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Terminalia chebula - Retz.

Common Name Black Myrobalan, Chebulic Myroblan,
Family Combretaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Scattered in teak forest, mixed deciduous forest, extending into forests of comparatively dry types; at elevations up to 1,500 metres, occasionally to 2,000 metres[299 , 303 ].
Range E. Asia - China, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh.Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (5 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Terminalia chebula Black Myrobalan, Chebulic Myroblan,

Terminalia chebula Black Myrobalan, Chebulic Myroblan,
Zhangzhugang wikimedia.org


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Other common names include Chebulic Myroblan, Harada, Harida, Harar, and Haritaki. Terminalia chebula or Black Myrobalan is a tropical, deciduous tree with a thick, black, and cracked bark and grows up to 30 m in height and 1 m in trunk diameter. It is native to South Asia, from India and Nepal east to southwest China, and south to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The leaves can be opposite or alternate, oval, and taper to the tip. The flowers, occurring in terminal spikes or short panicles, emit strong, unpleasant odor and are yellow in color. The fruits are yellow to orangebrown and ovoid. The seeds are elliptical shape. An important medicinal plant in Ayurveda, it is used as remedy for problems of the digestive system, wounds, gum inflammation, asthma, coughs, etc. It is a laxative, stomachic, expectorant, hemostatic, and tonic. Further, it exhibits antifungal and antibacterial properties. Seeds are edible and produce edible oil. The sour fruits are edible as well and used in the manufacture of black salt. It contains tannin thus used in calico dyeing and printing. The flowers also produce a yellow dye. The wood is very hard, heavy, and strong but not durable. It is used as construction and furniture material and many others. The plant is grown from seeds.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Terminalia chebula is an evergreen Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Terminalia parviflora Thwaites. Terminalia tomentella Kurz Terminalia zeylanica Van Heurck. & M?ll.A

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil  Salt

Seed - eaten as a snack[301 ]. They have a flavour reminiscent of almonds or filberts[301 ]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[301 ]. Fruit. The sour fruits are eaten in salads, preserved in brine or fried[301 ]. The yellow to orange-brown obovoid fruit is 25 - 50mm long[303 ]. The fruit has been used in the manufacture of black salt[301 ]. It has a distinctive smoky flavour and is a main ingredient of the spice blend known as chat masala[301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Alterative  Antiasthmatic  Antibacterial  Antidiarrhoeal  Antihaemorrhoidal  Antiinflammatory  Antiviral  Astringent  
Cancer  Cardiac  Digestive  Diuretic  Dysentery  Expectorant  Haemostatic  
Laxative  Parasiticide  Stomachic  Tonic

Black myrobalan is of central importance to Ayurvedic medicine[238 ]. It has long been considered a prime remedy for all manner of digestive problems and is sacred to Siva[238 , 254 ]. The medicinal properties have been tested in numerous experiments. The fruits contain a range of medically active constituents including anthraquinones, tannins, chebulic acid, resin and a fixed oil[254 ]. Fruit extracts exhibited significant inhibitory activity on oxidative stress and age-dependent shortening of the telomeric DNA length, and thus an inhibitory effect on cellular aging. They also have shown cardioprotective effect[299 ]. A crude extract of the fruits inhibited cancer cell growth, with chebulinic acid, tannic acid and ellagic acid as the most inhibitory phenolics[299 ]. Antidiabetic effects of the fruit extract have been demonstrated[299 ]. The fruits showed antiviral activities. Gallic acid and 3 galloyl glucoses were isolated as inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) integrase[299 ]. Extracts inhibited replication of human cytomegalovirus (CMV), and may be beneficial for the prophylaxis of CMV disease in immuno-compromised patients. They also showed activity against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)[299 ]. Antibacterial activities have been demonstrated[299 ]. An extract of the fruit inhibited glycolysis of salivary bacteria and may serve as an anticaries agent[299 ]. Topical administration of a leaf extract accelerated the healing process of wounds, partly by possessing antimicrobial activity[299 ] Black myrobalan is a sweet, astringent, warming herb with an unpleasant taste[238 ]. They have numerous medicinal properties: laxative, stomachic, expectorant, haemostatic, tonic, and alterative. They show antibacterial and antifungal activity, and are used to cure inflamed gums and as a relief in asthma[303 ]. The fruits are used internally in the treatment of constipation, digestive and nervous complaints, diarrhoea, dysentery, intestinal worms, haemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, abnormal uterine bleeding and inflammation, vaginal discharge, involuntary ejaculation, coughs and asthma[238 ]. Externally, it is used to treat ulcers, wounds, mouth inflammation and gum disease[238 ]. The fruit is harvested when ripe and sun-dried for later use[238 ]. The sour fruits are a major ingredient of 'triphala', a rejuvenative, laxative tonic based on this species plus the fruits of Phyllanthus emblica and Terminalia belerica[238 ]. It is also an ingredient of 'amrit kalash', another famous Ayurvedic tonic formula[301 ]. The bark is diuretic[272 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Dye  Furniture  Ink  Mordant  Oil  Parasiticide  Tannin  Wood

