Sunday, September 5, 2010

Haritaki- Terminalia chebula

Haritaki is described as the ‘remover of diseases’. Hara is also the name of Lord Shiva, thus reflecting the sacred nature and exalted position of the plant but it literally means ‘green’ like the fruit. It is also ‘Abhaya’ or ‘fearless’ of any disease. It is said to have originated when a d rop of immortal nectar (amrita) fell from heaven to earth. It is considered to be the best herb for the digestive system and lungs. 

There are 7 types of Haritaki – vijaya, rohini, putana, amrita, abhaya, jivanti and cetaki – which grow in different areas of India. Vijaya, growing in the Vindhaya Mountains, is a rounder fruit and is said to be the best. Rohini grows in Northern India (Paithan), Putana grows in Southern Pakistan (Sindhu), Amrita and Abhaya varieties grow in Bhagalpur district in Eastern India in Bihar, Jivanti in Saurashthra and Cetaki in the Himalayas.

• Haritaki is a very large tree growing throughout the deciduous forests of India and Sri Lanka.
• Images of the Medicine Buddha show him holding Terminalia chebula. This represents the
respect and awe that Haritaki was held in for maintaining health and curing disease.

Popular Name(s): 
Chebulic Myrobalan [English]
Aralu [Sinhala]
Haritaki [Sanskrit, Bengali]
Harad [Hindi]
Kadukkaya [Tamil]

Parts Used: Fruit, Root, Bark.

Habitat: Grown throughout India, Sri Lanka at an altitude of 1000 - 3000 ft.

Rasa [Taste]- Madura [Sweet], Amla [Sour], Katu [Pugent], Tikta [Bitter], Kashaya [Astringent]
Guna [Attributes]- Laghu [Lighteness], Ruksha [Dryness]
Veerya [Potency]- Ushna [Hot]
Vipaka [post-digestive effect]- Madhura [Sweet]

Chemical composition:
Tannins – tannic acid up to 45%, gallic acid, chebulic acid
Anthraquinones - sennoside A
Triterpenoid glycosides - chebulosides, arjunin

Bio-Medical actionLaxative, astringent, anthelmintic, nervine, expectorant, tonic

Specific Action: Rejuvenating
Therapeutic Action:
Deepaniya- Increases appetite
Rasayana- Rejuvenative; especially to vata and the large intestine (purishavaha srotas)
Brimhana- Nourishing
Yogavahi- Catalyst enhancing the action of other herbs
Pachana- Digestive
Grahi- Absorbs fluids from the intestines (water decoction)
Lekhaniya- Scrapes accumulations from the tissues and channels
Chakshushya- Improves the eyesight
Anuloma- Corrects the flow of vata downwards
Stanyashodhana- Purifies breast milk
Rechan- Purgative
Vibandha hara- Alleviates constipation 

Kasahara- Anti-tussive
Medhya- Improves intellect
Ayurvardhak- Increases longevity
Arshoghna- Anti-haemorrhoidal

3–9g/day in a decoction, 250mg–5g as powder, or 3–12ml/day of a 1:3 @ 25% tincture.

Do not use during pregnancy due to its laxative and descending nature.

Dr. Indunil Weerarathne

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