7 Proven Haritaki Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage & How to Use It
Here’s why the Ayurvedic herb haritaki is so good for digestive health, detoxification, dropping unwanted body fat, better skin and hair and much more.
As well as its extensive benefits, also ahead is how to and when to use haritaki powder, the best type to take and some important side effects and precautions to be aware of.
Keep reading to learn why this ancient herb is such a powerful detoxifier and rejuvenator for your body and is considered the ‘Mother of herbs’ in in Ayurveda.
What is Haritaki?
In Ayurveda, haritaki is the name of the dried fruit of the Terminalia chebula tree.
It is also known as harad, inknut, karakkaya, chebulic myrobalan and kadukkai podi in various languages across the region.
It grows across Asia, particularly in forests of Northern India, and has a long history of medicinal use as a panacea, adaptogenic tonic and natural cure for a wide variety of disorders.
Dried inknut powder is also one of the 3 ingredients in triphala churna, probably the most famous of all the Ayurvedic detoxification formulas.
However, it is often prescribed as a stand-alone treatment for specific disorders and to bring an unhealthy body back into balance.
In Western countries like the USA, fine haritaki powder, such as this special organic preparation I take, is primarily used. It has some remarkable properties for improving your overall wellness and well-being covered ahead.
7 Proven Haritaki Benefits
1. Improved Digestion and Gastrointestinal Environment
Regularly taking kadukka podi can enhance the function of your digestive tract, support a healthy intestinal environment and increase the absorption of nutrients from the food you eat.
It improves elimination, tonifies the colon, clears away compacted waste and helps to prevent constipation.
Research on using Terminalia chebula showed it has a “significant intestinal motility-enhancing effect” and can be a useful aid in keeping bowel movements regular.
There can be an initial increase in flatulence and other gastrointestinal issues when you first start taking powdered harad.
Most people quickly notice more regular bowel movements though and less bloating and gas when using this Ayurvedic remedy.
2. Decreases Stomach Acidity and Guards against Ulcers
In a related benefit, haritaki churna can reduce excessive stomach acidity and even help guard against painful ulcers by elevating protective mucus production in the stomach.
Kadukkai podi is rich in antioxidant polyphenols like gallic acid and ellagic acid that have been shown in studies to combat the Helicobacter pylori bacteria and reduce your risk of developing stomach ulcers.
3. Natural Weight Loss and Elimination
By improving digestion, increasing nutrient absorption, cleaning the colon, preventing constipation and speeding up elimination time, this herb helps alleviate the burden on your liver – a common cause of difficulty losing weight.
Improved digestion and nutritional uptake will also often have a positive effect on reducing hunger and cravings for junk foods, important factors that drive weight gain and lead to a more sedentary lifestyle.
4. Blood Builder and Body Detoxifier
In another related benefit, Terminalia chebula fruit is considered a premier body detoxifier and blood builder in Ayurveda.
It is said to help elevate oxygen levels in the blood and is often recommended for tiredness, low energy and lethargy.
Whilst this is hard to confirm with research, many people in online forums who use organic capsules like these regularly report an energizing effect when they take it.
5. Antioxidant and Antibacterial Protection
Powdered karakkaya is a rich source of potent antioxidants like ellagic acid, gallic acid, chebulic acid, flavonol glycosides, selenium and vitamin C that protect your body from free radical damage.
This research found an extract of the herb improved concentrations of glutathione, superoxide dismutase and other antioxidants in the liver and kidneys.
The authors concluded that chebulic myrobalan helps fight oxidative stress and could protect against age-related diseases.
Dried kadukka podi also has strong antibacterial properties for preventing infection from bacteria in the food you eat.
As an anti-fungal and overall digestive tonic it can also help treat candida and other fungal infections throughout the body.
6. Mouth Ulcers and Lung Disorders
The fruit or powder is often used for mouth ulcers, oral sores and gum disease. Traditionally in India a mouthwash is made by crushing several dried karakkaya fruit and boiling them in water.
Once cooled, it is swirled around the mouth several times a day to quickly alleviate mouth ulcers. It is also believed to help prevent dental decay if used regularly.
The powdered herb mixed with boiling water and cooled should be effective in the similar way as a mouthwash.
Haritaki churna is also recommended for bad coughs, bronchitis and other lung complaints. For this purpose around half a teaspoon of the powder is mixed with a small amount of honey with a spoon and slowly sucked upon.
It can be particularly good to make up and use this natural treatment right before bed if excessive coughing is preventing you from getting to sleep.
7. Better Skin and Hair
Haritaki fruit powder is often recommended for both skin problems, like acne and skin rashes, as well as hair loss and dandruff.
