Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) fruit is one among the three fruits that constitute ‘Triphala’. It is a very famous rejuvenating herb. Popularly known as Harar, Harad or Indian Gall Nut, Haritaki belongs to Combretaceae family. Found abundantly in Northern India, it is also widely distributed through the rest of the Indian Sub-continent and grows usually in areas at an altitude of up to 5000 feet.
Named after Lord Shiva this herb is considered to be the best herb for the digestive system and the lungs. It contains anthraquinone such as sennoside which have a powerful effect on regulating elimination depending on the dosage used. It also clears toxins from the small intestines and treats inflamed mucus membranes and gas. It is beneficial in the treatment of asthma as it strengthens the lungs.
The fruits of Haritaki are one of the main ingredients in many Ayurvedic formulations. Haritaki fruits are highly nutritious for human health as they contain various vitamins, minerals and proteins. They are an excellent source of vitamin C. These fruits are also rich in several minerals including selenium, potassium, manganese, iron and copper.
Haritaki or Terminalia chebula is a wonder drug, finding its place in a wide range of therapeutic usage in the Ayurveda system of medicine. 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. It literally means ‘green’. It is also’abhaya’ or ‘fearless’ of any disease. It is said to have originated when a drop of immortal nectar (amrita) fell from heaven to earth. It is considered to be the best herb for the digestive system and lungs.
Health Benefits of Haritaki
- Haritaki has various properties due to which it is widely used in Ayurvedic preparations. It is a laxative and a rejuvenator, It is also a purgative and astringent in nature.
- The paste made of this fruit is considered effective in reducing swelling, and also aids in hastening the healing process of wounds and ulcers. The paste also gives relief to the eyes in case of conjunctivitis.
- Gargling or rinsing your mouth with haritaki decoction helps in curing stomatitis, oral ulcers and sore throat.
- Haritaki acts as an astringent for oral care and is beneficial in conditions of bleeding and loose gums, and also ulceration in gums.
- The Haritaki fruit is used in preparing ‘Triphala’. Which is used as a hair wash, brushing teeth in case pyorrhea, to treat bleeding gums and various other ailments.
- Haritaki powder fried in Ghee (clarified butter) if had regularly promotes longevity and boosts energy.
- Haritaki is used to treat gastrointestinal ailments, tumours, piles, and enlargement of liver-spleen, even intestinal worms and colitis.
- Haritaki powder when mixed with jaggery is highly beneficial in treating Gout.
- Its powder is an effective remedy in treating anemia, when mixed with honey and ghee.
- Haritaki is combined with sunthi powder (dry ginger) and given with hot water to people suffering from asthma.
- A decoction made from Haritaki, when taken along with honey, is beneficial in conditions of hepatitis and obesity.
- The herb acts as a memory booster and is salutary in dysuria and urinary stones.
- Haritaki helps with digestion and thus helps in improving the appetite.
- It is a good nervine tonic and helps in weakness and irritability caused due weak nerves and promotes the receiving power of the five senses.
- Since Haritaki has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, it is helpful in urethral discharges like spermatorrhea and vaginal discharges like leucorrhea.
Haritaki for Eyes
As an eye wash Haritaki is often used to treat all types of eye conditions including conjunctivitis.
To make an eye wash, prepare a decoction by boiling 1 teaspoon of Haritaki powder in 8 ounces of water for about 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes then strain, take precaution to get the decoction strained well as you wouldn’t want to get any of the residual powder in the eye.
Let the liquid cool; take some of the cool decoction in an eyecup. And place the eye cup over the eyes tilt the your head back so the liquid immerses the eye. Repeat with the same with the other eyes. Follow this 2-4 times. You can wash the eyes 3-5 times a day. This eyewash helps in treating any kind of eye related issues. If you experience any discomfort in the eye, consult and Ayurvedic physician immediately. Preferably consult a physician before you begin using Haritaki as eyewash.
A versatile herb with the power to cure various ailments Haritaki is considered as a very important herb in the Ayurveda and in preparing various ayurvedic medicines.