8.3 Famous Ayurvedic
8.3.7 HARITAKI (Terminalia chebula, Retz.)
Taste: Astringent, sweet, sour, pungent and bitter
Attribute: Oily and light
General Action: Digestive stimulant, laxative rejuvenating, aphrodisiac, antibacterial, antitumor, antiviral,
Specific Action: Rejuvenating
Therapeutic Action: Balances all three humors; very good for high vata
Haritaki is called the king of medicines in Tibet and is always listed first in the Ayurvedic materia medica because of its extraordinary powers of healing. In Ayurveda it is considered to destroy all diseases and eliminate all waste from the body. At the same time, it is known to promote tissue growth and health. Many Ayurvedic formulas have some amount of haritaki in them or are processed in it because of its high regard in Ayurvedic pharmacology.
Haritaki is used to treat digestive diseases, urinary diseases, diabetes, skin diseases, parasitic infections, heart diseases, irregular fevers, flatulence, constipation, ulcers, vomiting, colic pain and hemorrhoids. If taken after meals it prevents imbalance of any of the humors due to bad food or drink. It promotes wisdom, intellect and eyesight.
Modern science has found that haritaki has a strong effect against the herpes simplex virus (HSV), has antibacterial activity, and exhibits strong cardiotonic properties. Haritaki also has antioxidant components, which indicated it can increase the life of tissues. Yet another study shows the anti-tumor activity of haritaki and another study shows that it has considerable effect in inhibiting the HIV virus which ultimately results in AIDS.
Thus, haritaki can be seen to be a valuable addition to anyones herbal collection. With its rejuvenating and cleansing properties, haritaki is excellent for the digestive system. As a preventative supplement it has great ani-viral attributes, as shown by its antitumor and HIV action. It also is effective for alleviating constipation gin general, and is helpful for vata persons because it works directly on the apana prana that lives in the colon. Taken in the triphala formula it is a well balanced digestive and rejuvenating aid.
Dose: 2 to 5 grams per day