Bibheetakee/Wibheetakee (Terminalia bellirica)


Bibheetakee/Wibheetakee (Terminalia bellirica)


Introduction

Known by various epithets, Bibheetakee/Wihbeetakee has been used for centuries as medicine in Ayurveda. Though it is not chewed or consumed like Aamalakee (Emblica officinalis) on day to day basis, the fruit of Bibheetakee is a very important ingredient of the world famous balanced rasaayana (rejuvenator/ adaptogenic) formulation: Triphalaa (three fruits)
Also known as Bheetaa meaning fear, Wibheetaa meaning lack of fear and Wibheetakee meaning fearless or the fruit that takes away the fear of diseases. The Hindi name Bibheetakee is the corrupt version of original Sanskrit name Wibheetakee as ‘wa’ is usually pronounced as ‘ba’ in Hindi. As the name Bibheetakee is more popular and in common use than Wibheetakee, the author has decided to use the same name, Bibheetakee. [1], [2]

The large deciduous tree is growing widely distributed throughout Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka and on plains and lower hills in Southeast Asia. In some states of India it is also grown as avenue tree. 

In Ayurveda Bibheetake is also known as Wibheetakee or Wibheetaka or Wibheeta meaning fearless. This tree is avoided by Hindus of Northern India, who will not sit under its shade, as it is supposed to be inhabited by demons. However by some tribes/folks the tree is considered sacred and they never cut it down because of the belief that the deity Shaneeshwara resides in it. In India two varieties of Bibheetakee are found, one with nearly globular fruit, 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter, the other with ovate and much larger fruit. Though the pulp of the fruit is generally employed for medicinal purposes, the kernel is sometimes used as an external application to inflamed parts. According to the Nighantus the kernels are narcotic. The kernels are eaten by the Lodha people of India for their mind-altering qualities. [3]

On account of its medicinal properties the herb bears its epithet Anil-ghnaka or “wind-killing”.  [4]
The nuts of the tree are rounded with five flatter sides. It is said that the nuts were used as dice in the epic poem Mahaabhaarata. A handful of nuts are cast on a gaming board and the players would have to call whether an odd or even number of nuts had been thrown. [5], [6], [7]

Bibheetakee was introduced to Arabs by Indians. Till the influence of Arabian medicine prevailed Bibheetakee (T. bellirica) was used as medicine in Europe. [8]

 Other Names

Latin/Botanical/Scientific: Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb, Myrobalanus bellerica Gaertn., Myrobalanus laurinoides Kuntze, Terminalia  angustifolia Blanco, non Jacq, Terminalia attenuata Edgew, Terminalia edulis Blanco, Terminalia moluccana Roxb,Terminalia punctata Roth
Sanskrit: Aksha, Akshaka, Bahuweerya, Bhbheetaka,  Bibheetakee, Kalidruma, Karsha, Karshaphala, Kaasaghna, Wibheetaka, Wibheeta, Wibheetakee
English: Bastard myrobalan, Beach almond, Behere, Belleric Myrobalan,
Arabic: Baleelaj
Assamese: Bauri, Bha ira, Bho ira,  Bho mora, Bhomra,
Bengali: Baheda, Bayada, Bhayra, Baida, Baheraa, 
Farsi: Baleel    
French: Myrobalan belleric          
Garo: Agong, Balbdok, Bol chirore, Bol churi, Churi  
German:  Baherabaum,  Belerische Myrobalane                         
Gujarati: Bahedan, Veheda, Beda 
Hindi: Bahera, Baheda, Bahirda, Bhaira, Bohera, Wibheetaka
Japanese: Taaminaria beririka
Kannada: Shanti, Shanti kayi, Tarekai, Thani, Thare, Tode
Kashmiri: Babelo, Balali
Konkanee: Goting
Lao: Heen, Kieng dam
Malay: Jaha, Jaha kebo
Malayalam: Tannikka, Admarutha, Taanni, Thani, Tusham
Marathi: Behada, Beheda, Beda, Berda, Kalidruma, Vehala
Nepalese: Barro
Odiya:  Baheda
Persian: Balelaj
Punjabi: Bahera, Bayrah
Russian: Terminaliia belericheskaia
Tamil: Thanrikkai, Todikai, Thanakkai, Tanri, Tani
Telugu: Thanikkaya, Tanikaya, Taadi
Thai: Samo phi phek
Tibetan: Ba ru ra
Urdu: Bahera, Balela
Vietnamese: Bang hoi, Bang moc, Nhut [9], [10], [11], [12], [13] 

