Haritaki or Terminalia chebula is a flowering evergreen tree native to Asia. The fruits of this tree are extensively used in traditional medicine system Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and homeopathy. The pericarp of mature fruits of Haritaki tree constitutes the drug. A very famous, effective, and commonly used medicine that contains the dried harad fruit is Triphala (three fruits).
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Haritaki tree is considered divine. According to Indian mythology, Haritaki originated from the drops of Amrit that fell on earth. Since this tree is sacred to God Shiv (Har means God Shiv), so it is called Haritaki.
Haritaki is not only used in India, but also in Africa, Tibet, and many other Asian countries. It has broad-spectrum medicinal qualities and used in treatment of variety of diseases such as digestive system diseases, cardiovascular diseases, vata roga (gout, rheumatism), paralysis, epilepsy and many more. Harar is Rasayana drug of Ayurveda. Rasayan are those, which gives youthfulness, and longevity. As per Ayurveda, daily intake of Haritaki regularizes all the normal functions of the body and maintains good health.
Haritaki contains many biologically active chemicals that enables it to effectively treat several diseases.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Division: Magnoliophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Order: Myrtales
- Family: Combretaceae
- Genus: Terminalia
- Species: Chebula
- Sanskrit: Abhaya, Kayastha, Pathya, Vijaya, Haritaki, Himaja
- Bengali: Haritaki
- English: Myrobalan
- Gujrati: Hirdo, Himaja, Pulo-harda
- Hindi: Harre, Harad, Harar
- Kannada: Alalekai
- Kashmiri: Halela
- Malayalam: Katukka
- Marathi: Hirda, Haritaki, Harda, Hireda
- Oriya: Harida
- Punjabi: Halela, Harar
- Tamil: Kadukkai
- Telugu: Karaka, Karakkaya
- Urdu: Halela
- Other common names: Black myrobalan, Ink tree, Chebulic myrobalan
Description of tree
Evergreen, branched, medium to large deciduous tree with a height up to 30 m;Leaves are 10-30 cm long elliptical with an acute tip and cordate base;Flowers: short stalked, monoecious, dull white to yellow with a strong unpleasant odour, found in simple terminal spikes or short panicles;Fruits:3-6 cm long and 1.3-1.5 cm broad yellowish-green ovoid drupes containing one oval seed;
Depend ending on variety of fruits obtained from tree, T. chebula is classified in 7 types. But nowadays, only two varieties, Badi and Choti Harad are used in drug preparation.
Haritaki tree is found throughout India. It is also found in neighbouring countries, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China Egypt, Iran and Turkey.
Properties and Action of Haritaki Fruits
Rasa: Madhura (sweet), Amla (sour), Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter), Kashya (astringent)
Guna: Laghu (light), Ruksha (dry)
Virya: Ushna (hot)
Vipaka: Madhura (sweet)
Karma: Cakshuya (eyes), Dipana, Hridya (heart), Medhya (brain), Rasayana, Anulomana (Mild laxative, carminative)
Haritaki is a useful herb to treat diseases that occur due to derangement of Vata-Kapha dosha.
Haritaki or Terminalia chebula contains several phytochemical (chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants) constituents, including chebulic acid, gallic acid, ellagic acid, tannic acid, amino acids, flavonoids like luteolin, rutins and quercetin etc. These chemicals gives the tree its therapeutic values. The fruits of tree are antioxidant, carminative, astringent, expectorant, gentle purgative, laxative, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal.
Uses of Terminalia chebula
Haritaki is used in treatment of numerous diseases. The Anupan or fluid vehicle for taking medicine depends on the disease to be treated. In case of disease is due to derangement of vata or Vata dosha, it is used with ghee, for pitta dosha with sugar and for kapha dosha with rock salt.
It is a rasayana phal that promotes good health. It improves appetite and digestion. It is a liver stimulant and laxative. The intake of harad fruit with meals helps in proper digestion, and thus improves health.
Haritaki intake with honey and ghee cures anaemia.
Haritaki is useful in eye diseases, swelling, joint pain, and fever. It has astringent action due to which it stops bleeding from tissues.
Haritaki fruits are also used externally. The topical application of dried fruits paste on scalds, ulcers, wounds, and skin diseases gives relief in condition. It also prevents accumulation of pus. The paste is also applied on swelling, inflammations and in conjunctivitis. Haritaki oil application on burn injuries helps in wound healing. The gargles with harad fruit decoction give excellent results in stomatitis and problems of the throat. The fine powder of haritaki is used as tooth powder.
Haritaki is a useful drug to treat flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, dysentery, cyst, digestive disorders, vomiting, enlarged liver and spleen, cough and bronchial asthma.
Medicines Containing Harad
Harar Murabba is brain tonic with memory improving properties. It is good for eyes. It is good for digestive system and works as gastric tonic.
Haritaki Churna mainly used for constipation, cough, stomach and skin bacterial and fungi infections.
Pathyadi Kadha is indicated in treatment shiro roga (Headache;also called shirah shula or shiro tapa), Migraine, Headaches due to eyestrain. It reduces the intensity and frequency of migraine attacks.
Harad Funki If someone have some digestion problem then he/she can take one or 2 tablets with 250 ml lukewarm water.
Panchsakar powder is useful in treating abdominal diseases. It is a useful formulation for managing constipation and piles/haemorrhoids. The medicine improves digestive strength and thus useful in curing indigestion. It also gives relief in gas, abdominal bloating and colic pain.
Divya Medohar Vati is for curing obesity & for weight loss and is manufactured by Swami Ramdev’s Divya Pharmacy.
Gandharva Haritaki Churna has purgative and laxative action. It evacuates bowel and removes toxins from body.
Gomutra Haritaki is a broad spectrum medicine and useful in treating variety of diseases. It is a classical medicine and described in ancient Ayurvedic texts Charakasamhita, Sushrutasamhita, and Ashtangahridayam.
Haritaki Khand is a medicine for digestive system. Its oral intake cures bloating, hyperacidity, digestive weakness and constipation.
Chitrak Haritaki Avaleha is very effective medicine in semi-solid form which is used in treatment of chronic cold, cough, bronchitis etc.
Dashamul Haritaki Rasayan is a tonic. It is used in treatment of variety of diseases.
Vyaghri Haritaki Avaleha is used for improving appetite, promoting digestion, and treating cough.
Danti haritaki is medicine is good for digestive system diseases and also acts as purgative that help to remove toxins from body.
Agastya Rasayana is Ayurvedic medicine which strengthens respiratory system and used to treat respiratory infections and allergies.