The Agni Purana, a text of ancient Hindu mythology, mentions Haritaki being prescribed along with Indian gooseberry as a concoction for longevity. According to Hindu mythology, Haritaki happened upon the earth by birthing from a drop of nectar that had fallen from the chalice of Lord Indra. The falling drop of nectar landed on the soils of India and the Terminalia tree was born.
An irreplaceable ingredient in Ayurvedic medicinal recipes, Haritaki is listed in the wonderfully researched book, The Way of Ayurveda Herbs and, some of the healing abilities attributed to Haritaki are; reducing the severity of coughs because it contains antitussive properties, ease vomiting and acute diarrhoea, heal skin conditions, soothe a sore throat, parasitic elimination, calm and cure digestive issues, help with the malabsorption of nutrients, tumour suppression, reverse jaundice caused by liver disease and act as a “cardiotonic” to assist those at risk of, or suffering from, heart disease.
A myriad of toxins can lead to calcification of the pineal gland, however, one of the main causes of calcification is the build up of heavy-metal residues in the body. Mercury is a particular offender in the pineal gland calcification process. Results of scientific studies demonstrate that Haritaki can greatly assist de-calcification of the pineal gland by supporting the liver in its consistent efforts to remove mercury from the body. Haritaki is also highly “homeostatic” due to being adaptogenic in nature. Endearing psycho-physical equilibrium, Haritaki is laced with many beneficial properties that aid brain health, sharpen the senses and increase cognitive functioning and emotional health. Humans are in possession of biological energies which meander throughout the body and mind. In Ayurvedic medicine, these biological energies which govern the health of our psychological and physical functioning are referred to as Doshas (a fundamental concept of the Ayurvedic tradition). There are Three Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha which contain all five vital elements — Earth, Ether, Air, Water and Fire. Haritaki is said to powerfully unite all three Dosha energies, creating a synergistic ratio of all five vital elements. A balancing of the Dosha energies and elements therein provides access to the specific requirements of a individual persons blueprint of health and wellbeing. Haritaki consumption can assist multi-level homeostasis leading to an advanced internal state conducive to Third Eye Awakening.
Tibetan nickname – King of Medicines
Indian names – Abhaya, Kadukkai
English name – Harde
Common nickname – Ink Tree
The Haritaki seed – normally referred to as “fruit” – grows on the Terminalia tree. The little nut-like Haritaki fruit is dried and used for medicinal purposes. One of Haritakis rightful claims to fame is being one of three chosen herbs that make up the infamous Ayurvedic Triphala — which has been used for centuries to treat and heal a variety of human health ailments, mainly along the detoxifying and restorative lines and including the treatment of Kidney and Liver dysfunction.
Naive to South Asia and India, today we can find the trees of Haritaki fruit also growing in Burma, Nepal and Thailand, along with adorning the lands of Pakistan and Sri Lanka. We also find Haritaki spreading its medicinal glory among the lands of China and Indochina.
To give you an idea of medicinal potency, here is a non-definitive list of the active compounds found in Haritaki – Tannic acid (universal detoxifier) gallic acid (anti-viral) chebulinic acid (an ellagitannin), stearic acid (long-chain fatty acid) behenic acid (great for skin) oleic acid (lowers blood pressure and generates brain myelin) sennoside (constipation relief) arachidic acid (immune response) and linoleic acid (Omega 3).
Let us delve deeper into some of the numerous health benefits on offer from “the little fruit of the tall tree”, known as Haritaki.
Haritaki contains Sennosides, known as stimulant laxatives, which are an effective treatment for relieving constipation and cleaning the colon. The process of waste elimination is assisted by Sennosides acting to retain water within the intestines, thus helping to dislodge water matter within the intestines. Sennosides can also be used to eliminate waste from the bowel before an examination or surgery.
Supports Liver and Kidney function
A big one for pineal gland detoxification and health, Haritaki is a powerful blood purifying agent and provides ample healing and protection to the liver and kidneys. Packed full antioxidants, in particular, antioxidant concentrations of glutathione and superoxide dismutase — active compounds conducive to the detoxification of heavy metals — haritaki also launches its antioxidant power at any free-radical outposts. A reduction in free-radicals translates to a reduction in the damaging effects of oxidative stress on kidney and liver tissue, as well as slowing down the biological ageing process.
H. Pylori is a bacteria that can lead to stomach ulcers and in some people eventually stomach cancer. Haritaki has been shown to suppress the H. Pylori bacteria and also stimulate the production of stomach mucus which helps to fight off the type of gastric ulcers associated with the H. Pylori bacteria. Digestive, stomach and colon-related issues can be resolved using Haritaki.
Prevents Gum Disease
Haritaki is a natural antibacterial and antifungal that can be used to treat bacterial overgrowths such as candida, H. pylori in the stomach and, bacterial overgrowth in the mouth too. The Ayurvedic Triphala is made by combining three medicinal herbs: Haritaki, Bibhitaki, and Amalaki. A study conducted by India’s Government Medical College and Government Dental College, tested 5 different forms of natural treatments for reducing E. faecalis, which is a very common bacteria found in the mouth and which is a cause of gum disease. The study concluded that the Ayurvedic Triphala was the safest and most effective way of eliminating E. faecalis, making this a promising treatment for prevention from dental cavities.
Lowers Blood Sugar
The Ac1 test can be used to determine blood glucose (blood sugar ) levels over a three month period and can help in the diagnosis of pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Scientific studies on Haritaki have demonstrated its active compounds assisting with the maintenance of stable blood glucose levels and in helping to prevent insulin resistance. Haritaki has therefore been shown to be an effective remedy to help lower a person’s A1c levels, meaning it can be used as both a preventative measure against Type 2 diabetes development — and to assist those whom are already diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes by helping to increase glucose tolerance. Further studies are needed, but Harataki shows promise as a natural aid to decrease insulin resistance and has been used Traditionally for hundreds of years to stabilise fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
The oil of Haritaki, mixed with a carrier oil, can be applied topically to eliminate common scalp bacterias that affect the health of our hair follicles. Haritaki can restore our hairs lustre and lead to hair growth by unclogging our hair follicles from dormant and active bacterias and debris. Haritaki has also been used traditionally to treat head lice. Anemia is a deficiency of iron, of which one of its symptoms is weak hair and hair loss. Haritaki contains iron which can help to rectify Anemia and restore serum levels of iron. In Ayurveda, Haritaki is commonly used in combination with other herbs to promote hair growth.