Haritaki – Terminalia chebula – Uses, Side Effects, Ayurveda Details

Haritaki fruit is one among The three, that constitute Triphala. It is a very famous rejuvenating herb. Its botanical name is Terminalia chebula and it belongs to Combretaceae family.

Hindi name – Harad, Harade
English name – Chebulic Myrobalan
Telugu name – karakkaya
Tamil name – Kadukkai
Gujarathi name – Harade
Arabian name – Haleelaz
Farsi name – Haleel

7 types of Haritaki –
Although Bhavaprakasha has explained seven types of Haritaki, all are the same Terminalia chebula, available in different places. The seven types explained are –

Vijaya – used in all diseases, available in Vindhya mountains
Rohini – fruit is circular in shape – Useful in wound healing – available in place called Pratishtanaka.
Putana – Having small fruits with big seed – used for external application, available in Sindh area.
Amruta – Having thick fruit pulp, useful for Panchakarma (detoxification) , available in Champa, Bhagalpur area.
Abhaya – Having five creases in fruit skin, useful in eye disorders, available in Champa, Bhagalpur area.
Jivanti – Yellow coloured fruit – useful in all diseases, available in Saurashtra region of Gujarath.
Chetaki – Having thre creases in fruit skin, useful for purgation, available in Himachal Pradesh.

Of these seven types, Vijaya variety is considered as best.

Habitat: Haritaki is abundantly found in North India, though it is distributed throughout India upto 5000 feet height.

How to test Haritaki fruit? (harad)
How to take haritaki as per Ayurveda

Chewing the Haritaki fruit causes increase in digestion power.
If it is made into a paste and eaten, it clears and cleanses bowels.
If it is steamed or boiled, it becomes absorbant, useful in malabsorption syndrome.
If it is fried and used, it is useful in Tridosha imbalance conditions.
If Hareetaki is taken after food, it helps to eliminate all the toxic effects due to food poisoning.
If it is taken along with salt, it balances Kapha.
If taken with sugar, it balances Pitta and if taken with ghee, it balances Vata disorders.

Qualities of different parts of Terminalia chebula fruit
Qualities of Haritaki fruit

Hareetaki seed kernel is sweet, the fiber part is sour, fruit rind is bitter, skin is pungent and seed is astringent in nature.
Vranya – it helps to improve skin complexion
Ushna – hot in nature
Sara – promotes bowel movement
Medhya – improves intelligence.
Doshaghna – natural detoxifying
Shothanut – relieves inflammation
Kushtanut – useful in skin diseases
Deepana – improves digestion strength
Chakshushya – good for eyes, improves vision power
Rasayana – anti aging, rejuvenative
Ayushya – improves life expectancy
Bruhmani – nourishing, improves body weight
Anulomani – helps in normalising bowel movements
Shwasahara – useful in Asthma, COPD< wheezing, breathing difficulty
Kasahara – relieves cold and cough
Pramehahara – Useful in diabetes and urinary tract disorders
Arshahara – useful in piles
Kushtahara – Useful in skin diseases
Shothahara – relieves inflammation
Udarahara – useful in ascites
Krimihara – useful in worm infestation

Haritaki (harade) – effect on Tridosha –
Because of sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, it balances Pitta
Because of its pungent, bitter and astringent tastes, it balances Kapha
and because of its sour taste, Terminalia chebula balances Vata.

Ritu Haritaki –
Ritu Haritaki
Ritu Haritaki

For the purpose of Rasayana (rejuvenation, anti aging),
Haritaki is taken along with different ingredients in different seasons. This regimen is called as Ritu Haritaki. Ritu means seasons.

Varsha Ritu – In rainy season, Harade is given along with Saindhava – Rock Salt.
Sharat Ritu – In Autumn, it is given along with Sharkara – sugar
Hemanta Ritu – In early winter, it is given along with shunti (ginger)
Shishira Ritu – In winter, it is given along with Pippali – Long pepper – Piper longum
Vasanta Ritu – In Spring, it is given along with Madhu (honey)
Greeshma Ritu – in summer, it is given along with Guda (jaggery)

