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Harad: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and more!

By Ashir Sahal +2 more

Introduction 

Harad, scientifically known as Terminalia chebula, is an ayurvedic herb belonging to the Combretaceae family. Because of its extraordinary health benefits, it is also called the King of Medicine.1 The harad plant is found in the Middle East and tropical countries such as China, India, and Thailand.2 It is a tropical, large, evergreen tree with thick black and cracked bark. Its seeds can be eaten as snacks. Fruits of harad are yellow to orange-brown.2 It is also used as one of the ingredients of the popular ayurvedic formulation Triphala, that may be used for treating various stomach disorders.3

Other names of Harad include Harre, Harad, Harar in Hindi; Myrobalan in English; Abhay ¡, K ¡yasth ¡, áiv ¡, Pathy ¡, Vijay ¡ in Sanskrit; Shilikha in Assamese; Haritaki in Bengali; Hirdo, Himaja, Pulo-harda in Gujrati; Alalekai in Kannada; Halela in Kashmiri; Katukka in Malayalam; Hirda, Haritaki, Harda, Hireda in Marathi; Harida in Oriya; Halela, Harar in Punjabi; Kadukkai in Tamil; Karaka, Karakkaya in Telugu; Halela in Urdu.4

harad benefits

Did You Know?

  • Harad has been used to treat asthma, sore throat, diarrhoea, ulcers, and other conditions. [source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Harad has hepatoprotective effects and can protect the liver from damage. [source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Harad has potential wound healing and antiulcer activities. [source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Harad has been used as an adjuvant in the treatment of hemorrhages and chronic cough. [source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Harad has been used in the treatment of heart diseases and irregular fevers. [source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

Nutritional Benefits And Chemical Composition of Harad: 

Harad contains many chemical components with antioxidant benefits, such as phenolic acids, benzoic acids, cinnamic acids, flavonoids, beta-sitosterol (a plant sterol used to reduce cholesterol levels) and glycosides. Nutritional components like amino acids, fatty acids, and fructose are also found in harad.5

Properties of Harad:

Harad is loaded with beneficial properties like:

  • It may show anti-inflammatory property
  • It may show anti-cancer activity
  • It may show heart-protective property
  • It may show antioxidant property
  • It may show anti-microbial
  • It may help protect the nerves
  • It may suppress the immune system
  • It may help improve cognition (mental action and acquiring knowledge)
  • It may show anti-diabetic (prevent diabetes) property
  • It may help protects the liver)
  • It may show anti-viral activity2
  • It may show laxative property (relieves constipation)5

Let us discover the ancient secret to soothing bronchitis and finding relief! From acidity to heartburn, constipation to diarrhoea, let Harad be your trusted ally on the path to wellness. Harad is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Mandukaparni: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Potential Uses of Harad for Overall Health:

In traditional systems of medicine, the fruits of Harad, have been extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathic systems of Medicine.2  With various phytochemicals like polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, alkaloids, terpenes and glycosides, harad provides may show potential uses against many diseases condtions.5

Potential Uses of Harad as an antioxidant

The fruits, leaves, and bark of harad exhibit potent antioxidant properties due to their phenolic compounds.Harad extract may disrupt free radicals (which cause damage to body proteins and DNA) and inhibit oxidizing enzymes in the body. This may help lower inflammation in the body.5

Potential Uses of Harad in cancer

The phenolic compounds present in harad have shown good anti-cancer activity in laboratory trials. Harad fruit extract may have the potential the growth or increase in the number of cancer cells and induced death in several types of cancer cells, including human breast cancer cells, human bone cancer cells, and prostate cancer cells in lab-scale studies.5 However, more studies are required to support the use of harad in cancer. You are advised not to use any herb without consulting your doctor first.   

Potential Uses of Harad in diabetes

Harad fruit has shown anti-diabetic properties in several lab trials. In addition, long-term and short-term animal studies may have shown that it can lower blood glucose levels in diabetic rats.5  With larger human trials, we might be able to establish the use of hard even in humans to avoid or manage diabetes. Diabetes is a serious health condition that requires you to adhere to doctors’ advice and treatment. Avoid using any herb or remedy without consulting your healthcare provider.

