveda.

Amla is particularly helpful in reducing pitta because of its cooling energy. It also balances both pitta and vata by virtue of its sweet taste. The Kapha is balanced primarily due to its drying action. It may be used as a Rasayana (rejuvenative) to promote longevity. It also helps in:

  • Enhancing digestion (dipanapachana)
  • Treat constipation (Anuloma)
  • Reduce fever (jvaraghna)
  • Purify the blood (Raktaprasadana)
  • Reduce coughs (Kasahara)
  • Alleviate asthma (svasahara)
  • Enliven the body (jivaniya)
  • Enhance intellect (Medhya)
  • Strengthen the heart (hrdaya)
  • Benefit the eyes (chakshushya)
  • Stimulate the hair growth (romasanjana)

Nutritional Value of Amla

Amla is reputed for its high ascorbic acid content and antioxidant rich activity. In a 100 gram serving, gooseberries provide 44 calories. Gooseberries are 88% water, 10% carbohydrate and less than 1% each of protein and fat. It is abundant in vitamins and minerals. Apart from being the richest source of vitamin c (27.7%), it also contains other vitamins too, that includes Vitamin A (2%),  thiamine(b1) 3%, riboflavin (b2) 3%, Niacin (B3) 2%, Pantothenic acid (B5)6%, Vitamin B6 6%, Folate (Bg) 2% and vitamin E 2%.

Must Read: Make Chocolate Healthy Again: Fast and Easy DIY Homemade Chocolate

Minerals: it contain calcium 3%, copper 4%, iron 2%, Magnesium 7%, phosphorus 4%, potassium 4%, sodium 0%, zinc, copper 1%.

Scientific research on Amla (Indian gooseberry)

According to a study published in British journal of nutrition, Morden scientists have studied the amla fruit for more than 25 years and determined that amla’s unique blend may have a positive influence on everything from metabolic syndrome to anti-aging process. Japanese researcher put Sun Amla (a proprietary amla extract) to the test by evaluating its effect on human endothelial cells and in a rat model. In both cases, the amla fruit extract inhibited the biological responses that can lead to inflammation and blood clots. It also works to combat the free radicals and contribute to overall health.

According to center for pharmaceutical science institute of science and technology, a review report shows that several types of research confirmed that various extract and herbal preparation of amla showed potential therapeutic benefits against various diseases and result were similar to standard drugs. Though more scientific research will be needed to confirm this.

Benefits of Amla

Amla is a Great Antioxidant Food

Amla is one of the most antioxidant rich foods on earth. According to some scientific research, it has turned out to be the number one among the antioxidant rich food. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. This damage is an important factor in the development of different disease conditions such as blood vessels disease, cancer etc.

In a comparative study of Amalaki, the Sanskrit name of the Indian Gooseberry), with spirulina and wheat grass, the vitamin c content of crude amla powder was found to be 5.38 mg. It was also found to be the rich source of phenolic compounds. Because of these constitutes, amla works great as an antioxidant agent and helps in keeping our body disease free. Amla contains various antioxidants that include ellagic and gallic acid, emblicanin a and b, punigluconin, and much more. A detailed scientific analysis of amla shows that this antioxidant provides powerful protection against various diseases and slows down the aging process.

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Amla is a Potent Hypolipidemic Agent

Amla has a great hypolipidemic agent; in simple words, it can produce a significant reduction in total cholesterol, LDL, triglyceride, and VLDL.  To evaluate the efficacy of amla as a hypolipidemic agent, a clinical trial has been conducted on 600 patients. Out of total 600 patients, 40 were treated with the Amla Capsule (500 mg (daily for 42 days and 20 patients were given Simvastatin capsule (20mg) daily for 42 days. After analyzing various biochemical parameters, and the value of total cholesterol, LDL (Low-density lipoprotein), HDL (High-density lipoprotein), and VLDL (Very low-density lipoprotein), it has been observed that amla produces a significant reduction in total cholesterol, LDL, triglyceride, and VLDL and a significant increase in HDL level. It is concluded with this study that amla produces significant hypolipidemic effect along with a reduction in Blood pressure. With this effect, it can play a vital role in the prevention of development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

Amla has Great Hepatoprotective Properties

Scientific studies have shown that amla is effective in preventing the toxic effects of hepatotoxic agents like paracetamol, heavy metals, antitubercular drugs, and ethanol. Amla is also reported to impart beneficial effects on liver function and to mitigate hyperlipidemia and metabolic syndrome.

