Terminalia bellirica is known by many names depending on the region, including Bhibhitaki, Belleric Myrobalan, and Bihara. It is a deciduous tree in the Combretaceae family, is common throughout India and Southeast Asia, and can be found at up to 3,600 feet elevation. It is an impressive tree, growing up to 60 feet in height, with a thick buttressed trunk and leaves that assemble towards the end of the branches, giving it a full, rounded canopy. Bhibhitaki makes a good choice for an avenue tree, as it is quick growing and can tolerate varying soils types and rainfall. The fruits can be used for its tannins for tanning leather, as a source of black and brown dye, and as a medicine.
What is Belleric Myrobalan Used For?
Terminalia bellirica fruit has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine as a paste mixed with buttermilk or as a tea. It is used as an alterative, meaning that it supports the elimination processes in the body. It is considered a rasayana, or rejuvenative tonic to the kapha dosha, a dosha/constitution associated with sluggishness. Bhibhitaki was utilized in a variety of gastrointestinal complaints, and is considered to be a restorative tonic to the bowels, while also being a gentle laxative.* The laxative action of T. bellirica on the bowels may be modulated by its astringent and anti-spasmodic properties, leading to a tonifying result. Its alterative properties can also promote normal secretions in the lungs.* Moving up the body, Bhibhitaki is helpful for the upper respiratory tract, and for the eyes and vision.* Lastly, Bhibhitaki is even said to be a rasayana to the brain.* The fruits of T. bellirica comprise one of three berries that make up Triphala, a traditional formulation in Ayurvedic medicine. Triphala, a name that refers to its 3-berry composition, is used for a wide array of purposes. Triphala is thought to be a tri-doshic remedy, meaning that it is balancing to all constitutions and body types (vata, kapha, and pitta). T. bellirica makes up 1/3rd of the Triphala formula, and is thought to be more supportive to the kapha dosha. Terminalia chebula, commonly called Haritaki, makes up another third of the formula, and is more associated with the vata dosha. Phyllanthus emblica, commonly called Amalaki, comprises the last 3rd, and is more correlated with the pitta dosha. The result of this tribunal of herbs is a tri-doshic formula that is used for an expanse of conditions, with a focus on the liver and gastrointestinal tract.*It is said of Triphala; “No mother? Do not worry so long as you have Triphala.” Indian people believe that Triphala can care for the internal organs as a mother cares for her children. References to the use of Triphala can be found in the Sushrut Samhita, which is dated to 1500 BC. The Sushruta Samhita contains 184 chapters and descriptions of 1120 illnesses, 700 medicinal plants, and a detailed study on anatomy.
Traditional Health Benefits of Belleric Myrobalan
Additional Information on this Herb
Phytosterols including β-sitosterol, flavonoids including quercitin, 7-neo-hespiridosylluteolin, 4,7-dimethyl quercitin, and 3-rutinosyl-kaempferol, triterpenoids, glycosides, tannins, phenolic compounds including gallic acid, ellagic acid, tannic acid, ethyl gallate, chebulic acid, lignans, tannins, mannitol, glucose, fructose, and rhamnose.
1.) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=506158#null2.) Nadkarni, K.M. Dr. K.M. Nadkarni’s Indian Materia Medica. Vol. 1. 3rd Edition. Bombay Popular Prakashan. 1976. 3.) Abraham A, Mathew L, Samuel S. Pharmacognostic studies of the fruits of Terminalia bellerica (Gaertn.) Roxb. J Pharmacogn Phytochem. 2014;3(2):45–52.4.) Saraswathi MN, Karthikeyan M, Kannan M, Rajasekar S. Terminalia belerica. Roxb – a phytopharmacological review. Int J Res Pharm Biomed Sci. 2012;3(1):96–99.5.) Dass, Vishnu. Ayurvedic Herbology East & West. A Practical Guide to Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine. Lotus Press: Twin Lakes WI. 2013. 6.) http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb/AFTPDFS/Terminalia_bellirica.PDF7.) Cardon, Dominique. Natural Dyes: Sources, Tradition, Technology and Science. Archetype Publications. 2007. 8.) Bhishagratna K. An English Translation of the Sushruta Samhita, Based on Original Sanskrit Text, with a Full and Comprehensive Introd., Additional Texts, Different Readings, Notes, Comparative Views, Index, Glossary And Plates, 2nd ed. Varanasi, India: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 1963.9.) Belleric Myrobalan Fruit, Vibhitaka, Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb. Standards of Identity Analysis, Quality Control, and Therapeutics. American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium. 10.) Peterson, Christine et al. Therapeutic Uses of Triphala in Ayurvedic Medicine. THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE. Volume 23, Number 8, 2017, pp. 607–614.11.) Belapurkar, Pranoti et al. Immunomodulatory Effects of Triphala and its Individual Constituents: A Review. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2014 Nov-Dec; 76(6): 467–475.
Not for use during pregnancy and lactation. Consult a physician if you are taking any prescription medications.
- This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.
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