What is Haritaki and what are some of its benefits?

Haritaki is also known as ‘Chebulic Myrobalan or Terminalia Chebulla.’

Haritaki seeds
Haritaki is used to cure many diseases.

Highlights:
Parts used: Fruit
Tissues: Acts upon all tissues
Systems: Digestive, Respiratory, Excretory, Nervous
Properties: Rejuvenative, Digestive, Astringent, Laxative, nervine, expectorant, anthelmintic, antispasmodic


Description:
It is said that when the god Indra was drinking nectar in heaven, a drop fell to Earth and manifested as haritaki.

 

Haritaki is regarded in Ayurvedic pharmacology as one of the best rejuvenative tonics for vata dosha.

Haritaki experiments on rats
Result for the experiment conducted on rats.

In one of the studies carried out by Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research on rats showed that Haritaki helps decrease total cholesterol.

It strengthens the senses, nourishes the mind and nervous system, and promotes intelligence and longevity.

Haritaki is light and easy to digest, and contains five of the six tastes.

Its prabhava (special quality) is that it pacifies all three doshas and ourishes all bodily tissues, but it can provoke pitta when used in excess.

Its hot quality stimulates agni and aids in the removal of blockages of the bodily channels caused by ama accumulation.

Its astringency helps to tonify the GI ract, especially the colon, raise prolapsed organs, prevent and heal hemorrhoids, and prevent exessive bodily discharges in the case of urinary incontinence, leucorrhea, and spermatorrhea.

It’s commonly used to increase the digestion and absorption of vital nutrients, burn toxins, dispel flatus, and promote regular bowel movements and healthy and well formed stool.

It helps to cleanse and nourish rasa dhatu (plasma and lymphatic tissue), therefore enhancing the health and complexion of the top layer of the skin which is its superior byproduct.

Haritaki is a fairly dynamic and versatile herb. For example, it can aid in weight loss by burning excess kapha when used with hot, pungent herbs like ginger, black pepper, or pippali, or to gain weight by promoting good absorption of nutrients if combined with warming carminatives like ajwan, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and tonic herbs like ashwagandha, vidari, or bala.

It is one of the three herbs that make up the traditional compound triphala, along with its partners amalaki and bibhitaki.

Triphala
Haritaki is one of the ingredients of Triphala.

Triphala can be used in much the same way as haritaki, but is more balanced and can be used by all body types and in most conditions where there is constipation or malabsorption.

When taken alone or in the triphala compound, it also helps to treat eye diseases and general weakness of vision.

For this, it can also be taken either with honey, in the form of triphala ghee,  as an eyewash, or alone with hot water.

The traditional Ayurvedic preparation known as gandarva haritaki (haritaki fried in castor oil) is quite effective for constipation due to increased vata,  characterized by dry  and hard stool, as well as in (ama vata) rheumatoid arthritis.

This can be made at home by frying 4 parts of haritaki powder in 1 part castor oil in a cast iron skillet on a low heat until the herb is slightly browned.

It can be taken at bedtime in 1/2 to 1 tsp. doses with hot water.

Agastya Rasayana
Agastya Rasayana also contains Haritaki


Agastya rasayana 
is another famous tonic containing haritaki. It is used to treat a wide variety of respiratory complaints and digestive disorders, including bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis, allergies, sinusitis, coughs, and constipation.

Unlike most rasayanas, which are given only after detoxification has taken place, agasya rasayana  can be used ever if there is ama present.

It helps to bolster and strengthen the body’s own healing response against even serious diseases.

Caution:

  • Pregnant women or lean individuals should use Haritaki in limited or restricted amount.
  • Please avoid it during mental depression, fasting, vitiated pitta conditions and severe debility.

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