Haritaki Health Benefits and Home Remedies

Natural home remedy – Terminalia chebula

Terminalia chebula, called ‘Haritaki’ in India, is a fruit which is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicines. It is in fact one of the herbs used in the Ayurvedic medicine Triphala which is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. Haritaki is reported to contain various bio chemical compounds. It is also antioxidant, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anticancerous. It is said to be a home remedy for infectious diseases such as chronic ulcers, leucorrhoea, pyorrhoea and fungal infections of the skin. It helps to increase the frequency of stools and also empties the bowel completely.

Botanical name – Terminalia chebula
Sanskrit – Haritaki
Common name – Chebulic Myrobalan
Tamil – Kadukkai
Hindi – Harad

Health Benefits of Terminalia chebula

Terminalia chebula is said to reduce the effects of fat rich and oily food. The fruit has many health benefits, and has been traditionally used widely as a digestive aid, laxative and for excessive urination. In the book ‘Herbal Treatment of Children: Western and Ayurvedic Perspectives’ by ‘Anne McIntyre’, the following health benefits of Haritaki are listed.

Haritaki Health Benefits for the Skin

The antibacterial and antioxidative nature of haritaki promotes skin and hair health. It also has skin friendly nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and iron. It helps treat skin infections like acne, pimples, rashes, and boils. Application of haritaki paste on the affected area can heal wounds fast and cure acne, and pimples and can also prevent further breakouts. The astringent properties of haritaki effectively reduce pores. It inhibits melanin production, reduces wrinkles and pigmentation.

How to make Haritaki Powder and Face pack for flawless skin

Haritaki Health Benefits for Hair

Haritaki is extremely useful in treating scalp infections like dandruff which cause a lot of itching and hair fall. Using haritaki oil helps to manage dandruff and prevent it from ocurring in the future. Haritaki or Kadukkai powder helps to clean the hair follicles, and promotes hair growth. It strengthens the hair at the roots and prevents breakage of hair, thus preventing hair loss. It also conditions the hair making it soft and smooth.

Haritaki Health Benefits for the Digestive System

Terminalia chebula benefits the whole digestive tract. It is said to increase appetite, and improve digestion and absorption. It provides effective cure for piles, gastro-intestinal infections and diarrhoea. It can also be used for colic and wind, worms, constipation, IBS and vomitting. The unripe fruit is considered to be more of a laxative than the ripe one. Haritaki is also useful for infections of the gut and for parasites including amoebas. It is also said to be effective for use in inflammation of the mucous membrane and ulcers.

Haritaki Health Benefits for Oxidative Stress and Memory

Terminalia chebula is known to protect against age-realted diseases. This is because it helps fight oxidative stress. Haritaki has powerful antioxidants and flavonoids that improve the memory and concentration of an individual. The fruit of the Terminalia chebula is an effective antioxidant. It is an excellent free radical scavenger. Studies also show that, it can be used to protect humans from radiation induced damage. The fruit is also used to prevent aging, and building immunity and body resistance against diseases.

Haritaki Health Benefits for the Heart

Terminalia chebula may also have health benefits for the heart. Animal studies have shown that, it helps reduce total cholesterol in mice and also helps reduce triglycerides, which is known to increase the risk of heart disease, at higher levels. It was also found to possess significant hypolipidemic activity. It is considered a cardio tonic and helps in lowering blood pressure. Its antioxidant properties protect the heart and arteries, from damage by free radicals.

Haritaki Health Benefits for Diabetes

The hypoglycaemic property of haritaki plays an important role in regulating the sugar levels and insulin sensivity of the body. Haritaki helps to reduce the breakdown of starch into glucose, thus bringing down the blood glucose levels and relieves diabetic symptoms like frequent urination and excessive thirst. In the site Easyayurveda.com, it is suggested that you can take 2 tsps of haritaki powder twice a day with water for 20 days or 1 fruit a day for 30 days.

Haritaki Health Benefits for the Respiratory System

The ripe fruit of T chebula ia a good astringent, and as such is a good home remedy for catarrh, congestion and coughs. Haritaki powder is said to have been smoked in pipes for relief from asthma. Haritaki provides protection from cough and cold. To cure cough and cold, take 1/2 tsp of haritaki powder along with honey twice a day. It also cures a sore throat.

Haritaki Health Benefits for Nervous System

Haritaki is said to promote wisdom, intellect and good sight. The antioxidant properties in haritaki, make it a good adaptogen, thus increasing resilience to stress.

Other Health Benefits of Haritaki

Haritaki is an antiseptic diuretic for urinary tract infections. It has the ability to increase resistance to infections. It is effective against a range of bacterial and viral infections. Research has shown that haritaki can inhibit the growth of certain cancer cell lines. Haritaki is used to cure fevers, skin eruptions and infections. Haritaki powder is also used to clean teeth and gums, in order to stop the bleeding and infection of the mouth and gums. Haritaki fruit may help lose weight because of its moisture absorbing nature. It detoxifies the body and improves metabolism.

Home Remedies with Haritaki

  • A level spoon of terminalia chebula powder with hot milk helps clear a loaded colon.
  • For heartburn, boil half a tsp each of dried Indian gooseberry and dried terminalia chebula in a cupful of water. Filter, cool, and temper with honey. Sip this liquid to soothe heartburn.
  • Soak terminalia chebula overnight, so that the rind softens. To 1/4th of a tsp of this add half a tsp of dried coriander seeds and 1/4th tsp of cardamom seeds. Grind them together and have twice a day. Haritaki has a glycoside which has laxative properties amd coriander and cardamom seeds relieve flatulence as well as indigestion.
  • Fry the softened pulp of one haritaki in a little ghee. Add half a tsp of rock salt to it. Dry grind it to a powder and keep it aside. A pinch of this taken at bedtime with a cup of hot water, clears the bowels in the morning.
  • Rub the fruit with a little vinegar on a coarse grinding stone. The fluid thus obtained can be applied on the skin for fungal infections.
  • For dental caries, cold infusion of haritaki fruit is used for gargling. The fruit powder can be applied on bleeding gums to stop the bleeding and heal the gums.
  • To remove dark circles around the eyes, make a paste of 1 tsp of Haritaki powder, 1/2 tsp of aloe gel and 2 drops of almond or coconut oil. Mix and apply around the eyes and wash after 10 minutes gently. Apply a moisturizer afterwards.
  • Make a decoction with haritaki powder and gargle with it. This decoction has the ability to soothe the throat.
  • The decoction of haritaki is a good home remedy for excessive urination.

Side Effects of Haritaki

It is not advised for pregnant woman and lactating mothers. Best to not give infants unless doctor recommends. May cause abdominal pain in those having severe gastritis.