Emblic Myrobalan

Emblic Myrobalan

This member of the Euphorbiaceae, Phyllanthus emblica L. (syn. Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) ranges in status from insignificant in the western world to highly prized in tropical Asia. Alternative English names include emblic myrobalan, Malacca tree and Indian gooseberry, though the last term is more frequently applied to the related but dissimilar Otaheite gooseberry, q.v. In Malaya the emblic is called melaka, Asam melaka, or amlaka; in Thailand, it is ma-kham-pom; in Laos, mak-kham-pom; in Cambodia, kam lam or kam lam ko; in southern Vietnam, bong ngot; in North Vietnam, chu me. In the Philippines, it is called nelli.

The tree is a graceful ornamental, normally reaching a height of 60 ft (18 m) and, in rare instances, 100 ft (30 m). Its fairly smooth bark is a pale grayish-brown and peels off in thin flakes like that of the guava. While actually deciduous, shedding its branchlets as well as its leaves, it is seldom entirely bare and is therefore often cited as an evergreen. The miniature, oblong leaves, only 1/8 in (3 mm) wide and 1/2 to 3/4 in (1.25-2 cm) long, distichously disposed on very slender branchlets, give a misleading impression of finely pinnate foliage. Small, inconspicuous, greenish-yellow flowers are borne in compact clusters in the axils of the lower leaves. Usually, male flowers occur at the lower end of a growing branchlet, with the female flowers above them, but occasional trees are dioecious.

The nearly stemless fruit is round or oblate, indented at the base, and smooth, though 6 to 8 pale lines, sometimes faintly evident as ridges, extending from the base to the apex, give it the appearance of being divided into segments or lobes. Light-green at first, the fruit becomes whitish or a dull, greenish-yellow, or, more rarely, brick-red as it matures. It is hard and unyielding to the touch. The skin is thin, translucent and adherent to the very crisp, juicy, concolorous flesh. Tightly embedded in the center of the flesh is a slightly hexagonal stone containing 6 small seeds. Fruits collected in South Florida vary from 1 to 1 1/4 in (2.5-3.2 cm) in diameter but choice types in India approach 2 in (5 cm) in width. Ripe fruits are astringent, extremely acid, and some are distinctly bitter.

Origin and Distribution
The emblic tree is native to tropical southeastern Asia, particularly in central and southern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ceylon, Malaya, southern China and the Mascarene Islands. It is commonly cultivated in home gardens throughout India and grown commercially in Uttar Pradesh. Many trees have been planted in southern Malaya, Singapore, and throughout Malaysia. In India, and to a lesser extent in Malaya, the emblic is important and esteemed, raw as well as preserved, and it is prominent in folk medicine. Fruits from both wild and dooryard trees and from orchards are gathered for home use and for market. In southern Thailand, fruits from wild trees are gathered for marketing. The present invention relates to cosmetic formulations for topical application containing extracts from Phyllanthus emblica and the use of such formulations for the care of the human skin. In particular, the present invention relates to cosmetic formulations for topical application containing extracts from Phyllanthus emblica in addition to known as adjuvants and expedients.

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