even one per day can be significant

For Patients & Caregivers[from

Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.

How It Works

Purported Uses and Benefits

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For Healthcare Professionals

Scientific Name

Emblica officinalis, Phyllanthus emblica L.

Clinical Summary

Emblica officinalis is a deciduous tree prevalent in parts of Asia. All parts of the tree, especially the fruit, are commonly used in traditional medicine for various ailments including diarrhea, jaundice, headaches, inflammation, and as a tonic (1). It is also a constituent of the popular Ayurvedic formulation, Triphala. The activity of E. officinalis is often attributed to its antioxidant constituents, such as ascorbic acid, polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins (2) (3). Preclinical studies indicate antioxidant (1) (4) (5), antibacterial (6), hepatoprotective (7) , cardioprotective (3) radioprotective (8), antiulcerogenic (9), antitumor (10), analgesic (11), antidiabetic (12) and antihyperlipidemic (13) properties.

Limited clinical data suggest benefits in patients with uremia by reducing oxidative stress (5), for improving HDL and lowering LDL-cholesterol levels in diabetic patients (16), and for lowering lipid levels and blood pressure in patients with hyperlipidemia (17) (23), but ineffective in reducing hypertension (27). Supplementation with an E. officinalis extract was shown to lower multiple risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease in overweight adults (21), and as an adjunct, useful in the management of metabolic syndrome (24). It was also found to benefit those with non-erosive reflux disease (25), and helped reduce inflammation and periodontal destruction in patients with chronic periodontitis (26).

Because E. officinalis exhibits strong antioxidant effects, it may interfere with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Purported Uses and Benefits

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer prevention
  • Cardioprotection
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Headaches
  • Inflammation
  • Chronic ulcers
  • Hyperlipidemia

Mechanism of Action

The antioxidant activity of E. officinalis is attributed to the high content of ascorbic acid (4), but it was reported that such effects may be due to the tannins, Emblicanin A and Emblicanin B (1). The antidiabetic property is thought to be due to the herb’s ability to reduce release of inflammatory cytokines that cause insulin resistance (12). E. officinalis may also play a role in preventing age-related hyperlipidemia by reducing nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) protein levels via inhibiting NF-kappa B activation (13). In another study, the herbextracts were shown to induce apoptosis in mature osteoclasts, an effect that may limit bone resorption in pathologies associated with bone loss (15). And a hydroalcoholic extract of E. officinalis demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects by increasing glutathione, superoxide dismutase, and catalase activities, and subsequently decreasing lipid peroxidation (19).

Several studies have also investigated the antitumor properties of E. officinalis. Pyrogallol, a component of E. officinalis extract, was found to cause cell cycle arrest in the G2/M phase, inhibit proliferation, and induce apoptosis in human lung adenocarcinoma (H441) and squamous cell cancer (H520) cell lines (2). Intraperitoneal pyrogallol injections also suppressed subcutaneous tumor growth in mice (2). An aqueous extract decreased tumor volume through inhibiting the cell cycle regulating enzyme CDC25 (10). Progallin, extracted from E. officinalis leaves, also caused cell cycle arrest in the G1/M and G2/M phase, inhibited proliferation, and induce apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells (BEL-7404) (14). In other studies, E. officinalis extracts were shown to inhibit cell growth both in vitro and in vivo possibly via inhibition of angiogenesis and activation of autophagy in ovarian cancer cells (20); and demonstrated cardioprotective effects against doxorubicin toxicity in vitro (3), which was attributed to antioxidants.

Herb-Drug Interactions

  • Clopidogrel: When used concomitantly, E. officinalis extract was found to increase the antiplatelet activity in a study of patients with Type-2 diabetes (22).
  • Ecosprin: The above study found increased antiplatelet activity with Ecosprin as well (22).