Taxonomic Classification

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperm
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales             
Family: Combretaceae                          
Division: Magnoliphyta
Class: Magnoliopsida  

The botanical basionym (original name) of Bibheetakee is Myrobalanus bellirica Gaertn. William Roxburgh transferred Myrobalanus bellirica to Terminalia bellerica (Gaertn.) Roxb. Though this spelling error is widely used, it causes confusion. The correct taxonomical name is Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb.
[14], [15]

 Geographical distribution

This deciduous plant grows wild throughout Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka and South East Asia. It grows in a wide variety of ecologies such as plains, hills and forests up to 1000 to 1200 meters in elevation. In India the tree is found in abundance in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. [16], [17]

  Plant Morphology


     
 
     

        Tree                                 Trunk                                             Leaves


    
                                  Flowers                           Fruits                                    Seeds

                                                                    
                                                                                T. bellirica Gum                       [18], [19]     
                                                                          
Macroscopic Characteristics

Trunk

Bibheetakee (T. bellirica) is a large deciduous tree, 20 - 40 meter tall, 2-3 meter in girth, bole or trunk cylindrical, straight reddish brown in color often buttressed when large; bark 10-20 mm thick, blackish grey, smooth, longitudinally shallowly fissured, yellowish inside, young branches thick, initially densely pubescent, sympodial (a specialized lateral growth pattern); branchlets terete (cylindrical), thinly fulvous (reddish yellow), hairy; leaf scars prominent.

Leaves

Leaves about 15 cm long, 2-10 cm broad, thin- coriaceous (leathery), eglandular, crowded around the end of branchlets, alternately or spirally arranged, elliptic or obovate, rounded to cuneate (wedge shaped) at base, rounded or obtuse or more rarely acuminate at apex; margins entire, rounded or sub acute tip, midrib prominent, pubescent when young and becoming glabrous with maturity; lateral nerves 7-10 pairs, pinnate, prominent; petiole 2-5 cm long, stout, slightly grooved above, glabrous.

Flowers

Flowers (really inflorescence) are pale greenish yellow with offensive odor; bisexual; sessile; borne in axillary spikes longer than the petiole but shorter than leaves, 3-5 cm long, 6-7 mm across with distinct 5 lobed villous disc; peduncle puberulous (covered with soft hair); bracteoles 0.5-2 mm long, linear-lanceolate, caduceus (shedding off easily); petals absent; calyx tube 2-2.5 mm long, 0.5-2 mm broad, rusty, pubescent outside; corolla absent; stamens 10; ovary inferior, unilocular, tomentose, one celled, ovules 2-3, pendulous; style 4 mm; stigma small.

Fruit

The fruits are ovoid grey drupes, green and inflated when young and yellowish and shrunken when mature, resemble Hareetakee fruit but are not ridged, 2-3.5 cm long and 3 cm across, densely and finely pubescent, obscurely 5- angled when dried, suddenly narrowing into a very short stalk; exocarp hard, endocarp sclerenchymatous.  

Seed

One seed, ellipsoid, 2 cm in size, called bedda nuts [20], [21], [22]

Microscopic Cracteristics

Leaf

The transverse section of leaf shows presence of upper and lower epidermis. The epidermis is covered with a single layer of cuticle, unicellular trichomes present. The vascular bundle is surrounded by 3-5 layers of cortex; xylem lignified phloem non-lignified; the pith made up of large cells; cluster and rosette crystals of calcium oxalate and granules of starch are also present.

Stem

The transverse section of stem shows that the stem is angled; on maturation  each goes deep inside forming sharp pointed projection and single layer of epidermis; cortex narrow, cambium and endodermis surrounded by medullary rays inside vascular tissue; proto xylem and meta xylem are centrally located on phloem. [23]

Fruit

The transverse section of fruit shows an outer epicarp consisting of a layer epidermis, the epidermal cells elongate to form hair like protuberance with swollen base, composed of a zone of parenchymatous cells arranged irregularly, intermingle with stone cells varying in shapes and sizes, spherical in the inner zone and elongated towards the periphery of mesocarp, mesocarp traversed in various directions by numerous vascular strands, endarch, simple starch grains and some stone cells found in most of mesocarp cells, few peripheral layers devoid of starch grains, rosettes of calcium oxalate and stone cells present in parenchymatous cells, endosperm composed of stone cells running longitudinally and transversely. [24]

