Bibhitaka (Terminalia Belerica)
In Sanskrit bibhitaka literally means the one that keeps you away from the diseases. Bibhitaka is one of the ingredients of highly praised Ayurvedic compound triphala. The word triphala literally means three fruits, nalely haritaki, amalaki and bibhitaka. It is the best laxative bowel tonic, a balanced rasayana and an effective astringent for external use. Haritaki is rejuvenative for vata, amalaki, for pitta and bibhitaka for kapha. Maharsi Caraka has categorized bibhitaka as virecanopaga – an adjunct to purgation. Also, cited as svasa kasaghna alleviates asthma and cough, rasayana – a rejuvenative and caksusya – beneficial for the eyes. Susruta has mentioned it as stanya sodhana – lactodepurant and kanthya beneficial for the throat. Acarya Vagbhata has praised it to be the best panacea for all types of coughs and asthma, when chewed with haritaki, sunthi, musta, and jaggery or even alone.
Bibhitaka trees grow throughout India and are found in all deciduous forests of India, upto an altitude of 1000 metres. It is found in abundance in Madhya Pradesh, uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, and also in Ceylon and Malaya. The tree grows upto 30 metres in height and the bark is brownish grey in colour. The leaves are alternate, broadly elliptic and clustered towards the end of the branches. The are 10-12 cm long and 7-14 cm broad. The flowers are simple, solitary and in axillary spikes, with offensive odour. The fruits are ovoid grey drupes. The flowering occurs in May. The kernel of the fruit is sweet, but narcotic.
The botanical name of bibhitaka is Terminalia beleria and it belongs to family Combretaceae. From the plant, sitosterol, gallic acid, ellagic acid, chebulagic acid, galloyl glucose and a number of free sugars have been isolated. The fruit pulp contains a non – nitrogenous crystalline substance. Kernles yield yellow fatty oil containing fatty acids. The seeds contain protein and oxalic acid, while bark contains tannin. Oxalic acid and tannins are isolated from the bark and kernel and its oil contains palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids as major fatty acids, A new cardiac glycoside-bellericnin isolated which yielded glucose and galactose (2:1) sitosterol, gallic acid, ellagic acid, ethyl gallate, galloyl glucose and chebulagic acid isolated from fruits.
Bibhitaka is astringent in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It posseses a special potency as a laxative. It alleviates all the three dosas, especially kapha and pitta. It possesses light and dry attributes. Bibhitaka is a rejuvenative, beneficial for hair, throat and eyes, and laxative. The kernel is astringent is taste, wseet in the post digestive effet and has hot potency. It is narcotic and astringent in the properties (Bhavaprakasa Nighantu)
The fruits of bibhitaka are used for the medicinal purpose. It is used both, internally as well as externally. The seed oil or the paste of its fruit is applied externally on the swollen and painful parts. In skin diseases and premature graying of hair, the seed oil is applied with excellent results. The respiratory ailments, especially due to kapha, like cough, cold, hoarseness of voice and asthma, respond well with chewing the baked pieces of fruit. It works well as a mucolytic in such conditions. The fruit powder is beneficial in wound dressing to arrest the bleeding, if any. The medicated hair oil of bibhitaka fruit and kernel alleviates the pain, burning sensation and boosts the hair growth and imparts black colour to them. The paste of its fruits is applied on the eyelids in conjunctivitis.
Interally, bibhitaka is of special benefit in treating papha disorders. The raw fruit is laxative, wheras the ripened fruit is astringent and antidiarrhoeal. Bibhitaka reconciles the digestive functions and helps alleviation loss of appetite, flatulence, thirst, piles and worms. In treating piles, the raw fruit arrests the bleeding and accords a laxative action. Whereas, in diarrhea and dysentery the ripened fruit allocates an astringent and anti-diarrhoeal actions. The decotion of its kernel is the panacea for excessive thirst, vomiting and ailments of kapha and vata. Bibhitaka is one of the commonly incorporated ingredients in anti-cough syrups. It alleviates cough, relieves the blocked phlegm, controls the bleeding in the sputum (heamoptysis) and eases the bronchospasms. In such conditions, the powder of fruit works well, with honey. The decoction of its fruits is given alongwith rock candy (1:2) Om laja diseases/ the lerme; os ised as am aphrodisiac in sexual debility. It also helps inducing deep sleep and alleviates pain in vata diseases. One of the best and widely used preparations of bibhitika is triphala curna. As mentioned above, it contains rejuvenating agents, hence used to prevent ageing and impart longevity. It also boosts the immunity, enhances the body resistance against the disease and improves mental faculties. It endows beneficial effects on all seven dhatus. In day to day life, triphala is used as a laxative and it is used externally for hair wash also.
- Triphala curna
- Bibhitaka ghrta / avaleha / curna
- Bibhitakadi kvatha
- Bhibhitakadi taila
- Bibhitaki sura
- Triphala ghrta / kvatha
- Lavangadi vati
- Balaguti etc.