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.

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