|Harad, the King of Medicinal Trees|
Of all medicinal trees, perhaps the most useful one is Terminala Chebula known locally as Harad or Haritaki in the Himalayas. It truly is a gift from the gods and mother earth for mankind and this blogger is sorry he did not learn of it much earlier.
It is a deciduous tree growing to 30-metre tall, with a trunk up to 1 meter in diameter. The flowers are dull white with spikes. The fruit is hard and each fruit has a single seed. The seed of the fruit has an elliptical shape, enveloped by a fleshy and firm pulp. It is regarded as a universal panacea in Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Tibetan medicine. It is reputed to improve eyesight in the aging and is believed to inhibit the growth of malignant tumors, is rejuvenating and helps to control weight. It also helps cure many common disorders of stomach as well as the entire digestive tract. It helps the mind, memory and nervous system. In fact, so broad and numerous are its benefits that it may be regarded as an ideal general tonic for all humans over the age of fifty. It is consumed by dissolving a tea spoon of its powder in warm water for daily consumption. This is one magical remedy that any herbal enthusiast cannot afford to miss. Perhaps it is not recommended for younger and very lean persons including pregnant women by some but especially recommended for those who suffer from constipation or are overweight.. The fruit definitely needs more scientific studies and research. The peeling old bark of this tree has medicinal value and it is likely that the leaves are medicinal too although there does not appear to be much research or information on that. because in the experience of this author when a tree is good for food and medicine, most of it is useful except the roots in some cases such as the drumstick tree, that appears to be a punishment for humans who uproot trees rather than grow and care for them.
The reason why herbal medicines are not popular with many modern humans is because these act slowly and the effects of many may takes not just days but weeks to build up in the same way as it does with food. It is not a quick fix like chemical medicines that act fast but also produce most adverse side affects. In the view of this author their use must be reserved for emergencies and conditions that cannot afford to wait. In other cases when a human is seeking general health improvement and an escape from troublesome chronic conditions the world of herbal medicines is the right one to explore. The only limitation is that they have not had the benefit of modern research so that one does not know the best precise dosage as with modern medicines and a modern human may have to play it by the ears here. Nevertheless, one can proceed with less hesitation provided it has been a herb that has the benefit of long human usage, not just of hundreds of years but thousands. This fruit is also a component of a widely used tonic powder called Triphala in India that is a mix of two other fruits, one of them the vitamin C rich Amla.
The beneficial properties of this fruit arise from a number of its organic components held in a delicate balance to compliment each others property. Researchers have isolated a number of glycosides, phenol compounds and organic acids from Haritaki.
Image Courtesy: Satish Nikam from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwwssncomphotos/5828451752/