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The tree is small to medium in size, reaching 8 to 18 m in height, with a crooked trunk and spreading branches. The branchlets are glabrous or finely pubescent, 10–20 cm long, usually the leaves are simple, subsessile and closely set along branchlets, light green, resembling pinnate leaves. The flowers are greenish-yellow. The fruit is nearly spherical, light greenish yellow, quite smooth and hard on appearance, with six vertical stripes or furrows.
In traditional Indian medicine, dried and fruits which are fresh of the plant are used. All parts of the plant are used in various Ayurvedic/Unani medicine (Jawarish amla) herbal preparations, including the fruit, seed, leaves, root, bark and flowers. According to Ayurveda, aamla fruit is sour and astringent in taste , with sweet , bitter and pungent secondary tastes. Its qualities are light and dry, the postdigestive effect is sweet , and its energy is cooling .
In Chinese traditional therapy, this fruit is called yuganzi, which is used to cure throat inflammation.