Thai Life

Excuse Buster: Amalaki – The anti-aging superfood

PHUKET: Thailand is blessed with so many rejuvenating and health-restoring herbs, fruits and foods, and during the next few columns of Excuse Buster, I would like to share my favorites, which I recommend to clients and include in my own diet.

I want to start by saying that taking a few herbs or natural supplements to counteract a poor diet is putting the cart before the horse. You can’t out-train a bad diet and you certainly can’t out-supplement one. What you eat on a regular basis makes up the foundation of good health.

So, don’t rely on these superfoods and herbs, but let them simply support your efforts – if you choose to use them.

Also, I would highly recommend doing your own research before you dive in, as many herbs, like drugs, have side effects. In regards to dosages, follow the directions on each label for proper amounts to take and the frequency you should take them.

This week, I want to start with amalaki – also known as amla berries, Indian gooseberries or, in Thai, makham pom.

Ayurveda (which means knowledge of life) is one of the oldest known health traditions in the world, and has been practiced continuously for many thousands of years. As Buddha travelled through China with his physicians, he spread the practices of Ayurveda, which became the basis for Chinese medicine.

In Ayurveda, amalaki is the “great rejuvenator”. In Sanskrit, the word for amalaki translates as “the nurse”.

Amalaki is classified as an adaptogen, which means it promotes physiological balance in the body. Its list of claimed benefits includes:

• Helps rebuild and maintain new tissues including strengthening bones and teeth
• Improves red blood cell count
• Stimulates brain function
• Assists the body in elimination disorders (used for both constipation and diarrhea)
• Helps protect against heart disease by inhibiting atherosclerosis
• Assists in preventing nervous system disorders and degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s
• Helps regulate blood sugar

A study published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that amalaki has one of the highest antioxidant ratings of any food, which it demonstrates through exceptional free radical scavenging properties.

Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling (1901-1994) believed that providing the body with an optimal amount of Vitamin C is integral to health. Amalaki is the key to reaching this goal, as it is naturally extremely high in Vitamin C, with over 3000mg per fruit.

Amalaki juice contains approximately 20 times more Vitamin C than orange juice. This extraordinarily high Vitamin C content provides amalaki with strong antioxidant properties. Because of this, amalaki has become well known as an anti-aging and rejuvenatory food.

Now that you want it – where can you find it in Phuket?

I have found several health stores in Phuket that sell amalaki as a tea and in a powder form.

If you want to try the fruits in their natural form, you might be able to find them in a market in Phuket Town. However, be warned, the little anti-agers are hard and quite bitter.

Craig Burton is a nutritional expert with more than 15 years of experience at the forefront of the health and well-being field. He offers a high-level of his expertise in functional training and nutrition, focusing on detoxification, food intolerance and nutrient deficiency. For more information about Craig and the services he offers, visit

— Craig Burton

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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