Harad or terminalia chebula is a type of Ayurvedic herb which has many health benefits. Also known by the name of black chebulic myrobalan, haritaki is a species of Terminalia. It is found throughout South East Asia, such as – India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh etc. In India, it is found in the lower Himalayan tracks from Ravi banks to West Bengal, Assam and in the wild forests of Northern India.
Harad is a deciduous plant which is very long and grows up to 50-80 ft. About 8-12 ft thick plant of terminalia chebula bears small, dull white to yellowish flowers which grow on long white clusters. The terminalia chebula tree has 1-2 inch long, oval shaped and striped fruits. The flowers appear during May-June, and the fruits appear in July-December. The fruit is about 1-2 inches in size and oval in shape; it has five stripes on the outer skin.
Fruit is green when unripe and yellowish Gray when ripe. Ripe fruits are collected from January to April. Haritaki is of seven types according to Ayurveda but at present, only two or three varieties are available which are the fruits of the same tree. The fruits plucked before seed formation are known as small terminalia chebula or chhoti Harad whereas the fruits plucked when they completely ripe are known as big terminalia chebula or big black chebulic myrobalan or badi harad.
The terminalia chebula is rich in tannin (hydrolysable type tannin). Besides, 18 amino acids, 12 fatty acids and small amounts of fructose, succinic acid, polyphenols, phosphoric and shikimik acids are also present in it. It is an excellent source of vitamin C. Harad is also rich in several minerals including selenium, potassium, manganese, iron and copper. The tree releases a kind of gum; a yellow oil comes from the kernel of the seed.
Properties of Harad or Terminalia Chebula:
Harad or haritaki is dry, warm, slightly sweet, bitter and astringent herb. According to Ayurveda, haritaki is one of the most important herbs which are beneficial to cure tridosas- vata, kapha and pitta- of the body. It is useful in treating asthma, acid reflux, abdominal or digestive diseases, haemorrhoids or piles, urinary problems, dental problems, skin diseases and many other diseases. It promotes the receiving power of five senses.
Health Benefits of Harad or Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula):
1. Cures Cough and Cold:
Terminalia chebula or black chebulic myrobalan is a good natural medicine of curing cough and cold. Because of its pungent, bitter and astringent tastes, it helps to cure ‘kapha dosh’. Whenever you have cough and cold, try harad (haritaki) powder with honey to treat it naturally.
2. Treats Chronic Cough:
Harad or haritaki is amazing to treat cough for everyone. If you are suffering from severe cough, simply prepare powder of harad, Indian gooseberry (amla) and mulethi (liquorice) and ingest. (For detailed information, refer to ‘Home Remedies for Cough‘)
3. Treats Constipation or Kabz:
Harad or terminalia chebula is an herb which is beneficial to cure ‘tridosas- vata-kapha and pitta’ of the body. It has laxative properties that is good to treat various stomach problems like- acidity, constipation, indigestion etc. Whenever your stomach get upset, take half tsp of haritaki powder mixing with a glass of warm water; it will give you instant relief.
If you use harad (terminalia chebula) with amla and baheda (Terminalia Belerica), you can get rid of constipation or kabz. Composition of harad, amla and baheda is called ‘Triphla’; it is a great laxative that helps to regulate bowel movements. (For detailed information, refer to ‘Home remedies of Constipation or Kabz‘).
4. Harad for Weight Loss:
Terminalia chebula or haritaki removes toxins from the body and keeps the digestive system healthy. Consuming haritaki regularly regulates the hunger and helps in weight loss naturally.
For weight loss apply this home remedy; firstly add 6 gm of harad powder in boiling water and boil it till it reduces half. Now mix 1 tbsp honey in it and drink this water with empty stomach; it is good to loose weight speedily.
5. Good for Sore Throat:
Harad or Black Chebulic Myrobalan is an amazing herb that can be beneficial in solving the problems related to throat. To clear sore throat (gale ki kharash), gargle with terminalia chebula water. Take a glass of hot water and add 1 tsp of haritaki powder and cover a lid on it for some time. Then gargle with this lukewarm liquid of terminalia chebula. Gargling with its powder is also beneficial for healthy teeth and gums.
6. Cures Migraine:
Black chebulic myrobalan or terminalia chebula is good for chronic headache, especially headache like migraine. Grind its seed with warm water and apply on the forehead. Harad gives fast relief in migraine.