Amla has a Good Anti-Diabetic Effect

Amla has anti-diabetic properties. Scientific studies have shown that amla or some of its important constituents (including Gallic acid, gallotannins, ellagic acid and corilagin) possess antidiabetic effect through their antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. It also helps in preventing hyperglycemia and diabetic neuropathy. More scientific evidence is needed to confirm this study.

Related: Top 10 blood sugar lowering foods

Amla is Good for Hair

As it contains a lot of vitamin c, minerals, and antioxidants, amla helps in promoting hair growth and work as a tonic for hair health. It reduces hair loss, strengthens hair roots, and enhances the natural color of your hair. It also works as a natural conditioner for hair and helps in preventing premature graying of hair. This amazing health benefits for hair could be obtain

  • Either by eating gooseberry fruit
  • Applying amla paste on hair roots
  • Using amla hair oil for nourishing hair

According to a recent survey on the use of hair oils for hairdressing by the Indian population revealed that amla oil is extremely popular for hair and used equally by men and women. It is the most effective oil in controlling hair parasites. It has been proven to be the most toxic for hair parasites and most effective at keeping hair parasites free.

Related: Reverse gray hair naturally

Amla Helps in Treating Bone Disorders Including Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoporosis

Osteoclasts are involved in rheumatoid arthritis and in several pathologies associated with bone loss. According to a scientific study, extracts of Emblica Officinalis were able to induce programmed cell death of mature osteoclasts, thus potentially limiting the damage they can do to our bones and joints. Accordingly, the study suggests Amla extracts could be an alternative tool for therapy applied to bone disease.

Amla Helps in Treatment and Prevention of Cancer

Amla is wonderful in the treatment and prevention of cancer. The fruit is used either alone or in combination with other plants to treat many elements. It has great anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, cardio protective, anti-anemic, antipyretic, and many more awesome healing properties. Experimental studies have shown that amla and some of its constituents (like pyrogallol, gallic acid, and ellagic acid) possess anti-neoplastic properties. Especially pyrogallol (an active component of Emblica Officinalis extracts) has an antiproliferative effect on some human cancer cell lines.

Apart from all these wonderful benefits, amla

  • Helps in slow down the aging process
  • It improves digestion and prevents constipation
  • Improve eye sights and helps in treating eye disorders
  • Boosts immunity and protects our body against infection through its antibacterial properties.
  • Increases diuretic activity and helps in elimination of toxic products from the body.
  • Great for skin, it gives you radiant skin and also keeps it hydrated.
  • It is also a good blood purifier. Regular consumption of amla powder helps in increasing hemoglobin naturally.
Related: How to use turmeric to kill cancer

Different Ways Amla Can Be Used as a Remedy

Of course, eating the fresh fruit is the best option to get the nutritional benefit of this super fruit, but it tastes quite sour and so many people might struggle to eat this as a fruit. Second, not all of us able to get the access to fresh fruit all the time. Here are some super easy ways to use amla at home easily.

Before making any recipe with Indian gooseberry it is very important to select a good quality of fruit. Here are few tips to select the good quality fruit.

It should be properly ripe, fresh, hard, well skinned, bright yellowish green in color and medium in size. Avoid buying bruised, raw, too green, wrinkled, spotted, infected, or bad smelling fruit.

Amla Juice

Amla juice is easiest option to add amla to your diet. The regular consumption of gooseberry juice prevents many diseases and empowers the strength.  And personally, I prefer to use it.


  • 3-4 amla
  • Grinder, juicer or mortar and pestle
  • Salt (optional and according to test)
  • Grated ginger, raw honey (1 teaspoon, optional)


  • First, select a good quality of amla
  • Soak amla in salted water for a while to remove any unwanted residue before using
  • Wash the amla
  • Dry them with a cloth
  • Grate or cut the amla in finer pieces
  • Now, you can use either grinder, juicer or a mortar and pestle. Grind the amla with the help of little water, strain the mixture through a strainer. Strain and squeeze the pulp to get the juice. For adding extra taste and flavor you add a pinch of salt. If you are hypertensive, it is best to avoid salt. If you are diabetic, avoid honey.
  • Otherwise, 1 Tsp ginger and raw honey can be added if you like.


  • Help in weight loss (especially when you drink it with honey)
  • Improve metabolism and digestion
  • I usually had better hair health after using it.
  • Skin texture will improve.
  • Increase immunity and reduction in routine infections

Amla Powder

The second way to use amla at home is also very easy; you just need to dry the amla in shade for few days and then grind it in a grinder. After grinding, you may use a sifter for getting a more powdered form.

Of course, amla powder is great for our health, but for getting better result you can take Triphala churna (powder). My grandma used to take this powder for long years as a routine for her digestion. It is easily available at the local store (in India) and you can order it online too. Triphala is a staple of Ayurveda medicine in India. It is considered one of the greatest herbal preparations that provide excellent results.