Potential Uses of Harad in liver

Animal studies have shown that harad fruits may have significant liver-protective properties and could prevent liver cell toxicity. In addition, ty may help avoid drug-induced liver cell toxicity.5 However, if you suffer from liver problems, you are advised not to use any herb or remedy without talking to your healthcare provider.

Potential Uses of Harad for Infections

  • Potential Uses of Harad for bacterial infections

Harad may exhibit anti-bacterial activity against many infectious bacteria like Clostridium perfingens and Escherichia coli. It might also be effective against Helicobacter pylori which causes stomach ulcers, gastritis (gastric inflammation), and stomach cancer. In addition, Harad seeds may negatively effect the growth of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella, and Klebsiella, which cause digestive tract infections.5 With larger human trials, we will be able to understand the true extent of the effects of harad on humans.

  • Potential Uses of Harad for viral infections

Harad may show anti-viral activity. It may provide protection against the influenza A virus, helping recover from upper respiratory tract infections quickly. It could inhibit the enzymes needed for viral growth during a lab trial. It may also show therapeutic activity against the herpes simplex virus and prevent the development of the human cytomegalovirus.5

  • Potential Uses of Harad for fungal infections

Harad extract has shown good antifungal activity in lab studies against several yeasts and dermatophytes. These fungi cause skin infections. In addition, Harad extract showed antifungal activity against pathogenic fungi like Candida albicans, Epidermophyton, Floccosum, Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton rubrum.5

However, more studies are required to support the use of harad in human infections. Therefore, avoid using harad or any other herb for infections without a doctor’s consultation.

Potential Uses of Harad for inflammation

Dried fruit extract of harad could show the anti-inflammatory property. It could stop the formation of nitric oxide, a chemical in the blood responsible for inflammation. In addition, Chebulagic acid, a component of harad seeds, may reduce the onset and progression of arthritis (inflammation of the joints) in animal studies.5 However, avoid using harad to reduce inflammation without talking to your doctor first.

Potential Uses of Harad for heart

In an animal study, harad extract could reduce the lipid and cholesterol levels in the blood. This activity may help manage atherosclerosis (deposition of fatty material on the walls of blood vessels). Harad fruit pericarp also showed cardioprotective (heart protective) properties. In addition, animal studies have shown that harad extract may help avoid heart problems.5 If you are suffering from any heart condition, you must consult your doctor and get treated. Do not use harad or herbal remedies to prevent or treat heart problems.   

Potential Uses of Harad for stomach

The benefits of harad as a laxative are well established in the literature. Laxative properties may help manage constipation. Harad may help evacuate the bowel completely. Harad fruit might lengthen the gastric emptying time. This effect appeared to be balanced by an improvement in the secretion of stomach glands, protecting the stomach from duodenal ulcers.5 however, stomach problems may indicate a serious stomach problem. Therefore, you must consult your healthcare provider before using harad for stomach problems.

You may like: Simple Home Remedies For Indigestion

Other Potential Uses of Harad

  • It may help with conditions like ophthalmia (eye disorders), haemorrhoids (piles), bleeding gums, and mouth ulcers.
  • Its water-based paste may show anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and help heal wounds.
  • A decoction made of Harad fruit may be used as a gargle in cases of oral ulcers and sore throat.
  • Its powder may be an effective astringent (applied to reduce bleeding) dentifrice for loose gums, bleeding, and gum ulceration.5
  • Oral rinsing with harad extract could help reduce the total bacterial counts in saliva samples. This protective effect lasted 3 hours after rinsing, indicating that harad may play a role in preventing dental caries.5

Though studies show the benefits of harad in various conditions, these are insufficient, and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of harad on human health. 

Harad can work wonders for grey hair! Harad, in combination with other medicinal herbs such as Baheda and Mehendi, might be used as a hair dye.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Maca Root: Unveiling Its Research-Backed Benefits and Uses

How to Use Harad

Harad can be used in many ways for its various properties as follows:

  • The fruit paste can be applied to the skin
  • The fruit can also make a decoction and be used as a gargle.
  • The fruit powder can be used orally.5

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking harad or any herbal supplements. Likewise, do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.  