7. Treats Piles:
Haritaki is good for treating problem of piles or haemorrhoids. Simply consume 1 tsp harad or black chebulic myrobalan powder with butter milk. Piles (bawasir) can rather be cured with haritaki and jaggery (gur) too. Take equal amount of haritaki or black chebulic myrobalan and jaggery (gur) and consume before eating food; it reduces itching and pain of hemorrhoids.
8. Cures Eye Disorders:
Terminalia chebula or harad or haritaki is good for all type of eyes disorders. It is one of the main ingredients of the Ayurvedic medicine ‘Triphala’. Haritaki water can be used as an eye wash. Soak haritaki overnight in water in a pot (preferably in earthen pot) and use this water next day morning to wash your eyes. Water of haritaki is found to be analgesic and anti-inflammatory; it is beneficial for Conjunctivitis also.
9. Treats Urinary Disorder:
Harad or haritaki cures urinary disorders without medicine. Simply, give 2-5 gm haritaki powder with 1 tsp of honey twice a day. It cures the burning sensation in urine and other urinary disorders.
10. Cures Mouth Ulcers:
Harad or haritaki is good for oral problems, especially mouth ulcers and bleeding gums. If you have mouth ulcers, you can cure it by making a mouth rinse with harad. Firstly break the outer covering of big teminalia chebula or badi haritaki and boil the broken haritaki with a cup of water till the colour of the water changed to dull yellow colour. Let it to be cool and rinse with this several times to cure mouth ulcers. This is a good home remedy which can be used for children also.
11. Heals Wounds:
Harad or terminalia chebula is really an amazing herb. Do you know, it can heal wounds naturally. Firstly wash the wounds with the decoction of harad. For making decoction (kadha) of harad, boil 1 tsp of chhoti haritaki powder in a glass of water and boil on heat till it reduces half. Sieve the decoction and let it to be cool; then wash the wounds with this decoction. It helps to shrink the wounds (ghav).
After washing the wounds, apply harad powder on wounds locally. Take 1-2 gm of haritaki powder and 5-10 gm butter; mix both well and apply on the wound. It is a good home remedy that helps to cure the wounds very faster. You can use Vaseline in place of butter.
12. Good for Acute Acidity:
Terminalia chebula or haritaki is known to cure all stomach related problems from acidity and indigestion to constipation very effectively. There are different compositions of harad or haritaki mixing with other herbs which shows good results in curing acute acidity.
1. Harad with Badi Elaichi:
For treating acute acidity, composition of chhoti harad (terminalia chebula) with badi elaichi (black cardamom) and kali mirch (black pepper) gives relief immediately.
Likewise, this powder is too effective to cure gastric problem and constipation; you can consume it as per requirement and there is no side effect of it.
(For detailed remedy, refer to ‘Remedies for Acute Hyperacidity‘).
2. Badi Harad with Baheda & Elaichi:
Yellow Chebulic Myrobalan (badi harad) also cures acidity with baheda (Terminalia Bellirica), badi elaichi (black cardamom) and mishri (rock sugar). Baheda is also a type of herb like yellow chebulic myrobalan; composition of these three herbs together can cure acidity permanently. Haritaki increases the mucus production in the stomach forming a protective barrier thus preventing acidity and ulcer.
(To know the full details, refer to ‘Remedies for Acute Hyperacidity‘).
3. Harad with Piper Longum (Pippali):
Composition of haritaki with piper longum (pippali) and mishri can also cures acidity permanently.
4. Chebulic Myrobalan with Jaggery:
Chhoti harad with jaggery (gur) is another composition that can cure acidity (pitta rog) naturally.
5. Harad with Raisin or Kishmish:
Harad with raisin or kishmish is also good to cure acidity; you can consume powder of terminalia chebula with raisin for treating acidity.
6. Haritaki with Amla:
Terminalia chebula or haritaki is good to treat heartburn due to acidity naturally without medicine. You can use decoction (kadha) of these two herbs.
For detailed information on all the above remedies of acute acidity, refer to ‘Remedies for Acute Hyperacidity‘.
13. Treats Constipation:
a. Harad works as a natural laxative, that helps in efficient working of bowel movement. To cure constipation, you can use harad or black chebulic myrobalan with black cardamom (badi elaichi) and black pepper (kali mirch).
b. Similarly, a composition of yellow chebulic myrobalan or badi harad, terminalia belerica or baheda and mishri or rock sugar works as an excellent cure of constipation. Powder of all these ingredients helps to improve the bowel movement and clears the constipation or kabz naturally.