Triphala churna or powder is made from three fruits: amla, haritaki or Harda, and bibhitaki. Apart from getting some common benefits such as good digestion, weight loss, this churna helps in balancing the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) of our body.

  • Amla helps in balancing the pitta dosha
  • Haritaki helps in calming the Vata dosha
  • Bibhataki benefits to the Kapha dosha

It is usually taken empty stomach with lukewarm water. You may also make a tea by adding the 1 teaspoon powder in boiling water. Capsules, tonic, and tablets are also available. As a general rule, when you start consuming a new product you should go slow and observe any changes if you had. But if you had any existing medical condition and if you are taking any medication it is always advisable to take medical advice.

Dried Amla

This is the third easiest way to include amla as a part of your regular diet. This easily prepared and crunchy amla tastes so good and provides excellent nutritional benefits to your body.


  • 10-20 amla
  • Salt and turmeric (according to taste)
  • Lemon juice (2-3 Tsp)


  • Wash the amla properly and wipe them with a clean kitchen towel.
  • Cut them in thinner slices and discard the seeds (you may grate them if you like a finer texture)
  • Toss the sliced amla with salt, lemon juice, and turmeric
  • Spread them on a large plate and cover with a thin cloth.
  • Let them sun dry for few days (7-8 days are good enough) or until there is no moisture left in the amla. Once, they become crispy, store them in a clean and air tight container.
  • Eat after every meal.


  • It is great for digestion and tastes so good. Even kids would love it.
  • It could be used as a healthy snack especially during winter.
  • It is hassle free and could be prepared in large quantity.

Side Effects of Amla

Like any other herbal or Ayurveda preparation, amla may interfere with the action of the certain medication. It may cause some side effects. Such as:

  • It may cause hyperacidity in the sensitive individual.
  • It may increase the risk of bleeding if you are taking any blood thinning medication or suffering from any kind of blood disorders, you need to take extra precaution while consuming it.
  • If you are diabetic and taking anti-diabetic medication, it is best to consult your physician before consuming it. It may cause a sudden drop in blood sugar level.
  • There is not enough safety data available to use it during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is best to avoid its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • As it may increase the risk of bleeding, it is advisable to discontinue its use 2 weeks prior to scheduled surgery.

Why It Matters

No doubt, amla is a super nutritious and had amazing healing properties, but at this time there is not enough scientific evidence to support the efficacy and safety of it, it is best to consult with your doctor before consuming it. Did you have observed any amazing healing property of this super fruit? What was your experience? Please share with us.

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Make Chocolate Healthy Again: Fast and Easy DIY Homemade Chocolate

Few foods can induce a craving like chocolate. From its aroma to how it melts in your mouth to what it does for your body — the whole experience is heavenly. The effects of chocolate are experienced by everyone, not just chocolate lovers.

In fact, studies have found that the unique smell of chocolate changes our brain activity and makes us more alert. Once the chocolate is consumed, its flavonoids work as prebiotics and improve digestive health. The flavonoids that make it into the blood stream help improve your insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, and prevent plaque from building up in your arteries.

Chocolate contains a unique combination of caffeine and theobromine as well. These two work together to protect brain function and improve mood without causing the sleep disturbances or other side effects caused by caffeine consumption.

After reading about all of the good that chocolate can do for us, you may be tempted to head to your corner store and buy some right now. But before you do, it is important to know and understand that most chocolate bars are terrible for your health.

Most Chocolate Bars are Unhealthy

The most popular form of chocolate is milk chocolate. Most milk chocolate bars only contain about 11% cacao with the remaining ~90% of the bar consisting of milk, sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients. If these chocolate bars were named honestly, they’d be called “Chocolate Flavored Sugar-Milk Bars”.

Not so attractive now, huh?

On top of that, the milk binds to cacao antioxidants (including the flavonoids we talked about earlier) and renders them inactive. So when the sugar in the milk chocolate bar spikes your blood sugar and increases inflammation, the flavonoids can’t save you because the milk ingredients made them inactive.

Isn’t Dark Chocolate Healthy?

Most dark chocolate bars are only 60-70% dark chocolate, which means that that the rest of it is made up of processed sugar and other dubious ingredients like soy lecithin and milk solids. Even the 85% or higher dark chocolate bars shouldn’t be considered healthy. They are highly processed and still contain some milk products, sugar, and other additives in an effort to make the chocolate less bitter and more palatable.

