The Terminalia chebula (harad/haritaki) is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 100 feet in height. They have sub-opposite to alternate leaves. They are oval, 7-8 cm long and 5-10 cm broad. The petiole is 1-3 cm long. The tip is acute glabrous, and the margins are entire. They are cordate and have drupe-like fruits.
These fruits are 2-4.5 cm long1.2-2.4 cm broad with five longitudinal ridges. They have blackish to dark greenish colour. The spikes are terminal or have a short panicle. The shape of the fruit is ovoid to smooth ellipsoid and have a single angled stone.
The common name for this is Haritaki or Harad. In English, we call it Chebulic Myrobalan. The Chinese name is He Zi.
Botanical name or Family
The botanical name is Terminalia Chebula. It belongs to the Combretaceae family.
Geological areas where Terminalia chebula plant grows
They grow profusely in the South-East Asia region such as Bhutan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, and Indonesia.
In India, we find it in the Sub-Himalayan regions, West Bengal, and Assam. We also find it in Madras, Mysore, and Mumbai.
Haritaki (Harad) medicinal uses
Haritaki is one of the mainstays of Ayurveda due to the number of health-giving substances it contains. The fruits are classified into seven types according to the region where they grow and the size and shape. These are Vijaya, Rohini, Putana, Amruta, Abhaya, Jivanti, and Chetak.
Improves the digestion
You get increased metabolic strength by having tonics containing Haritaki fruit. The digestive system gets a boost. Haritaki helps contain the stomach spasms. People with acid reflux will benefit by taking the Haritaki health tonic preparations. It has proved effective in treating stomach rumble since the olden times. You can cure aphthous ulcer with the health tonics containing Harad. Left untreated these canker sores can last for 7-10 days.
Balances the three doshas
It helps vitiate the three doshas, especially the Vita or the air humour. You can balance each of the three humors by taking the Haritaki with different food items. For instance, if one has the Terminalia chebula fruit with jaggery, it balances all the three doshas. If you take it with ghee, it will balance the Vata dosha. When you take it with rock salt, it balances the water (Kapha), and to balance the fire (Pitta), you must have it with the sugar. When one balances the doshas well, they internal fire of the body is ignited, and one feels energetic.
Improves skin tone
The Terminalia chebula is a skin loving substance. It will improve the youthfulness of the skin, especially on the face and remove the wrinkles. The dried skin cells fall off, and the bounce and elasticity of the skin improves. You can use it for all kinds of skin blemishes too. To treat burns, you must mix the Haritaki extract with Vaseline cream and apply it on the burn. To remove acne and blackheads, make a paste of Haritaki powder and apply it on the face. If you have any allergies caused by nose rings or earrings, you can use the same paste along with sandalwood paste to get a cure. Apply the mixture day and night on the spot where you have the allergy. Soon, the allergy will disappear.
The extract of Harad is a wonderful heart tonic. You don’t have to do much to get the benefits of the fruit. Just add 1 teaspoon of the Harad extract in one glass of water and drink it. Do this once daily, and you will have a robust heart and health.
Helps relieve constipation
The natural laxative property of the fruit is helpful for relieving the symptoms of constipation. The dietary fibres in the extract of Harad are useful in regulating the bowel movement. This improved bowel movement will relieve constipation and the digestive elements help to move the food in the GI tract. Just mix the Harad powder with water and have it as needed until you have complete relief.
The good nourishing nature of the Terminalia chebula fruit helps to revitalize all the organs in the body. The person puts on weight due to the improved health conditions.
Use in treating piles
To treat piles, take a big flat pan and fill it with water. Add two tablespoons of Haritaki powder and stir. If you prefer you can use warm water. Lower your sitting bones into the water. Wait for ten minutes. Do this before you have your bath. Soon you will have permanent relief from your problem.
Also Read: Piles treatment at home
This is the nature of Haritaki that helps the person to get rid of stresses. Having the fruit extract regularly helps the body to balance out the metabolic system in a way that promotes inner peace and harmony. You become relieved of your headaches and the digestive disorders that arise out of stresses too vanish. It gets the blood pressure under control.
Another good effect of the Haritaki fruit is the way it relieves the symptoms of asthma patients. The usual treatment for the asthma patient is to chew two dried fruits before going to bed.
Those that have anemia will benefit if they take Haritaki. Heat some ghee in a pan and mix tow heaped teaspoons of Haritaki powder in it. Give this daily to the person suffering from anaemia. After some weeks, you notice a marked improvement in the health condition of the person.
Helps people with baldness
The fruit promotes hair health and so if you apply this paste on the head regularly, soon the hair will become healthy. After stopping the hair falling, it will promote the hair growth.
If you want relief from pleurisy, you can use Haritaki. The extract of Harad taken with honey will relieve the pain due to the swelling in the lining of the lungs. This is aggravated when the patient sneezes or coughs. People with pleurisy sometimes find it difficult even to breathe let alone cough or sneeze.
Be careful if you have water deficiency because Haritaki is an astringent. It will worsen conditions of dryness of the mouth and other symptoms. In addition, alcoholics should avoid this due to this astringent nature.