( For detailed remedy, refer ‘Remedies of Constipation‘).
14. Good for Joint Pain:
Black chebulic myrobalan or chhoti harad has anti inflammatory properties that helps to cure arthritis, gout and joint pain. Joint pain, especially knee joint pain, is the most common problem among middle age people. People who suffer from it, generally treated with pain killers which are harmful for body. However, they can try the natural remedy of terminalia chebula (haritaki) in different composition.
You can take harad with dry ginger (sonth) and celery (ajmoda) for treating joint pain. It is very effective in knee pain; for detailed information, refer ‘Remedies for knee pain‘.
Another remedial use of haritaki is with giloy to cure gout. Firstly, grind some chhoti harad or black chebulic myrobalan to make fine powder; store it into a jar. Now, ingest 3 gm harad powder with giloy juice; you can purchase giloy juice from ayurvedic and other shops.
15. Cures Babies’ Gastric Problem:
Most of the lactating (breast feeding) mothers face this problem and worried about how to relieve a baby’s gas discomfort naturally and quickly. Yellow chebulic myrobalan is very good for curing the stomach pain among babies. Badi harad can be given by rubbing on a rough surface (refer to ‘Remedies of stomach pain in kids‘).
If your child is crying in the night with flatulence (pet phoola hona), rub badi harad on rough surface in similar manner and ingest it after adding some jaggery (gur) in it.
Harad is a good appetizer; you can give it to your child with a very little amount of rock salt (sendha namak) to improve appetite.
Before using yellow chebulic myrobalan for small children, check that it should be neat and germ free. You can also check it by soaking into water; it should be sinkable.
16. Cures Loose Motion:
Black Chebulic Myrobalan (terminalia chebula or chhoti harad) is a wonderful herb that can control any type of diarrhea or loose motion (dast). It can be used with different composition.
You can control loose motion by chewing a black chebulic myrobalan or chhoti harad like a toffee.
If it is not controlled, use harad or haritaki with amla or Indian gooseberry.
Another remedial use of Terminalia chebula (harad) is with Piper Longum (pippali); it can control any type of dysentery naturally without any medication.
(For detailed remedy, refer to ‘Remedies for Loose Motion‘).
17. Good for Teeth Whitening:
Harad or terminalia chebula is also good for teeth whitening as tooth powder. Apply this on your teeth twice a day. ; it cleans teeth and keeps them strong. For making fine powder of chhoti harad grind it into mixer grinder and sieve it with thin cloth and keep into a jar for use.
18. Relieves Gastric Problem:
Terminalia chebula or chhoti harad is good for gastric problem. Whenever you feel abdominal gas, take one piece of haritaki and keep it in your mouth. Let it to be swallowed and when it became soft, either eat it or remove.
19. Prevents Hair Loss:
Harad or haritaki is very good for hair nourishment. Its oil helps to prevent hair fall and dandruff. For making haritaki oil, heat a cup of coconut oil in a pan with three pods of haritaki in it. Boil it till it turned brown; put it off from the flame and let it to be cool. Then store the oil into a jar and apply on your hair. Regular use of harad oil make your hair healthy.
20. Removes Acne and Ulcers:
Haritaki has antibacterial properties which make it very effective for treating acne and ulcers. If you are facing these problems, try harad powder by making paste with boiled water. Take some haritaki powder and add some boiled water in it to make a paste. Now apply this paste on acne and ulcer spotted skin; it heals acne very quickly.
Or simply rub a pod of terminalia chebula (big haritaki) on a rough surface (stone) with little boiled water. When the paste will thick and light green in color, apply it on the affected area.
Side Effects of Harad or Haritaki:
Besides being an excellent herb, terminalia chebula or harad also has some side effects that can not be overlooked. It is not safe for pregnant women, therefore not recommended during pregnancy. It reduce the production of breast milk, therefore not good for lactating mothers.
Excessive use of haritaki is also not good as it is dry and hot in nature; therefore should not be taken if you already having dryness. You should not take it, if you are already suffering from depression, fever, excessive bleeding, indigestion, severe thirst, feeling tiredness, stiff neck and hunger. It should not be given to children below 5 years and the people who are very thin.
The natural/ home remedies given above is for information purpose only; it is neither to be construed as a diagnosis, treatment, or cure for any disease nor to be considered as a substitute for medical care from a doctor. Better to consult your doctor before trying these natural remedies; results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person.