Location in BHU campus :Planted in many residential quarters ,hostels , Botanical and Ayurvedic gardens of BHU.
Botanical name : Phyllanthus emblica L.
Syn Emblica officinalis Gaertn
Family : Euphorbiaceae
Vernacular / local Name : Bengali- Amla,Amlaki; Gujarati- Amali,Ambala; Hindi-Amla,Amlika,Aonla; Kannada-Amalaka, Nelli ; Malayalam and Tamil- Nelli ; Sanskrit-Adiphala,Dhatri,Amalaka,amlaki; Telugu- Amalakamu, usirikai.
English /Trade names : Indian Gooseberry,Emblic myrobalan
A small or medium sized deciduous tree with feathery foliage and thin ,smooth, greenish grey exfoliating bark. Leaves are small and linear.Flowers small, unisexual greenish yellow and densely clustered. Monoecious- ,male flowers numerous, female flowers a few.Fruits are globose fleshy drupes , about 2 cm in diameter, yellow-green, with six vertical furrows.Skin thin and translucent.Seeds smooth and brown.
Flowering- March-May. Visited by swarms of bees at that time.
Fruiting- September November.
According to the Puranas Amla originated from the tears /saliva of Brahma .As per Skanda and Padma Puranas Visnu is believed to stay at the roots of the Amla tree, different Gods and sages in the branches and the joints and the ancestors are supposed to reside at the top of the tree.
In Padmapurana it is stated the thought of the tree is supposed to give the virtue of giving away many cows. By touching the tree virtue increases two fold, and eating under the tree thrice the benefit of the former two .It is sacred to Siva,Parvathi,Visnu ,Lakshmi, Gandharva and Karthik.
In the Padma Purana it is also mentioned that the wreath of amalaki is said to be the giver of virtue .
Amlaki as amardaki ,asamantat papam mardayati (ie destroys sins in the surroundings )
The Sikhs also hold the tree sacred.
The tree is worshipped in the month of Karthik ,on the Sivaratri day and on the Vaikuntha Chaturdashi when the idols of Radha and Krsna are worshipped under this tree.
Amla is supposed to keep the evil spirit away and the fruits of Amalaki are to be worn in the neck, arms or ears.
The leaves are offered in Shri Satyanarayana Patra Puja and Dhatri patra puja, to Uma Maheshwara on Nitya Soma vara Vrata, and Lord Samba on Shanipradosha Vrata . The fruits and flowers are also used in worship.
In the month of Kartik it is customary to have meals under the tree. Balls of rice are offered under this tree to the ancestors.
It is one of the trees suggested for planting in a Ashoka Vana and Nakshatra vana. The plant is associated with the constellation Bharani (triangle, 41 Arietus)) whose presiding deity is Yam
In the Garuda Purana medicinal uses of Dhatri are cited. It is called Dhatri meaning foster mother because of its beneficial effects in curing patients suffering from number of diseases .In the Ayurvedic texts of post Vedic period detailed information regarding the use of the fruits in various ailments is found.
The root, bark and fruits are astringent.Fruits are sour and rich in vitamin C. The fruit is a valuable antiscorbutic in the fresh as well as in the dry condition because of the presence of a tannin containing Gallic acid, ellagic acid and glucose naturally present in the fruit . A refreshing sweet after taste is felt after consuming the fruit as the saliva acts on the glycosides in the fruit juice.Fruits are eaten raw or cooked .The fruits are pickled ,preserved or made into jellies . The fruits have cooling, diuretic and laxative properties .They are used to treat jaundice, coughs, dyspepsia and gastro intestinal problems. The juice from freshly picked fruits is also used as eyewash. The fruits are used in Ayurvedic medicines like Triphala.It is used for chronic dysentery, haemorrhoids, enlarged liver and a wide range of other digestive disorders. The flowers are cooling and aperient. The seeds are used in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis .
Fruits, bark and leaves are rich in tannin. The fruits are used in the preparation of writing ink and hair dyes. The juice from fruits is used in hair dyes, shampoos etc.Oil from the fruit is favorable for hair growth.
Wood is used for furniture, agricultural implements and poles.