What is Terminalia Chebula? Benefits, Uses and Side Effects of Haritaki - A Herbal Guide

Table of Content

1. Introduction
2. What is Terminalia Chebula? 
3. Ayurvedic properties of Terminalia Chebula
4. Health Benefits of Terminalia Chebula
5. Uses of Terminalia Chebula
6. Side Effects of Terminalia Chebula
7. Terminalia Chebula Sweet Pickle Recipe
8. Frequently Asked Question

1. Introduction

Terminalia chebula, commonly known as haritaki, is a herb that is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is known for its various health benefits, including improving digestion, promoting weight loss, and boosting immunity. Haritaki is also used in skincare products due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, like any other herb or supplement, haritaki can have side effects if consumed in excess. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before using haritaki. Learn more about the benefits, uses, and side effects of haritaki in our comprehensive guide.

Common Names of Terminalia chebula

Haritaki botanical name is Terminalia Chebula, some common names are chebulic myrobalan, myrobalan, harad, kadukkai, karakkaya. It is mainly found in India, Nepal, China, and south Sri Lanka, it is a medium to large size deciduous tree.

It is a flowering plant, its flowers are pale white in color with a strong odor, and the flowering time is May to June. 

Terminalia Chebula leaves are dark green, and the arrangement of the leaf is in alternative opposite and shape are ovate-elliptic. The stem is dark brown in color.

It is a large tree crowded with crowded branches. The wood of the Terminalia chebula is very hard and used for construction and making agricultural implements.

2. What is Terminalia chebula?

Chebulic myroblan / Terminalia Chebula is a wonder herb known as the long elixir, it is the fruit of a middle-sized or large tree that has egg-shaped leaves and dull white flowers in spikes. 

Terminalia Chebula is indigenous to India, the physician in ancient India used it to treat diarrhea, dysentery, heartburn, flatulence, dyspepsia, and liver spleen disorders. 

There is an old Indian proverb that says, "If one bites a piece of haritaki, every day after meals and swallows its juice, he will remain free from all diseases."

The fruit of Haritaki contains an astringent substance, the astringency is due to the characteristic principle of chebulinic acid. It also contains tannic acid, gallic acid, resin, and some purgative principles of the nature of anthraquinone.   


Terminalia Chebula fresh fruit

Haritaki Fruit

Haritaki ripe or unripe fruits are mainly used in Ayurveda for medicinal purposes. The fruiting time of the tree is November to march. The unripe fruit is more purgative and the ripe is astringent.

It is considered in Ayurveda a medicinal plant, and it is well-known tanning material in the world. Both unripe and ripe fruits as eaten raw or used as medicine.

Terminalia Chebula fruit brown

The unripe harad fruit is light brown in color and the dried fruit is black in color, unripe fruit is mainly used in making Triphala powder, an Ayurveda-renowned medicine. If unripe fruit is picked from the tree and dried, it becomes black in color, and then it is called black myrobalan.

The fruit is yellow when it is fully ripe, when the yellow fruit has dried, it becomes very hard and is known as yellow myrobalan. The tannin contains in the fruit increases when it fully ripens.

In some places, tender fruit is collected and soaked in salted water and then made a tangy pickle of this soaked Terminalia chebula.

Terminalia Chebula fruit black

3. Ayurvedic properties of Terminalia Chebula

Harad, is one of the most revered and versatile herbs in Ayurveda. It is a key component of the classical Ayurvedic formula, Triphala, and is valued for its numerous medicinal properties.

Ayurvedic properties of Terminalia chebula:

1. Rasa (Taste): Haritaki is believed to have five tastes, including primarily astringent (Kashaya Rasa), along with sweet, sour, bitter, and pungent tastes.

2. Virya (Potency): It is heating in nature (Ushna Virya).

3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is sweet (Madhura Vipaka).

4. Dosha Effects: Terminalia chebula mainly balances Vata dosha. However, its astringent nature may increase Vata in excess.

Ayurvedic Uses:

  1. Digestive Support: Haritaki is renowned for its digestive properties. It helps improve appetite, aids in digestion, and supports healthy bowel movements.

  2. Detoxification: It is used to eliminate accumulated toxins and waste materials from the body, supporting detoxification and overall cleansing.

