Terminalia chebula is a medium to large deciduous tree growing to 30 m (98 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) in diameter. The leaves are alternate to sub opposite in arrangement, oval, 7–8 cm (2.8–3.1 in) long and 4.5–10 cm (1.8–3.9 in) broad with a 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) petiole. They have an acute tip, cordate at the base, margins entire, glabrous above with a yellowish pubescence below. The fruit is drupe-like, 2–4.5 cm (0.79–1.77 in) long and 1.2–2.5 cm (0.47–0.98 in) broad, blackish, with five longitudinal ridges. The dull white to yellow flowers are monoecious, and have a strong, unpleasant odor. They are borne in terminal spikes or short panicles. The fruits are smooth ellipsoid to ovoid drupes, yellow to orange-brown in color, with a single angled stone.
A number of glycosides have been isolated from haritaki, including the triterpenes arjunglucoside I, arjungenin, and the chebulosides I and II. Other constituents include a coumarin conjugated with gallic acids called chebulin, as well as other phenolic compounds including ellagic acid, 2,4-chebulyl- β-D-glucopyranose, chebulinic acid, gallic acid, ethyl gallate, punicalagin, terflavin A, terchebin, luteolin, and tannic acid. Chebulic acid is a phenolic acid compound isolated from the ripe fruits.
Luteic acid can be isolated from the bark.
Terminalia chebula also contains terflavin B, a type of tannin, while chebulinic acid is found in the fruits.
Rasa (Taste) –Pancha rasatmaka kashay pradhan except Lavan rasa
Guna (Quality)-Laghu, Ruksha.
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna
Vipaka – Madhur
Pramukh Karma – Anuloman, Stroto-vishodhan
Pharmacological action- The plant can be used as antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial, antistress, antispasmodic, hypotensive, hypolipidemic, anthelmintic and purgative agent.
Haritaki has hypoglycaemic ability plays an essential role in lowering the body’s blood sugar levels. Also, this fruit activates the pancreas cells’ ability to produce insulin within the body and aids in slowing down the conversion of starch to glucose. As a result, daily consumption of Haritaki powder can significantly lower blood glucose levels and decrease different diabetic symptoms like frequent urination, excessive thirst, weight loss, etc.
Single herb usage of Haritaki is contraindicated in lactating mothers. It may decrease breast milk production. Haritaki in some people may cause abdominal pain. It is specifically found in people who cannot tolerate heat or people with extreme stomach sensitivity or severe gastritis.