Did you know Harad might help relieve the cough as well? Due to its antimicrobial nature, the fruit of Harad is roasted and might be used as a potential medicine for cough.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Side Effects of Harad:

Harad showed no side effects on rats during animal studies.3  Insufficient data were reported on the major side effect of harad use in humans. However, if you experience any side effects after using harad, reach out to your healthcare provider immediately.

Also, avoid using harad for its health benefits without consulting your healthcare provider. It will help you avoid side effects.

Also Read: Can Probiotics Cause Constipation? A Research-Based Examination of Side Effects

Precautions to Take with Harad:

Here are some general precautions that you need to take while using harad.

  • Harad needs to be carefully used by lean people, people on fast, people with depression, pitta (pitta has the characteristics of a hot and light body), or severe weakness.
  • Pregnant women should be careful while using harad. It should be used under medical supervision.3
  • Elderly, children and breastfeeding women should carefully use harad only after consultation with an Ayurvedic physician.

Before using harad or other herbal remedies against a disease condition, make sure you have consulted your healthcare provider about the possible precautions you might need to take. This will help you make well-informed choices. 

Harad in diarrhoea! Yes, a mixture of powdered Harad fruit and saunf, cooked in ghee and consumed with warm water might help relieve diarrhoea. It is believed to have an antibacterial property.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Interaction With Other Drugs:

People on drugs for diabetes should be careful while taking harad, as it helps reduce blood sugar levels. Taking harad along with anti-diabetic medication might cause too much decrease in blood sugar levels.5 Also, if you are taking medicines for any health condition, consult your doctor about the possible interactions of medicine with other herbs and drugs. This will help you avoid any unwanted drug interactions.

Also Read: Lakshadi Guggul – Uses, Benefits, Side effects & More!

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is harad?

Harad is a herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is also called the ”King of medicines” in Ayurveda due to its excellent health benefits.1

What are the health benefits of harad?

Harad has many potential uses due to a variety of compounds. Harad may show heart-protective, liver protective, anti-bacterial, antifungal, and anti-viral properties. In addition, it may benefit health conditions like cancer, diabetes, inflammation, and stomach disorders.5 However, before using harad for any of these health benefits, talk to your doctor first. Avoid using herbal remedies without consulting your healthcare provider.  

Can harad manage bacterial infections?

Harad may be used to manage bacterial infections. Anti-bacterial benefits of harad have been proven in many animal studies. Harad has also shown activity against several human pathogenic bacteria.5 But harad should not be used as a treatment for bacterial infections without consulting a doctor. Use it only if your doctor recommends it.

Also Read: Punarnavadi Mandoor: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

References  

1. Ratha KK, Joshi GC. Haritaki (Chebulic myrobalan) and its varieties. Ayu [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2022 Apr 12];34(3):331. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24501534/ 

2. Afshari AR, Sadeghnia HR, Mollazadeh H. A Review on Potential Mechanisms of Terminalia chebula in Alzheimer’s Disease. Advances in Pharmacological Sciences. Oct;2016. Available from:  https://www.hindawi.com/journals/aps/2016/8964849/  

3. Gupta PC. Biological and pharmacological properties of Terminalia chebula Retz. (Haritaki) – An overview. Int J pharm pharm Sci.2012;4(3):62-8. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279651727_Biological_and_pharmacological_properties_of_Terminalia_chebula_Retz_Haritaki_-_An_overview 

4. Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Committee. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India Part-I. Vol. 1. Government Of India. Ministry Of Health And Family Welfare. New Delhi, India: Department Of AYUSH.2001. Available from: http://www.ayurveda.hu/api/API-Vol-1.pdf 

5. Bag A, Bhattacharyya SK, Chattopadhyay RR. The development of Terminalia chebula Retz.(Combretaceae) in clinical research. Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine. 2013 Mar 1;3(3):244-52. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3631759/ 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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