  3. Rejuvenation: Haritaki is considered a potent Rasayana (rejuvenating herb) that helps in revitalizing and nourishing body tissues.

  4. Immune Booster: It is believed to strengthen the immune system, promoting resistance against infections and diseases.

  5. Respiratory Health: Haritaki supports respiratory health and is used to manage conditions like cough, asthma, and bronchitis.

  6. Cardiovascular Health: It is believed to have a positive effect on heart health by supporting healthy cholesterol levels and promoting proper blood circulation.

  7. Antioxidant: Haritaki is rich in antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals and protect the body from oxidative stress.

  8. Skin and Hair Care: It is used to promote healthy skin and hair, addressing issues like acne, dandruff, and premature graying of hair.

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4. What are the Benefits of Harad?

Terminalia Chebula has been used in Ayurveda and other medicine for a long time, it is a well-known and versatile herb. It has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antidiabetic, antimutagenic, antioxidant, antiulcer, and wound-healing properties.

It has a high value of vitamin C and other values like gallic acid, ellagic acid, Vitamin K, magnesium, amino acid, flavonoids, laxative, and antioxidants. It balances Kapha Pitta and Vata doshas. 

For hair

Harad is rich in Vitamin C, magnesium, iron, and copper which are beneficial for hair growth and provides nutrition to the scalp. It is very effective for hair fall, hair loss, and hair growth.

For Digestion & Constipation

Terminalia Chebula contains laxative properties which help to control constipation, IBS, and inflammation, it is also helpful in gastrointestinal infection and diarrhea. It is beneficial to increase appetite and improve digestion.

For Cough & Cold

Its antioxidant property increases metabolism and fights against cough and cold and helps to keep away from viral and flu.

For Weight Loss

Because of its laxative property which helps to improve digestion, which is beneficial for weight loss. It reduces toxins from the body and keeps healthy digestion. This helps to reduce the collection of cholesterol in the body.

For Skin Problems

It has healing and astringent properties, use the harad powder to heal wounds, skin problems, acne, scar, and pimples. Its rejuvenating property helps to remove dead cells and development of new cells which makes skin acne, scar, and pimples free.

For Immunity

Terminalia chebula is rich in vitamin C and has antioxidant properties that help to increase the immunity of the body, and fight against normal viral and flu symptoms. It is also beneficial for cough, cold and sore throat.


5. Uses of Haritaki Powder

Among its many medicinal virtues, it is used as a mild, safe, and efficacious laxative. It helps to arrest secretion or bleeding, and strengthens and promotes stomach action. 

It is useful in correcting the disordered process of nutrition by which the organism ingests, digest, absorbs, utilities, and excretes food substances and restores the normal functioning of the system. 

Dosage and uses are dependent upon the health problems and conditions or as recommended by an Ayurvedic doctor. The general recommended dosage is 5-10 grams of harad powder twice a day.

 Here are some tips to use Haritaki Powder

  • Mix Terminalia chebula powder with coconut oil or goat milk and apply it to wound and skin problems.
  • Mix Terminalia chebula powder with ghee and consume 1 tsp daily is helpful in joint pain and arthritis.
  • Taking 1 tsp of Haritaki powder with clarified butter or ghee with rock sugar helps to control dysentery problems.
  • For constipation and piles problems, take 3-4 grams of Harad Churn with jaggery powder give relief.
  • Rub the Haritaki churn on gums, which gives relief from pyorrhea.
  • Take 3–4-gram Terminalia chebula Powder and mix with rock sugar and take it with cold milk, gives relief from inflammation.
  • Take 4-6 grams of Terminalia chebula Powder and mix it with rock sugar and milk, gives relief from the burning sensation in the body.
  • Take harad powder with ginger in winter, with sugar in pre-winter, with rock salt in autumn, with jaggery in summer, and with honey in spring.
  • Take 3-4 grams harad powder with honey, which gives relief from cough, cold and sore throat.

Some precautionary measures when taking Chebulic Myrobalan Powder

  1. Consult the doctor if you are breastfeeding.
  2. Do not take without a doctor’s prescription if you are pregnant.
  3. If you are on any medication, first consult the doctor before starting to take Terminalia chebula powder.
  4. If you are on any laxative medicine, consult the doctor before taking Terminalia chebula
  5. If you have sensitive skin or are allergic, consult the skin doctor first before applying it to your face.