If you come across a chocolate bar produced with minimal, unrefined sugar and simple ingredients like cacao and vanilla beans, then at least the chocolate likely has some health benefits — but it will cost you.

These bars are expensive! Plus the processing that they went through before becoming pretty little bars will render some of the antioxidants in the cacao inactive.

After learning all of this, we are left only one good option — to make our own chocolate.

How To Make Your Own Chocolate

That’s right, you can make your own chocolate!

The best part is you won’t need any fancy machinery, and it won’t take up to seven days to make it (like it does in most chocolate factories).

All you need is cacao powder and coconut oil. Look for raw, organic cacao powder for your health, and make sure it’s fair trade for the health of others.

Can’t Eat Chocolate? If you are sensitive to chocolate for any reason or just don’t want the caffeine it comes with, then replace cacao powder with carob powder. The carob-based chocolate will not taste too much like chocolate, but it will make a delicious and healthy snack.

Step 1 — Melt and Mix

Melt the coconut oil in a pan at the low heat. Once the coconut oil is completely liquefied, mix in the same amount of cacao powder until you have a homogeneous chocolate mixture. The lower the heat, the more you preserve the health benefits.

Use a 1:1 ratio of cacao powder to coconut oil.

I recommend starting with a smaller amount like a quarter cup of each. Once you develop a delicious recipe, however, all restrictions are off — make as much chocolate as you want.

Step 2 — Experiment and Solidify

Now that you have your chocolate liquid, turn off the heat source and add in whatever you want to be in your chocolate.

You can put in a sweetener, mix in some nuts and seeds for some crunch, or add in some cinnamon and vanilla powder to make it taste even better. Dried fruit— like dried blueberries, cherries, goji berries, and mulberries — is another ingredient option that will add more flavor and health benefits to your chocolate.

Once you finish mixing in your extra ingredients, pour the mixture into a plate, cookie sheet, or container, and put it in the fridge until it solidifies (2-4 hours).

Step 3 — Eat and Enjoy

Go to the refrigerator, break off a piece of your chocolate, and enjoy.

Why Homemade Chocolate is Much Better Than Store-Bought Chocolate

Although it is easy to make chocolate at home, you may still be tempted to buy the dark chocolate on the grocery store shelves. This homemade variety will not look as “perfect” in that commercial way as store bought chocolate bars. The differing tastes and textures may take some getting used to for some, but it will taste amazing once you get your recipe down, and it will be so much healthier. In fact, if you are a frequent cocoa consumer, you’ll grow to prefer the taste of your homemade chocolate very quickly, and then you will probably despise pretty much everything else out there.

Coconut Oil — One of the Healthiest Sources of Fat

Coconut oil is the perfect fat to use when making chocolate because it solidifies and melts in your mouth like a typical chocolate bar. But this isn’t the only reason why it is part of our chocolate recipe.

Coconut oil has the highest percentage of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) than any other fat source. But MCTs are technically saturated fat, so doesn’t this mean that they are “unhealthy”? This is where some knowledge of biochemistry comes in handy.

There are many different types of saturated fats, and they are processed by the body in different ways. MCTs (fats with 6-12 carbon atoms) are different from the long chain fatty acids (fats with more than 12 carbon atoms). This is because most of the MCTs are transported directly to the liver after digestion rather than flowing throw the lymph system of the body like long chain fatty acids.

Once the MCTs reach the liver they are converted into energy and other metabolites. These metabolites include ketone bodies, which can be used by the brain and heart as an immediate form of energy. The MCTs in coconut oil can also increase your feeling of fullness for a longer period of time.

Related: 35 Things You Could Do With Coconut Oil – From Body Care to Health to Household

Erythritol — The Safest Sugar Alternative?

Erythritol is considered by many to be the safest low-calorie sweetener. It is a sugar alcohol that is less sweet than sugar (70% as sweet as sugar), so it will not stimulate your appetite as much as sweeteners like sucralose (these artificial sweeteners do far more harm than good). There is debate amongst the natural health community, and within this magazine, as to whether or not stevia is a safer choice for most, or if erythritol is a better option. It likely depends on how you use them and your own gut health.

Studies have shown erythritol can cause nausea and stomach discomfort. These side effects were only found in people that consumed 50 grams of erythritol in one sitting.

To give you some context, 50 grams (about 4 tablespoons) of erythritol has the same sweetness as about 40 grams (3 and 1/3 tablespoons) of sugar. This is 16 more grams of sugar than you will find in a typical 1.55 ounce “Sugar Milk Bar with Chocolate Added”. One to two tablespoons of erythritol should be more than enough to make your homemade chocolate more palatable without getting any side effects.

