King of Medicine - Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula) by Santosh Patil SignUp

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King of Medicine - Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula)
by Dr. Santosh Patil Bookmark and Share

Terminalia Chebulais called the "king of medicines” and is always listed first in the Ayurvedic meteriamedica because of its extraordinary powers of healing. In Ayurveda it is considered to destroy all diseases and eliminate all waste from the body. At the same time, it is known to promote tissue growth and health. Terminalia chebula is a good natural laxative and hence widely used in constipation related conditions such as haemorrhoids and other anorectal diseases.

Modern science has found that Terminalia Chebula has a strong effect against the herpes simplex virus HSV, has antibacterial activity, and exhibits strong cardio tonic properties. Terminalia Chebula also has antioxidant components, which indicates it can increase the life of tissues. Yet another study shows the anti-tumor activity of Terminalia Chebula and another study shows that it has considerable effect in inhibiting the HIV virus which ultimately results in AIDS.

With its rejuvenating and cleansing properties, Terminalia Chebula is excellent for the digestive system. As a preventative supplement it has great anti viral attributes, as shown by its anti tumor and HIV action. It is also effective for alleviating constipation in general, and is helpful for vata persons because it works in the Triphala formula which is a well balanced digestive and rejuvenating aid.


Terminalia chebula is found in the sub Himalayan tracks from Ravi eastwards to west Bengal and Assam, ascending up to an altitude of 1500m in the Himalayas. This tree is wild in the forests of Northern India, central provinces And Bengal, common in madras, Mysore and in the southern Parts of the Bombay presidency.

Atree15.24m in height & 1.5-2.4m in girth with a cylindrical bole of 4-9m, a rounded crown and spreading branched found throughout the greater parts of India.Barkdark brown often longitudinally cracked, exfoliating in woody scales,Leavesovate or elliptic with a pair of large gland at the tip of the pedicel. Flowersyellowish white; in terminal spikes, drupes ellipsoidal, obvoid or ovoid, yellow to orange brown, sometimes tinged with red or black and hard when ripe. 3-5cm long becomes 5 ribbed on drying. Fruits the ovoid, yellow to orange brown fruits are 2.5 to 4.0cms long. Usually 5- angled when dry, stone very thick, bony, obsurely angled, rough, grooved, having gum vessels on the wall.

(A). Classification according to the size of the fruit

(i) Survari harade -which are large, dense and heavy about 2 inches long, yellowish-brown, when cut it contains yellowish or darkish brown, pulp and stone
(ii) Rangari harade- these are smaller, less wrinkled and less furrowed than the above variety; in length about an inch; the epidermis is yellow; when cut it presents a yellow dried pulp and a stone. The pulp is less astringent than that of survari harade.
(iii) Bala harade -are smaller than the above two varieties. Their color is deep brown or black; highly wrinkled, dark or brown epidermis. Their pulp is dark and homogenous; there is no stone.
(iv) Java harade- these are the smallest of all. Other characters are similar to those of Bala harade.

(B)Classification according to shape

(i) Vijaya - having alabu shape used in all diseases, habitat in vindahya mountains
(ii) Rohini - Round in shape- used in vrana, habitat in zansi and other sate other parts of M.P
iii) Pootana- Size is small,mesocarp is less, seed is bigger, externally used, habitate Sind.
(iv) Amrita- Mesocarp is more used for shodhanakarma habituate M.P and Champaranya
(v) Abhya - Fruit having five ribbed used in eye diseases, habitat champaranya, himalaya
(vi) Jeevantee- fruit is golden yellow, used in all diseases, habitate himalaya.
(vii) Chetaki- Fruit having three ribs, used as purgative.

(C)Classification according to the growth of the fruit

(I) Halileh - Zira.When the size is that of a cumin seed.
(II) Halileh - Javi,when the size is that of a barely corn.
(III) Halileh - Zangiwhen the size is of a raisin
(IV) Halileh - Chiniwhen fruit is greenish yellow and somewhat hard.
(V) Halileh - Asferwhen it is very nearly mature
(VI) Halileh - Kabulor fully matured fruit

Fruit contains 45% tannin, gallic acid, albumin, yellow color, chebulic acid, which turns into tannic acid and gallic acid when boiled.

Generally two good years are followed by one or two poor ones, fruits are collected when they turn yellow. The seeds can be collected as soon as they fall on the ground and are dried under shade. The seeds can be stored in gunny bags for one year but fresh seeds germinate quicker.

Digestive diseases, urinary diseases, diabetes, skin diseases, parasitic infections, heart diseases, irregular fevers, flatulence, constipation, ulcers, vomiting, colic pain and hemorrhoids Terminalia Chebula is used to treat. If taken after meals it prevents imbalance of any of the humors due to bad food or drink. It promotes wisdom, intellect and eyesight.

The fruit pulp is used as a dentifrice to cure bleeding and ulceration of gums. Water in which the fruits have been steeped overnight is a good cooling wash for eyes, affording relief in conjunctivitis and similar affections of the eyes.



Abhya- The medicine is safest for use.
Amrita– Plant survives hundreds of years.
Avyatha– Not having unpleasant.
Chetaki- Keeps alert or stimulates jnanendriyas.
Hareetaki- Fruits are yellow colored.
Haimavati- Lavishly grows in Himalayan regions.
Kayastha– Arrest aging factors.
Pathya– It is always “Pathya”.


Rasa/ Taste–
Vilavana pancharasa Endocarp is sweet in taste. Epicarp is pungent in taste. Seed portion contains astringent.
Fiber portion is sour. Peduncle region of the fruit is bitter.
Vipaka Madura
Veerya / Potency Ushna
Guna / Property Laghu, rooksha,
Doshaghnata Tridoshaghna
Tridoshaghnata of hareetaki
It pacifies Pitta with its sweet, bitter, and astringent taste. It pacifies Vata with its Amala rasa. It pacifies Kapha with its katu, thikta & kashaya rasa. It pacifies Kapha administered with salt. It pacifies Pitta administered with sugar. It pacifies Vata administered with ghee.

Karma / Action Chakshushya, Brimhana, Rasayana, Anulomaka, Deepana, Medhya, Krimighana, Swarya.
Uses- Swasa, Kasa, Premaha, Arshas, Kusta, Shotha, Udhara, Vaishwarya, Grahanee, Vibandha, Vishamajwara, Gulma, Admana, Vrana, Charadi, Hikka, diseases of heart and throat, Kamala, Shoola, Aanaha, Diseases of spleen and liver,Ashmaree, Mootrakrichchra, Mootraaghata.

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