Amla or the Indian gooseberry is a popular herbal remedy that’s rich in antioxidants and can work a world of wonders on your system. But did you know that it could have some side effects too – for instance, if you are pregnant or a diabetic who is hoping to make the most of the blood sugar regulating properties of amla. Get on top of these side effects and possible drug interactions so this otherwise powerful remedy doesn't mess with your body.
The Indian gooseberry, better known as “amla” or “amalaki” in Ayurvedic circles, is a potent herbal remedy that can work wonders for your cholesterol levels and diabetes and ease diarrhea and even inflammation.1 But, as with any therapy or remedy, you need to be aware of its side effects. If you experience any of the symptoms below or find that some of the drugs you use could interact adversely with amla, it’s time to rethink your use of the gooseberry or consult a doctor so you take it the right way.
The vitamin C content of amla can make the elasticity of your blood vessels increase, softening and dilating them and potentially helping improve circulation and lowering blood pressure. On the flip side, this could cause you to bleed more too. If you already have a problem with bleeding easily, as a result of some disorder or medication you take, you should exercise extra caution while using amla as a herbal remedy or consuming very large quantities in your diet.2 Research has found that the use of this herbal remedy could cause platelet aggregation to be reduced by 36 percent, increasing bleeding risk when used along with antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, heparin. This property of amla is also why pregnant women are advised to consult their doctor before taking an amla-based supplement. Also, you should steer clear of Indian gooseberry (whole or as part of formulations) for at least 14 days prior to any surgery to minimize the risk of major bleeding during the surgery or after.3
Sudden Dip In Blood Sugar
The Indian gooseberry is extremely effective in helping lower blood sugar levels by improving glucose metabolism. This makes it a popular remedy to battle diabetes.4 However, an excessive or incorrect dosage could cause your blood sugar levels to dip suddenly. This can be potentially dangerous for someone who already has sugar regulation problems as a result of diabetes. When administered to subjects in an animal study, a dosage of 200mg/kg of body weight in the animals caused a significant reduction in blood sugar comparable to the action of an antidiabetic drug chlorpropamide, usually given with a dose of about 84 mg/kg.5 If you plan to take amla in addition to an existing allopathic diabetes medication, do keep your healthcare specialist/doctor in the loop. The dosage of your medication may need to be adjusted accordingly.
The Indian gooseberry is a powerful source of antioxidants and its hepatoprotective activity is used in treating liver problems. For instance, the use of tuberculosis medication can cause drug-induced hepatotoxicity which amla can counteract.6 When you use an Ayurvedic or herbal formulation that uses amla as an ingredient, there are possibilities of it resulting in liver problems due to elevated levels of liver enzyme serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT). A popular herbal combination of amla along with Indian frankincense, Tinospora cordifolia (heart-leaved moonseed), and ginger in particular is said to worsen liver function in those with a liver problem, so amla on its own might not be the culprit. However, some care is warranted, due to possible interactions, when using it with drugs like acetaminophen, amiodarone, methyldopa, methotrexate, isoniazid, and carbamazepine.7
Amla can help treat diarrhea by causing gastrointestinal motility to go down significantly.8 However, because amla contains so much fiber.9 It bulks up and hardens your stools when taken in excess. Unfortunately, if you don’t balance this with adequate water intake, you could end up with constipation.
References [ + ]
|1, 4.||↑||Mirunalini, S., and M. Krishnaveni. “Therapeutic potential of Phyllanthus emblica (amla): the ayurvedic wonder.” Journal of basic and clinical physiology and pharmacology 21, no. 1 (2010): 93-105.|
|2.||↑||Rani, Bina, Raaz K. Maheshwari, Manisha Sharma, Sangeeta Parihar, and Upma Singh. “International Journal of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Research.”|
|3, 7.||↑||Indian Gooseberry, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.|
|5.||↑||Qureshi, Shamim A., Warda Asad, and Viqar Sultana. “The effect of Phyllantus emblica Linn on type-II diabetes, triglycerides and liver-specific enzyme.” Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 8, no. 2 (2009): 125-128.|
|6.||↑||Tasduq, S. A., P. Kaisar, D. K. Gupta, B. K. Kapahi, S. Jyotsna, H. S. Maheshwari, and R. K. Johri. “Protective effect of a 50% hydroalcoholic fruit extract of Emblica officinalis against anti‐tuberculosis drugs induced liver toxicity.” Phytotherapy Research 19, no. 3 (2005): 193-197.|
|8.||↑||Perianayagam, J. B., S. Narayanan, G. Gnanasekar, A. Pandurangan, S. Raja, K. Rajagopal, R. Rajesh, P. Vijayarajkumar, and S. G. Vijayakumar. “Evaluation of Antidiarrheal Potential of Emblica officinalis.” Pharmaceutical biology 43, no. 4 (2005): 373-377.|
|9.||↑||Joshi, Shubhangini A. Nutrition and dietetics. McGraw-Hill Education, 1995.|