Amlika – Tamarindus indica

Amlika (Tamarindus indica): A Tangy Treasure of Health

Basonym of Drug: The medicinal plant known as Amlika is scientifically referred to as Tamarindus indica.

Main Synonyms: In Ayurveda, Amlika is known by various synonyms, including:

  1. Amla
  2. Chukrika
  3. Chincha
  4. Chinchaka
  5. Shukta
  6. Tuntika
  7. Vrikshamla
  8. Bahupatrakam
  9. Raktapura
  10. Amti
  11. Amlapura
  12. Vishaghnanika

Regional Name: Amlika is also known by different names in various regional languages. Some common regional names include:

  • Hindi: Imli
  • Bengali: Tetula
  • Kannada: Hunise
  • Malayalam: Puli
  • Marathi: Chincha
  • Tamil: Puli
  • Telugu: Chincha
  • Gujarati: Avail

Botanical Name: The botanical name of Amlika is Tamarindus indica.

Family: Amlika belongs to the Fabaceae family.

Classification of Dravya (Gana) as described in Charak and Sushrut: In the classical Ayurvedic texts of Charak and Sushrut, Amlika is classified as follows:

  • Charak: Amlika is categorized under the group of “Amlavarga,” which includes sour-tasting substances that have beneficial effects on digestion and various health conditions.
  • Sushrut: In Sushrut Samhita, Amlika is classified as a “Haritakyadi Varga” drug, indicating its use in formulations with other herbs like Haritaki.

External Morphology: Amlika is a medium-sized deciduous tree with a height ranging from 12 to 18 meters. The leaves are pinnately compound, and the flowers are small, yellowish with red streaks, and occur in drooping clusters. The fruit is a brown pod containing a pulp that is sour and tangy in taste.

Useful Parts: The useful parts of Amlika are primarily the fruits (pulp), leaves, seeds, and flowers.

Important Phytoconstituents: Amlika contains various phytochemicals, including tartaric acid, citric acid, pectin, and various volatile compounds. It is also a rich source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.

Rasa Panchaka: The Rasa Panchaka (five tastes) of Amlika is as follows:

  • Rasa (Taste): Sour (Amla)
  • Guna (Quality): Guru (Heavy), Ruksha (Dry)
  • Virya (Potency): Heating (Ushna)
  • Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): Sour (Amla)

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala: Amlika primarily pacifies the Vata and Kapha doshas. It nourishes and strengthens the Rakta (blood) and Asthi (bone) dhatus.

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications): Amlika is employed in Ayurvedic medicine for various therapeutic purposes. Some of its essential indications include:

  • Digestive disorders (Agnimandya)
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances (Aruchi)
  • Skin diseases (Kushta)
  • Fever (Jvara)
  • Respiratory conditions (Shwasa and Kasa)
  • Joint disorders (Sandhigata Vata)
  • Urinary tract infections (Mutrakrichra)

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose): Amlika can be used in various formulations, and the dosage depends on the specific preparation and the individual’s condition. Commonly used forms include:

  • Fresh fruit pulp: 5-10 grams, once or twice a day
  • Decoction: 50-100 ml, once or twice a day

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations): Amlika is an integral component of several Ayurvedic formulations. Some notable formulations include:

  • Amalaki Rasayana
  • Amalaki Churna
  • Triphala Churna
  • Amrutadi Kashayam

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects): Amlika is generally safe and well-tolerated when used in recommended doses. Excessive consumption may lead to acidity or gastrointestinal discomfort in some individuals.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures): Amlika is best used under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. Proper dosing, combining with suitable adjuvants, and considering an individual’s specific condition are essential aspects of its therapeutic application.

Shodhana (If Required): Amlika usually does not require shodhana (purification) procedures. However, in certain cases, Shodhana methods like Bhavana (levigation) or Svedana (steam treatment) may be applied for specific therapeutic purposes.

Amlika’s unique sour taste and diverse health benefits make it a valuable herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Its ability to balance various doshas and promote overall well-being continues to be cherished in traditional healthcare practices.

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