Indian gooseberry (amla) extracts show anti-inflammatory and blood flow benefits
Scientists from the Taiyo Kagaku Company and Mie University Graduate School of Medicine report that the polyphenol-rich extracts exerted anti-inflammatory effects in both cell and animal studies, a result that deepens our understanding of how this Ayurvedic ingredient benefits human health.
Emblica officinalis is also called Phyllanthus emblica, amla, and the Indian Gooseberry is said to be one of, if not the most important medicinal plant in Ayurveda. Traditionally, it is used for a range of conditions, including boosting digestive health, cardiovascular health, eye health, and easing cough and throat inflammation.
Despite its long history of use and knowledge that it contains high levels of vitamin C, minerals, polyphenols, tannins, fibers, proteins and amino acids, the mechanism of action had not been fully elucidated, according to the Japanese researchers writing in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The new study used a commercial water-soluble amla fruit extract called SunAmla from the Taiyo Kagaku Company, and examined the effects on pro-inflammatory markers in human endothelial cells. The endothelium – the thin layer of cells lining the blood vessels – performs many functions including maintaining the suppleness of blood vessels and regulating the activity of neutrophils, white blood cells that form a key part of the immune system.
Dysfunction in the endothelium leads to arteries with little suppleness, raising the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), and arteries that are chronically inflamed, leading to an overabundance of adhesion molecules.
“The present in vitro and in vivo studies provide a scientific mechanistic basis for the historical use of amla,” wrote the researchers.
“The combined anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant and anti-platelet activities of amla are attractive for its use in the prevention and treatment of a variety of vascular disorders,” they added.
The researchers tested the extract in cells studies where human endothelial cells are exposed to lipopolysaccharide, which initiates an immune/inflammatory response from the cells. Results showed that the extract significantly reduced the expression of factors associated with blood clot formation.
The extract was also associated with significantly lower pro-inflammatory cytokines, TNF-alpha and IL-6, in rats when administered at a dose of 50 mg/kg body weight.
“Although the present study elucidated the anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet aggregation activities of amla fruit extract, further studies are warranted to investigate the relative contribution of the individual components,” wrote the researchers.
Taiyo’s SunAmla ingredient is said to be pleasant-tasting, and is suitable for use in dietary supplements, nutritional bars, powder drink mixes, cereals, jams, yogurt and even ice cream, said the company.
Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1017/S0007114513001669
“Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) extract inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced procoagulant and pro-inflammatory factors in cultured vascular endothelial cells”
Authors: T. Pradyumna Rao, T. Okamoto, N. Akita, T. Hayashi, N. Kato-Yasuda, K. Suzuki