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Ayurvedic Herbs A-Z

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Ayurvedic Medicine






Latin Name

English Names

Sanskrit Names

Hindi Name

Terminalia chebula
Retz. (Combretaceae)

Chebulic Myrobalan,
Ink Nut

Haritaki, Abhaya, Pathya




History  |  Habitat  |  Morphology Description (Habit)  |  Principal Constituents  |

Indications  |   Product Range





According to Indian mythology, this plant originated from the drops of ambrosia (Amrita) which fell on the earth when Indra was drinking it. It is known in Ayurveda as an adaptogen and anti-ageing agent. This plant was known to early Arabian writers and through them to the Greek writer, Actuarius, who mentions five kinds.


Found throughout the greater parts of India.


Morphology Description (Habit)

T.chebula is a tree with a rounded crown and spreading branches. The bark is dark-brown, often longitudinally cracked; the leaves are ovate or elliptic with a pair of large glands at the top of the petiole; the flowers are yellowish white, in terminal spikes; the drupes are ellipsoidal, obovoid or ovoid, yellow to orange-brown and hard when ripe, becoming 5-ribbed on drying; the seeds are hard and pale yellow.

Principal Constituents

Chebulagic, chebulinic acid and corilagin.


The fruits are credited with laxative, stomachic, tonic and alterative properties. It is also a known adaptogen and anti-stress, hepato-protective drug.

Product Range



Parts Used:

Fruit (not a nut). Each plant and part has a different therapeutic value and must be prepared in its own way for maximum benefits. This tree is found wild in the forests of northern and central India, Bengal, Madras, Mysore, and the southern Bombay Presidency.

Traditional Ayurvedic Uses:

Haritaki is known as a top-notch Rasayana fruit in Ayurveda. It is traditionally said to be as safe and nurturing as mother's milk.

It detoxifies and nourishes all the dhatus (body tissues).

In combination with Emblic Myroblans and Beleric Myrobalans, it forms the famous ayurvedic remedy Triphala. 

There are six tastes in Ayurveda -- sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Haritaki contains five out of the six tastes -- all except salty. So it is a Rasayana suitable for everyone.

There are seven varieties of Haritaki, and Vijaya is considered the superior variety of this fruit. Maharishi Ayurveda formulations are all prepared with the Vijaya variety for the best Rasayana value.

Haritaki is considered good for constipation and has antioxidant properties. It has positive effects on the hair, skin, eyes and liver.

Combinations are Best:

The experts at Ayurveda do not recommend the use of single herbs for self-care due to several important reasons:

  1. Single herbs often have unwanted effects over time, which can be canceled by herbs in proper combination.
  2. Herbs in combination are much more powerful.
  3. Good formulas address all co-factors to a health goal for much greater effectiveness.
  4. Expert combinations include herbs that increase assimilation and effective potency of the other ingredients.
  5. Herbs have different effects according to dose, and when mixed with other herbs.

Dravyguna: fresh fruit
ˇRasa: kashaya, tikta,
Amla, katu, madhura
ˇVipaka: madhura
ˇVirya: ushna
ˇKarma: tridosha, bedhanam (churnam), grahi (kashaya, tincture), rasayanam, medhyam, dipanapacana, alterative, astringent, expectorant, antiinflammatory, anodyne, cardiotonic, aperient, antiseptic, antipyretic, antiemetic, tonic
ˇPrabhava: named for the god Shiva (Hara), who brings fearlessness in the face of death and disease, and because it purifies the mind of attachments (Dash 1991, 8; Dash and Junius 1983, 84-87; Frawley and Lad 1986, 174; Varier 1996, 263)

ˇFruit: gingivitis, stomatitis, asthma, cough, dyspnea, dyspepsia, gastroenteritis, ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, IBS, hemorrhoids, candidiasis, parasites, malabsorption syndromes, biliousness, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, ascites, vesicular and renal calculi, urinary discharges, tumors, skin diseases, leprosy, intermittent fever, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, neuropathy, paralysis, memory loss, epilepsy, depression, leucorrhea, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anorexia, wounds (Dash 1991, 8; Dash and Junius 1983, 84-87; Frawley and Lad 1986, 174; Sharma and Dash 1988, 29-37; Varier 1996, 263)

Contraindications: pregnancy, dehydration, emaciation, pittakopa (Frawley and Lad 1985, 174). Charaka indicates that Haritaki is contraindicated in weak digestion, fatigue due to excessive sexual activity, with alcoholic drinks, and in hunger, thirst and heat stroke (Sharma and Dash 1988, 14).

Toxicity: Feeding trials in rats with Terminalia chebula produced hepatic lesions which included central vein abnormalities and marked renal lesions (Arseculeratne et al 1985).

ˇChurnam: 250 mg ­ 2 g t.i.d.
ˇKashaya: 150 ml t.i.d.
ˇTincture: 1:5, 30%, 1-3 ml t.i.d.


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