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Amla in Ayurveda

G.L KHAJURIA

Former Dy. Conservator of Forest, J&KAmla in Ayurveda is considered as an elixer of sovereign remedy in multihued ways as it finds its significance for the preparation of medicines of vide, varied and ramified varieties. The amla is nomenclaturised as ‘Emblica officinalis’ in botanical parlance and belongs to Euphorbiaceae family of plant kingdom. It is also locally spoken as Amla, Amlika, Aonia, Amlaki or Indian gooserberry.
The tree is medium to moderate size-deciduous one with greyey bark, exfoliating in irregular patches and with red insides and the branchlets are finely pubescent. The leaves are 3-5 inches long, subsessile, linear- oblong, acute or mucronate, distichously close- set on deciduous branchlets, having the appearance of pinnate leaves, stipules minute. The tree is normally found wild in the tropical forest and is as well cultivated throughout the deciduous forests in the Kandi belt and hill slopes extending to the height 2000 ft. msl. The tree normally catches a height from 8-18 m with crooked trunk and spreading branches and bears flowers which are greenish yellow in colour and the fruit is normally spherical pale yellow with six vertical furrows. Raw fruit is not palatable but the ripened one is slightly sour but gives sweet taste when water is taken and is the richest source of Vitamin ‘C’ and is most oftenly eaten as thirst quencher and the pickles and preserves are also made of Amla.
Amla can be successfully grown in light as well as heavy soils except purely sandy soil and calcareous soil with rocky-substratum can also be good. However, well drained fertile loamy soil is of the best quality for better and higher yield. The plant has the capacity for adaption to dry regions and can also be successfully grown in the moderately alkaline soils. It is as well excellently well grown under tropical conditions and the species demands an annual rainfall arranging from-650- 800 mm and in such areas the amla has shown hefty yield. When the plants attain an average height arounding three feet or so, these demand adequate protection from hotter winds of May/June as well as protection from frost as the species is not so frost hardy. A mature and well grown tree of Amla can as well tolerate a freezing temperature.
The species is most oftenly confined to the northern part of India and is as well knowned of its sanctocity value and worshipped by “Hindu Women” amongst Brahmans boy (unmarried) during as a ‘puniya pujàn’ and Kichchedi is prepared and served amongst Brahmin boys in (Katak – a desi month) during winter as a spiritual ‘Dharmi Month’ just it is for with Tulsi (Katak month) or holy basil.
Nursery technique:- The seeds should be preferably sown in the nurseries in polypots and thence should be propagated through seeds but seeds sown varieties yield inferior quality fruits on account of a long gestation period. So, it is preferably better to have shield budding over a span of a year or so and this is being done by obtaining shield buds from superior strains yielding big size fruits.
The process involves preparation of pits of size one metre cub during summer months of May and June, at a distance of 4.5 mts by 4.5 mts or its variables in the spacing designs and the excavated earth should be left to sunlight for weathering so that good earth is formed and thence each pit should be filled with around 15 kgs farm yard manure (FYM) with BHC and about one kg. Of super phosphate before planting the so grafted seedlings. Further, weeding and hoeing operations are being carried out periodically and regular monitoring is being done to arrive at success oriented results.
The Amla plants require regular watering during summer spells for around 20 days or so till these get fully established but with the very onset of monsoons afterwards no irrigation is desirable. Watering of mature fruit bearing plants is advisable during peak summer months at fortnight interval to enhance fruit’s productivity and reduce fruit drop and and wonderful aspect of this species is that it responds well drip irrigation and after the monsoons, preferably during October- December around 30 litres are required to be fostered per tree through drip-erosion.
The seedlings start bearing fruits in around eight years after planting whereas the budded clones start bearing fruits from 5th year onwards. The best harvesting season is February when the fruits are ripened with maximum ascorbic acid contents. In South India, the fruit is found throughout the year and the matured fruits are hard enough and these hardly fall without shaking of the tree.For better marketing, grading of the fruit is being done and on an average, the weight per fruit come to 60-70 kgs and one kg contain around 15-20 number of fruits and a well maintained tree yield on an average age arounding 60-70 years and the best yield period for fruiting is around 50 years or so.
It has been estimated that an eight-years old plantation of one hectare will yield 20-25 tons of fruits with a cost of production of the Rs 35,000 per hectare.

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