What is the Indian Gooseberry?
Indian gooseberry is small to a medium-sized tree that reaches 8 to 18 m in height. It grows in India, the Middle East, and some southeast Asian countries. For thousands of years, Indian gooseberry has been used in Ayurvedic medicine. Recently, its fruit is used to make medicine.
It has a crooked trunk and spreading branches. It has greenish-yellow flowers and a nearly spherical fruit, quite smooth and hard on appearance. The fruit is sour, bitter, and astringent, and is quite fibrous.
- The fruit is a diuretic, laxative, and can be eaten raw or cooked or pickled. It is rich in vitamin C. It contains as much vitamin C as an orange juice has. The fruits, leaves, and barks of the tree are rich in tannin. Tannin is used in cosmetics, wines, coffee, and medicines.
- The high tannin of Indian gooseberry is popularly used in inks, shampoos, hair oils, and mordants to fix dyes in fabrics. It is a traditional belief that amla shampoos and hair oil can nourish the scalps and prevent hair’s premature greying.
- The tree’s wood can be utilized to make agricultural implements, poles, and inferior quality furniture.
The gooseberry bush fruits are small, weighing around 0.1–0.2 ounces (3–6 grams) each. There are varying colors like green, yellow-white, pink, red, or dark purple, and their flavor ranges from tart to sweet.
Here are a few reasons why gooseberries are a great addition to a healthy diet.
If you consume 150 grams or about 1 cup of gooseberries, it contains about 46% of our daily value of Vit C, 66 calories, 15 grams carbs, 7 grams fiber, and 12% of the Daily Value of Copper that the body needs.
We are fully aware that Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and vital to your nervous system, immune system, and skin. Gooseberries are high in fiber but low in energy, making it a friendly fruit to those who keep watching their calorie intake.
Even if you eat 1 cup (150 grams) of gooseberries, it only contributes about 3% of the average person’s total daily calorie needs. Thus, it makes a nutritious, low-calorie snack. Moreover, research supports that eating berries may aid weight loss and help you eat fewer calories overall.
HOW TO GROW AMLA TREE/INDIAN GOOSEBERRY
There are several ways you can grow Indian gooseberries. They can be propagated from seeds, from budding or air layering. However, the faster and ideal ways are through buying a grafted tree from a nursery.
There are many varieties you can grow in tropics and subtropics. It is better for a little more temperate climates with temperature below the freezing point (32 F) to grow a wild Himalayan amla variety.
Indian gooseberry is resistant to exploits of climate. It bears mild snowfall during winter months in the forest of Western Himalayas and tolerates extreme heat and dry atmosphere in tropical India. It is sensitive to prolonged freezing temperatures and grows best when it is not exposed to frost.
REQUIREMENTS FOR GROWING AMLA TREE
Plant the tree in a sunny but less windy area, and with a well-draining and sloppy position because it is suitable for its growth.
Use a soil that is loamy to light heavy. It should also be and well-drained, deep, and rich in organic matter. Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil is good but avoid, sandy and clay-rich soil as they are detrimental to the Indian gooseberries. One tree should be 20-30 feet apart from the other.
Watering is crucial during the plant’s juvenile stage, but once the tree has established strong roots and body, regular watering isn’t required. However, during dry season and drought, you can water the plant for its healthier production and growth. In the summer, you can water them about 2-3 times a month. In any case, avoid water stagnation.
In December or January in tropics and spring in subtropics, each year prune them back to keep in shape and control. Remove all the lifeless, damaged, diseased branches, or the ones entangled and crossing each other. When the tree starts to bear fruits, trim it back to about five feet in the spring to rejuvenate it.