Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) - The Queen of All Herbs
(Ref: Bhavaprakasa Nighantu)
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) is one among the wonder herbs in the nature and a divine code of life. The Sanskrit name 'Haritaki' denotes the divinity of the herb. Haritaki means which originated from the abode of Lord Shiva (Hari) or which is green (harita) or which cures all the diseases (harate).
- Kingdom - Plantae
- Order - Myrtales
- Family - Combretaceae
- Genus - Terminalia
- Species - Terminalia Chebula
- English - Yellow Myrobalan, Chebulic Myrobalan, Harde Whole
- Tamil - Kadukkai
- Malayalam - Kadukka
- Assamese - Xilikha
- Gujarati - Himmej
- Telugu - Karakkaya
- Hindi - Harad
- Marathi - Hirada
- Kannada - Alalekkayi
Abhaya, Pathya, Putana, Amrita, Haimavati, Avyadha, Chetaki, Shreyasi, Shiva, Vayastha, Vijaya, Jeevanthi, Rohini
Types of Haritaki in Ayurveda
- Vijaya - It is available in Vindhya mountains and endows with victory from all diseases
- Rohini - It is available in Sindh. The fruits are in circular shape and is very beneficial for ulcer healing
- Putana - It is commonly available at Himalaya Mountain. It is characterized with big fruit and small seeds. This type of Haritaki is best for external application.
- Amrita - It is usually seen in Champa regions. The fruit is characterized with a thick pulp and is best suited in all Panchakarma therapies.
- Abhaya - It is also seen in Champa areas and the fruit skin has five Rekha. Abhaya Haritaki is best for treating eye disorders.
- Jeevanti - It is available in Sourashtra regions and is in golden color. It is used in curing all kind of diseases.
- Chetaki - It is seen in the Himalayas. The fruit skin has 3 rekhas. Chetaki Haritaki is best used in powder (choorna) form. This is best for purgation therapy (sukha virechana).
- Chetaki Haritaki is of two types - Sweta & Krishna. Sweta chetaki Haritaki has a diameter of 6 angulas whereas Krishna chetaki Haritaki is of 1 angula. Chetaki Haritaki is the best medicine for emaciated and tender patients.
Of all the 7 kinds of Haritaki, Vijaya Haritaki is the best. It can be easily administered and made easily available. Vijaya Haritaki is an excellent remedy for all kinds of ailments.
Haritaki - Guna & Prabhava
- Rasa - madhura (sweet), amla (sour), tikta (bitter), katu (pungent), kashaya (astringent)
- Madhura, tikta, kashaya rasa - pacifies pitta & kapha
- Katu, tikta, kashaya, amla rasa - pacifies vata & aggravates piita
- Katu, amla rasa – aggravates vata
- Majja (fruit pulp) - madhura
- Snayu (fibres) & asthi - amla
- Vrintha (stalk) - tikta
- Twak (skin) - katu
- Asthi - kashaya
- Guna - rooksha, ushna, laghu, sara
- Veerya - ushna
- Vipaka - madhura
- Dosha Karma - tridosaghna (pacifies all the aggravated dosha - vata, pitta & kapha)
- Haritaki when taken with ghrita (ghee) - pacifies vata
- When taken with sharkara (sugar) - pacifies pitta
- When taken with lavana (salt) - pacifies kapha
- When taken with guda - pacifies all the tridosha
Karma - Dipana (digestive stimulant), medhya (intellect stimulant), rasayana (Rejuvenative), ayushya (increases longevity), cakshushya (good for eyes), brmhana (nourishing), anulomani (purgative).
Effect on diseases - Swasa (bronchitis), kasa (cough), prameha (diabetes), arshas (hemorrhoids), kushta (skin diseases), sotha (inflammation), udara (Ascites), krimi, vaiswarya (hoarseness of sound), grahani (digestive disorders), vibandha (constipation), visama jwara, gulma, adhmana, vrana (ulcers), chardi (vomiting), hikka (hiccup), thrishna (excessive thirst), kandu (itching), hrdamaya (heart diseases), kamala (jauindice), sula (pain), anaha (abdominal bloating), pliha (spleen disorders), yakrut (liver disorders), ashmari (urinary calculi), mutrakrccha (urinary obstruction), mutraaghata (urinary disorders) .
Lakshna of shreshta (superior) Haritaki - Fresh (nava), unctuous (snigdha), compact, round, heavy and once dipped in water, it sinks. These are qualities of superior type of Haritaki. Haritaki possessing these qualities are highly therapeutically effective.
Uses of Haritaki According to Seasons
- Summer seasons - Haritaki with equal quantity of guda
- Rainy seasons - Haritaki with adequate quantity of saindhava
- Autumn season - Haritaki with equal quantity of purified sugar
- Beginning of winter season - Haritaki with sunthi
- Later part of winter season - Haritaki with pippali
- Spring season - Haritaki with honey
Different Ways of Using Haritaki & Its Therapeutic Effect
- Haritaki when chewed - promotes digestive fire
- Haritaki when used in paste form - cleanses the bowel
- Haritaki when steam boiled - constipative
- Haritaki when fried - pacifies all tridosha
Fruits, Roots & Bark
- Powder - 3 gms to 6 gms
- Decoction - 30 ml
Contraindications to Use of Haritaki
- Persons who are extremely exhausted by travelling
- Who lost the luster of skin
- Rooksha (dry skin)
- Emaciated by fasting
- When there is pitta aggravation
- During pregnancy
- One who are without willpower
Therapeutic Uses & Indications of Haritaki
- For Purgation - 6 gms of bark powder with hot water in early morning causes purgation
- Hemorrhoids, Ascites, obesity, dyslipidemia - bark is kept in gomutra overnight. This washed and paste made is taken in the morning
- Throat infection - Haritaki with honey
- Digestive problems - Haritaki with guda
- Enlargement of scrotum - bark is boiled in gomutra and then dried and powdered. This is taken in early morning
- To cure diarrhea - Haritaki & pippali powder with hot water
- Inflammation & wound healing - fruit paste applied externally
As already stated, Haritaki is a wonder herb. All the plant parts have excellent therapeutic effects. Bone diseases are best treated with roots, skin with the bark; muscles are healed by the stem, and leaves treat the hollow organ. In Ayurveda, fruits are often used, as the fruits possess the magic to normalize all the Neuro endocrine functions of the body, thereby stabilizing the homeostasis of the body.
Haritaki is enriched with a lot of therapeutically active chemicals and antioxidants. These include arjunglucoside I, arjungenin, chebulosides I and II, chebulin, gallic acid, chebulinic acid, terflavin B, etc. Haritaki is empowered with most strong antioxidants, anthocyanidins. These antioxidants have the efficiency to neutralize the free radicals. Haritaki can also initiate anti-tumor activities in the human body.
The divinity of Haritaki is well depicted from its power of rejuvenation and regeneration. There will be a substantial increase in the threshold of adaptation external negative impulses, by taking Haritaki regularly. This enhances the learning ability & memory.
Yes. Haritaki is really a divine code of a life and a king empowered with supernatural powers.