NaturHeals – Wild Weeds 2 - Bhumi Amla - Phyllanthus Niruri - Gale of the Wind
Weeds are a farmer’s biggest nightmare. As they easily adapt to almost all kinds of weather and soil conditions, weeds can outgrow the main crops by taking over its share of nutrition. Hence, most farmers, in an attempt to save their crops, take up weed management by using herbicides to kill the weeds. However, while weeds are generally looked down upon in the agricultural sector, there are some wild weeds that are beneficial to humans. In other words, our Mother Earth is home to several weeds that possess numerous medicinal benefits, and Bhumi Amla is one of them.
Different Names of Bhumi Amla
The scientific name of Bhumi Amla is Phyllanthus Niruri, and it belongs to the family of Euphorbiaccae. The Sanskrit names of this medicinal herb include Bahupatri, Bhumi Amalaki, and Dukong Anak. Some other Indian names of Bhumi Amla are Jangli Amla (Hindi), Nelanelli (Kannada), Kilanelli (Tamil), Neli Usiraka (Telegu), Kizhukanelli (Malayalam), and Bhui amla (Marathi). It is also known as chanca piedra, stonebreaker, Gale of the Wind, and seed-under-leaf. Bhumi Amla roughly translates into “Spirit of the Earth”.
Ideal Climate and Soil
Bhumi Amla is a tropical weed that typically grows in coastal regions. It is quite widely seen in the coastal areas of India, China, as well as the North and Central America. Bhumi Amla thrives in places that see heavy rainfall. In India, Bhumi Amla can be seen in Southern India, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, and Bihar.
When it comes to soil, this tropical plant can grow well in different types of soils, ranging from clay to loamy. It requires the soil to have a pH range from 5.5 to 8.0. Moreover, Bhumi Amla can survive in temporary water logging conditions and grow quite well in well-drained calcareous soils.
Although Bhumi Amla is similar to Alma or Indian Gooseberry in appearance, the former is smaller in size. This tropical plant does not grow beyond 50-70 cm. Apparently, as the plant remains close to the earth, it is named as Bhumi (earth) Amla. The bark of the plant is smooth and light green in color. The branches are herbaceous, and the stems are moderately hard. The leaves of the plant are small and thin and are arranged elliptically. Bhumi Amla’s flowers are pale green with red splashes. Its fruits are tiny and soft and resemble capsules. Each fruit contains cluster of seeds inside it.
The entire Bhumi Amla plant, including its roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits have medicinal properties. The plant is home to numerous phytochemicals, which are plant based compounds. This medicinal herb is endowed with various bioactive components like glycosides, geranin, ellagitannins, lignans, corilagin, amrin, flavonoids, niranthin, kaempferol, alkaloids, phenylpropanoids, niruriside, acidic arabinogalactan, diterpenes, and ricinoleci acid. It also constitutes of two alkaloids, which are phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin.
The Bhumi Amla plant has numerous medicinal properties. It is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-ulcer, hypotensive, vermifugal, diuretic, digestive, hepatoprotective, astringent, antioxidant, diaphoretic, analgesic, appetizer, antispasmodic, anthelmintic, laxative, and emmenagogue. In fact, Bhumi Amla is one of the most used herbs in Ayurveda.
According to Ayurveda, Bhumi Amla has pitta balancing properties. Pitta is one of the doshas of the body that controls heat, metabolism, and transformation in the body and mind. An imbalance of pitta can lead to several problems like indigestion, fever, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, skin disorders, etc. Bhumi Amla balances Pitta, thus relieving these issues as well. The indications of Bhumi Amla as per Ayurvedic scriptures are as follows:
- Balya (enhances muscle strength)
- Asra Dagdharuk (treats wounds and burns)
- Sangrahini (cures diarrhea)
- Kasahara (relieves cough)
- Pachana (improves digestion)
- Amilomana (enhances breathing)
- Kantya (remedies sore throat)
- Shwasha (cures breathing difficulties)
- Kustha (cures skin disorders)
- Vishaha (anti-toxic)
- Rochana (improves appetite)
As it has so many qualities, Bhumi Amla is a favored ingredient in curing various major and minor ailments, right from skin disorders to liver and kidney problems.
