Medicinal plants are nature's gift to human beings to promote a disease free healthy life. Many medicinal plants are present in a group of herbal preparations of the Indian traditional health care system (Ayurveda) named Rasayana proposed for their interesting antioxidant activities. Phyllanthus emblica Linn. (syn. Emblica officinalis), commonly known as Indian gooseberry or amla, family Euphorbiaceae, is an important herbal drug used in unani (Graceo - arab) and ayurvedic systems of medicine. The plant is used both as a medicine and as a tonic to build up lost vitality and vigor. Phyllanthus emblica is highly nutritious and could be an important dietary source of vitamin C, amino acids, and minerals. The plant also contains phenolic compounds, tannins, phyllembelic acid, phyllembelin, rutin, curcum-inoids, and emblicol. All parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes, especially the fruit, which has been used in Ayurveda as a potent rasayana and in traditional medicine for the treatment of diarrhea, jaundice, and inflammation. Various plant parts show antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiulcerogenic, hepatoprotective, gastroprotective, and chemopreventive properties. Here we discuss its historical, etymological, morphological and pharmacological aspects.