Species chebula Rtz.
Terminaliya chebula has always been a popular topic among the interested ones to decipher its true nature and amazing characteristics. “Haritaki”, in Sanskrit, has a significant value in Ayurveda, an alternative medical system, and also known with different names, such as ‘Harro’, ‘Pththya’ (means it is an all time good herb for everyone), ‘Haritaki’(means one which is originated from Hari's (God's) home or which is green in nature; here green stands for faith and fertility. Or that carries away all the illnesses from the body), ‘Rohini’, ‘Kaayastha’, ‘Abhaya’ (that makes a person fear free from all the diseases and discomforts), ‘Jivanti’, ‘Amritaa’(means it is like nectar for the body), ‘Vijaya’ and ‘Chetaki’. It (Black Myrobalan or Chebulic Myrobalan) is called Harro in Nepali, Harad, Haritaki, Inknut, or Harada in Urdu and Hindi, Aralu in Sri Lanka, Hirada in Marathi, Kadukkai in Tamil, Horitoky in Bengali, Hilikha in Assamese, Karakkaya in Telugu, he zi in Chinese and Arura in Tibetan. Many big trees (more than 100 species) belong to the genus Terminalia of them belong to the family Combretaceae. The genus of this plant comes from the Latin word “terminus”, as the leaves of the tree are located at the end of the branches .
It is observed as the “King of medicines” in the Ayurvedic meteria medica and Traditional Tibetan medicine because of its extraordinary powers of healing and native to southern Asia from India and Nepal east to southwestern China (Yunnan), and south to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Vietnam. It is observed as a medicine to destroy all diseases and scrapes out all wastes from the body and again, it is known to promote tissue growth at the same time. These are some of the reasons behind the importance in Ayurveda.
It is a deciduous tree growing to 30-metre (98 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 1-metre (3 ft 3 in) in diameter. The leaves are distant, alternate to subopposite in arrangement, oval, 7–8-centimetre (2.8–3.1 in) long and 4.5–10-centimetre (1.8–3.9 in) broad with a 1–3-centimetre (0.39–1.2 in) petiole with long, soft, shining, rust coloured or silvery hairs and wither in the cold season. The flower is dull white or yellowish with a strong offensive smell and blooms in April to May. The fruit is drupe-like, 2–4.5-centimetre (0.79–1.8 in) long and 1.2–2.5-centimetre (0.47–0.98 in) broad, blackish, with five longitudinal ridges and it forms in November to January.
In Hinduism, a marvelous story is related to the origin of this fruit in Sanhitaa. Once Mata Laxmi, Bhagavati, and Saraswati reached the Prabhaasa Tirtha and there, they wanted to worship Harihara offering some fruits with lots of best qualities. They were thinking over and over and in the due course, tears rolled down and dropped on the earth from the eyes of all of them producing three different trees and the fruits from those trees are called “Harro/Haritaki/Terminaliya chebula”, “Barro/” and “Amalaa”. They were happy to see plants grown out of their tear drops and when the fruits were ready to pick up, they did Puja of Harihara offering those three fruits. These three fruits have great significance in Hinduism because of its origin; directly from the tear drops of three divine mothers. It is considered that “Harro/Haritaki” made out of Ma Laxmi’s tears, “Barro/” made out of Ma Bhagavati’s tears, and “Amala/” made from Ma Saraswati’s tears.
These could be metaphors for the benefits related with the fruits. Since Ma Laxmi represents the prosperity, welfare and everything that anyone wants out of this material life, ‘Harro’ might have that benefits that help anyone to get all of those amenities of lives. If you were healthy and had broad wisdom, you would have better chance to earn money and utilize all of those facilities. Ma Bhagavati represents the serenity or peace of soul and mind and when you eat ‘Barro/’, it might help to get peace in soul and mind. And Ma Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom and the story might be pointing at benefits to the brain eating ‘Amala/’.
There is another story as well. That says when Indra (King of all deities in Hindu mythology) was once drinking some kind of nectar in the heaven and mistakenly, a drop out of the tumbler dropped on the earth and it produced the plant of ‘Haritak’.
People might get confused with the mythology but most of the time mythology hides some secrets within. Even if it does not have any secrets and literally plain in interpretation, the plant still has different species in existence and these stories could be for two different species.