But this doesn’t mean that you should buy any sugar alcohol or any form of erythritol and assume that it will be safe. Other sugar alcohols like xylitol tend to cause more side effects at lower doses than erythritol, and erythritol is commonly made from GMO cornstarch. If you don’t want a dose of negative side effects, GMOs, or pesticides with your sweetener than it is best to use non-GMO erythritol.

I like to use a small amount of erythritol, a tiny bit of stevia, and some raw honey for sweetening. I also like to mix the chocolate with the carob which has a natural sweetness to it. I don’t like it very sweet, and I like to throw in ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, and/or other herbs that can help keep the gut balanced. I like my chocolate to have quite a bit of kick to it, just like my smoothies. Be careful and patient with the honey. It’s even easier to cook the benefits out of honey than it is with chocolate. I don’t think erythritol is particularly good for you, and while raw honey has plenty of health benefits, for good health it should be eaten in very small quantities. I find the mix of the three works well for my tastebuds and my body.” – Michael Edwards

The Importance of Raw Organic Cacao Powder

Even if you don’t like the taste of chocolate, you may want to consume cacao powder as a way to reap all of the benefits that we talked about earlier in the article.

To ensure that you get all of the health benefits of cacao, it is best to buy raw organic cacao powder. Quality cacao powder is important because most cacao powders (and the cacao used to make chocolate) are processed with heat and alkali, which destroys cacao’s health-promoting antioxidants.

But what do you do if you want to keep caffeine and chocolate out of your diet?

The Many Benefits of Carob-based Chocolate

Although this article praises the medicinal properties of cacao, this doesn’t mean that you are missing out if you don’t eat it. In fact, carob powder may have even more health benefits than cacao powder. For example, carob powder is most well-known for its anti-diarrhea effects, but that is not all this delicious powder has to offer.

Like cacao powder, carob powder contains many flavonoids. One of the flavonoids it contains is quercetin, which is known to reduce allergy symptoms, prevent heart disease (like cacao’s flavonoids do), and protect against cancer. Carob powder also contains a compound called gallic acid which is known to scavenge free radicals and kill cancer cells.

If you compare these benefits with cacao powder, carob powder looks like it could be the winner here. After weeks of experimenting with using carob powder in smoothies and other recipes (that I usually put cacao powder in), I completely agree. Healthy dark chocolate tends to over-stimulate me, but when I use carob powder instead, I feel more satiated and energetically balanced.

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6 Antioxidant-rich Foods for Good Health

Antioxidants are natural substances that offer protection against cell damage. In addition, they help fight free radicals, highly reactive molecules that can damage your healthy cells, DNA, and protein. In fact, free radical damage can lead to cancer. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants. Adding antioxidant-rich foods to your diet can be beneficial for your health.


Apples are a good source of antioxidant flavonoids. Flavonoids offer protection to plants against ultraviolet light and pathogens. In addition, these compounds impart color to flowers and fruits. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2002, flavonoid intake is associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases. There are many simple ways to include apples in your diet. Give a fruity appeal to your omelet by adding apples. Grate apples and add to waffles or pancakes. You can also toss a few slices on your oatmeal.


In addition to providing flavor, onions provide health-promoting nutrients such as calcium, vitamin C, iron, dietary fiber, and folic acid. Furthermore, onions contain the flavonoid quercetin. According to the National Onion Association, studies have demonstrated that eating onions may help reduce the risk of certain diseases. Consumption of onions may help prevent gastric ulcers by inhibiting the growth of Helicobacter pylori, a microorganism responsible for causing ulcers. To reap its benefits, add sauteed chopped onions to any vegetable dish. You can also top your plain rice with onions and sesame seeds.


Deliciously sweet strawberries possess a strong antioxidant capacity. A study published in the journal “Food Chemistry” found that eating strawberries regularly can boost blood antioxidant levels and prevent chronic diseases. Also, these soft red fruits help maintain healthy eyes and skin. Flavonoids present in strawberries help fight free radical formation, thereby reducing the risk of dementia, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. You can enjoy strawberries as an afternoon snack or toss a handful in your morning cereal.


Eggplant contains chlorogenic acid that exhibits very strong antioxidant activity. According to the researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, chlorogenic acid in eggplant not only helps fight free radicals, it also helps lower cholesterol. The compound can prevent cells from changing into cancer cells. To reap the benefits, add eggplant cubes to your curry sauce and serve over brown rice. Top your pizza with eggplant cubes.


