Terminalia chebula Retz. – an important medicinal plant
Ayurveda, whispered to be the ancient practice of healthcare existed and contributes a holistic approach to health, healing and longevity. Terminalia chebula Retz. is a popular plant and widely spread all over southern Asia. T. chebula is a native plant of India and its dried fruit is extensively used in various types of home remedies. Dried fruit of T. chebula contains high quantities phenolic compounds that consist of ellagic acid, gallic acid and chebulic acid. The fruit extract of T. chebula is known to display different biological properties like anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-protozoal, antimicrobial, hepato and renal protective activities, and in the management of metabolic syndrome. The phenolic active compounds might play vital role in the influence of biological activity. Fruit extract of T. chebula is widely employed as an important ingredient in various ayurvedic preparations like ‘Triphala’. This formulation is beneficial as detoxifying agent of the colon, purgative in chronic constipation, aids in digestion and as a body rejuvenator. The fruit has great medicinal significance and conventionally applied for the management of various illness conditions, such as sore throat, high cough, asthma, ulcers, gout, heart burn, vomiting, diarrhea, dysentery, bleeding piles and bladder diseases. It is also utilized as mild laxative, antispasmodic and stomachic. Because of these enormous medicinal properties, T. chebula is commonly termed as ‘King of Medicine’ in Tibet and can be called as a ‘wonder herb’. In the present review, recent advances in medicinal properties of T. chebula are discussed.