Haritaki / Harad / Harde / Himej – Terminalia chebula, commonly known as black- or chebulic myrobalan is a medium to large deciduous tree growing to 30 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m in diameter. Fruits are used in Ayurvedic medicine.
Haritaki is called the “mother of all herbs” because of its unique healing properties. This medicinal plant is used in the manufacture of Triphala – an Ayurvedic supplement known for its healing properties.
Haritaki helps in improving the digestive, respiratory, nervous and excretory systems. Thanks to its pronounced antioxidant properties, it protects cells and tissues of the human body from the damaging effects of adverse factors, both external and internal environment. Haritaki helps to slow down the aging process, reduce the risk of developing a number of diseases, which ultimately affects the quality and life expectancy.
Terminalia chebula is the main ingredient in the Ayurvedic formulation Triphala which is used for kidney and liver dysfunctions. The dried fruit is also used in Ayurveda as a purported antitussive, cardiotonic, homeostatic, diuretic, and laxative.
The main active ingredients in haritaki are chebulic acid and the strongest antioxidants.
Chebulic acid stimulates the synthesis of enzymes of the cytochrome-450 system, which play an important role in the detoxification processes that occur in hepatocytes of the liver. It is believed that, penetrating the blood-brain barrier, chebulic acid has a neuroprotective effect on the cells of the brain and spinal cord, facilitates the associative connections between various structures of the central nervous system. In a person who regularly consumes the fruits of a plant, the threshold for adaptation to external damaging influences rises, memory is strengthened, and learning abilities improve. With the destruction of myelin fibers (multiple and amyotrophic sclerosis), haritaki stimulates their regeneration.
People use haritaki to promote healing from a number of conditions ranging from sore throat to allergies, as well as to improve digestive issues such as constipation and indigestion.
– Digestive system: Haritaki tones the digestive system. It improves digestion and helps the body absorb all the nutrients from digested food. Haritaki has a laxative property and is used to detoxify the digestive system, ridding the body of undigested residues and toxic substances resulting from metabolism. This property helps in the treatment of digestive disorders such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Gallic acid in haritaki inhibits the growth of pathogenic flora in the intestines. The use of haritaki helps to get rid of worms.
– Heart Health: Lower cholesterol – Haritaki lowers high cholesterol. This property of Haritaki makes it an effective tool in the fight against vascular atherosclerosis – the main reason for the development of myocardial infarction and stroke.
– Oral and Dental health: The antimicrobial effect of Haritaki allows you to use it to rinse your mouth. This simple action helps to avoid diseases of the oral cavity and teeth caused by excessive growth of bacteria.
– Metabolic syndrome and diabetes mellitus: Haritaki lowers blood sugar, thereby reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome. This was confirmed by experiments conducted on rats. Extracts obtained from Haritaka fruits and seeds contain substances that lower blood glucose, which is a good prevention and help in the treatment of diabetes.
– Diuretic properties: Haritaki has diuretic properties. This effect helps prevent urinary tract infections and prevents the formation of kidney stones. – Peptic ulcer: Bael fruit and leaf extract has been used for the treatment of peptic ulcer. The pulp forms a mucilaginous layer on the gastric mucosa and thus prevents interaction of acid with mucosal layer.
– Normalizing body weight: Is beneficial for people who are overweight or obese. This plant helps regulate appetite by preventing overeating. Haritaki increases the metabolic rate in the body, reduces the accumulation of glycogen in the liver and fat deposits in the subcutaneous tissue and omentum.
– Peptic ulcer: Haritaki tree fruits are used in the complex treatment of gastric ulcer. They stimulate the production of mucus and accelerate the regeneration of the mucosa. Haritaki is effective in acute ulcers caused by the use of medications (NSAIDs, glucocorticoids), as well as in gastric ulcers associated with Helicobacter pylori.
– Antifungal properties: Haritaki water extract has antifungal properties against a number of yeast and dermatophytes. Haritaki was found to be active against pathogenic yeast (Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton), causing fungal infection of the nail plates, dermatophytosis, scab, ringworm.
– Rheumatoid arthritis: Haritaki reduces the symptoms of arthritis and dorsalgia of various origins, exhibiting non-specific anti-inflammatory properties. The paste obtained by mixing haritaki powder and castor oil helps to weaken the severity of inflammatory phenomena and the accompanying pain.
Cautions: The safety of long-term use of haritaki isn’t known. However, since haritaki may reduce blood sugar levels, there’s some concern that using it in combination with blood-sugar-lowering medications may have harmful effects.
Haritaki should not be used by pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications without consulting a doctor.