Sanskrit Name: Haritaki
Parts used: Fruits
Types of Fruits—
Vijaya looks just like a squash and can be used in all cases.
Rohini is round in shape and more effective for healing.
Putana is small in size with big hard seeds and is useful for external plastering.
Amrita is fleshier and good for body purification.
Abhaya has five lobes and is more effective for ophthalmic use (external).
Jivanti is yellow in color and good for all cases.
Chetaki has three lobes, is good to use in the form of powder, and is more laxative than the others. Chetaki comes in two varieties—white and black.
Guna: Laghu, Ruksha
Rasa: Madhura, katu, tiktha, kashaya, and amla. Only Lavana is absent.
Mridu Virechaka (mild laxative),
Tridoshahara [cures all the three humors (doshas)],
Agnideepaka (enhances bio-assimilation),
Medhakara (enhances memory),
Rasayana (rejuvenating, prevents aging and disease),
Netra Hithakara (good for eyes),
Laghu Paki (digests easily),
Ayurvardhaka (increases life span),
Brimhana (nourishes body tissues)
This tree yields smallish, ribbed and nut-like fruits which are picked when still green and then pickled, boiled with a little added [[sugar in their own syrup or used in preserves. Some people in Nepal pick the fruit premature and called it ‘Kaalo Harro’ meaning black Haritaki.
The major bio-active constituents of the fruit are tannins, anthraquinones, chebulinic acid, chebulagic acid, chebulic acid, ellagic acid and gallic acid. The other minor compounds include corilegin, β-D-glucogallin, glucose and sorbitol. Polyphenolic compounds, triterpene glycosides, terchebulin, punicalagin, terflavin A, flavonoids, reducing sugars and starch are other constituents of the fruit. Terpenene glycosides, arjungenin and arjunglucoside-I. 18 amino acids and a small quantity of phosphoric, succinic, syringic and quinic acids.
Chebulinic acid - R= H
Chebulagic acid - RR = bond
The trees that belong to this genus are known as a good secondary source of metabolites: Cyclic triterpenes and derivatives, flavonoids, tannins and other aromatic metabolites. Some of these substances are antifungal, antibacterial, anticarcinogen and hepatoprotective.
It is the fruits that are used for treating diseases. The matured fruits are normally harvested during the autumn season and this is the time these fruits are supposed to have the strongest medicinal and laxative effects. Drying the fruit properly in the sun to make it powder reduces the laxative effect slightly and cooking or steaming reduces it even further due to the oxidation of the laxative chemicals. Those traditional doctors disapprove of cooking the fruits when it should be sun-dried (a tedious process) because it is thought to weaken the herb’s medicinal effectiveness.
Haritaki fruit embodies all the tastes except salt in it and it is also tridosagna meaning it can be used for any types of health imbalances. Furthermore, it is an anulomanum; a mild laxative that aids in digestion. The fruit is part of triphala, the three-fruit formula. It is generally administered in triphala form rather than by itself to draw upon the tonic effects. Each of the triphala fruits is tonic, and together they act to balance the three primary balancing forces, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. To bring out two opposing actions within a given product, Ayurvedic doctors administer it with warm water to strengthen the laxative action, and with ice cold water to promote the astringent action. For example, the juice mixed with cold water can be used as a mouthwash to treat spongy gums.
Topical Use of Terminalia chebula
Its paste with water is found to be anti-inflammatory, analgesic and having purifiying and healing capacity for wounds. Its decoction as a lotion is surgical dressing for healing the wound earlier.
Equal parts of three myrobalans and catechu are made in a paste with clarified butter or some blandwork as an ointment in chronic ulcerations, ulcerated wounds and other skin diseases with discharge. These ointments could be a substitute for Gall ointments used in Britain.
These are used for astringent purpose in hemorrhoids as well. Its decoction is used as gargle in oral ulcers, sore throat. Its powder is a good astringent dentrifice in loose gums, bleeding and ulceration in gums.
Terminalia Chebula & Abdominal Disorders
· It is good to increase the appetite, as digestive aid, Liver stimulant, as stomachic, as gastrointestinal prokinetic agent, and mild laxative.
