Haritaki: botanical image of the haritaki plant


Terminalia chebula

Family: Combretaceae

Description: A deciduous tree growing up to 30m (100ft) in height with the trunk expanding to 1m (3ft) in diameter. The young leaves are alternate and along with the branches covered in fine hairs. The flowers are white to yellow and have an unpleasant odour. The yellow-orange fruit ripen according to geographical location in different seasons and have a single stone.

Habit and cultivation: Native to Southern Asia and an important herb in the Ayurvedic formula Triphala. Grows best in sandy well drained soils but needs full sunlight for consistent growth.

Actions (known for): Anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, anti-bacterial, anti-fungalantiviral, adaptogen, anti-inflammatory. Topically for wound healing.

History: Used for thousands of years in India, Tibet and many areas of South East Asia. Represented in both hands of the Medicine Buddha and said to ‘illuminate the mind’. Sadly most of the properties have not been recorded over the last century.

Parts used: Fruit.

Constituents (bio available chemicals): Gallic acid, chebulagic acid, punicalagin, phenolics, polyphenols, flavonol, glycosides, triterpenes, palmitic, linoleic and oleic acids.

Nutritional constituents: Vitamins: C and E. Minerals: calcium, iron, manganese and selenium. Glutathione.

Indications: Improves memory, stamina. Aids digestion, liver function and promotes regular bowel movements. Aids IBS, supports the heart, useful in the treatment of haemorrhoids and worm infestations.

Dosage: 3-6g daily.

Cautions for therapeutic doses: Chronic fatigue, anorexia, pregnancy, acute stages of fever.

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