Hydrolysable Tannins - Myrobalan

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Tannins

Myrobalan is the mature dried fruits of Terminalia chebula, belonging to family Combretaceae.






Chebulic myrobalan, harde, haritaki.


Biological Sources


Myrobalan is the mature dried fruits of Terminalia chebula, belonging to family Combretaceae.


Geographical Source


Myrobalan trees are found at an elevation of 300 to 900 m in North India, Satpura ranges of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Panchamahal district in Gujarat. It is also found in Myanmar and Sri Lanka.


Collection and Preparation


T.chebula is a moderate-sized or large deciduous tree attaining a height of 25–30 m. The plant lacks natural regeneration. The plant requires direct overhead light and cannot tolerate shady situations. It is a frost and draught resistant tree. The fruits ripen from November to March depending upon the locality, and fall soon after ripening. The mature fruits are collected from January to April by shaking the trees, and then drying by spreading in thin layers preferably in shades. The dried myrobalan fruits are graded under different trade names. Gradation is done on the basis of fruits colour, solidness, and freedom from insect attack.





Chemical Constituents


Myrobalan contains about 30% of the hydrolysable tannins, which consists of chebulinic acid, chebulagic acid and D-galloyl glucose. It contains free tannic acid, gallic acid, ellagic acid, and resin myrobalanin. Anthraquinone glycosides, sennosides have been reported in myrobalan.





Myrobalan is reputed in Indian system of medicine as a drug for various types of diseases. Because of antiseptic and healing properties of tannins, it is used externally in chronic ulcers, wounds, piles, and as stomachic. It is one of the drugs of the well-known preparation ‘Triphala’. It has purgative properties. Fine powder of myrobalan is used in dental preparations. Commercially, it is used in dyeing and tanning industry and also in treatment of water used for locomotives.


Marketed Products


It is one of the ingredients of the preparation known as Constivac (Lupin Herbal Laboratory), a bowel regulator and relieves constipation. Also, it is one of the ingredients of the preparations known as Pilect (Aimil Pharmaceuticals), Abana, Bonnisan, Gariforte, Koflet, Menosan (Himalaya Drug Company), Haritakh churna, Triphala churna, Tentex forte (Baidyanath Company).


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