Powder

The crude powder green in color; cluster and rosette of calcium oxalate crystals; trichome and xylem present. The powder of stem brown in color containing scalariform xylem vessels, unicellular trichome, cluster and rosette crystals. [25]


Parts used

Fruit, bark, leaves, seeds

Phytochemistry

The phytochemicals found in Bibheetakee (T. bellirica) are:
Gallic acid, ellagic acid, gallo-tannic acid, chebulagic acid, tannins, ethyl gallate, galloyl glucose, glucose, fructose, rhamnose 6, mannitol,  galactose, protein, fatty acid, oxalic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid, linolic acid, glucoside (bellericanin), lignans (termilignana and thanni lignan), anolignan, 7-hydroxy 3 4 (methylene dioxy) flavones, flavonoids, coumarines, phenyllemblin, β sitosterol, phytosterols, phenols and a new triterpene, the  belleric acid. [26], [27], [28]
The kernels contain 35% protein and 40% edible oil and antinutritional factors. Palmitic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid are majority fatty acids found in kernel oil. Antinutritional factors are substances that when present in animal food or water reduce the availability of nutrients. In an experimental study feeding diet containing Bibheetakee (T. Bellirica) kernel to rats, mice and chicken resulted in low food intake and death in all three species due to the antinurtitional factors in the kernel. [29]

Phytochemicals present in various parts of the plant
Sr.No.
Phytochemicals
Parts
1.      
Alkaloids, Coumarin, Flavone
Seeds, Leaves, Whole Plant
2.      
 Steroids: β-Sitosterol
Leaves, Aerial Parts
3.      
Lignans: Termilignan, Thannilignan, Hydroxyl-3,4-(methylenedioxy) flavone, Anolignan
Fruits
4.      
Tannins: Gallic acid, Ellagic acid, Methyl gallate, Ethyl gallate, Chebulagic acid, Chebulaginic acid, Hexahydroxydiphenic acid ester
Fruits
5.      
Glycosides: D-glucose, Fructose, Sucrose, Galactose and Mannose
Seeds, Fruits

6.      
Terpenoids: Belliric acid and Chebulagic acid
Fruits
7.      
Saponins: Bellericoside and Belliricanin
Fruits
[30]

Identity, Purity and Strength
(1)
Foreign matter: Not more than 2 per cent
Total Ash: Not more than 7 per cent
Acid-insoluble ash: Not more than 1 per cent
Alcohol-soluble extractive: Not less than 8 per cent
Water-soluble extractive: Not less than 35 per cent [31]

(2) Standards accepted by I. P. in 2010

Foreign organic matter: Not more than 2 per cent.
Ethanol-soluble extractive: Not less than 25 per cent.
Water-soluble extractive: Not less than 35 per
Total Ash: Not more than 8 per cent.
Acid-insoluble ash: Not more than 2 per cent.
Heavy metals: 1.0 g complies with the limit test for heavy metals.
Loss on drying: Not more than 12.0 per cent, determined on 5 g by drying in an oven at 105°.
Microbial contamination: Complies with the microbial contamination tests.
Assay--Determine by liquid chromatography (2.4.14). [32]

Cytological Identity

9 Chromosome counts in Terminalia bellerica (Gartn) Roxb    [33]

Genetic Identity

Bibheetakee (T. bellirica) tree is over exploited for its medicinal value leading to chances of adulteration. Therefore the genetic identity of Bibheetakee (T. bellirica) becomes imperative. Recently by using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP), Inter Simple Sequence Repeat Polymorphism (ISSRP) and Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) methods the exact genetic identity of Bibheetakee (T. bellirica) is established. [34]

Safety Tests

No safety data for each specific species of herb is available. Here are general guidelines: 
Heavy Metals:
Arsenic:         Not more than 5.0 mg/kg
Mercury:        Not more than 0.5mg/kg
Lead:              Not more than 10.0 mg/kg
Chromium:    Not more than 0.3 mg/kg

Microbial Limits:
Total bacterial count:                                  Not more than 105cfu/g
Total yeast and mould count:                     Not more than 104cfu/g
Bile tolerant gram negative bacteria:          Not more than 104cfu/g
Specific Pathogens:
Salmonella spp:                        Absent in 25 g
Escherichia coli:                     Absent in 1g   
Staphylococcus aureus:         Absent in 1g          
Pseudomonas aeruginosa:     Absent in 1g  [35]