· Haritaki has proven gastrokinetic effect i.e. it helps in moving the contents of stomach earlier. So it can be used after surgeries and as adjuvant with other drugs that interfere with gastric motility as antihistaminics, atropine like drugs.
· Base on its comprehensive properties, it promotes appetite and helps in digestion.
· It stimulates the liver and protects it further by expelling the waste excretory products from the intestines.
· The powder of Haritaki has been used in chronic diarrhea, sprue with good results. It should be used as hot infusion in these disorders. It is indicated in Protracted diarrhea with hematochezia and prolapse of rectum.
· For persons with excessive gas in intestine, , it is a good herb that can be taken daily. it will these conditions smoothly.
· One compound Chebulagic acid from Haritaki has shown antispasmodic action like that of Papaverine.
· Being a mild laxative, it is a mild herbal colon cleanse. With its other properties, it provides some help in conditions with Liver and Spleen enlargement and in Ascites. It is not a strong purgative like other herbs as Senna. It does the cleansing action very smoothly. Further it can be taken for a long time without any ill effects.
· In Ayurveda haritaki is the best for 'Srotoshodhana' or purifying the channels of body.
Besides, those mentioned above it has lots of benefits depending upon the ways of taking it. For instance,
- one compound Chebulagic acid from Haritaki has shown antispasmodic action like that of Papaverine.
- Haritaki can serve to act as an effective alternative to modern prokinetic drugs like metaclopramide.
- Gallic acid and its ethyl ester, isolated from Terminalia chebula, displayed potent antimicrobial activity against several bacteria, including methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (Sato et al 1998). A crude extract of Terminalia chebula is reported to have potent and broad spectrum antibacterial activity against human pathogenic Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria (Phadke and Kulkarni 1989).
- Haritaki is reported to have antiherpes simplex virus type 1 activity (Kurokawa et al 1995). Haritaki showed a significant inhibitory activity on the effects on human immunodeficiency virus-1 reverse transcriptase (el-Mekkawy et al 1995).
· A water extract of Terminalia chebula was found to have an antifungal activity.
Some notes on the methods of using –
· If you eat it making paste, it would cleanse your stomach.
· If you eat it cooking on the fire straightway, it will remove your tridosha.
· If you eat it with foods, it will give you strength and wisdom.
· If taken after meals Haritaki prevents imbalance of any of the humors due to bad food or drink.
· Haritaki maintains the balance of all the three Doshas. When taken with Lavana (Rock salt) it pacifies the aggravated Kapha, with sugar the Pitta and with Ghruta (Indian clarified butter) the Vata.
· Haritaki gives different results according to the mode of taking i.e. when chewed it ignites the digestive fire, when taken after making a paste it ensures the timely evacuation of the feces and when taken after roasting it balances all the three Doshas.
· Haritaki is the drug of choice for rejuvenation for all the seasons. This is called as the "Ritu Haritaki". In rainy season it should be taken with Saindhava (Rock salt), in autumn with sugar, in early winter with Shunthi, in late winter with Pippali, in spring season with honey and in summer season it should be taken with Guda (Jaggery).
· If you use its powder as toothpaste, it will make your teeth stronger and healthy.
· It would be very helpful to reduce your eye problems, if you wash your eyes with the water that is with Haritaki for the whole night in it.
· Make a paste grinding Soaked Haritaki using rose water and apply it to darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes, that would help to fix poor eyesights.
· If you take 2/5 grams powder of Haritaki daily, it would help to prevent the internal bleeding from mouth and throat.
· Boil ½ liter water with 10 grams of Haritaki powder and reduce it up to 75% and mix little bit of Alum (potassium aluminium sulfate) on that and do gargling with that, it will help to heal the wounds and other skin and gum problems of your mouth and throat.
· If you problems on your face, like, bacterial infections, dark spots et cetera, make a paste grinding the whole-night-soaked Haritaki using raw milk or rose water and mix the paste with honey and apply it on your face at night when you go to the bed and wash it in the morning, it will help your face to glow.
· Soak one teaspoon ground Haritaki for the whole night in 200ml of water and the next day boil it and reduce it up to half and strain it immediately and mix honey with the filtrate and drink it as hot as you can. (Make sure you are not going to burn yourself)