Family • Combretaceae - Terminalia chebula (Gaertn.) Retz - INK NUT - He zi

Scientific names

Myrobalanus chebula Gaertn.
Myrobalanus gangetica Kostel.
Terminalia acuta Walp.
Terminalia comintana Blanco
Terminalia chebula (Gaertn.) Retz.
Terminalia multiflora Merr.
Terminalia reticulata Roth.
Terminalia zeylanica H&M Arg.

Other vernacular names

ARABIC: Ahlilaj asfar, Halilaja.
ASSAMESE: Shilikha.
BENGALI: Haritaki, Haritakii, Hora.
BURMESE: Pangah.
CHINESE: He zi, He li le (Taiwan).
FRENCH: Badamier chébule, Myrobalan chébule.
GERMAN: Chebulische Myrobalane, Rispiger Myrobalanenbaum.
GUJARATI: Harade, Himaja, Pilo hardae.
HINDI: Chhoti har, Halda, Har, Haraa, Haraaraa, Harash, Harb, Harir, Harad, Harda, Harara, Haritali, Haritaki, Harra, Pile hara.
JAPANESE: Haritaki, Ieroo taaminaria, Mirobaran no ki, Mirobaran no ki.
KANNADA: Alale, Anile, Arataikai, Arili, Hardae.
MALAY: Buah kaduka, Manja lawai (Indonesia).
MALAYALAM: Katukka, Kaduk kai.
MARATHI: Harade, Hirada, Hirda.
NEPALESE: Harro, Jangalii harro, Thuulo harro.
NETHERLAND: Zwarte myrobalaan.
ORIYA: Harida.
PERSIAN: Halaila e zard, Halil ahe zarda.
PUNJABI: Arara, Zard halela.
RUSSIAN: Kharitaki, Terminaliia chebula, Terminaliia khebula.
SANSKRIT: Abhaya, Abhayaa, Bhisakpriya, Bhishak-priya, Haritaki, Pathya, Sivaa, Sudha, Vayastha.
SPANISH: Mirobalanos índicos.
TAMIL: Kadakkai, Kadukkai, Kadukkaya, Katukkaay.
TELUGU: Karakkai chettu, Karakkaya, Karkchettu, Nalla karaka.
THAI: Samo thai.
TIBETAN: A ru ra.
TURKISH: Kara halile.

Common names

Agaru (Pang.)
Apunga (Tag.)
Bañgias (Tag.)
Bangles (Ilk.)
Biñgas (Sbl., Tag.)
Boñgas (S. L. Bis.)
Buñgas (S. L. Bis.)
Bunglas (P. Bis.)
Bungras (Bik.)
Hinabuad (Tag.)
Hinabuan (Tag.)
Hinabusi (Tag.)
Komintana (Tag.)
Laknab (Tag.)
Lasila (Ibn.)
Lasilak (Ibn., Ilk.)
Lasilasan (Ibn.)
Lasilat (Ibn.)
Luno-luno (Bag.)
Lununu (C. Bis.)
Magtalopoi (Pang.)
Malatagum (Sul.)
Maghubo (Tag.)
Nanghubo (Tag.)
Maupat (Tagb.)
Paghubo (Tag.)
Palauag (Tag.)
Rubian (Tag.)
Maghubo (Tag.)
Maupat (Tagb.)
Nanghubo (Tag.)
Paghubo (Tag.)
Palauag (Tag.)
Rubian (Tag.)
Saplungan (Tag.)
Tañgisan (Pamp.)
Yunu-yunu (Mbo.)
Haritaki (Hindi)
Black myrobalan (Engl.)
Chebulic myrobalan (Engl.)
Gali nut (Engl.)
Ink nut (Engl.)
He zi (Chin.)

Komintana is a deciduous tree reaching a height of 25 meters or more, with a diameter of 80 centimeters. Leaves are alternate to subopposite, ovate, 7 to 10 centimeters long, 4 to 7 centimeters wide, pointed at the tip, usually somewhat rounded at the base, and equipped with fairly long stalks. Flowers are somewhat yellow and fragrant, borne in large numbers in compound inflorescences. Fruit is drupe-like, yellow to green, turning blackish when dry, elliptical, about 2 centimeters long, withlongitudinal ridges.


– In most or all provinces in Luzon and in Mindoro, Bancalan, Ticao, Leyte, Masbate, Negros and Mindanao In forests at low and medium altitudes.
– Also occurs in Borneo and Celebes.


