Terminalia chebula

Terminalia chebula
Terminalia chebula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtales
Family: Combretaceae
Genus: Terminalia
Species: T. chebula
Binomial name
Terminalia chebula

Terminalia chebula (Black Myrobalan or Chebulic Myrobalan; Chinese: he zi; Sanskrit: haritaki; Tibetan: A-ru-ra) is a species of Terminalia, native to southern Asia from India and Nepal east to southwestern China (Yunnan), and south to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Vietnam.[1][2]

It is a deciduous tree growing to 30-metre (98 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 1-metre (3 ft 3 in) in diameter. The leaves are alternate to subopposite in arrangement, oval, 7–8-centimetre (2.8–3.1 in) long and 4.5–10-centimetre (1.8–3.9 in) broad with a 1–3-centimetre (0.39–1.2 in) petiole. The fruit is drupe-like, 2–4.5-centimetre (0.79–1.8 in) long and 1.2–2.5-centimetre (0.47–0.98 in) broad, blackish, with five longitudinal ridges.[1]

There are many varieties such as:[1]

  • Terminalia chebula var. chebula. Leaves and shoots hairless, or only hairy when very young.
  • Terminalia chebula var. tomentella (Kurz) C.B.Clarke. Leaves and shoots silvery to orange hairy.


Cultivation and uses

This tree yields smallish, ribbed and nut-like fruits which are picked when still green and then pickled, boiled with a little added sugar in their own syrup or used in preserves. The seed of the fruit, which has an elliptical shape, is an abrasive seed enveloped by a fleshy and firm pulp. It is regarded as a universal panacea in the Ayur-Vedic Medicine and in the Traditional Tibetan medicine. It is reputed to cure blindness and it is believed to inhibit the growth of malignant tumours[3].

In Urdu and Hindi it is called Harad, Haritaki, or Harada, respectively 'Inknut'. In Sri Lanka it is called Aralu. In Marathi it is called as 'Hirada', in Kannada it is called 'Alalekaayi' and in Tamil it is called 'Kadukkai'. In Bengali it is called horitoky. In Assamese it is called Hilikha. In Telugu it is called 'Karakkaya'. In the United States it is found in some Indian stores; it is known as 'Harde Whole'.

The dry nut's peel is used to cure cold-related nagging coughs. The bark/peel of the nut is placed in the cheek. Although the material does not dissolve, the resulting saliva, bitter in taste, is believed to have medicinal qualities to cure cold related coughs. Its fruit has digestive, anti-inflammatory, anthelmentic, cardiotonic, aphrodisiac and restorative properties and is additionally beneficial in flatulence, constipation, piles, cough and colds[citation needed].

T. chebula contains terflavin B, a type of tannin while chebulinic acid is found in the fruits[4].


Medium to large deciduous tree up to 30 m. Leaves are elliptic-oblong, acute tip, cordate at the base, margins entire, glabrous above with a yellowish pubescence below. Flowers monoecious, dull white to yellow, strong unpleasant odour, borne in terminal spikes or short panicles. Fruits glabrous, ellipsoid to ovoid drupes, yellow to orange brown in colour, single angled stone. Found in deciduous forests of Indian subcontinent, dry slopes up to 900 meters in elevation[5]

Part used

Fruit; seven types are recognized (i.e. vijaya, rohini, putana, amrita, abhaya, jivanti and chetaki), based on the region the fruit is harvested, as well as the colour and shape of the fruit. Generally speaking, the vijaya variety is preferred, which is traditionally grown in the Vindhya mountain range of central India, and has a roundish as opposed to a more angular shape[5]


Researchers have isolated a number of glycosides from Haritaki, including the triterpenes arjunglucoside I, arjungenin, and the chebulosides I and II. Other constituents include a coumarin conjugated with gallic acids called chebulin, as well as other phenolic compounds including ellagic acid, 2,4-chebulyl-β-D-glucopyranose, chebulinic acid, gallic acid, ethyl gallate, punicalagin, terflavin A, terchebin, luteolin, and tannic acid.[5][3] Chebulic acid is a phenolic acid compound isolated from the ripe fruits.[6][7]

Medicinal Uses


  • Rasa (taste): All but salty, mainly astringent, bitter, hot, sweet
  • Virya (energy): Heating
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): sweet
  • Guna (quality): light, dry
  • Dosha: VPK=
  • Dhatu: All tissues
  • Srotas: digestive, excretory, nervous, respiratory, female reproductive


Haritaki is a rejuvenative, laxative (unripe), astringent (ripe), anthelmintic, nervine, expectorant, tonic, carminative, and appetite stimulant. It is used in people who have leprosy (including skin disorders), anemia, narcosis, piles, chronic, intermittent fever, heart disease, diarrhea, anorexia, cough and excessive secretion of mucus, and a range of other complaints and symptoms. According to the Bhavaprakasha, Haritaki was derived from a drop of nectar from Indra’s cup.[5] Haritaki is use to mitigate Vata and eliminate ama (toxins), indicated by constipation, a thick greyish tongue coating, abdominal pain and distension, foul feces and breath, flatulence, weakness, and a slow pulse.[5] The fresh fruit is dipana and the powdered dried fruit made into a paste and taken with jaggery is malashodhana, removing impurities and wastes from the body.[5] Haritaki is an effective purgative when taken as a powder, but when the whole dried fruit is boiled the resulting decoction is grahi, useful in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.[5] The fresh or reconstituted fruit taken before meals stimulates digestion, whereas if taken with meals it increases intelligence, nourishes the senses and purifies the digestive and genitourinary tract.[5] Taken after meals Haritaki treats diseases caused by the aggravation of Vayu, Pitta and Kapha as a result of unwholesome food and drinks. Haritaki is a rasayana to Vata, increasing awareness, and has a nourishing, restorative effect on the central nervous system.[5]Haritaki improves digestion, promotes the absorption of nutrients, and regulates colon function.[5]


Pregnancy due to its laxative and descending nature, dehydration, severe exhaustion, emaciation, pitta if taken in excess.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Flora of China: Terminalia chebula
  2. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Terminalia chebula
  3. ^ a b Inhibition of cancer cell growth by crude extract and the phenolics of Terminalia chebula retz. fruit. Saleem A, Husheem M, Härkönen P and Pihlaja K, J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Aug, 81(3), pp. 327-336, PubMed, doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00099-5
  4. ^ Preparative isolation of hydrolysable tannins chebulagic acid and chebulinic acid from Terminalia chebula by high-speed counter-current chromatography. Quanbin Han, Jingzheng Song, Chunfeng Qiao, Lina Wong and Hongxi Xu, J. Sep. Sci. 2006, 29, 1653 – 1657
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j http://www.toddcaldecott.com/index.php/herbs/learning-herbs/361-haritaki
  6. ^ Isolation of chebulic acid from Terminalia chebula Retz. and its antioxidant effect in isolated rat hepatocytes. Lee Hyun-Sun, Jung Sung-Hoon, Yun Bong-Sik and Lee Kwang-Won, Archives of Toxicology, Volume 81, Number 3, March 2007 , pp. 211-218, doi:10.1007/s00204-006-0139-4
  7. ^ Preventive effects of chebulic acid isolated from Terminalia chebula on advanced glycation endproduct-induced endothelial cell dysfunction. Lee HS, Koo YC, Suh HJ, Kim KY and Lee KW, J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Oct 5, 131(3), pp. 567-74. Epub 2010 Jul 24, PubMed, doi:10.1016/j.jep.2010.07.039

External links

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