Terminalia chebula is a plant species belonging to the genus
Terminalia, family Combretaceae. It is a flowering evergreen tree
called in English the Myrobalan or sometimes the Chebulic Myrobalan.
In Urdu, Persian or Hindi it is also called Hardad, Haritaki or
Harada respectively Inknut. This tree yields smallish, ribbed and
nut-like fruits which are picked up when still green and then
pickled, boiled with a little added sugar in their own syrup or used
in preserves or concotions. The seed of the fruit, which has an
eliptical shape, is an abrasive pit enveloped by a fleshy and firm
pulp. Terminalia chebula can reach heights of 20 meters.
Medical use: The myrobalan is highly regarded as an universal
panacea in the Ayur-Vedic Medicine. It is reputed to cure blindness
and it is believed to inhibit the growth of the malignant tumours.
It is allegedly also a powerful detox agent. Fruits have numerous
medicinal properties: laxative, stomachic, tonic, and alterative and
often used in combination with emblic myrobalan (Phyllanthus emblica
L.) and beleric myrobalan (Terminalia bellirica (Gaertner) Roxb.);
they show antibacterial and antifungal activity, and are used to
cure inflamed gums and as a relief in asthma.