Liver is an incredible organ that performs more than 500 functions in human body. Liver health is often an indication of overall wellbeing and unfortunately in many cases, ailments related to this organ go undiagnosed till last stages. Be it inflammation of the spleen, impaired bile production, jaundice, hepatitis, hepatic cirrhosis, damage to hepatic tissues and even liver cancer, myriad complaints pertaining to the liver are increasingly occurring nowadays, owing to poor diet, lack of physical activity and hectic lifestyles. The liver is a pivotal internal organ that aids in breaking down food, processing nutrients, metabolizing drugs, chemicals and storing energy and its proper functioning is essential for overall health. Ayurveda, the time-honoured traditional system of medicine that originated in India thousands of years ago, offers a splendid solution for all liver ailments in the form of a powerful herb known as Bhumi Amla.
Commonly called “Gale Of The Wind” and scientifically termed Phyllanthus niruri, bhumi amla is a key ingredient in the ayurvedic formulation Chyawanprash where it works to boost immunity and also provides valuable therapeutic properties in its leaves, roots, and other plant parts. These include hepatoprotective, antioxidant, antiviral, to not only enhance liver wellness but also promote digestion, remedy kidney illnesses, enrich skin texture and uplift all-round health.
What Is Bhumi Amla?
Bhumi Amla, a significant herb in Ayurveda for remedying liver problems and many other health issues, is a tropical plant that grows extensively in coastal regions in India, China and islands of North and Central America. The plant reaches only a short height of 50 – 70 cm and holds herbaceous branches with small, thin, elliptical leaves arranged alternately, stemming from a smooth, light-green bark. The plant has pale green flowers with streaks of red that bud into tiny, soft fruits resembling capsules and containing many minuscule seeds inside.
The leaves of bhumi amla are used to prepare medicinal tonics, pastes and powders, aside from the whole plant that is used for remedial purposes. Bhumi amla is known by various names locally in India - in Hindi as Jangli amlai, Bhumi amla, in Sanskrit as Tamalaki, Bahupatra, in Kannada as Nelanelli, Bhu nelli. Bhumi amla is also referred to as Bhui amla, Bhui avla in Marathi, as Kilanelli in Tamil, as Kizhukanelli in Malayalam and as Nela usiraka in Telugu. In English, Bhumi amla is termed gale of the wind, stonebreaker and seed-under-leaf.
Ayurvedic Indications Of Bhumi Amla:
In the ancient ayurvedic scriptures, bhumi amla is mentioned for various indications which include, Kasahara (Relieves cough), Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties), Balya (improves muscle strength), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Anulomana (improves breathing), Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting), Asra Dagdharuk (remedies wounds and burns), Vishaha (antitoxic), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea) and Kustha (treats skin disorders).
Bioactive Constituents In Bhumi Amla:
Bhumi amla consists of umpteen phytochemicals – plant-based compounds that provide useful medicinal properties. These comprise lignans, flavonoids, glycosides, alkaloids, ellagitans, phenylpropanoids, gernanin, amarin and corilagin. It also contains kaempferol, niranthin components derived from the leaves.
Imbued with these bioactive components exhibiting anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antibacterial, analgesic, antioxidant, astringent, anti-ulcer, digestive, expectorant, hypolipidemic, diuretic and diaphoretic properties, bhumi amla is widely used in treating liver disorders, kidney complaints, respiratory issues like cough, cold and fever, gastrointestinal problems, skin infections, wounds and burns.
Formulations With Bhumi Amla:
While bhumi amla extracts are collected and purified into powders, tablets, tonics and pastes, the miraculous ayurvedic herb is also used in preparing many traditional formulations. These include Chyawanprash, Madhuyasti Tailam, Pippalyadi Ghrita and Shatavari Guda.
Benefits And Therapeutic Uses Of Bhumi Amla:
Rectifies Liver Disorders
Bhumi Amla is blessed with potent hepatoprotective traits that enhance liver functions and repair wounded hepatic cells and tissues. This prized ayurvedic herb is hence useful in remedying cirrhosis of the liver, gallstones, bile problems, damage to liver tissues and even slows down the progression of liver cancer, thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory characteristics.
Augments Respiratory Health
Powered with potent anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, and anti-asthmatic properties, bhumi amla is vastly effective in treating a host of respiratory troubles. It is extensively used for treating the common cold, sore throat, cough and flu symptoms. It also thins and loosens the rheum particles within the chest and nasal cavities and hence eases breathing and helps the body to get rid of mucus. It is also beneficial in treating bronchitis and asthmatic conditions.
Supports Kidney Functions
Bhumi amla is bestowed with diuretic properties that help flush out urine with surplus salts, acids as well as excess fluids, toxins and wastes from the body. In this manner, bhumi amla safeguards kidney health, prevents kidney stones and ensures electrolyte balance in the body. Owing to its astringent and cooling properties, the formulations containing bhumi amla are also used for treating urinary disorders like urinary incontinence, painful urination, dysuria, burning sensation while urinating and hence prevents chronic kidney failure.
