Haritaki (Terminalia chebula Retz) is held in high esteem in Ayurveda for its properties to prevent and cure diseases. It has enjoyed the prime place among medicinal herbs in India since ancient times. It is called the ‘King of Medicines’ and is always listed first in Ayurveda because of its extraordinary therapeutic benifits.
Data on this medicinal plant is available in all Ayurvedic classics as well as in the Nighantus and works on the materia medica of Ayurveda. The details of the plant are also mentioned in Tibetan literature and various floras of medicinal plants. It is found throughout India up to an altitude of 1500 m. Fruit rind is used as medicine and is one of the ingredients in Triphala (three myrobalans). This plant is used externally in wound healing, fungal infections, inflammations of the mucous membrane of the mouth, and internally as a rejuvenative, astringent, purgative, stomachic, and laxative. It is useful in asthma, piles, and cough.