Chebulic Myrobalan (Haritaki)

Chebulic myrobalan (Terminalia chebula) stores all its goodness in its drupe-like fruits. A strong digestive and laxative, it hurries food down the stomach, stalls it in the intestine to remove excess water, and then stimulates strong contractions. At the same time, it protects the stomach lining from corrosive stomach acids. It helps maintain blood glucose levels by nudging the beta cells in the pancreas to produce more insulin. By supplying antioxidants like ellagic acid, it also helps repair brain cells.

The 25-meter tall chebulic myrobalan tree has a tall list of compounds that are quick to smooth digestion and kindle the brain. Also known as haritaki, they’re tucked away in the unassuming green drupe-like fruits of the tree – most useful when dry and ripe.

You may be familiar with chebulic myrobalan’s more established role in the tri-ingredient ayurvedic tonic triphala. However, on its own too, it has loads to offer – earning itself the title “the King of Medicines.”

Why It’s So Great

1. Supports Digestive Health

The gut being an intimate interface between your insides and your environment, digestive health dictates your overall health a lot of the time. This is why you need to add more foods and herbs to your diet that not just enrich you nutritionally but also protect the digestive system. Chebulic myrobalan is a good example.

Makes your bowels regular

Chebulic myrobalan’s semi-ripe seed is a strong laxative, which means it can help regularize your bowel movements.

  • It first stalls the food in the beginning and middle sections of the small intestine so that water and other fluids can be properly absorbed and the food becomes less sticky. Chebulic myrobalan buys this extra time by emptying the stomach more quickly while interfering with intestinal contractions needed to move the food along.
  • It then pumps the undigested food out of the last section of the small intestine by forcing the intestinal wall to contract more frequently there. The stimulation comes from nerves running along the intestinal wall.
  • It finally breaks any remaining sticky patches between the undigested food and the intestinal wall.

Keeps the stomach safe from acid

The stomach has an inner mucous lining that protects the cells from the corrosive stomach acids. This lining can be damaged by infection or NSAID painkillers. Stress can make matters worse.

Here, too, chebulic myrobalan can help your body reduce the production of stomach acids, making the stomach environment less corrosive. It can also inhibit a pro-inflammatory molecule called histamine to protect your stomach against stress-induced inflammation.

2. Helps Enhance Brain Function

Being largely composed of lipids, brain cells are extremely vulnerable to damaging molecules called free radicals. Usually, in-built counterforces called antioxidants get rid of the free radicals. But they can always do with some extra help from your diet, especially as you grow older or when you are ill.

  • Chebulic myrobalan can help by supplying an extra batch of antioxidant compounds. It also supplies ellagic acid to repair brain cells that are already damaged.
  • To ensure that the communication system between brain cells remains intact, chebulic myrobalan’s compound 3,4,6-tri-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose steps into the picture. It inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase that breaks up a key signaling messenger called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine helps you make memories.

3. Stabilizes Blood Glucose

Your blood glucose level fluctuates through the day in response to your food intake and activities. Don’t worry; your body contains this fluctuation within safe limits through a stringent process. Chebulic myrobalan offers some support in keeping the process well regulated. It is particularly helpful in bringing blood glucose levels down.

  • It helps enhance insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells so that more glucose is taken up by cells. This means lower blood glucose levels.

A better blood glucose control may mean steady energy through the day.

  • On top of that, chebulic myrobalan helps inhibit the formation of AGEs (advanced glycation end products) that can potentially wreak havoc in your body. They are formed when fats and protein in food (like in red meat) attach to sugar molecules.

Lifestyle Tip

Chebulic myrobalan happens to be one of the “one size fits all” ayurvedic treasures. No matter your body constitution, it can adapt and fill the gaps wherever required.

Increase your gains by making it a regular, about 3–6 gm (up to a teaspoon) of the powdered and dried ripe fruit daily.

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