Medicinal uses of Terminalia chebula :
Terminalia chebula uses

Chebulic myrobalan is useful in
Kushta – skin diseases
Gulma – Abdominal tumor, bloating
Udavarta – bloating of abdomen
Shotha – inflammation
Pandu – Anemia, intial stages of liver diseases
Mada – delirium
Arsha – haemorrhoids
Shiroroga – diseases pertaining to head, headache
Atisara – diarrhoea, dysentery
Arochaka – anorexia
Kasa – cough, cold
Prameha – diabetes, urinary tract disorders
Anaha – bloating
Pleeha – splenomegaly
nava Udara – early stages of ascites
Kaphapraseka – increased salivation due to Kapha dosha
Vaisvarya – hoarseness of voice
kaamala – jaundice
Krimi – worm infestation, infection
Shvayathu – oedema, inflammation
Tamaka – asthma
Chardi – vomiting
Klaibya – impotency
Angavasada – bodyache
Srotovibandha – obstruction to body channels, constipation
Pralepa, Hrudayoraso – stiffness of chest, heaviness of chest
Pramoa – delusion and lack of memory and intelligence

Haritaki – side effects and contra indications:
Haritaki Side effects

Though Chebulic myrobalan has immense health benefits, due to its astringent and hot nature, it is contra indicated in a few cases.
Haritaki is best avoided in
Adhva Ati Khinna – people who have walked for very long and who are tired,
Balavarjita – Who have depleted immunity and strength
Rooksha (dry) – Who are feeling dry and are emaciated
Krusha – having lean body
Langhanakarshita – who have fasted for long
Pittadhika – In people with increased Pitta (burning sensation)
Garbhavati – in pregnant woman
Vimuktarakta – After blood letting treatment, during and soon after menstruation
Kshut, Trishna, Ushnarta – who are having severe thirst, hunger and have got exposed o Sun for long.
Ajeerna – in patients suffering from indigestion
Stri madya karshita – those who are emaciated due to increased sexual activity and alcohol
Mukhashosha – in people having dry mouth
Hanusthambha – in people with neck stiffness
Galagraha – in people with dry throat
Navajvara – in early stages of fever

Though there are a few nutritive health benefits, Haritaki is more of cleansing, moisture absorbing, weight reducing in nature. Hence it is advised to avoid during pregnancy.
In most of the contra indications explained above – all have dryness, lack of water supply – kind of symptoms. Haritaki, already being astringent, is not advisable because it may further contribute to dryness.
Haritaki is best avoided in infants, upto 5 years of age. It should be given under medical supervision in children.
Single herb usage of Haritaki is contra indicated in lactating mother. It may decrease breast milk production.

Haritaki Dosage:
1 – 6 grams of fruit powder along with required co-drink or ingredient, based on disease, once or twice a day, in single or divided dose, as per discretion of Ayurvedic doctor.

Reference verse about Haritaki from Ashtanga Hrudayam Sutrasthana 6th chapter about Haritaki (most of the qualities are explained above.)
Haritaki benefits

Dr JV Hebbar is an Ayurveda Doctor, Assistant Professor, From Mangalore, India. Click here to consult Dr Hebbar
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  1. Sir I am suffering from acne which are due to indigestion(i think so) ?? How can i remove toxins from body and treat acne internally. Now I am suffering small little tumor like acne of face “inside” the skin, it is probably because of toxins or digestion problem.

    Another question – A remedy which contains 50g methi seeds, 20g Ajwain, 10g bitter Kali jeera. What it does?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Please consult an Ayurvedic doctor directly. You might be having cystic acne, which requires treatment.
      The second remedy that you’ve described looks good to relieve gastritis, useful for diabetes and also to lose weight, to some extent.

  2. I think thorough reminders are very useful. Please keep up the good work, I enjoy reading it! Sonja

  3. Chandrasekhar says:

    i read that commercially prepared ayurvedic medicines have lead residues and believe they could be due to processing. Hence decided to make triphala churna myself and purchased amla, haritaki and vibheetaki from the market. I believe they should be washed and deseeded before powering. Is that correct?

  4. Can Triphala be used for Leaky Gut Syndrome and sensitive GI ??/ Pls reply

  5. Can terminalia chebula be used during pregnancy to support immune function in a mother that has lyme disease who makes sure to eat a well balanced diet and has her weight under control? I take it on a daily basis now and it works wonders for my energy and I would hate to give it up.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, at the best you can continue it for two weeks and then stop it. I do not recommend to continue further than that.

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