Other Uses: The fruits are rich in tannin, and are used on a large scale in India, usually combined with syntans and with other vegetable tanning materials such as black wattle (Acacia mearnsii), avaram (Cassia auriculata) and Ceriops tagal[299 , 303 ]. The fruits are also used in calico dyeing and printing, both as auxiliaries and as dyes; their tannins act as mordants to fix the dyes onto the cotton cloth and the unctuous consistence of the pulp makes the surface of the cloth suitably smooth to receive fine printed or painted designs[299 ]. A yellow dye can be prepared from the fruits plus alum; a black dye and ink can be prepared from the fruits plus iron. Myrobalans are also used as a mordant for the basic aniline dyes[146 , 303 ]. The dried fruit-pulp has an average tannin content of 30 - 32%, but the content varies considerably with the place of origin. Poor samples may register less than 20% tannin, good ones over 40%. Other parts of the plant such as roots, bark, wood and leaves, also contain tannin, but less than the fruits[303 ]. Astringent galls often form on young twigs. These are rich in tannins and are used to make dyes and ink[146 ]. The flowers give a yellow dye, used for painting yellow and green details on calicos[299 ] A transparent oil is obtained from the seed[146 ]. The heartwood is usually quite small, it is dark brown to reddish-brown; it is sharply differentiated from the spawood, which is yellowish-grey to grey, sometimes with a greenish tinge. Texture is medium to fine; the grain interlocked, sometimes curly. The wood is very hard; heavy to very heavy; strong and tough; not durable unless under cover. It is very difficult to saw, to season and to work. It is used as construction timber and for furniture, carts and implements[303 , 404 ]. It is not of much value according to some reports[299 , 303 ], whilst another says that it is of good quality[404 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in tropical and subtropical areas up to an elevation of 1,500 metres, exceptionally to 2,000 metres[303 ]. It grows best in areas where the mean maximum and minimum annual temperatures are within the range 22 - 35°c, though it can tolerate 5 - 47°c[418 ]. Plants are fairly tolerant to frost, but are killed by temperatures below -5°c[303 , 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 1,700mm, though can tolerate from 750 - 3,300mm[418 ]. Prefers a sunny position, but younger plants tolerate some shade[299 , 303 ]. Succeeds in any moderately fertile, well-drained soil from sandy to clayey[200 , 299 ]. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, but tolerates 5 - 7.5[418 ]. Growth rates of seedlings and young trees is quite slow[299 ]. Regrows well after burning and also after coppicing, producing new shoots 2 - 3 metres long after 5 years[299 , 303 ]. Regeneration of natural stands from seed is usually poor, maybe because people harvest the fruit, but also because of predation by animals[299 ]. Yields of up to 10 kilos of fruit per tree per year can be obtained from trees growing wild[299 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

The fallen fruits are collected and dried thoroughly first. Later the hardened flesh is removed Fermentation of the stones gives the best germination results, but clipping the broad end of the stone without damaging the embryo, followed by soaking in cold water for 36 hours gives good results too[303 ]. The seed is usually sown in a nursery bed or containers, direct sowing is not advisable because of the risk of predation and because the seeds germinate poorly[303 ]. The germination rate of the seed is up to 50%[303 ]. Early growth is comparatively slow, with seedlings 10 - 20cm tall by the end of the first season and 25 - 50cm tall by the end of the second season[299 ]. Cuttings[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Harada, Harida, Harar, Haritaki, Black myrobalan, Chebula, Chebulic myrobalans, Har, Haradh, Harar, Harda, Hardo, Haridra, Haritaka, Haritaki, Harra, Harro, Hirda, Kadukkai, Karakkai, Ma-muangpa, Ortoki, Panga, Samo thai, Shilikha thai, Silikha, Srama, a-ru, a-ru-ra, abhaya, abhaya, ahlilaj kâbuli, alalekai, alalikai, alayla, amagola, ammai, amutam, arabi, aralu, areyra, aridadi, aritaki, arubharelu, badamier chebule, badamier chébule, bal har, black myrobalan, bush kaduka, chebula-myrobalane, chebulae fructus, chebulae fructus immaturus, chebulic myrobalan, chebulic myrobalan (terminalia chebula), chebulic myrobalans, chebulic myrobalan|aralu, chebulische myrobalane, divya, fructus chebulae, ga ja, gali nut, habra, hacha, hala, halela, halela kabuli, halela zard, halelaj, halileh, halileh kaboli, halileh zard, halilehsiyâh, hallilaj, hangsep, har, har hush, harad, harar, harara, harba, harda, hardo, harida, haridra, harir, haritaki, haritaki karaka, haritali, harra, harrar, harre, harro, harroh, haritakì (fruit), haser, he zi, helikha, hezi, himaj, himaja, himakaia, hirada, hirda, hirdar, hirdo, hireda, hlijej sfer, hlilej khel, hokikha, hora, horida, hezi, ihlilaj kabuli, indian gall-nut, ink nut, inknut tree, jivathi, kabuli-harda, kadukhai, kadukka, kadukkai, kadukkay, kale har, karaka, karakai, karakkaya, kashi, katukka, kayastha, ka?ukkay (fruit), kotpung-pla, kurka, kãyasthã, kayastha, lisai, medicine terminalia, medicine terminalia fruit, mirobalan de caboul, mirobalano, mirobalanos índicos, myrobalan, myrobalan chébule, myrobalan noire, myrobalani fructus, myrobalano nero, myrobalans, myrobaran, pathya, pathyã, pathya, pattiyam, pile har, pilo-harde, post-e-haleela kabli, post-e-haleela siyah, post-e-haleela zard, pulo-harda, rispiger myrobalanenbaum, rong mao he zi, sa-mothai, samo-thai, shajar shiir hindi, shilikha, silikha, sirri hindi, siva, sivã, sringitiga, suddha, terminaalia, terminalia chebula fruit, terminalia chebula fruit for use in thmp, terminalia fruit, terminaliae fructus, true myrobalan, tupchi, varikkay, vayastha, vijayã, vijaya (not bha?ga), wei mao he zi, western fruit, xiqingguo, yellow myrobalan, yellow myrobalanplum, zama, zangli har, siva.

TEMPERATE ASIA: China (Yunnan Sheng (west)) TROPICAL ASIA: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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