For acne and skin irritations a paste is made from the powdered herb and very hot water and applied directly to the affected area once it cools. This topical treatment can speed up skin healing and help prevent further acne outbreaks.
To apply to the hair, powdered harad is usually prepared in a hair oil and applied directly to the scalp to combat hair loss and prevent dandruff.
This recipe for homemade amla hair oil could be used with the same amount of haritaki churna instead of amla.
Taking the herbal powder or capsules regularly can also improve both your hair and skin tone overall. This is due to increased antioxidant intake and internal detoxification.
Beneficial Effects of Haritaki in Summary
- Enhances digestion and increases the absorption of nutrients.
- Reduce excessive acidity and can help prevent stomach ulcers.
- Improves elimination and weight loss efforts.
- Considered a premier detoxifier and blood builder in Ayurveda.
- A rich source of antioxidants that protect your body from free radical damage.
- Often used to treat mouth ulcers and gum disease.
- Recommended for acne, hair loss and dandruff.
Side Effects and Precautions
Despite all of its beneficial properties, haritaki does have some side effects and warnings. Here are the main precautions to be aware of when using the capsules or powder as a natural detoxification treatment.
1. Avoid During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
The primary precaution for women using this natural remedy is to avoid it when pregnant or breastfeeding.
The herb is specifically contraindicated in Ayurveda during pregnancy and it can also reduce breast milk production for new mothers.
Overall, it’s best to avoid using any parts of the Terminalia chebula tree when nursing a child, whilst pregnant and even for a woman trying to conceive a baby.
2. Diarrhea and Dehydration
Taking too much powdered kadukkai podi may cause temporary diarrhea and other digestive problems like bloating and excessive gas. These intestinal issues should clear up within a day or two.
If they don’t, then stop using it for a few days and then try again at least half the dosage or lower to build up your tolerance to the herb.
Additionally, is not recommended to start taking it when you are dehydrated or already suffering from diarrhea or other serious digestive issues due to its strong astringent properties.
An exception to this would be when constipated for which it is a well known natural cure. See the dosage information ahead for how to use this herbal remedy if you are suffering from constipation.
3. Other Side Effects and Precautions
Ayurvedic medicine specifically warns that haritaki churna is not recommended for those suffering from exhaustion, after fasting, when underweight or recovering from illness.
It is also best avoided for women who have just experienced heavy menstruation and for those who have indulged too heavily in alcohol.
Dosage and How to Use the Powder and Capsules
In India it is often recommended to put whole dried karakkaya fruit in a large bottle of water overnight, usually between three and seven, and drink this the following day.
For people living in the USA and other Western countries, the powdered herb is much more available and easier to use.
A high quality organic powder like this would provide much more bio-available antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients as well.
The starting dose of the powder would be a quarter teaspoon mixed into a cup of very hot but not boiling water (turn off the kettle or pan just before it boils). This can be increased to half a teaspoon if well tolerated.
Allow the liquid to cool and take this herbal tea around one and a half to two hours after you finish your evening meal and before bed.
It is best to take this Ayurvedic treatment without sweetener. Practitioners say tasting the combination of astringent, sour and bitter flavors in the herb is beneficial in and of itself.
If you must add some sweetener, then try a drop of stevia. Definitely don’t use fattening sugar as this works directly against the beneficial effects haritaki is providing.
If you think the potent taste of this herb would be a problem for you to take regularly, it will be better to use organic capsules like these ones.
To make a similar dosage with capsules, use between two and four 500 mg capsules, taken with a big glass of water around two hours after your evening meal.
Dosage for Constipation
To treat constipation a double dose of Terminalia powder is recommended.
Take half a teaspoon of the powdered herb mixed in very hot water one and a half hours after lunch and again one and a half hours after dinner.
For a higher dosage to alleviate occasional but heavy constipation, take a full teaspoon around one and a half hours after either lunch or dinner, depending on when constipation symptoms are worse.
This amount should not be regularly exceeded without consulting a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
It is best used for constipation as an occasional natural remedy, rather than an ongoing and long-term treatment.
Kadukkai Podi for Better Wellness and Well-Being
I hope this detailed look at the benefits of haritaki has provided more than enough reasons to try it for yourself.
It’s particularly good for enhancing digestion, detoxifying your body, losing weight naturally and improving your hair, skin and energy levels.
Organic powder like this excellent one I take is recommended for the best value and ease of use. If the strong taste of this herbal remedy is likely to be an issue for you then try these highly rated organic capsules instead.
Have you tried haritaki powder before or even the dried Terminalia chebula fruit? I’d be interested to read about any beneficial effects you experienced with the potent Ayurvedic herbal treatment.