Haritaki is one of the three fruits of universally popular Ayurvedic formulation ‘Triphala’. It is commonly known as Chebulic or Black myrobalan or Ink tree. Ayurveda claims that Haritaki is the best wholesome herb as it balances Tridoshas and cleans all the channels.
Owing to its properties of anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, purgative, anti-spasmodic, hepato-protective, cardio-protective, hypo-lipidemic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-diabetic, it is called as ‘King of best medicines’ in Tibetan medicine. Haritaki is one of the most extensively discussed herbs in many Ayurvedic texts, which has mentioned its types, its effect on doshas in different seasons, ways to use, indications, and contraindications. Let’s dive deeper and know more about this highly acclaimed Ayurvedic herb.
Haritaki – All you need to know
The literal meaning of Sanskrit word Haritaki means ‘the auspicious drug which cures all the diseases.’ It is also renowned in Ayurveda by the name ‘Abhaya’ which means that it wards off the fear of diseases. Haritaki is a moderate to a large sized tree which is found all over India, especially in deciduous forests of North India, Central province, and South India.
The wood of Haritaki is very hard, brownish grey, with a greenish or yellowish tinge. Leaves of Haritaki are elliptic-oblong, soft, shining, and generally have rust-colored hairs. The petiole of the leaf has two glands near the top. Flowers are dull white, or yellow with an offensive smell.
Haritaki fruit is the most valuable part of this medicinal plant. Fruits are green, drupe-shaped with five ribs, and become yellowish-green on drying. The best variety of Haritaki fruit is smooth, bulky, and sinks in water. It should weigh approx 20g. Such type of Haritaki is best for medicinal use.
Properties of Haritaki
Haritaki fruits have five rasas (taste) felt in different parts of fruit – astringent, sweet, sour, pungent, and bitter. It is dry and light to digest. It has a sweet post-digestive effect and is hot in potency.
Owing to its five tastes, Haritaki pacifies all three doshas and hence, it can be administered in a wide range of conditions.
What are the benefits of Haritaki?
Haritaki is a miraculous drug that is capable of not only preventing diseases and promoting health but also of curing a wide range of ailments.
Haritaki is one of the best Rasayana (rejuvenating tissues) and Vayasthapana (prevents aging) herbs. This is due to its cytoprotective, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and free-radical scavenging activity, which inhibits early aging. The Rasayana effect of Haritaki makes it an excellent tonic for the brain, eyes, heart, and liver.
Haritaki has got a unique property of clearing out waste entirely from the intestines. It is a very safe and gentle laxative that cleans all bodily channels, promotes proper distribution of nutrients, and improves immunity.
Keeps you fit
The lekhana property of Haritaki reduces the body fat by scraping the extra fatty tissues, and accumulated waste materials. Hence, it controls your weight and prevents obesity.
Aids in digestion and metabolism
Haritaki regulates the secretion of gastric glands, protects gastrointestinal mucosa and liver. Thus, it aids in digestion, stimulates appetite, prevents the development of ulcers and inflammation in gastrointestinal organs.
Protects your heart
The Rasayana effect of Haritaki prevents pre-mature aging of heart tissues. Along with the property of lowering blood lipid levels, Haritaki protects the heart from hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis.
Heals wound and swelling quickly
The anti-inflammatory effect of Haritaki helps in treating arthritis, gout, and internal swelling. It promotes quick healing of ulcers and wounds.
Cures numerous ailments
How to use Haritaki fruit?
Presently Haritaki can be used in the form of powder, tea, weight loss tonic, and as skin and hair supplements. Ayurveda states Ritu Haritaki i.e. ways to consume Haritaki fruit or its powder in every season with different adjuvants –
- Rainy season – fruit with rock salt
- Autumn – with sugar
- Early Winter – with dry ginger powder
- Late Winter – with long pepper
- Spring – with honey
- Summers – with jaggery
You can also avail the benefits of this wonderful drug as follows –
- If you are sweating excessively, then anoint your body with Haritaki paste. Take a bath after the paste dries out.
- If you suffer from vomiting and motion sickness, licking a mix of ½ teaspoon of Haritaki powder and honey will help
- You can boil five crushed Haritaki fruits with five cloves in one and half cup water until half of the water remains. It works as a nice purgative when taken early in the morning.
- To use Haritaki as a laxative, mix 1.5g powder each of Haritaki, fennel, and sugar. Take once or twice daily after food
- To get relief from piles, mix 2-3 g Haritaki powder with equal parts of jaggery and consume before the food
- You can use Haritaki as a nourishing tonic. For this, fry Haritaki fruits in ghee and make its powder. Mix this powder with the leftover ghee used for frying and take twice a day
- Gargling with water boiled with ½ teaspoon of Haritaki powder relieves sore throat
- You can apply fine powder of Haritaki fruit in dental caries, bleeding and ulcerated gums
What is the correct dose of Haritaki?
If you are taking Haritaki to maintain your health, then 1g per day is the appropriate dose. If you are consuming Haritaki for purgation, then 6g a day is enough. 30-50 ml is the ideal dose for the decoction of Haritaki.
Side effects of Haritaki
Haritaki is a wonder drug if used rightly. However, it is not suitable for regular use if you are suffering from excessive pitta, fatigue, weakness, anorexia, excessively dry skin, lean body, and who underwent the blood-letting process recently. It is not recommended during pregnancy as it may reduce the production of breast milk. Do not give Haritaki to alcoholics and children below five years of age.
Haritaki has the potential to treat disturbed Tridoshas, nourish seven dhatus and clear all body channels and hence, is an ideal drug if used rightly. The wide range of benefits, applications, and easy availability make Haritaki a perfect choice for daily use. Using Haritaki as prescribed by Ayurveda’s unique concept of Ritu Haritaki can prevent aging, impart longevity, and improve immunity against fatal infectious diseases.