Acidity and Other Digestive Issues: With its pitta-balancing properties, Bhumi Amla becomes one of the best remedies to cure the problem of hyperacidity caused due to indigestion. It also treats other stomach related problems related to indigestion like nausea, burping, constipation, bloating, etc. It prevents the generation of excess acid and stimulates better absorption of nutrients in the body. Bhumi Amla is also a great medicine for curing stomach ulcers and gastritis. It also enhances gut health.
Skin Disorders: Several skin issues happen because of impurities in blood, and as Bhumi Amla is a great blood purifier, it is used in treating various skin disorders. This herb is used in treating both temporary and permanent as well as painful and painless skin disorders. These include eczema, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, scabies, warts, blisters, etc. It also helps to improve skin tone, reduce itching, clear blocked pores, enhance complexion, decrease signs of aging, and enable healing of wounds.
Cold and Cough: Cold and cough are usually minor ailments but can disrupt your routine quite severely. However, the kashara, kapha, and kantya properties of Bhumi Amla can help to cure cold and cough in no time. The herb cures viral cold and cough by getting rid of breathlessness, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, and even headache.
Apart from cold and cough, Bhumi Amla is also associated with respiratory health. It helps to improve breathing by loosening the mucus from the nasal and chest cavities. Due to this property of Bhumi Amla, it is used for treating asthma and bronchitis. In fact, a study conducted in September 2020 indicated that Bhumi Amla along with some other herbs could act as a strong inhibitor for Covid19 virus.
Fever: The pitta-balancing quality of Bhumi Amla makes it a great cure for fever, especially those caused by malaria and typhoid. The herb aids metabolism and removes toxins from the body, thus getting rid of fever.
Ulcers and Wounds: The pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of Bhumi Amla make it ideal for treating ulcers. Be it peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, mouth ulcers, or canker sores, this medicinal weed can cure any kind of ulcers. Moreover, the bioactive components of the herb cleanse the wound, facilitate healing, and promote tissue regeneration as well. The astringent property of the plant also helps to reduce swelling on the wounds.
Bleeding Disorders: Excessive bleeding due to menstruation, surgery, or any kind of injury can be controlled with the help of Bhumi Amla. The herb works best for bleeding disorders caused due to improper clotting of blood in the body. Its sita or cold potency as well as astringent property helps in reducing excessive blood flow.
Joint Pain: As Bhumi Amla possesses pain relieving and analgesic properties, it is used as a remedy for treating joint pain and inflammation. With this herb, it is possible to get rid of problems like sore muscles, painful muscle spasms, and such other inflammatory conditions. This is the reason why Ayurveda uses Bhumi Amla to effectively treat Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Weight Loss: As the role of pitta is to enable metabolism, Bhumi Amla, with its pitta-balancing ability, makes for a great weight loss tool. The herb is endowed with fiber that helps in satiating hunger pangs, thus preventing overeating. Moreover, due to the presence of flavonoids, Bhumi Amla aids in shedding excess weight and also in maintaining ideal weight.
Diabetes: The bitter (tikta) and astringent properties of the herb help to control high sugar levels in the body. Diabetes is caused due to oxidative stress in the body. The antioxidant properties of Bhumi Amla reverse the harm caused due to oxidation and help to manage sugar levels, thus making it the perfect way of controlling diabetes.
Urinary Disorders: The astringent and cooling properties of Bhumi Amla help in curing an array of urinary disorders including burning sensation while urinating, dysuria or painful urination, and urinary incontinence. By treating urinary disorders, this herbal plant aids in preventing chronic kidney failure.
Stress: Apart from the physical disorders, Bhumi Amla is an effective cure for mental health issues, especially anxiety. The major symptoms of anxiety, including restlessness, uneasiness, and cold hands and feet can be treated with the help of this herb. It is quite commonly used for the treatment of ailments like epilepsy, stress, depression, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, and other such neurodegenerative diseases.
Bhumi Amla is a great mood-booster, as it aids in boosting positive emotions. Moreover, the numerous antioxidants in the plant, especially in its bark, help in enhancing memory, problem-solving, reasoning, and such cognitive abilities.
Kidney Problems: Bhumi Amla is an effective treatment for kidney problems as well. The diuretic properties of this weed helps in flushing out excess fluids, salts, acids, excess magnesium and potassium, and other toxins from the body through urine. It helps in balancing the electrolytes in the body and also safeguards kidney health. Bhumi Amla is also called stonebreaker, as it aids in preventing kidney stones without causing any side effects.
