Phyllanthus emblica 

Phyllanthus emblica L. 

Family : Euphorbiaceae

Common Name : നെല്ലിക്ക(Mal)

: आँवला (Hin)

: Indian Gooseberry(Eng)

IUCN Status         : Least Concern (LC)

It 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. Leaves pinnately compound, alternate, bifarious on short deciduous branchlets, closely overlapping, subsessile; stipules minute, lateral, linear; lamina 0.4-1.5 x 2-4 mm, oblong or linear-oblong, base round, apex obtuse and shortly apiculate, glabrous, membranous; nerves obscure. 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. Flowers are small, greenish-yellow or pinkish, unisexual, densely clustered in leaf axils;  The flowers have six segments, but no real petals. Male and female flowers are carried separately on the same branch. male flowers: tepals 6, oblanceolate, obtuse, stamens 3, anthers oblong, connate by their connectives; apiculate; female flowers: tepals 6, oblanceolate, obtuse; ovary superior, 1.5 mm, 3-celled; ovules 2 in each cell; styles 3, broadly fimbriate, recurved, stigmatiferous. The fruit is nearly spherical, light greenish yellow, quite smooth and hard on appearance, with 6 vertical stripes or furrows. Fruit subglobose, fleshy, yellowish green, indehiscent berry. 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.

Uses: he fruit is an extremely rich source of ascorbic acid. The fruits have diuretic, laxative and purgative activities and also show molluscicidal and antimicrobial properties. A principal ingredient of various Ayurvedic tonic formulas. The fruit is given in order to allay the effects of aging and to restore the organs. The sour fruits are one of the ingredients of 'triphala', an Ayurvedic rejuvenating, laxative tonic based on this species plus the fruits of Terminalia bellirica and Terminalia chebula. The juice of the fruit is also given in order to strengthen the pancreas of diabetics, as well as in the treatment of eye problems, joint pain, diarrhoea and dysentery.

Distribution : Throughout the tropics

Flowering & Fruiting: July-February