Kiwi is packed with two vital antioxidants: vitamin A and vitamin E. Both of these vitamins help keep free radical damage at bay. Eating kiwis can help keep your blood pressure under control. By incorporating kiwis into your diet, you can give your immune system a boost. Fiber found in the fruit helps in the digestion of food. You can enjoy kiwi in many ways. Use it in fruit tarts. Make a chilled soup by blending cantaloupe and kiwifruit together. You can also add the fruit to tossed green salads.


According to The Berry Health Benefits Network, blackberries are rich in vitamin C, ellagic acid, and fiber. Studies have shown that these nutrients help in decreasing the risk of certain cancers. A phenolic compound, ellagic acid has antiviral, anticarcinogen, and antibacterial properties. Furthermore, blackberries have the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. You can use blackberries in jellies and jams. Mix them into plain yogurts or make a blackberry milkshake by blending blackberries with low-fat vanilla ice cream.


Adding antioxidant-rich foods to your diet will enhance your ability to fight disease. Also, make sure to lead a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, avoiding smoking, and minimizing alcohol consumption. Unhealthy lifestyle habits can increase the formation of disease-causing free radicals.


The Extraordinary Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is a common Asian drink that has picked up popularity throughout North America.  Many are choosing green tea as a healthy alternative to coffee and other warm drinks.  Research has shown that green tea is rich in polyphenol anti-oxidants that have extraordinary health benefits.

Green, black, and oolong tea are all part of the same species called Camellia sinensis.  Local growing conditions create variability and a multitude of distinctive leaves.  The processing of the leaves plays the biggest role in the creation of the three types of teas.  The length of time they are processed dictates the color, taste, and nutrient content of the different varieties of tea.

Green Tea is Highest in Anti-Oxidants

Green tea is the least processed of the three and contains the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity) of the three teas.  Green tea is rich in the polyphenol anti-oxidant catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).  This anti-oxidant is thought by most to be responsible for the health benefits linked to green tea consumption.

ECGC is considered to be one hundred times more potent than vitamin C and twenty-four times stronger than vitamin E.  The powerful ability to scavenge free radicals makes green tea one of the best anti-aging herbs.  ECGC is one of a handful of unique anti-oxidants that has shown an ability to influence mutant DNA formations to reverse chronic disease states.

Green Tea Lowers Mortality Risk

A September 2006 study in the Journal of American Medical Association showed that drinking green tea lowers the risk of mortality from all causes including cardiovascular disease.  This was an eleven year study following 40,530 adults ranging in age from 40-79 in the northeastern region of Japan.  Eighty percent of this population drinks green tea and over half consume at least three cups per day.

Those who drank five or more cups a day had a significantly lower risk of death from all causes than those who drank less than one cup of green tea daily.  Men had a 12% lower risk of mortality, 22% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and 42% lower risk of dying from stroke.  Women had a 23% lower mortality rate and 31% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and 62% lower risk of dying from stroke.

Green Tea and Cancer

A metanalysis of thirteen studies that was published in Carcinogenesis July 2006 demonstrated that women who drink green tea have a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who do not drink green tea.

A study published in December 2004 in Cancer Research discussed how ECGC in green tea was able to decrease insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) while increasing levels of IGF binding protein-3, which binds IGF-1.  This reduces the risk of breast, colon, prostate and lung cancer.  It also inhibits key cancer survival proteins and reduces the expression of compounds associated with cancer metastasis.

A study published in Cancer Research in March 2005 showed that ECGC inhibits the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), which cancer cells need in order to grow.  In fact, DHFR is a common target of many expensive and toxic cancer drugs such as methotrexate.  ECGC does not bind as strongly and is not as powerful as methotrexate , but it does not have the negative effects on normal cells found with methotrexate use.

Green Tea Boosts Immunity and Prevents the Flu

A November 2005 issue of Antiviral Research demonstrated how EGCG inhibits the flu virus from replicating in a cell culture.  Scientists found that it blocks the hemagglutinin enzyme in the virus which inhibits its ability to infect other cells.  It also suppresses viral RNA synthesis by altering key properties of the viral cell membrane.

ECGC has been shown to suppress the pathogenic viruses such as Epstein Barr, herpes simplex, HIV-1 and the influenza virus.  Green tea contains high levels of L-theanine which has been shown to activate human gamma-delta T lymphocytes to proliferate and make interferone gamma If-G.  If-G is a potent antimicrobial cytokine that is the first line of defense in the blood stream against infection.

Green tea also contains small amounts of alkylamines which are also present in pathogenic organisms.  When we drink green tea, the alkylamines present act as relatively weak antigens that don’t fully activate the immune system but get it in a ready state.  This primes the immune system against bacterial and viral invaders.

