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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Tannins

It consists of dried ripe fruits of the plant Terminalia belerica Linn, belonging to family Combretaceae.






Beleric myrobalan, baheda, bibhitak.


Biological Source


It consists of dried ripe fruits of the plant Terminalia belerica Linn, belonging to family Combretaceae.


Geographical Source


The tree is found in all decidous forests of India, up to an altitude of 1000 m. It is found in abundance in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, and also in Sri Lanka and Malaya.


Cultivation and Collection


Cultivation of the drug, though not done on commercial scale, can be carried out by sowing the seeds. The seeds can retain the viability for a year and their rate of germination is about 80%. The plant can also be raised by transplantation. It takes about 15 to 30 days for germination of seed. Maximum height of the plant is about 40 m and the girth is 2 to 3 m. The stem of the plant is straight the leaves are broadly elliptic and clustered towards the end of the branches. Flowers are simple, solitary and in auxiliary spikes.




Transverse section shows an outer epicarp consisting of a layer of epidermis, most of the epidermal cells elongate to form hair like protuberance with swollen base; next to epidermis it contains a zone of parenchymatous cells, slightly tangentially elongated and irregularly arranged. Stone cells of varying shape and size are present in between these parenchymatous cells. Mesocarp traversed in various directions by numerous vascular bundles collateral, endarch; simple starch grains and rosettes of calcium oxalate crystals are present in parenchymatous cells.



Chemical Constituents


The fruits contain about 20 to 30% of tannins and 40 to 45% water-soluble extractives. It contains colouring matter. It contains gallic acid, ellagic acid, phyllemblin, ethyl gallate, and galloyl glucose. The seeds contain nonedible oil. The plant produces a gum. It also contains most of the sugars as reported in myrobalan.




Bahera is used as an astringent and in the treatment of dyspepsia and diarrhoea. It is a constituent of triphala. The purgative property of half ripe fruit is due to the presence of fixed oil. The oil on hydrolysis yields an irritant recipe. Gum is used as a demulcent and purgative. Oil is used for the manufacture of soap.


Marketed Products


It is the chief component of the preparation known as Sage triphala syrup (Sage Herbals), for relieving habitual constipation.


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