One of the most popular trends in the health food and nutritional supplement industry over the last 20 to 30 years has been superfoods. There are superfoods in almost every food group, from fruits like acai or goji berries to grains like hemp or flaxseed.
While the benefits of superfoods vary, they are all densely packed with nutrients. Currently, one of the trendiest superfoods is the Ayurvedic herb haritaki – is haritaki powder really good for you?
What is Haritaki?
Haritaki is the dried fruit of the Terminalia Chebula tree. It grows all throughout Asia, though it is most common in the forests of Northern India. Sometimes called the “Queen of Herbs” or the “King of all Medicine” by Ayurvedic healers, haritaki powder is used as a natural cure for a large assortment of health issues and diseases.
Its long history of use over the millennia is a testament to its effectiveness as a medical treatment. A single dosage of haritaki powder in the West is generally a half teaspoon mixed into a cup of hot water before bed. In the East, they usually will mix an entire dried fruit into a large bottle of water that is drank throughout the day. The following are some of its most common uses.
Digestion and Gastrointestinal Health
Taking haritaki supplements regularly will enhance the function of your digestive tract by creating a healthy intestinal environment and increasing the number of nutrients absorbed from the food you eat. It also acts as a mild laxative, improving elimination as well as helping to prevent constipation.
Be aware that you first begin to take haritaki powder, there can initially be an increase in gastrointestinal issues like flatulence. These will subside as bowel movements become more regular.
Weight Loss and Body Detoxification
Taking haritaki is an excellent way to reduce the toxic burden on your liver, which is a big reason why people have difficulty losing weight. It will also improve digestion and increase the number of nutrients you will absorb, which will reduce cravings for unhealthy foods and keep you full longer.
Antioxidant and Antibacterial Protection
The powdered form of haritaki is rich in strong antioxidants like chebulic acid, gallic acid, ellagic acid, selenium and vitamin C. These have been proven to protect the body from certain cancers and other life-threatening diseases.
The dried fruit has been found to have great antiviral and antibiotic properties as well. This can help reduce the chance of developing an infection from bacteria in food as well as airborne viruses. Using haritaki as an antifungal and tonic for digestive health can help with the treatment of Candidiasis (yeast infections) and other fungal infections that can occur throughout the body.
Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes
Decreased insulin sensitivity due to a bad diet and high glucose levels are the main cause of both metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes. Compounds found in the haritaki mixture Chebulic Myrobalan may be able to increase sensitivity to insulin and lower blood sugar levels.
Studies also have shown that haritaki extract may produce a notable lowering of glucose levels in the blood. Patients with diabetes who take medication to lower their blood sugar levels need to talk with their doctor about taking haritaki powder before starting.
With all these health benefits, it is easy to see why haritaki has become such a popular superfood. While it clearly will start you down the road to feeling more healthy, you should speak with a medical professional about the pros and cons of taking haritaki powder, especially if there are any serious existing medical conditions that could create problems.
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