The medicine men of yore, and the elderly had an interesting way of bringing home the importance of flora and fauna that affected our lives. Here is one that talks (read, “boasts”) about the medicinal value of Harad, the dried fruit of a medicinal plant.
Translated into English, this quote boasts that Harichika (the Sansktit name for Harad) is the mother of anyone who doesn’t have one. Boastfulness apart, Harad in its powdered form finds extensive use in Ayurveda. Here are two of its popular uses.
Cough: With the winter setting in and the air quality deteriorating, soreness and irritation of throat will be a common complaint. Harad powder mixed with an equal quantity of bee’s honey is said to relieve such condition. It is to be licked from a spoon several times a day to relieve throat irritation and soreness. A concoction of Harad and honey can be prepared and kept, and licked whenever there is irritation. For those, who do not take honey, Harad (a level teaspoonful) can be consumed with food (rice and chapatti etc.).
Constipation: Two grams Harad consumed with lukewarm water at night (before sleeping) is said to relieve constipation.
What is Harad? Harad is the common name of the fruit of a plant known by the botanical name, Terminalia Chebula. The other names are: Harichika (Sanskrit), Kadukkai (Malayalam and Tamil), Shilikha (Assamese) and Myrobalan/ Chebulic Myrobalan (English). It is found aplenty in the forests surrounding Pachhmari (MP) and elsewhere in India. It is commonly available (as dark coloured wrinkled dried fruit) in Ayurvedic Medicine Shops and at Attar (typical shops run by the Bohra community in many towns and cities). It is also readily available in powdered form. Incidentally, Harad is one of the three ingredients of the magic potion, Triphala.
Preparing Harad Powder is easy: Take a handful of Harad (in dried fruit form) and roast for about ten minutes. There will be practically no change in the looks of the fruit. Add 5 grams of butter oil (Ghee) and continue roasting. Each fruit will start bloating and will acquire a smooth and bright appearance. In five minutes of adding butter oil (Ghee) all the fruits will turn into brightly coloured smooth looking nuggets. At that point stop roasting and let the contents of the pan cool to the room temperature. Grind the contents to a powder in a mixer/grinder. The powder will be chrome yellow/ light brown. Use the powder as per requirement.
(Note: The above facts about Harad are courtesy my parents who have been strong proponents of the use of home remedies. Botanical information on Harad is courtesy Mrs Rita Jain, a former Professor of Botany).