There are so many supplements and powders on the market these days that promise to help us lose weight, stay young forever and never get sick, but it’s hard to figure out which ones are worth actually taking the time to order and buy.
Amla and camu camu are two such powders that sound completely foreign and are constantly labeled with the “superfood” moniker.
It turns out, they’re both tropical, sour berries and packed to the brim with nutrition, but you’re probably wondering, what’s the difference between amla and camu camu? Amla is a small, green berry with light stripes, similar to unripe cherry tomatoes. Amla contains a high concentration of antioxidants and is most commonly sold in powdered form. Camu camu, another sour berry, contains high amounts of Vitamin C and is also sold as a powder.
This article looks at many other differences, similarities, and uses for these interesting super berries.
What is Amla?
Amla, also known as Indian Gooseberry, is a powerful superfood native to tropical regions of India.
Before we go much further, it’s important to note that there are many different kinds of gooseberries growing around the world, but the mind-blowing properties described in this article are very specific to the Indian variety, amla.
The berries themselves are small and green, with lighter stripes that sort of look like veins running along the thin skin. They look similar to light, yellow-green grapes or cherry tomatoes and about the same size.
In its native country, every part of the tree can be used in some natural recipe for healing, including the berries themselves, as well as the bark, flowers, leaves, roots, and seeds.
In the US, you’ll most commonly find amla in powdered form, though in some specialty stores you might also find juice, extract, or oil.
How much alma to take daily:
The dosage might vary depending on the manufacturer you buy from. Blue Lily Organics has a pure organic amla powder with a recommended serving size of only 1 teaspoon, giving you 90 servings per package.
Health Benefits of Amla
Amla is thought to have the power to potentially cure cancer, grow hair, keep you from aging, prevent ulcers, and even save you from snake bites among other benefits.
At least some of these claims are at least partially true and this pretty little fruit has been used in many ancient healing procedures such as Ayurvedic medicine throughout history.
In fact, it has such potent healing powder that in Indian culture, the Amla tree is thought to be the first tree in all existence.
Amla is thought to be one of the, if not the most concentrated source of antioxidants known to humankind. Its reputation is obviously far-reaching, but Amla is commonly used for a few specific ailments:
- Type 2 Diabetes – it has been shown to significantly outperform drugs for pennies a day and with no side-effects
- Cholesterol – Significant and quick drop in LDL cholesterol – even compared to common drugs – using dried amla powder, for both control groups and diabetic populations
- Cancer – has been shown in studies to slow and stop cancer cell growth and even kill pre-existing cancer cells, without damaging normal healthy cells. Perhaps even more importantly, amla has been shown to protect against cancer invasion and metastasis just as well as the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs.
These studies are incredibly promising, but unfortunately patenting a berry is hard to do, so pharmaceutical companies who normally fund such research, have little financial incentive to really dive into this field.
The only side effects seen by using amla have been noticed at levels of extreme overdose, whereas the healing properties can be seen in as little as ½ a teaspoon a day. Even without massive studies, this seems like one product worth hedging your bets on.
What is Camu Camu?
Camu Camu is another sour berry that is incredibly rich in nutrients, but this one hails from the rainforests of the Amazon instead of India.
Once again, outside its native home, you’ll be most likely to find it in powdered form, but if you’re lucky, you might also find juice.
The berries look a bit like un-ripened, greenish-red cherries, but they grow on a shrub in swampy areas, rather than on a large tree.
They’re also larger than cherries, closer to the size of a small lemon.
How much camu camu to take daily: the dosage might vary depending on the manufacturer you buy from. One of our favorite brands, Terrasoul, has an organic powder with a recommended serving size of only 1 teaspoon.
Health Benefits of Camu Camu
Camu camu is mostly famous for its rich Vitamin C content, providing over 750% of your recommended daily intake in a single teaspoon. It should also be recognized and praised for the wide variety of antioxidants packed into these small berries.
Camu camu has been studied as a potential protective agent against free radical damage, which is a key contributor to everything from heart disease to cancer. The benefits of drinking camu camu juice seem to come from the whole food source, because it’s not just Vitamin C at play, as the control group was given straight Vitamin C.
In addition to protecting against free radicals, camu camu can reduce chronic inflammation, another key contributor to most human diseases, and improve blood pressure.
The high Vitamin C also lends itself well to an immune system supporter, which can help you prevent or get over common viral infections like colds or even herpes breakouts quickly.
How to Use Amla and Camu Camu
You’re unlikely to find either of these fruits outside of their native countries, but if you do, you’ll probably find them both rather sour.
In India, when amla is eaten in their whole form, they’re most often pickled or cooked into a syrup or sauce that cuts the sharp flavor.
Similarly, camu camu berries can be reduced to a pulp or juiced and sweetened to make a bit more palatable.
In the US, you’re much more likely to find both of these options as a powder, made from the dried fruits. If the powder is helpfully encased in a capsule for you, all you have to do is take as directed on the bottle.
Otherwise, the powder can be added to water, juice, or smoothies. Some people will also add it to their ghee or honey or blend it into their homemade protein bars or breakfast cereals.
If you’re going to add either of these powders to cooked foods, add at the very end of the cooking process to maintain as much nutrition as possible.
Difference Between Amla and Camu Camu
Amla and camu camu are both tropical berries with phenomenal nutritional power, but there are quite a few differences.
Amla comes from India and is thought to be a one-stop cure-all for almost every disease known to man, with an impressive history of results to stand behind it.
Camu camu, on the other hand, is from the Amazon rainforest and is mainly impressive for its shockingly high Vitamin C content.
As a supplement, you’re likely to find them both as powdered forms, and they can be added to water, juice or smoothies to boost your nutrition on a daily basis. As part of a premium preventative health plan, the both have extraordinary benefits.
One very important aspect to keep in mind: quality varies. If you’re buying based on price, you’re putting yourself at risk for contaminated supplements, and this applies to amla, camu camu and most other supplements as well.
Supplements do not have to be FDA or EPA approved, which means they are often rich with heavy metals along with your antioxidants, which is far from ideal. When you’re shopping, look or quality assurance labels such as USDA Organic, at the very least.
Can you overdose on Vitamin C?
It’s very rare to see any side effects from Vitamin C, mainly because your body doesn’t have any way to store this vitamin, so when it has enough, you simply eliminate any extra. You might notice your urine is a brighter hue of yellow than normal.
If you ingest more than the recommended supply of concentrated Vitamin C tablets by a large amount, you might experience some nausea or diarrhea. If you overdose repeatedly, you do risk giving yourself kidney stones.
Is amla good for hair growth?
Amla is frequently marketed as a hair growth oil or powder and there are some studies that support these claims, but it’s far from being scientifically proven to be effective.
There’s very little downsides though, so it’s worth a try! It’s a fantastic source of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which are both very healthy for hair growth and repair, and scalp care, so it certainly makes sense.
Is camu camu good for your skin?
Camu camu is an incredible source of Vitamin C, which is crucial for good skin health, yes. It helps your body create collagen, which is what helps give your skin it’s elasticity and youthfulness.
Antioxidants in camu camu are also important for protecting against sun damage, healing any wounds, burns or dry skin, and helping your skin effectively detoxify any harmful pollutants that you’re exposed to.
Another great antioxidant you may have heard of are goji berries. Check out our article about goji berries here.