Countless genera of plants are used mainly as herbal preparations in the indigenous systems of medicine in different countries which have stood up to the tests of time that even the modern forms of medicines have not been able to replace. Let’s explore the potential of one of such medicinal plants which is known as Harad in the sub-continent.
According to Indian mythology, Harad (Terminalia chebula), a medicinal plant, which claims to cure all diseases, originated from the drops of ambrosia which fell on earth while Indra (Lord of Rain) was drinking it. Terminalia chebula, also known as the ‘King of Medicine’ in Tibet is always placed at the top of the list in Ayurvedic Materia Medica due to its extraordinary power of healing.
Terminalia Chebula has been extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani & Homoeopathy and has become cynosure of modern medicine as it possesses a wide variety of properties viz antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antiviral, anticarcinogenic, hypocholesterolemic, radioprotective, antispasmodic & antipurgative. If Harad is taken after food, it helps to eliminate all the toxic effects due to food poisoning and merely chewing it leads to improved digestion.
The observed health benefits may be credited to the presence of various phyto chemicals like polyphenols, terpenes, anthocyanins, flavonoids, alkaloids and Glycosides, but they in turn make it extremely bitter. Thus the palatability of this medicine which is quite bitter limits its scope in deriving health benefits for the consumers. Hence the problem lies in the fact that its use as medicine gets limited. So to enhance the palatability and to reduce the perceived bitterness a new formulation of Terminalia chebula powder was prepared by adding natural supplements so that the products becomes acceptable to the consumers across the world while retaining its nutritional richness.
In the present study to enhance the palatability of organically harvested Harad, a formulation was planned under which a preparation of its fruit powder was made by adding powder of another fruits like Indian Gooseberry (Emblica offcinalis), Balam Kheera (Kigelia africana) as natural nutrient supplements and asafoetida, cumin, carom and rock salt were added as taste enhancer.
Emblica officinalis or Indian Gooseberry are widely used in the Indian system of medicine and believed to increase defence against diseases. The use of its fruit as an antioxidant, immunomodulatory, antipyretic, analgesic, cytoprotective, antitussive and as gastroprotective are also reviewed.
On the other side Kigellia africana a native of Africa is well known traditionally for variety of medicinal purposes. The plant is traditionally used in anticancer, antiulcer, anti respiratory and skin related ailments. It is also used to treat body weakness, leprosy, worm infestation and tumours etc. It has strong anti‐oxidative effects against hepatotoxicity induced by paracetamol toxicity. The anti‐oxidant actions of Kigelia africana have been attributed to the abundance of flavonoids and saponins in the fruits.
Thus an innovative product was prepared by adding Indian Goose berry and Kigelia pinnata fruit powder on drying as a natural supplement to the Terminalia chebula fruit’s powder along with taste enhancers.
On performing chemical and sensory evaluation the product which was added with natural supplements was found to be nutritionally richer as well as tastier than the raw Harad powder with rock salt and asafoetida, cumin and carom seeds. The value added product had a higher percentage of calcium and iron besides antioxidants. The product scored over the conventional Harad powder due to its higher energy value and exclusive protein content which was otherwise absent in the conventional Harad powder.
Hence nutritionally richer and tastier value added product enhanced the scope of Terminalia chebula among the consumers for deriving its natural health benefits across the world which otherwise get limited by its bitterness. The study also leaves the scope for further enhancing the nutritional status of the Harad powder and its taste by new combinations and permutations.
Thus the present novel product combining the herbal plants native to India and Africa can further boost up its market value over conventional Harad formulations leading to an improved trade at the global level.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Dr Chandrashekhar Sanwal (Indian Forest Service – India) – chandra.sanwal(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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