Properties and Pharmacology

Ayurvedic properties

Ganas (Classical Catagories)

Charaka: 

Jwarahara Warga: Antipyretic group
Kaasahara Warga : Antitussive group
Virechanopaga Warga: Laxative group

Sushruta and Waagbhata:

Mustaadi Warga: Mustaadi group of herbs

Energetics

Rasa (Taste): Kashaya (Astringent) 

Weerya/ Virya (Energy State): Ushna (Hot) 

Wipaaka/ Vipak (End result, Post digestive effect): Madhura (Sweet)

Prabhaawa/ Prabhav (Special Effect, Prominent Effect): Tridoshghna

Note: Here I wish to clarify the meaning of these technical words:
Virya (Weerya): Potency, power, vigor

Vipak (Wipaak): After digestion change of taste. The food we take is acted upon by jatharagni (digestive activity) and the taste of the food changes. The original rasa (taste) changes to vipak (new or same taste.)

Prabhav (Prabhaawa): Effect, prominent, peculiar or special action of an herb; innate and specific property.

Gunas (Qualities):

Rooksha (Dry), Laghu (Light), Bhedana (Laxative), Kaasaghna (Antitussive, expectorant), Netrya (Beneficial to eyes), Keshya (Beneficial to hair), Krumighna (Anhelmintic) 

Rasayana: Rejuvenator 
Balya: 
Tonic
Sara: Laxative
Krumighna: Anthelmintic
Kaasaghna: Antitussive, expectorant
According to Ayurvedic scholars, though Bibheetakee is a strong laxative being astringent will cleanse and impart tone to the bowels. Although ushna (heating) in character Bibheetakee (T. bellirica) does not vitiate Pitta

Effects on Doshas: Kapha, will not vitiate pitta

Effects on Dhatus (Systems and tissues):  Rakta (Blood), Rasa (Lymph), Mansa (Muscles), Meda (Fatty tissue), Asthi (Bones), Nervous, Respiratory, Digestive, excretory Systems. [36]

Modern View            

Ethyl gallate

Molecular formula: C9H10O5
Strustural formula:

 
Ethyl gallate is the ethyl ester of gallic acid. It is produced from gallic acid and ethanol. It is found in Terminalia bellerica, Terminalia chebula, walnuts and in a variety of plants and in wine. Ethyl gallate exerts anti-inflammatory effect. It is added to various processed foods as an antioxidant. [37]

Hypotension is associated with septic shock. To maintain tissue perfusion vasopressor therapy is required. Recently it is discovered that the nonflavonoid  phenolic antioxidant ethyl gallate could reverse hypotension due to septic shock in experimental animal model.  [38]


In sepsis lysozyme-s released by leucocytes is responsible to produce vasodilatation via H2Odependent pathways. Antioxidant activity of ethyl gallate by scavenging H2O2 counter the vasodilatation and hence the hypotension produced by lysozyme-s in septic shock.  [39]

In one study ethyl gallate induced morphological changes, DNA fragmentation and reduced HL-60 cell viability in a dose and time dependent manner. This apoptosis occurred through mitochondrial pathway, apoptosis inducing factor,  endonulease G as well as the upregulation of Bcl-2 associated x protein and activation of the death receptor dependent pathway of apoptosis . [40]

In an experimental study methyl and ethyl gallate caused relaxation of guinea pig trachea pre-contracted by histamine. This effect was mediated through activation of Ca2+ and Kchannels. [41]

Toxicology of Ethyl gallate

In industrial workers, repeated contact or exposure to ethyl gallate may cause dryness and cracking of the skin, watering of the eyes. The inhaled material does not cause irritation of the respiratory tract but may cause sensitization reaction in some persons. Long term exposure to high dust concentrations may cause pneumoconiosis. [42]

(Penta) Galloyl glucose

Molecular formula: C41H32O26                      
Strustural formula:



Pentagalloyl glucose is the gallic acid ester of glucose. It is the common precursor of gallotannins. It can precipitate proteins including human human salivary α- amylase.

