What is Haritaki ?
It is said that a drop of Amrit fell from heaven to give birth to this tree on earth. The fruit “Haritaki” of this tree was referred by many names, the “divine fruit”, or “the life giving fruit”, and it is because of these many synonyms it is also called the “king of medicines”. In India it is commonly known as “Harad”, one of the three ingredients of “Triphala”. The Tibetians are also known to use every part of this tree including the fruit in their formulations since ancient times.
How and where is Haritaki cultivated ?
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) is a large tree that belongs to the Combretaceae family, it is deciduous in nature and grows in the sub-Himalayan regions of India, also known as Haimavati. The tree can average a height of 90 feet, the fruit is orange and brown in colour with a distinct smell. It is also found in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Vietnam.
What are the medicinal properties of Haritaki ?
Haritaki is Tridosh Nashak, it pacifies all the three doshas.
Doshas: Ayurveda believes that the intestines are the gateway to physical and emotional well being, and it is poor functioning (Vata Imbalance) gives rise to almost all diseases. Haritaki supports and aids digestion in the large intestine, which is considered the home of Vata. It assists in cleaning the intestines with its antibacterial properties. Therefore it is a key ingredient to address all types of “Vata Vikar”, like gas, bloating, indigestion and elimination, by strengthening the digestive Agni of the individual. Interestingly Haritaki is known to have five of the six tastes.
The astringent qualities help in balancing Pitta and its bitter taste balances Kapha.
Modern approach: The modern hypothesis has been that Haritaki is an excellent herb in eliminating human waste from the intestines which and has a direct impact on the brain. The researchers claim a healthy gut ensures a healthy brain. Further the longer the toxins are left lying in the body, the more harm comes to it. This is considered one of the causes of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinsons. Haritaki’s ability to aid and support healthy digestion and elimination makes it relevant in addressing these diseases.