Materia medica: Kyurura - Amla Fruit

by Eric Rosen­bush


སྐྱུ་རུ་ར། (skyu ru ra) Embli­ca offic­i­nalis, Phyl­lan­thus embli­ca

Skt. Āmalakī

Com­mon Names: Indi­an Goose­ber­ry, amla fruit


TRADITIONAL CATEGORIZATION: Shing Men - Tree Med­i­cine

 

TYPES & IDENTIFICATION: Amla Fruit - Embli­ca offic­i­nalis, aka Phyl­lan­thus embli­ca

Infe­ri­or Variety/ Sub­sti­tu­tion: Chi­nese Hawthorn fruits - Cratae­gus pin­nat­i­fi­da (Chi. shan zha, 山楂), also known as ‘Chi­nese Kyu­ru­ra’ (rgya nag skyu ru ra).

In India and Nepal, the actu­al amla (Embli­ca) fruits are eas­i­ly avail­able, and the sub­sti­tute vari­ety is less com­mon.  In Tibet, both vari­eties are com­mon­ly used.

TASTE AND POTENCY: Cool, sour

 

PARTS USED: Dried fruit, with­out seed.  The juice and fresh fruit can also be used, and are com­mon­ly pre­pared into jams, pick­les, and can­dies in South Asian cook­ing.

 

CLASSICAL REFERENCES:

From the ‘Explana­to­ry Tantra’:

སྐྱུ་རུ་ར་ཡིས་བད་མཁྲིས་ཁྲག་ནད་སེལ། །   “Kyu­ru­ra elim­i­nates beken, tri­pa, and blood dis­or­ders.” (Ch. 20)

སྐྱུར་བས་བད་ཀན་སེལ་བྱེད་མཁྲིས་སྐྱེད་ཀྱང་།།   སྐྱུ་རུ་ར་ཡིས་ཁྲག་མཁྲིས་ཚ་བ་སེལ།། (In gen­er­al,) the sour taste removes beken and increas­es tri­pa; how­ev­er kyu­ru­ra removes blood, tri­pa, and heat. (Ch. 19)

From The ‘Dudt­si Thik­pa’: སྐྱུ་རུ་ར་བསིལ་མཁྲིས་སེལ་རླུང་མི་སྐྱེད། Kyu­ru­ra is cool, dis­pelling tri­pa with­out increas­ing loong.

འབྲས་བུ་གསུམ་པོ་བཅུད་ལེན་སྨན་གྱི་མཆོག   ནད་ཀུན་ལ་ཕན་ཁྱད་པར་མིག་ནད་སེལ། The three fruits are a supreme reju­ve­na­tor (chulen), ben­e­fi­cial for all dis­or­ders and espe­cial­ly dis­or­ders of the eyes.

 

CATEGORIZATION:

With­in the var­i­ous herbal cat­e­gories found in the Explana­to­ry Tantra, kyu­ru­ra is found in the:

  • Exam­ple sour sub­stances (Ch. 19)
  • Group­ing of herbs that dis­pel blood dis­or­ders (Ch. 21)
  • Group­ing of herbs that dis­pel heat dis­or­ders com­bined with beken (Ch. 21)

 

FUNCTIONS:

Treats blood heat, bad blood, dis­turbed heat dis­or­ders (’khrugs tshad), heat in the vital organs, abdom­i­nal pain, men­stru­al imbal­ances, oth­er gyne­co­log­i­cal dis­or­ders and growths, and as a gen­er­al detoxifier.It is also a great reju­ve­na­tor, whether alone, where it is espe­cial­ly use­ful for tri­pa types, or in gen­er­al as a part of the three fruits (‘bras bu gsum) com­bi­na­tion.

BIOLOGICAL PROPERTIES:

Kyu­ru­ra fruits have been found to have very high lev­els of vit­a­min C and the antiox­i­dant Embli­canin.

 

USES:

  • Kyu­ru­ra Decoc­tion. (skyu ru’i chig thang)སྐྱུ་རུའི་ཆིག་ཐང་ཁྲག་ངན་འབྱེད་ཅིང་སྐེམ།།“Single decoc­tion of kyu­ru­ra sep­a­rates and dries bad blood.” (Final Tantra 3)
  • Med­icat­ed alco­hol (skyu ru’i sman chang)- Kyu­ru­ra infused into alco­hol can be ben­e­fi­cial for var­i­ous types of skin and hair dis­or­ders.

 

COMMON FORMULATIONS:

  • Three Fruits’ Herbal Ghee (‘bras gsum sman mar) ཨ་རུ་བར་སྐྱུར་འབྲས་བུའི་སྨན་མར་གྱིས། །    དབང་པོ་གསལ་ཞིང་སྟོབས་སྐྱེད་རྒས་ཀ་སྲ།།    “Med­i­c­i­nal ghee from the fruits of aru­ra, baru­ra, and kyu­ru­ra clar­i­fies the sens­es, increase strength, and makes one youth­ful.” (Explana­to­ry Tantra Ch. 23)
  • Three Fruits’ Decoc­tion (‘bras bu gsum thang) འབྲས་གསུམ་ཐང་གིས་རིམས་འཁྲུགས་ཚ་བའི་ནད།།   གསར་རྙིང་མ་ལུས་སེལ་ཞིང་སྨིན་པར་བྱེད།།“Three Fruits’ Decoc­tion removes and ripens all new and old con­ta­gious (rims) and dis­turbed (’khrugs) heat dis­or­ders (tsha ba).” (Final Tantra Ch. 3)
  • Kyu­ru 6 - com­mon for­mu­la used for blood dis­or­ders and hyper­ten­sion.
  • Kyu­ru 25 - com­mon for­mu­la for blood dis­or­ders, gyne­co­log­i­cal and men­stru­al imbal­ances, and hyper­ten­sion.

 


Images by Eric Rosen­bush & L. Shya­mal.