Green Tea as a Th2 Immune System Stimulator

Some natural health practitioners have labeled green tea as a Th2 stimulating agent.  Although this hasn’t yet been proven through research, there are various case studies indicating that green tea may have this effect.  This herb would be particularly effective for individuals with a Th1 dominance as it will help balance out the immune system.

It is advisable for individuals with Th2 dominant conditions to do a supplement challenge where they intentionally see how their body responds to green tea or another Th2 stimulating compound before they begin indiscriminately using it .  If it is shown through a cytokine blood test or through an herbal or supplemental challenge that the individual has a Th2 dominance, then it is best to avoid green tea.

Green Tea Caffeine Content and ContraIndications

Green tea contains caffeine, but it is less than half of that found in coffee.  The amount of caffeine found in green tea  varies depending upon the amount of tea used, the brand, and the quality.  The first infusion of green tea leaves is the highest quality and has the most amount of caffeine.

It is extremely important to get organic green tea since the conventional tea may be highly sprayed with toxic pesticides and herbicides.  Many coffee shops and big companies carry green tea that is commercially produced and contains an abundance of environmental toxins.  This is not healthy and should be avoided.

Pregnant women and newborns shouldn’t drink large amounts of green tea as its ability to bind to DHFR may increase the risk of folate deficiencies in the newborn and increase the risk of spina bifida or other neural tube disorders.

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Chia Seeds Health Benefits

SuperCharge Your Health with Chia Seeds!

Chia seeds are an ancient fuel source used for centuries by some of the world’s healthiest people.  These super seeds contain an abundance of life-enhancing nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants.  Super charge your health by incorporating chia seeds in your diet.

Chia seeds are native to South America where they were revered by two of the most powerful tribes: the Aztecs and Mayans.  These tribes considered chia to be more valuable than gold.  The Aztecs would traditionally consume chia for extra energy and stamina before going into battle or before a big hunt.

Chia is easy to grow as it survives in very temperate environments and is quite self-sustaining.  It is hardly bothered by insects and grows very efficiently.  An individual could survive quite well on chia alone due to the rich blend of nutrients it provides.

Chia’s Nutritional Profile

Chia boasts an impressive array of flavonoid and polyphenol anti-oxidants including quercetin, kaempferol, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid.  It has three times the amount of anti-oxidants as blueberries for equal volume.  Chia is also loaded with the small chain omega-3 fatty acid ALA and soluble and insoluble fibers.  These key nutrients make chia a powerful defense against everyday stress and chronic disease processes.

Improve Blood Sugar Sensitivity

Chia seeds’ nutritional components include healthy fats, anti-oxidants, clean proteins, and fiber. Chia contains no sugar and very minimal amounts of non-fibrous carbohydrates.  Chia also contains high levels of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.   This combination is perfect for healthy blood sugar levels and sustained energy.  A diet that includes chia seeds is a powerful combatant for diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.

Healthy Gut Function

The healthy gut bacteria that our digestive system depends upon thrive off of different forms of fiber.  Sugar is the enemy of these life giving microorganisms because it feeds the parasitic organisms that are in competition.  Chia’s makeup of essential fats, antiparasitic anti-oxidants, and a rich array of fibers is a perfect nutritional blend to build a healthy gut.

The chia fibers are able to absorb ten times their weight in water which helps to hydrate the colon and move toxins out of the gut.  The blend of insoluble and soluble fiber helps to sweep and sponge microorganisms and environmental toxins out of the colon and into the feces.

Boosts Mental Function

Chia is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and nueroprotective anti-oxidants such as quercetin, caffeic, and chlorogenic acid.  These essential fats and anti-oxidants produce cell membranes that are more flexible and efficient.  Healthier cell membranes results in more efficient nutrient delivery systems and faster nerve transmission processes.  This improves brain function including memory and concentration.

Using Chia in Everyday Life

Chia seeds can be used in a wide variety of dishes including soups, no-grain cereals, smoothies ,and baked goods.  They are also a great addition to any salad or veggie sauté.  Many vegans are lacking healthy proteins and fats in their diet while many carnivores lack anti-oxidants and fibers in their diet.  Chia, being a complete protein source, is the perfect addition for both of these groups.

To optimize your health look to add two to four tablespoons of this superfood into your diet daily.  Two tablespoons of chia give you seven grams of fiber, four grams of protein, and five grams of omega 3 fatty acids.  The most bioavailable form of chia is sprouted and enzymatically activated for optimal nutrient delivery.

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The Health Benefits of Hawthorne Berry

Hawthorn berry is a grouping of tree plants in the rose family that is native to the temperate regions of Europe, Middle East, Asia, and North America.  Parts of the Middle East consider the plant sacred. Many historians believe it may have been the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus during the Crucifixion.  This medicinal herb is known to be one of the greatest natural agents for improving cardiovascular function.

