Botanical Name: Terminalia Chebula,
Family Name: Combretaceae
Popular Name(s): Black Myrobalan, Chebulic Myrobalan, Hardh, Ink Tree, Harar, Hardad, Indian Gall Nut
Parts Used: Fruit, Root, Bark.
Habitat: Grown throughout India
The deciduous Haritaki tree grows at an altitude of 1,800 meters. The round tree is crowned and branches spread out, with a diameter of 1.5 to 2.5 meters. The long ovate leaves are acute, in opposite pairs about 10 to 20 cm long. The flowers are dull white with spikes and can be found at the end of the branches. The fruit is hard and yellowish green in color. Each fruit has a single seed that is light yellow in color. The tree can be found in the sub Himalayan tracks, from Ravi to West Bengal and in the deciduous forests of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Maharashtra. It is known as haritaki, abhaya and pathya in Sanskrit; harad in Hindi; hirada in Marathi; alalekaayi in Kannada; kadukkai in Tamil; horitoky in Bengali; xilikha in Assamese and karakkaya in Telugu.
Uses & Benefits of Haritaki
- Haritaki has laxative, rejuvenative, purgative, astringent and dry properties.
- The paste of its fruit is effective in reducing swelling, hastening the healing process and cleansing the wounds and ulcers.
- The paste gives relief to the eyelids, in case of conjunctivitis.
- Gargling with haritaki decoction helps in stomatitis, oral ulcers and sore throat.
- It serves as a good astringent for loose gums, bleeding and ulceration in gums.
- The herb is used in preparing ‘Triphala’ that is used for hair wash, brush teeth in pyorrhea and treat bleeding gums.
- Regular consumption of haritaki powder, fried in ghee, promotes longevity and boosts energy.
- It responds well to gastrointestinal ailments, tumors, ascites, piles, enlargement of liver-spleen, worms and colitis.
- Powdered haritaki, mixed with jaggery, works well in gout.
- Its powder, when mixed with honey and ghee, is an effective remedy for anemia.
- Haritaki is combined with sunthi powder and given with hot water to lighten asthma and hiccups.
- Its decoction, when taken along with honey, is of great help in hepatitis and obesity.
- The herb improves memory and is salutary in dysuria and urinary stones.
- Haritaki helps in improving appetite and helps in digestion.
- It is a good nervine and helps in nervous weakness and nervous irritability and promotes the receiving power of the five senses.
- Since it is anti-inflammatory and astringent, it is helpful in urethral discharges like spermatorrhea and vaginal discharges like leucorrhea.
- Haritaki should be sparingly used by lean individuals and pregnant women.
- It should be avoided in severe debility, mental depression, while fasting and vitiated pitta conditions.