Treats Wounds And Ulcers
The host of anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of bhumi amla plays a pivotal role in treating different types of ulcers like ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer, canker sores or mouth ulcers, etc. The bioactive compounds in this divine tree cleanse wounds, facilitate wound healing, and promote tissue regeneration. Its astringent property also helps in reducing the swelling of wounds.
Being a strong sedative, bhumi amla leaf and plant extracts pacify stress and help in eliminating various symptoms of anxiety which include uneasiness, restlessness, cold hands, and feet, etc. The calming properties of the plant also actively help to uplift the mood and promote positive emotions.
Aids In Weight Loss
The abundance of flavonoids in bhumi amla helps the body shed excess weight faster. Owing to the presence of fibre and anti-obesity action, when consumed on a daily basis, the formulations of bhumi amla satiate sudden hunger pangs and prevent overeating and hence can play a pivotal role in one’s weight loss regimen. The herb also improves metabolism and helps the body to maintain a proper weight.
Alleviates Joint Pain
Enriched with strong analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties of the bio-active components, bhumi amla makes for an extensive remedy from pain and inflammation in case of arthritis and joint pain. It is also used to treat painful muscle spasms, sore muscles, arthritic conditions, and other inflammatory situations. It is also extremely effective against Rheumatoid arthritis which is known as Amavata in Ayurveda, an ailment that stems due to the vitiation of Vata doshas and accumulation of Ama in the joints.
Resolves Digestive Disorders
Thanks to the mild carminative and digestive properties, bhumi amla reduces the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, thus reducing flatulence, bloating, constipation, and abdominal distension. The antacid property of the herb prevents the formation of excessive acids in the stomach thereby treating indigestion, ulcer, gastritis and promoting better absorption of nutrients in the body. Additionally, it vastly improves the peristaltic movements of the gut and helps in eliminating stools and prevents the formation of Ama.
Improves Mood And Memory
Bhumi amla is famed as a traditional ayurvedic remedy to increase the functioning of the brain. The potent antioxidants present in the bark improve the memory capacity, focus, concentration, calmness, alertness of an individual. Bhumi amla in the powdered or decoction form shows improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities. It also helps in treating epilepsy, memory loss, stress, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Treats Skin Problems
Numerous antioxidants and anti-microbial properties present in bhumi amla play a crucial role in treating skin infections like acne, warts, boils, psoriasis, scabies, eczema, blisters, itching etc. Bhumi amla pastes and powders when used topically also improve complexion by evening out the skin tone, clearing blocked pores, and also reducing various signs of ageing. Owing to its antiseptic nature, bhumi amla also prevents wounds and injuries and facilitates healing.
Bhumi Amla Effect On Doshas:
Bhumi amla exhibits an intrinsic Kashaya (i.e., astringent), Katu (i.e., pungent) and Tikta (i.e., bitter) Rasa. It is blessed with Ruksha (i.e., dry) and Laghu (i.e., light) gunas. It has Sheeta Virya (i.e., hot potency) and Katu Vipaka (pungent metabolic property). The bioactive ingredients in bhumi amla balance the Kapha and Pitta doshas, thereby helping maintain the tridoshic harmony of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
The ayurvedic properties that help in portraying these effects on the body are Deepana (digestive stimulant), Grahi (anti-diarrhoea), Sthoulya-har (reduces obesity), Kapha-har (pacifies the Kapha/mucous), Tvakadosh-har (cures skin diseases) and Sotha-har (reduces swelling), Grahi (useful in diarrhoea), Tvakadosh-har (cures skin diseases) and Sotha-har (reduces swelling).
The accurate therapeutic dosage of bhumi amla may vary from person to person depending upon the age, severity, and condition of the patient. One must consult a certified ayurvedic practitioner before taking bhumi amla supplements or powders, as they will thoroughly examine the symptoms and prescribe the requisite dose.
The recommended dosage of bhumi amla for adults is:
Powder/Churna – ½ - 1 teaspoon by mixing it with water after meals.
Gutika/Capsule – 1 – 2 caps swallow it with water after meals.
Kalka/Paste – 1-2 teaspoons, apply directly on wounds and the affected area.
Leaf Juice – Mix 2 tsp bhumi amla leaf juice in a glass of water and drink it on an empty stomach to detoxify the system.
In most individuals, bhumi amla does not induce any side effects when used in the appropriate dosage. It is extremely effective in normalizing the aggravated levels of Kapha and Pitta doshas in the body.
However, very high doses of bhumi amla can lead to the surplus elimination of fluids from the body and also alter blood sugar levels. It is hence advised to monitor the blood glucose of patients with diabetes before giving them bhumi amla.
Furthermore, it is not recommended to provide bhumi amla powders and supplements to pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Bhumi amla is an astounding herb packed with a plethora of essential bio-active ingredients and therapeutic properties, thereby serving as an effective remedy for liver disorders, kidney issues, respiratory issues like cough and cold, sore throat, diarrhoea, arthritis, digestive anomalies, flu and fever, skin woes, besides relieving pain and inflammation, preventing viral infections. Ensure consuming the powders and supplements in the appropriate dosage, to reap the marvellous benefits and medicinal values of bhumi amla for enhanced health and wellness.