Terminalia chebula is a medium to large deciduous tree in the family Combretaceae. The tree is native to Assam. It is also native to India, Nepal, China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Vietnam. The Assamese common name of the tree is শিলিখা (Shilikha, Hilikha). Other common name is black myrobalan or chebulic myrobalan.
Leaves of chebulic myrobalan are simple and glabrous, arrangement of leaves is alternate or opposite, shape of leaves is elliptic, apex is acuminate, petiole is short, and margin is entire. Flowers are bisexual and greenish-white. Fruits are small, hard and ribbed. Bark of the tree is greyish brown with irregular flakes and white spots.
Wood of Chebulic Myrobalan is included in a good quality grade.
The fruit of the plant has a reputed position in Ayurvedic medicine. A fruit is a packet of medicine. The fruit is harvested when ripe and dried in sun for future use. Terminalia chebula is a main ingredient in Triphala medicine which is used for kidney and liver dysfunctions. The dried fruit is also used in Ayurveda as a purported antitussive, cardiotonic, homeostatic, diuretic, and laxative. The fruits are eaten to treat fever, coughs, asthma, constipation, digestive and nervous complaints, diarrhoea, dysentery, intestinal worms, haemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, abnormal uterine bleeding and inflammation, and problem of sex organs. It is also used to treat ulcers, wounds, mouth inflammation and gum disease.
Scientific classification of chebulic myrobalan
Kingdom : Plantae
Order : Myrtales
Family : Combretaceae
Genus : Terminalia
Accepted name : Terminalia chebula Retz.
Buceras chebula (Retz.) Lyons
Combretum argyrophyllum K.Schum.
Myrobalanus chebula (Retz.) Gaertn.
Myrobalanus gangetica (Roxb.) Kostel.
Myrobalanus tomentella Kuntze
Terminalia argyrophylla King & Prain
Terminalia gangetica Roxb.
Terminalia parviflora Thwaites
Terminalia reticulata Roth
Terminalia tomentella Kurz
Terminalia zeylanica Van Heurck & Müll. Arg.