Author: Dr Ranjeet Singh
English Name- Myrobalans; Chebulic myrobalans
Latin Name- Terminalia chebula
Sanskrit Names-Haritaki, Haimanti, Shiva, Pathya, Rohini etc.
Haritaki ( Terminalia chebula ) is an important and popular drug used by the practitioners of traditional medicine. Haritaki ( Terminalia chebula ) possesses a great therapeutic value and is widely distributed in India, up to an altitude of 1500 m. Haritaki ( Terminalia chebula ) is held in high esteem in Ayurveda for its properties to prevent and cure diseases. It has enjoyed the prime place among medicinal herb in India since ancient times. It is called the “King of Medicine” and is always listed first in Ayurveda because of its extraordinary therapeutic benefits. Fruit rind is used as medicine and is one of the ingredients in Triphala. This plant is used externally in wound healing, fungal infection, inflammation of mucous membrane of the mouth, In conjuctivitis, it can be used for application on the eyelids and internally as a rejuvenative, astringent, purgative, stomachic, and laxative. Survari haritaki, chambhari (rangari) haritaki and bala haritaki are the types of haritaki used in practice.
Varieties of haritaki
Depending on fruits, haritaki is classified into seven types, a type called vijaya is considered to be the best.
- Vijaya– oval in shape
- Rohini- round in shape
- Pootana- small and less bulky
- Amruta- bulky
- Abhaya- fruit has five lines on it
- Jeevani- yellow in colour
- Chetaki- found in the Himalayas- having three lines on it
In practice, however, three types of haritaki are found viz; Survari haritaki, chambhari (rangari) haritaki and bala haritaki. When the fruit of haritaki falls off from the tree, the seed gets hard and call bala haritaki. Sometimes, the fruit are plucked and dried while the seeds have not hardened; this is also called bala haritaki. Chambhari haritaki is an immature fruit of haritaki, where as fully mature fruit of haritaki is called survari haritaki. A fruit of haritaki which doesn’t float in water, which is fresh, smooth, bulky, round in shape and weighs at least 26 grams is considered ideal for medicinal use.
Therapeutic uses of haritaki
Useful in weakness of the nerves and brain as well as in vata disorders and diminished vision.
Useful in loss of appetite, pain in abdomen, constipation, gulma, ascites, heamorrhoids, hepatomegali, splenomegali and parasites. It relieves constipation in chronic abdominal disease and also helps in digestion of ama. The bark of haritaki, if eaten after chewing it properly in the mouth, improves digestion. Powdered Haritaki reduces constipation. A fine powder of haritaki is used as a tooth powder, it strengthens the gums.
Since haritaki is raktagami (exhibiting much action on rakta dhatu or blood) exhibiting mouth action on Raktha to it is used in weakness of heart, Vata-rakta and other disorders of the blood.
Rhinitis (due to constipation), cough hoarseness of voice, hiccups ,and dyspnea are relieved by Haritaki as it reduces congestion.
Useful in shukrameha, Leucorrhea and act as uterine tonic.
Useful in dysuria, retention of urine, calculus and kaphaja prameha.
Useful in erypelas and other skin disorders, haritaki prevents accumulation of pus in skin diseases and act as rasayana. Haritaki added with oil is extremely useful in healing of woulds ( specially in burns)
3-6 grams for purgation
1 gram for use as rasayana
Bala haritaki is given in a dose of 1-3 grams
Formulations of haritaki
Abhyadi modak, Abhyarishta, Pathyadivati, Pathyadikadha, Vyaghritharitaki leha ect.
Rasayan effect of Haritaki in different seasons
- Spring – with honey
- Summer – with jaggary
- Monsoon – with rock salt
- Autumn – with sugar
- Early winter – ginger
- Late winter – with piper longum
(Reference: Ayurvedic Pharmacology & Therapeutic uses of medicinal plants)