6. Side Effects of Haritaki

  • Over dosages of Terminalia chebula may cause dehydration, diarrhea, and fatigue.
  • Do not take Terminalia chebula if you are on diabetes medication, consult the doctor first.
  • If you are going for any medical surgery, then stop taking harad powder before a week of surgery.
  • Do not take harad in fever, mensuration, or underweight.

7. Terminalia Chebula Sweet Pickle Recipe

You can make Terminalia chebula fresh fruit pickle at home with minimum ingredients. It is very easy to make and ready in minutes. Here is the full recipe.

Terminalia Chebula sweet pickle


Yield - 4

  • Fresh Terminalia chebula – 1 kg
  • Long Pepper powder – 1 tbsp.
  • Black Pepper powder– 1 tbsp.
  • Cinnamon powder – 2 tsp
  • Saffron – 1 gram
  • Cardamom seed powder – 2 tsp
  • Raisins – ½ cup
  • Water – 2 liters for boiling and 1 liter for sugar syrup
  • Sugar – 1 kg (you can take rock sugar or brown sugar)

Method of making Sweet Pickle of Haritaki

  • Take a fresh fruit of Terminalia chebula and wash them thoroughly, let them dry and wipe with a cotton cloth.
  • Take a pan, add water, and put it on heat. Add Terminalia chebula in boiling water and boil it until the pulp becomes softer and tender.
  • Take a pan, add 1-liter water, and boil it. Add sugar to boil water and heat until sugar dissolves and heat the liquid until sugar syrup attains one thread consistency.
  • Once the sugar syrup cools down, add long pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, raisin, and saffron. Mix it well and add boiled Terminalia chebula.
  • Keep this pickle in a jar.


8. Frequently Asked Question

Q - What is the common name of Terminalia chebula?

Terminalia chebula botanical name is Terminalia Chebula, some common names are chebulic myrobalan, myrobalan, haritaki, and harad.

Q - What are the active compounds or constituents present in Terminalia chebula?

Terminalia chebula contains various bioactive compounds, including tannins (such as chebulagic acid and chebulinic acid), flavonoids, ellagic acid, gallic acid, and other polyphenols. These compounds contribute to its medicinal properties.

Q - Is Terminalia chebula safe for consumption?

Terminalia chebula is generally considered safe for consumption when used in appropriate doses. However, it's always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal supplement, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Q - How does Terminalia chebula promote digestive health?

Terminalia chebula is known for its beneficial effects on digestive health. It is believed to stimulate the digestive fire (agni), enhance digestion, promote bowel movements, alleviate constipation, and support overall gastrointestinal health.

Q - Can Terminalia chebula be used for weight loss?

Terminalia chebula is not primarily used for weight loss. However, it is known to have a mild laxative effect, which may indirectly support weight management by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.

Q - Does Terminalia chebula have any anti-inflammatory properties?

Yes, Terminalia chebula possesses anti-inflammatory properties. The bioactive compounds present in Terminalia chebula, particularly the tannins and flavonoids, have been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects in various studies.

Q - Can Terminalia chebula help in managing diabetes?

Terminalia chebula may have potential benefits in managing diabetes. Research suggests that it may help regulate blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and have antioxidant effects that can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes.

Q - Is Terminalia chebula beneficial for skin health?

Terminalia chebula is often used in Ayurvedic skincare preparations. It is believed to have antioxidant properties that can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. It may also support wound healing and promote healthy skin.

Q - Can Terminalia chebula be used to boost immunity?

Terminalia chebula is considered to have immunomodulatory properties, meaning it can help regulate and balance the immune system. It may support overall immune function.

Q - How is Terminalia chebula prepared and administered?

Terminalia chebula is available in various forms, including powder, capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts. It can be prepared as a decoction (boiled in water) or consumed as a powder mixed with water or other liquids.

Q - What is the recommended dosage of Terminalia chebula?

The recommended dosage of Terminalia chebula can vary depending on factors such as the form of the herb, the specific health condition being addressed, and individual characteristics. It is best to follow the instructions provided on the product label or consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for appropriate dosage guidance tailored to your needs.


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