The ancient scriptures reveal Haritaki came to life when a drop of nectar fell from the cup of Indra, God of the Heavens. In the ancient Ayurvedic texts, it is called “Sarva Roga Nivarani”, meaning that which heals all diseases. Haritaki is an Ayurvedic medicine well-known to regulate the digestive system, detox the body, and naturally increase energy. Haritaki is one of the three herbs that make up one of the most popular herbal formulas of Ayurveda: triphala.
Haritaki (termanalia chebula) is a tree native to India and South Asia. The fruit of the tree is what is edible, neither the shell nor seed should be consumed. Haritaki is sometimes referred to as “chebulic myrobalan” and is placed as the number one herb of Rasayana, the Ayurvedic science of rejuvenation. It is believed to be one of the most powerful and effective ways to heal and detoxify the body. Haritaki is a nourishing herb which helps bring vitality to all the body tissues and “age gracefully”. Interestingly, we know now that Haritaki is high in Vitamin C and antioxidants.
Yogis have used Haritaki for thousands of years to increase the intake of prana (life-force energy) into the body, thus elevating one spiritually and energetically. It is often said to be the favorite herb of Buddha himself. In Ayurveda, Haritaki is said to be the only substance with the power to move prana through all levels (basically assimilate prana through the body). Bhagavan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam has even shared that “taking Haritaki is equivalent to 2 hours of pranayama”.
Haritaki is considered tridoshahara - meaning it balances all doshas (body constitutions). It is said to have the strongest effect on balancing vata dosha. It is especially useful for vata prakriti individuals, as well as those dealing with vata imbalances. One of its specialized actions is digesting of ama (undigested toxins) and increasing of Agni (digestive fire).
It is infamous for its bitterness, but follows with a sweet aftertaste. This is why many people prefer to take it in capsule form! One of the reasons haritaki is so powerful according to Ayurveda, is because it has 5 different tastes (all but salty), which means it has many different active properties. Different formulations of Haritaki are used in Ayurveda for a huge spectrum of diseases and disorders such as constipation, sore throat, allergies, asthma, indigestion, pain, anemia, and many others.
Haritaki powder can also be used as a facial mask or body wash to purify any external and internal toxins. It is great for cleansing and exfoliating the skin.
Haritaki is also one of the main herbs used in oral care in Ayurveda. Because of its bitter and astringent tastes, it is a great cleanser of bacteria and plaque in the mouth, and also prevents ulcers. It is traditionally used in combination with other bitter herbs as a tooth powder and mouth wash.
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It's important to talk to your doctor or health care practitioner, especially before using haritaki in combination with blood-sugar-lowering drugs (such as diabetes medications). Haritaki should not be used by pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, those who are malnourished/debilitated, those who have lost blood, those with medical conditions, or people who are taking medications without consulting a doctor first.