Vibhitaki, Bibhitaki or Baheda are common names of Terminalia bellirica. The literal meaning of Bibhitaka in Sanskrit is one that keeps away from the diseases. It belongs to family Combretaceae. The other medicinal tree belonging to Combretaceae are Rangoon creeper or MadhuMalti, Arjuna, Haritaki etc.
Bibhitaki tree is found throughout India and its fruits, leaves and bark are used in Traditional medicine system for treatment of diseases. The fruits are useful in treatment of many digestive disorders such as diarrhoea, dyspepsia, biliousness etc. Baheda fruits are also useful in treatment of cough, bronchitis and upper respiratory tract infections, tropical pulmonary eosinophilia and allergic eruptions. It is one of the three fruits, in Ayurvedic preparation Triphala (Tri=Three, Phala=Fruits). For medicinal purpose the dried pericarp of fruit is used.
- Assamese: Bhomora, Bhomra, Bhaira
- Bengali: Bayada, Baheda
- English: Beleric Myrobalan
- Gujrati: Bahedan
- Hindi: Bahera
- Kannada: Tare kai, Shanti Kayi
- Kashmiri: Babelo, Balali
- Malayalam: Tannikka
- Marathi: Baheda
- Oriya: Baheda
- Punjabi: Bahera
- Tamil: Thanrikkai
- Telugu: Thanikkaya
- Urdu: Bahera
Description of Terminalia belerica tree
Terminalia belerica or Vibhitaka is found throughout Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, and South East Asia, up to 900 m elevation.
Large deciduous tree with a buttressed trunk;Height up to 20-30 m;thick brownish grey bark with shallow longitudinal fissures;Leaves: Crowded around the ends of the branches, alternately arranged, margins entire, elliptic to elliptic: obovate, rounded tip or sub-acute, midrib prominent, pubescent when young and becoming glabrous with maturity;Flowers pale greenish yellow with an offensive odor, borne in axillary spikes longer than the petioles but shorter than leaves.
Properties and Action of Terminalia belerica fruits
The Fruit of the tree are nearly spherical to ovoid, 2.5-4.0 cm in diameter, fresh ripe fruits slightly silvery or with whitish shiny pubescent surface, mature fruits grey or grayish brown with slightly wrinkled appearance, rind of fruit shows variation in thickness from 3-5 mm. The fruits ripen in November.
Constituents of Fruits
Bibhitaka fruits contain several phytochemical (chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants) constituents, such as beta-sitosterol, gallic acid and ellagic acids, ethyl gallate, galloyl glucose, chebulagic acid and a cardiac glycoside, bellaricanin. These chemicals give bibhitaka its therapeutic values.
- Rasa: Kashaya
- Guna: Laghu, Ruksha
- Virya: Ushna (hot)
- Vipaka: Madhura (sweet)
- Karma: Cakshuya (eyes), Keshya, Kapha-Pitta har, Kasa har
Action of Bahera Fruits on body
- Liver protecting activity
- Hypotensive effect
- Expectorant and bronchodilator
- Antimicrobial, Anthelmintic, Anti-ulcer
- Tonic for eye
Traditional Uses of of Bibhitaki
Bahera fruits are very useful in treatment of diseases due to kapha and pitta dosha. In excess it increases vata inside body. The Fruits are bitter, analgesic, astringent, brain tonic, expectorant and laxative.
In aggravation of Kapha in body, the oral intake of bahera helps to clear kapha due to the astringent and expectorant action. It is an excellent remedy for catarrhal condition, congestion, cough, bronchitis, asthma, and sore throats.
The laxative action of fresh fruits is more compared to dried fruits. The dried fruits are useful in treating piles, diarrhoea, dysentery, parasitic worms, as these are binding and astringent.
Vibhitaki fruits have liver protecting action and useful in jaundice and gall bladder stones.
The fruits are good for brain and heart. These have ability to lower cholesterol level.
The fruits are also used externally. These are antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. The paste is applied on cuts, wounds, and skin diseases. The pulp of fresh fruit is applied on corneal ulcers.
For medicinal purpose, the powder of dried Bahera fruit is taken in dosage of 3-6 grams. For cough, cold and throat problems, it is taken with honey.