What is haritaki and what are its health benefits?

Haritaki is a fruit known in Ayurvedic medicine for its digestive and antioxidant properties. How is it used? In this space we tell you.

Last update: February 14, 2022

Haritakiscientific name Chebulic myrobalanis a fruit that is obtained from the seeds of trees Terminalia chebula. It is also known by names like “Indian nut” or “Indian plum” and is quite popular in Ayurvedic medicine.

According to this traditional system, it is a “nature” food tridoshic», that is, it can balance all three dosha. In this way, it rebalances physical, mental and spiritual health, especially in case of illness. What are its benefits? What does science say? We detail it below.

Characteristics of haritaki

In Ayurvedic medicine, the haritaki It is known as “the king of medicines”. The fruit is similar in shape to a drupe and is between 2 and 4.5 centimeters long and between 1.2 and 2.5 centimeters wide. It also has 5 longitudinal ridges.

Depending on its variety, it can have a sweet, sour or bitter taste. Also, its color is usually blackish green when ripe. It usually grows in tropical and subtropical regions of India, Nepal, China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

From its shell a powder is made that is usually distributed for medicinal purposes. However, it is important to note that several products are distinguished haritaki. These are the following:

  • Vijaya.
  • Chetaki.
  • Rohini.
  • Putna.
  • Jayanti.
  • Abhaya.
  • Amrita.
Ayurvedic medicine attaches great importance to natural remedies, both for use in the form of medicines and in the kitchen.

Nutritional properties of haritaki

Much of the benefits of haritaki explained in its concentration of essential nutrients. To be more exact, the fruit it is a source of vitamin C, manganese, selenium, potassium, iron and copper.

In turn, as stated in an article published in Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicineprovides other phytoconstituents such as the following:

  • Fatty acids (linoleic acid, oleic acid and palmitic acid).
  • Tannins.
  • Amino acids.
  • Glucose.
  • Quinines.

Due to this composition, they are attributed antibacterial, antitumor, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antiviral and antispasmodic properties, among other. What is it for?

Uses and benefits of haritaki

The medicinal applications of haritaki they are described in Ayurvedic and Tibetan books. In these traditional systems It is valued for its potential to prevent and treat disease. However, the evidence on its benefits remains limited. Therefore, it is important to use it with caution.

digestive health

In Ayurvedic medicine, the haritaki It has been used as an adjuvant for the detoxification of the digestive system. Its intake promotes intestinal function and helps prevent disorders such as constipation.

In addition, among other things, it contributes to the relief of the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Flatulence.
  • Peptic ulcers.
  • Heartburn.
  • Spasms and abdominal cramps.

In addition to the above, it is believed that this fruit stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, It decreases inflammation and promotes the balance of healthy bacteria in the intestine.

Immune system

The extract from haritaki It is used as a supplement to strengthen the immune system. Its antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties contribute to the prevention of infections. In addition, its contribution of vitamin C stimulates the functions of leukocytes, which is also key to optimizing defenses.

For all of the above, the remedy is associated with the prevention of the following diseases:

  • allergies.
  • skin infections
  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Respiratory tract infections.
  • intestinal infections.
  • Autoimmune diseases (arthritis, lupus, celiac disease).

metabolic health

The phytoconstituents of haritaki, especially tannins, fatty acids and amino acids, have a positive impact on metabolic health. An animal study reported in Phytotherapy Research associates the consumption of this fruit with prevention of high blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, high cholesterol and other factors linked to metabolic syndrome.

inflammation and oxidative stress

The abundant supply of antioxidants in the haritaki It is beneficial in regulating the body’s inflammatory processes and reducing the negative effects of oxidative stress. Specific, its intake is related to the increase of glutathione and superoxide dismutasekeys to combat free radicals.

Due to these effects, supplementation with haritaki It has neuroprotective and antitumor effects. Its moderate consumption helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases that impair quality of life.

Cardiovascular health

Although the evidence is limited, This fruit is related to good heart health. Popular literature suggests that it helps improve blood flow, which would help control blood pressure. In addition, due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity, it would stimulate the elimination of cholesterol bad and would contribute to the prevention of atherosclerosis.

Other benefits of haritaki

  • Moderate consumption of haritaki serves as a supplement for weight loss. Specifically, it reduces anxiety about food and promotes optimal functioning of the metabolism.
  • The topical use of the extracts of this fruit it is useful for the prevention of skin infections. It is even believed that it helps fight acne and promotes healing.
  • Its application on the scalp reduces the presence of dandruff, itching and excessive fall. In addition, it leaves a silky and healthy appearance.

Dosage and presentations of haritaki

Often, the haritaki is available in powder, capsules and tea. Dosages may vary depending on the type and its manufacturer.

In general, they range from 1 to 5 grams a day, twice a day, diluted in warm water or milk with honey. In any case, it is essential to always consult the label and respect the recommendations for consumption.

For use as a topical remedy, the powder can be combined with rose water, coconut oil or honey. It is rubbed on the skin, as long as there are no open wounds. Likewise, diluted in water, it can be applied to the scalp.

This product could have a protective effect on the scalp, improving dandruff.

Risks and possible side effects

Despite its benefits, the haritaki can lead to some side effects especially when taken without the supervision of the Ayurvedic doctor or the general practitioner. These reactions include the following:

  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Stomatitis.
  • dehydration
  • Jaw stiffness.
  • nutritional deficiencies.

However, due to its hypoglycemic qualities, its simultaneous consumption with diabetes medications should be avoided. In fact, the ideal is to orient yourself in case you are taking any type of drug. In these cases, can reduce or enhance its effects, which puts health at risk.

For safety, it is best to avoid its administration in children, pregnant or lactating women and patients with chronic diseases. In the latter case, you should first consult a doctor.

What to remember about haritaki?

In Ayurvedic medicine, the haritaki is a well-known remedy for boost metabolism, improve defenses and protect the cardiovascular system. Even so, its use should be prudent, under the supervision of an Ayurvedic or general doctor.

It is not considered a treatment of first choice in case of diseases and is not exempt from causing side effects. Therefore, it is advisable to take only the dosages suggested by the manufacturer.

Although it can be applied as a topical remedy, It is advisable to do a test before using it. It is enough to put a small amount on one of the areas of the skin and wait between 12 and 24 hours. If there are no unwanted reactions, it can be used without problem.

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