– Terminalia chebula contains tannin, chebulic acid, glycosides, sugar, triterpenoids, steroids, small quantities of phosphoric acid.
– Major bioactive constituents are tannins, anthraquinones, chebulinic acid, chebulagic acid, chebulic acid, ellagic acid and gallic acid.
– The other minor compounds include corilegin, β-D-glucogallin, glucose and sorbitol. Polyphenolic compounds, triterpene glycosides, terchebulin, punicalagin, terflavin A, flavonoids, reducing sugars and starch are other constituents of the fruit. Also yields terpenene glycosides, arjungenin and arjunglucoside-I, 18 amino acids and a small quantity of phosphoric, succinic, syringic and quinic acids.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Anti-diabetic activity of medicinal plants and its relationship with their antioxidant property / M C Sabu and Ramadasan Kuttan / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 81, Issue 2, July 2002, Pages 155-160 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00034-X |

(2) Chebulagic acid, a COX-LOX dual inhibitor isolated from the fruits of Terminalia chebula Retz., induces apoptosis in COLO-205 cell line / Reddy DB, Reddy TC, Jyostsna G et al / Chakrapani Ayurveda

(3) Effects of three different doses of a fruit extract of Terminalia chebula on metabolic components of metabolic syndrome, in a rat model / Singh I, Singh PK, Bhansali S et al / Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh City, India.

(4) Preliminary Immunomodulatory Activities of the Aqueous Extract of Terminalia chebula / H.N. Shivaprasad, M.D. Kharya, A.C. Rana and S. Mohan / Pharmaceutical Biology / 2006, Vol. 44, No. 1 , Pages 32-34 / (doi:10.1080/13880200500530542)

(5) Effect of oral administration of Terminalia chebula on gastric emptying: an experimental study / Tamhane MD, Thorat SP, Rege NN, Dahanukar SA / J Postgrad Med. 1997 Jan-Mar;43(1):12-3.

(6) Sorting Terminalia names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE

(7) Studies on the aqueous extract of Terminalia chebula as a potent antioxidant and a probable radioprotector. / Naik GH, Priyadarsini KI, Naik DB, Gangabhagirathi R, Mohan H. / Phytomedicine. 2004 Sep;11(6):530-8.

(8) Therapeutic potential of Terminalia chebula Retz. (Combretaceae): The Ayurvedic wonder / Anwesa Bag, Subir Kumar Bhattacharyya, Rabi Ranjan Chattopadhyay* / Asian Pac J Trop Biomed 2013; 3(3): 244-252


(10) Terminalia chebula / Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(11) Antiepileptic Activity And Phytochemical Investigation Of Fruits Of Terminalia Chebula Retz / Sunil V. Deshpande / Dissertation 2009 / KLE University, Belgaum, Karnataka

(12) Antinociceptive activity of chronic administration of different extracts of Terminalia bellerica Roxb. and Terminalia chebula Retz. fruits / Sarabjit Kaur & R K Jaggi / Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol 48, Sept 2010, pp 925-930


– Fruit is astringent.
– Considered adaptogenic, anthelmintic, expectorant, laxative, nervine, stomachic and tonic.
– Studies have demonstrated antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antiproliferative, radioprotective, cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, radioprotective, anticaries, wound healing activity.

Parts used

– Decoction of fruit used for thrush and as gargle for mucous membrane inflammations of the mouth.
– Decoction of fruit also used for obstinate diarrhea.
– In India, used for digestive disorders, irregular fevers, flatulence.
– Used for renal calculi, dysuria, and urinary retention. Used as blood purifier, gargle for sore throat, gum ulcers, and muscular rheumatism. Used for fever, cough, and asthma.
– Elsewhere, used for asthma, piles and cough.
– Extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani, and Homeopathic medicine.
– In Ayurveda, used for asthma, sore throat, vomiting, hiccups. Fruit, fresh or reconstituted, taken before meals stimulates digestion; taken after meals, for diseases caused by aggravation of vayu, pitta, and kapha.

