Chapter 10: Pharmacological Potential and Phytochemical Evaluation of Emblica officinalis: A Wonder Herb in Ayurveda
Published:09 Nov 2022
G. Singh, S. Gothe, N. Vinayagan, and S. Chawala, in Chemistry, Biological Activities and Therapeutic Applications of Medicinal Plants in Ayurveda, ed. A. Amalraj, S. Kuttappan, and K. Varma, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2022, ch. 10, pp. 221-249.
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Emblica officinalis Gaertn./Phyllanthus emblica L (Euphorbiaceae), also known as Amla, is an important plant in Indian culture as well as in its traditional medicinal systems. It has more than 200 documented vernacular names and hundreds of documented formulations. The 354 medicinal formulations curated from nine important Ayurvedic texts indicate the most beneficial areas of fever (Jvara) (68 formulations), skin diseases (Kusta) (34 formulations), diabetes (Prameha) (27 formulations), cough (Kasa) (27 formulations), rejuvenation (Rasayana) (25 formulations), eye diseases (Akshi roga) (20 formulations), and anaemia (Pandu) (19 formulations). In modern science, E. officinalis is renowned for its comprehensive pharmacological potentials, namely antioxidant, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, gastroprotective, anticancer, hepatoprotective, antipyretic, and antiinflammatory, many of which could underpin the therapeutic benefits of E. officinalis reported in Ayurveda. These studies, mostly using cell and animal model systems, have given us a good understanding of the biological activity of E. officinalis and they lay a foundation for successful human clinical trials. However, characterisation and standardisation of E. officinalis extracts have lagged behind the pharmacology studies. This, in large part, is because one of the main groups of bioactive molecules of E. officinalis, polyphenols, is highly reactive and difficult to characterise. In recent years, researchers have started revealing the phytochemistry of E. officinalis and nearly 200 phytochemicals from E. officinalis have been reported. Clinical studies using well-characterised E. officinalis extracts and supported by cell and animal-based pharmacological studies hold good promise for translating E. officinalis-based formulations in Ayurveda to modern supplements and medicines.