The mature, dried fruit of belleric myrobalan (Terminalia bellirica) controls contractions in the smooth muscles of the stomach, firms up stools, and protects the mucous layer of the stomach against corrosive acids by releasing more mucin, improving your digestive function on the whole. It also maintains blood glucose balance by helping store away glucose in mature fat cells. Gallic acid in belleric myrobalan plays a role in maturing these fat cells by activating a fat cell-maturing molecule called PPARγ.
Belleric myrobalan, also know as bibhitaki in Sanskrit which literally translates to “fearless,” is believed to take away the fear of disease. While that may seem far-fetched at first, we’d say first understand what the tree offers and see if you can trace any of the benefits back to your body’s needs. If you have a match, there’s nothing like it.
This is also why belleric myrobalan has earned a spot in the tri-ingredient ayurvedic tonic called triphala. The mature, dried fruits are the most helpful, with the mojo concentrated in the fruit rind.
Why It’s So Great
1. Supports Digestive Health
The key to good digestion is the right diet. It could include herbs like belleric myrobalan. It’s one of those that support your digestive system.
- Restricts intestinal spasms: Waves of calcium passing through the intestinal wall cause muscle contractions and help shuttle food along. Contractions need to be regular. Otherwise, you would get spasms and loose stools.
Belleric myrobalan’s flavonoids, tannins, and alkaloids can help your body keep the contractions regular by limiting the waves of calcium. They also inhibit acetylcholine, the signaling molecule which induces contractions.
- Firms up stools: Controlled spasms also means that food moves more slowly in the intestine. This allows extra time for water and electrolytes to be reabsorbed by the body, making stools less watery.
NOTE: Belleric myrobalan’s unripe fruits do just the opposite, being used as a laxative for those who suffer from constipation. So, make sure you’re having the ripe fruit and not the unripe one if you have loose stools.
- Protects from stomach acid: Though stomach acid is necessary for the digestion of food, too much of it can corrode the stomach mucous lining. Belleric myrobalan’s ellagic acid and chebulinic acid increase mucin secretion by the stomach wall, offering better protection from stomach acids.
2. Manages Blood Glucose
One of the more important functions your body performs every day is managing blood glucose levels. It wouldn’t hurt to get yourself some extra help from belleric myrobalan’s fruit rind. The tannins in it, especially gallic acid, have a plan.
Fat cells need to mature so that insulin can store glucose in them. The more glucose stored, the lower your blood glucose. Now as fat cells mature, they produce a protein hormone called adiponectin, a friend of insulin. It helps your body better respond to insulin.
- Belleric myrobalan helps fat cells mature by activating an intracellular molecule called PPARγ. Much like an orchestra conductor dictating which musician plays when, PPARγ decides when the maturation genes should be expressed. The following chain of events is set into play:
PPARγ => fat cell maturation => adiponectin => enhanced insulin sensitivity
- Being thorough, the belleric myrobalan fruit may also be able to enhance insulin secretion by the pancreas.
3. Boosts the Liver
Anything that supports your primary detox organ, the liver, is a relief. Belleric myrobalan happens to be one such support, the credit going to gallic acid and the other tannins.
The details of what goes down are yet to be deciphered; however, it is clear that the herb helps protect the integrity of liver cells.
How much belleric myrobalan you should be having will depend on your body type and constitution. For some people, it may even work better in combination with other herbs like amla (amalaki) and chebulic myrobalan (haritaki).
That said, you can show your gut and liver some love with about 3–6 gm (up to about 1.5 teaspoons) of the powdered fruit every day.