Terminalia chebula is a tree in the Combretaceae family, found wild in the forests of India and surrounding countries at high altitudes, that produces a fruit known as a myrobalan. The herb is known as Haritaki, Chebulic myrobalan, Bihara, and Harada in different dialects, and is one of the three fruits found in the traditional formulation of Triphala. It is named Haritaki after ‘harita’, which means green, and because it is sacred to Lord Shiva, known as ‘Hara,’ and grows in the Himalayas where Lord Shiva was thought to reside. Haritaki is a very important herb in Ayurveda, thought to promote fearlessness, feed the brain and nervous system, and bring awareness and wisdom. The Buddha is often portrayed in Tibetan sacred pictures with a Haritaki fruit in his hand.
What is Chebulic Myrobalan Used For?
Chebulic myrobalan is used as a bowel regulatory tonic and gentle laxative in Traditional Ayurvedic Medicine. It has emollient properties and bitter principles that encourage peristalsis and proper digestion. It contains five tastes: sour, sweet, pungent, bitter, and astringent, with the most predominant being bitter and astringent. It is considered balancing for all three doshas (constitutions), but especially rejuvenative to the vata dosha, which is associated with air and movement. Haritaki supports healthy digestive function and the natural cleansing process of the body through the intestines and urinary tract.* Because of its astringency, it supports the integrity of tissues along the entire digestive tract, and is used to promote normal secretions of all mucosal membranes in the digestive, urinary, reproductive, and respiratory systems.* It is also used as a gargle for supporting healthy oral tissues.* Haritaki is used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote healthy vision, brain function, and even longevity.* The fruits of Terminalia chebulica 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. 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 Chebulic Myrobalan
Additional Information on this Herb
Tannins: gallic acid, ellagic acid, chebulinic acid, maslinic acid, punicalin, terflavins, flavonoids; Triterpenoid glycosides: Chebulosides, arjunin, hydroxyursolic acid, arjunglucoside; anthraquinones, saponins
1.)Belapurkar P, Goyal P, & Tiwari-Barua P. Immunomodulatory effects of Triphala and its individual constituents: A review. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2014 Nov-Dec; 76(6): 467-475. 2.)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. 3.)Dash B & Kashyap L. Materia Medica of Ayurveda. 1980. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company 4.)Dass, Vishnu. Ayurvedic Herbology East & West: A Practical Guide to Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine. 2013. Lotus Press: Twin Lakes WI. 5.)Frawley D & Lad V. The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. 1986. Lotus Press: Twin Lakes, WI. 6.)Nadkarni, K.M. Dr. K.M. Nadkarni’s Indian Materia Medica. Vol. 1. 3rd Edition. 1976. Bombay Popular Prakashan. 7.)Peterson CT, Denniston K, & Chopra D. Therapeutic uses of Triphala in Ayurvedic Medicine. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2017; 23(8): 607-614. 8.)Williamson E (Ed.) Major Herbs of Ayurveda. 2002. Churchill Livingstone: London.
Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.
- 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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