Haritaki, Terminalia chebula

Description of plant

Terminalia chebula is medium to large sized deciduous tree growing up to height of 25-30mt and diameter of trunk of this tree is 1mt. This plant matures with numerous branches and rounded crown. Bark of this medicinal plant is dark brown in color with longitudinal cracks. Leaves are oval or elliptic, 7-8cm long, alternate or sub opposite in direction with a petiole of 1-3cm. These are oblique and unequal at the base and have 5-8 pairs of veins. Fruit of this plant is ovoid drupe, broad, blackish and have five longitudinal ridges. Flowers have dull white to yellow color with strong and unpleasant odor. Its flowers are hermaphrodite and fruits are yellow to orange-brown in color. Flowering of this Indian medicinal plant appears between April and August and plant bears fruits from November to January.

General information

Haritaki is one main key ingredient in triphala and famous rejuvenating herb. Common names of Haritaki are Indian hog plum and Indian walnut. It is miraculous fruit with immense healing power. Most important point about this herb is that it increases longevity and it is good liver tonic. It is natural compound that is very essential for promoting overall body health and for the support of digestive system and functioning. According to Ayurvedic medicinal system powdered form of this herb is used in the treatment of intermittent and chronic fevers, polyuria and anemia.

It contains various chemical compounds like chebulagic, chebulin and corilagin. Various antioxidants of this plant are phloroglucinol, pyrogallol, ferullic, vanillic and caeffic acid.

Haritaki is gentle laxative, purgative, astringent, anti-bilious and anti-oxidant in nature. This herb is laxative, digestive, tonic, expectorant, anti-dysentery, and carminative and has good properties.

Special note about Terminalia chebula

Bhavprakash explained seven types of haritaki according to its medicinal properties and distribution in various places.

Seven types explained are:-

  1. Vijaya haritaki - It is available in vindhya Mountains and used to cure all type of disorders.
  2. Rohini haritaki - This type of haritaki is available in Sindh, fruit is circular in shape, very beneficial for consumption and wound healing.
  3. Putna haritaki - Putna haritaki grows in Himalayas having small fruit and big seed, this is very effective for using externally.
  4. Amrita haritaki - It is easily available in Champa Bhagalpur area with thick fruit pulp, best used in panchakarma.
  5. Abhaya haritaki - This haritaki is also available in Champa area with five layers of fruit skin and used for treatment of eye related disorders.
  6. Jayanti haritaki - It is found in Saurashtra region of Gujarat with yellow color flowers and best used to cure all type of disorders.
  7. Chetaki haritaki - Chetaki haritaki is available in Himachal Pradesh with three layers of fruit skin and used for purgation therapy.

Habitat

Haritaki is native to India and it is also distributed in China, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In India it is widely distributed in sub-Himalayan track from Ravi to West Bengal and Assam. It is also cultivated in Fiji, Pakistan, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia.

Classification

  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Order - Myrtales
  • Family - Combretaceae
  • Names

    • Latin name - Terminalia chebula
    • English name - Indian walnut, Indian hog plum
    • Hindi name - Harad, Harad
    • Telugu name - Karakkaya
    • Tamil name - Kadukkai
    • Gujarati name - Harade, Hardi, Harara
    • Arabian name - Haleelaz
    • Farsi name - Hallel
    • Assam name - Shilikha
    • Kannada name - Arale, Alale
    • Konkani name - Ordo, Hardi
    • Malayalam name - Kadukka
    • Marathi name - Hirda
    • Persian name - Halela

    Ayurvedic properties

    Hindi / Sanskrit English
    Rasa Katu, Tikta, Kashay, Madhur, Amal Taste Pungent, Bitter, Astringent, Sweet, Sour
    Guna Laghu, Ruksha Physical Property Light, Dry
    Virya Ushna Potency Hot
    Vipaka Madhur Metabolic Property
    (After Digestion)
    Sweet

    Effects on doshas

    It balances all three doshas.

    Charak Samhita Sushrut Samhita
    • Jwarghna - Herb helpful in fever
    • Kasaghna - Herb helpful in cough, cold and breathlessness
    • Virechnopaga - Herb help to induce purgation.
    • Kusthghana - Herb is helpful in skin disorders.
    • Vayasthapana - Anti-ageing
    Amalkyadi Parushkadi triphala

    Ancient verse about Terminalia chebula

    Ancient verse about Terminalia chebula
    Ancient verse about Terminalia chebula
    Ancient verse about Terminalia chebula

    Abhaya, pathya, prapathya, putana, amrita, jaya, avyatha, hemvati, vaystha, chetaki, siva, pranda, nandini, rohini and vijya all are synonyms of haritaki. Haritaki is astringent, sour, pungent, bitter and sweet in taste. It pacifies all three dosha, it is laghu, beneficial for eyes and induce purgation. The herb is used to cure polyuria, leprosy, ulcers, emesis, edema, gout and dysuria. It acts as carminative, beneficial for heart and used to cure all diseases associated with obesity.

    The herb is native of Himalaya, because of its green color.

    Practical uses of Terminalia chebula

    • Haritaki is a miraculous herb with versatile effects and this single herb is used to cure various disorders associated with body.
    • Unripe fruit of this plant is used to treat diarrhea and dysentery. The fruit powder is used for purgation therapy.
    • Fruits are used for curative purposes and used to cure various disorders associated with obesity.
    • Ripe fruit is used for treating ophthalmic disorders, diseases of spleen and piles.
    • Fruit pulp is also rich in medicinal properties and acts as astringent to cure bleeding gums, loose gums and ulceration of gums.
    • Haritaki is very beneficial herb for gastro intestinal disorders and it gives wonderful results in splenic enlargement. It is also used to increase appetite.
    • Fruit paste is used externally to reduce inflammation, cleansing and quick healing of wounds.
    • Haritaki is very effective in gout, asthma and hiccups.
    • It acts as tonic for nervous system as very effective in nervous weakness and promotes power of senses.
    • The anti-inflammatory and astringent properties of haritaki are helpful in urinary tract infections.
    • It is used to pacify all three dosha i.e vata, pitta and kapha.

    Ayurvedic products from Terminalia chebula

    Parts used

    • Fruits
    • Roots
    • Bark

    Dosage

    • Powder - 3-6gm
    • Decoction - 30ml

    Cautions

    Cautions of Haritaki

    Haritaki is contraindicated for the patients of thirst, stomatitis, diseases of throat, acute fever, malnutrition and pregnancy.

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