Study Findings
• Hypoglycemic / Antioxidant: Study of methanolic extracts of T chebula, T belerica, Emblica officinalis and their combination, “Triphala” were found to inhibit lipid peroxide formation and to scavenge hydroxyl and superoxide radicals in vitro. Orally, the extracts significantly reduced the blood sugar in normal and alloxan diabetic rats within 4 hours, an effect that was sustained with daily administration.
• Chebulagic Acid / Apoptosis Inducing / Anti-Inflammatory: Study on the methanolic extracts of fruits yielded chebulagic acid. Chebulagic acid showed potent COX-LOX dual inhibition activity and also showed anti-proliferative activity against various cell lines. Further mechanistic study showed induction of apoptosis in COLO-205 cells.
• Glucose Lowering / Metabolic Syndrome: Study of fruit extract of T chebula showed significant and dose-dependent glucose lowering in the rat model of metabolic syndrome.
• Antioxidant / Anti-Tyrosinase Activity:In a study of 5 medicinal plants to evaluate free radical scavenging activity, T chebulaand Q infectoria significantly inhibited tyrosinase activity and DPPG radical.
• Herb-Drug Interaction: A report describes two relapses of depression in a patient well controlled with sertraline monotherapy in close temporal relationship with starting an ayurvedic herbal mixture. The herbal plant responsible for the interaction is suspected to be either Terminalia chebula or Commiphora wighteii.
• Chebulagic Acid / Alpha- Glucosidase Inhibitor: Chebulagic acid, isolated from T chebula, showed significant alpha-glucosidase inhibition. Results suggest a use for chebulagic acid in the management of T2 diabetes.
• Triphala / Anti-Stress: Study investigated the effect of Triphala (T. chebula, T belerica, E officinalis) against cold stress-induced alterations in rats. An increase in LPO (lipid peroxidation) and cortisone levels were observed. Results suggest Triphala supplementation can be regarded as protective against stress.
• Anti-Caries: A concentrated aqueous extract prepared from the fruit of TC, used as a mouth rinse, suggests it to be an effective anticaries agent.
• Immunomodulatory: Aqueous fruit extract of Terminalia chebula produced an increase in humoral antibody titer and delayed-type hypersensitivity in mice. It suggests an extract with promising immunostimulant properties.
• Prokinetic / Increased Gastric Emptying: In a study on prokinetic and antikinetic activities, Terminalia chebula was found to increase gastric emptying. Results suggest it may be a useful alternative to prokinetic drugs.
• Anti-Ulcer: The anti-ulcer activity of a methanolic extract of TC was investigated in pylorus-ligated and ethanol-induced ulcer models in rats. Results indicate the fruit extract to have potential anti-ulcer activity on both models. Its antiulcerogenic and ulcer healing properties may be due to antisecretory activity.
• Antidiabetic / Glycoproteins: Glycoproteins are carbohydrate-linked protein macromolecules in the cell surface of animal cells. Impaired metabolism of glycoproteins plays an important role in the pathogenesis of DM (Knecht et al, 1990). Study evaluated the effect of fruit extract of TC on plasma and tissue glycoprotein components of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Study showed a decrease in plasma insulin and C-peptide levels in diabetic rats. The efficacy of the fruit extract was comparable to glibenclamide.
• Antioxidant / Radioprotector: Study of an aqueous extract of T. chebula showed potent antioxidant activity and probable radioprotector activity with ability to protect cellular organelles from radiation-induced damage.
• Antimicrobial: Study of a fruit extract of T. chebula showed antimicrobial activity against both gram negative bacteria (E. coli, S. flexineria, and P. aeruginosa) and gram-positive bacteria (B. subtilis, S. aureus, and S. epidermis).
• Effect on Metallobetalactamas: ESBL (extended spectrum of ß lactamase) is one of the most important resistance mechanisms for ß lactam antibiotics like penicillin and cephalosporins. An aqueous extract from Terminalia chebula was found to be effective on MBL which were produced by eleven isolates of Pseudomonas and eight isolates of Acinetobacter.
• Antiepileptic / Fruits: Study of an ethanolic extract of fruits showed anticonvulsant activity. Phytochemical screening yielded glycosides, carbohydrates, flavonoids, proteins, steroids and tannins. The anticonvulsant activity was attributed to the antioxidant property of the constituents.
• Anti-Acne / Antibacterial / Terminalis chebula and Terminalia bellerica: Study evaluated the extracts of Terminalia chebula Retz and Terminalia bellirica Linn. for anti-acne property. The herbal anti-acne test extracts were prepared as single and combination formulations against Acne vulgaris. The combination of actives with 20% alcoholic T. bellirica and 20% T. chebula was found to be more effective against Acne vulgaris.
• Antinociceptive / Fruits: Various extracts of T. chebula and T. bellerica were evaluated for analgesic activities using the tail immersion model in mice. Ethanolic extracts both exhibited an analgesic response. Results indicate the fruits could be potential candidate of isolation of natural analgesic agents for the management of chronic pain.

Capsules, supplements, extracts, herbal formulations in the cybermarket.