Hawthorn is endorsed as a cardiovascular aid by Commission E- an important branch of the German government that studies and approves natural therapies.  It is widely used in Europe to improve the circulatory system, treat angina, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, and congestive heart failure.  It is renowned for its ability to strengthen the heart and blood vessels and restore healthy muscular tone to the heart wall.

Powerful Anti-Oxidant Nutrients

Hawthorn berry is loaded with a wide array of powerful anti-oxidant nutrients.  Anti-oxidants neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress and tissue damage in the body.  The unique blend of anti-oxidants found in hawthorn come from a group of phytonutrients.  These include tannins, flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, and phenolic acids.  The standardization of hawthorn products is based on the overall content of flavonoids (2.2%) and proanthocyanidins (18.75%).

Hawthorn has been well studied in individuals with congestive heart failure.  Five of the six major studies performed found dramatically improved symptoms (such as shortness of breath and fatigue).  One study showed that hawthorn (taken at 900mg/day) for 2 months was as effective as low doses of captopril (leading heart medication) in improving common symptoms associated with congestive heart failure.

Unique Anti-Oxidant Blend

The unique anti-oxidant blend within Hawthorn creates a powerful vasodilating effect.  It acts to improve blood vessel endothelial function to where the vessel is able to open with less resistance.  This allows greater blood flow in working tissues and improves oxygen utilization.  This is primarily due to the flavonoids rutin and vitexin along with the proanthocyanins.

Hawthorn improves heart cell metabolism and enhances the flow of electrolytes across the cardiac cells.  This prevents or corrects heart rhythm abnormalities and strongly encourages a healthy cardiac rhythm.

Hawthorne Improves Cardiovascular Function

Hawthorne contains flavones that enhance the function of certain cardiac enzymes.  This effect increases the heart’s contractile force, which effectively boosts stroke volume while increasing the heart’s tolerance to hypoxic conditions.  It also improves the heart’s ability to create energy through anaerobic metabolism which improves the heart’s ability to withstand stress.

Hawthorn also acts to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE).  Elevated ACE causes an increase in angiotensin II and systemic vasoconstriction.  This process elevates blood pressure.  By modulating ACE levels, hawthorn helps to normalize blood pressure and reduce stress on the cardiovascular system.   The body usually takes two to four weeks to adapt to the hawthorn and have lasting effects on blood pressure.

Improves Tissue Collagen

Hawthorn also helps protect joints with its unique blend of antioxidants. These phytonutrients fend off specific classes of free radicals that are known to damage tissue collagen resulting in arthritic conditions.  Natural remedies that support healthy collagen improve the health of joints, skin, hair, and nails.

When getting hawthorn, be sure to get the whole plant – leaves, flowers, and berry.  The berries contain more proanthocyanins while the flowers and leaves contain more vitexin.  The most effective way to consume hawthorn, if you are unable to get it fresh, is in a dried and ground form.

Put the fresh plant or dried form into shakes or teas and consume daily.  Due to its antioxidant and cardiovascular boosting effects it is great to use pre/post exercise.  This improves exercise recovery by improving oxygen flow and neutralizes scavenging free radicals from damaged tissues.

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Is Chocolate Good For You?

Almost all of the recent studies on the health benefits of chocolate that we came across were positive. Findings ranged from improved function of cells to lower blood pressure.1 Chocolate is touted as a superfood by some, but this doesn’t mean you should go out and buy Hershey’s chocolate by the box. First and foremost, all of the studies we found suggesting health benefits from consuming chocolate were related to dark chocolate1 2, not milk chocolate. Also, flavanols are the antioxidant that many researchers believe are responsible for much of chocolate’s health benefits, and it should be noted that manufacturers often remove the healthy element – the flavanols – because of their bitter taste.3

An addition, the sugar in chocolate is cause for concern. The study,Can a daily bar of chocolate cause brittle-bone disease?, states the following: “The researchers believe the findings may be because chocolate contains oxalate, which can reduce calcium absorption, and sugar, which is linked to calcium excretion.” 3

Editor’s Note

I must admit, I love chocolate. I eat chocolate on a regular basis. But I always make sure it’s fair trade, organic chocolate and I prefer to find it sweetened with a healthier sweetener like sugar cane juice, or maltitol. I would not venture to say that chocolate is good for you. I know it has some health benefits, but overall, it is not something that makes me feel healthier after I consume it. But if it’s organic, sweetened in a healthier way, and not consumed too often, I don’t think it’s a cause for concern.