Liver Dysfunction: Amongst all the potential medicinal uses of ailment healing and wellness mentioned above, the most effective use of Bhumi Amla is its efficacy for liver treatment. The Rasayana, pitta-balancing, and hepatoprotective properties of Bhumi Amla make it an ideal candidate for curing all ailments related to the liver, especially those caused by Hepatitis B. It not only detoxifies the liver but also nourishes it, thus restoring the health and function of this essential organ. Bhumi Amla is one of the best ways of treating liver tissue damage, liver cirrhosis, bile problems, gallstones, jaundice, weak liver function, and swelling. Apart from all this, the anti-inflammatory properties of Bhumi Amla also help in slackening the progress of liver cancer.
Aside these, Bhumi Amla is used for treating few more health problems like anemia, anorexia, hypertension, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, venereal disease, leucorrhea, menorrhagia, cataract, facial palsy, paralysis, cystitis, prostasis, gonorrhea, etc. It is an effective remedy against problems caused by Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. This herb is also used to reverse hair loss caused by chemotherapy and male pattern baldness. It works well for boosting overall health and immunity too.
Bhumi Amla can be used internally and externally depending on the health problem. This herbal weed is available in the form of juice, powder, capsule, paste, and decoction. While the juice, powder, capsule, and decoction are consumed internally, the paste is usually used externally.
- One of the easiest ways of consuming Bhumi Amla is chewing the leaves directly. Chewing the leaves early in the morning, on an empty stomach, helps to balance the doshas.
- Decoction of Bhumi Amla is used for treating liver problems. This form of the herb is also used for curing malaria or typhoid-induced fever.
- Juice of the plant is used for a whole variety of diseases, including hyperacidity, constipation, anorexia, thirst, etc. Juice is generally consumed in the morning after mixing it with water. Bhumi Amla juice is also an effective way of treating food intolerance in children.
- The paste of the Bhumi Amla leaves are best for treating all kinds of skin diseases. The paste can also be applied on the eyelids to treat eye allergies like conjunctivitis and blepharitis.
- It is possible to relieve a blocked nose by applying juice of Bhumi Amla in the form of nasal drops.
- Bhumi Amla in tonic form is available for boosting immunity and overall health.
Generally, the consumption of Bhumi Amla does not have any side effects. However, consuming excess doses of this herb can cause certain side effects like diarrhea and dysentery. Moreover, if you are taking medicines for controlling blood sugar, you must monitor your blood sugar rate regularly, as Bhumi Amla also brings down sugar level. Bhumi Amla should not be consumed by pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
Planting and Harvesting
As Bhumi Amla has so many medicinal benefits and is used in the preparation of varied Ayurvedic medicines and products, serious consideration should be done on planting and harvesting this weed. Jaivik Farms is in lookout for farmers who are ready to grow and harvest this weed without the use of pesticides or herbicides.
We are ready to buy Bhumi Amla grown as weeds in your farm or cultivated specially by propagating the weeds, but without the use of herbicides. Those interested in growing Bhumi Amla should do so between mid-April and mid-May. The seedlings would be ready for transplantation after 35-40 days. These should be transplanted with a spacing of 15x10 cm and should be irrigated only if there is no frequent rainfall. It is extremely important not to use any herbicide, as the traces of these are likely to be transferred into the medicines or products.
The plant would be ready for harvest in 3 months, and September is ideally the best time to do so. It is important not to let the plant grown taller than 70 cm, as taller the plant, the more the plant sheds leaves. As the most nutrition lies in the leaves of the Bhumi Amla, it is crucial to harvest the plant at the right time so the yield has high number of leaves. Once harvested, the plant has to be dried in shade by constantly raking it with sticks. After this is done, it should be kept in a cool and dry place in gunny bags.
As Bhumi Amla is a weed, it grows easily without too much effort from the farmer. So the next time you see Bhumi Amla amongst your crops, stop yourself from reaching out at the herbicide. Instead, contact us at Jaivik Farms. We would support you through the nurturing and harvesting process of the herb and also buy it from you. It would not only provide you with an additional income but at the same time be beneficial to mankind.