Pentagalloyl glucose may be used in radioprotection. [43]

By anti-oxidant, pro-apoptosis, anti-proliferation, anti-angiogenesis, anti-metastasis, anti-mutagenic and inhibition of P-glycoprotein activities Pentagalloyl glucose (PGG) exhibits anti-cancer activity against lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and sarcoma. However whether anticancer activity of  Pentagalloyl glucose is its direct action or is mediated through its metabolites is unclear. 
PGG exhibits insulin mimicking and anti-adepogenesis activity. PGG exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, hypo-lipidemic activity. PGG which inhibits gastric acid secretion is used to treat gastritis and peptic ulcer. PGG stabilizes arterial elastin that prevents development of aneurysm and collagen that prevents wrinkling of the skin. PGG protects myocardium and prevents intravascular clotting of the blood. It shows anticonvulsant and anti-lithiasis actions. It inhibits HBV DNA replication and thus shows anti HBV activity.  [44]

Rhamnose 6  

Molecular formula: C6H12O5             
Strustural formula:



Rhamnose (Rham0 is a naturally occurring deoxy sugar. It can be classified as either a methyl pentose or a 6-deoxy-hexose. Most of the naturally occurring sugars are in Dextro form but Rhamnose occurs in Levo form (L-form).

Rhamnose is a component of the cell membrane of acid fast bacteria in the genus Mycobacterium. 

L-Rhamnose is used in anti-wrinkle creams. [45]

Recently D-Rhamnose has been synthesized. [46]

Rhamnose stimulates cell proliferation, decreases elastase-type activity, stimulates collagen biosynthesis, and protects hyaloronan against free radical mediated degeneration. The reactions are mediated through α-L-rhamnose recognizing lectin-site acting as a receptor, transmitting signals to the cell-interior. [47] 

L-rhamnose is a non absorbable sugar. It produces flatulence. It reduces triglyceride levels but does not reduce total cholesterol levels. [48]


Medicinal Properties of Various Parts of Behadaa (T. bellirica)
No.
Pharmacological Activity
Plant Part
Nature of Extract
1
Antipyretic
Fruit
Aqueous/Alcoholic
2
Skin and Hair care
Seed
Seed oil
3
Wound healing
Fruit
Fruit paste
4
Antioxidant
Fruit
Methanolic
5
Anti-inflammatory
Whole plant
Aqueous
6
Immunomodulatory
Bark
Ethanolic
7
Antimicrobial, Anti-Salmonella
Fruit
Aqueous/Alcoholic
8
Β-lactamase inhibition
Whole plant
Methanolic
9
Anti-viral
Fruit rind
Methanolic
10
Antifungal
Fruit
Ethanolic
11
Anti-protozoal
Fruit rind
Methanolic
12
Anthelmintic
Fruit
Aqueous/Ethanolic
13
Analgesic
Fruit
Aqueous/Methanolic
14
Antidepressant
Fruit
Aqueous/Alcoholic
15
Anti-thrombotic, Thrombolytic
Fruit
Aqueous/Alcoholic
16
Anti-Hypertensive
Fruit
Aqueous
17
Angiogenic
Leaf
Ethanolic
18
Bronchodilator
Fruit
Aqueous/Methanolic
19
Anti-peptic ulcer
Fruit
Ethanolic
20
Anti-diarrheal
Fruit pulp
Aqueous/Alcoholic
21
Hepatoprotective
Fruit
Methanolic
22
Metabolic disorders
Whole Plant
Hydro-Alcoholic
23
Pancreas
Whole plant
Aqueous
24
Anti-diabetic
Fruit
Hexane, Ethyl acetate, Methanolic
25
Ant-Urolithiasis
Fruit
Methanolic
26
Anti-androgenic, Anti-malefertility, Anti-spermatogenesis
Fruit, Bark
Benzene, Ethanolic
27
Anti-pregnancy
Bark
Ethanolic
28
Anti-tumor, Anti-cancer
Whole Plant, Fruit
Ethylacetate, n-butanol


Some testimonials from modern research

General Pharmacology

Bibheetakee (T. bellirica) can induce chromosomal aberrations which are proportional to the concentration and duration of treatment with the treatment. Several genetic deformities were noticed in bio-organisms following T. bellirica administration which were said to be non harmful. [49]

Kernel oil of T. bellirica is a good source of linolic acid. The antinutrients found in oil interfere with the absorption of proximate principles but do not interfere with absorption of calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen. [50] 

Actions on the Skin

Beheda (T. bellirica) is useful for skin diseases. [51]

The extract of seeds of T. bellirica is good for hair dyeing preparations. The oil of T. bellirica is good for hair care preparations. [52]

Wound healing

The ethanol extract of T. bellerica fruit (2 and 4 % w/w ointment) was used to dress incision and excision wounds. The wound healing showed good response. The results were similar to the wounds dressed with Nitrofurazone (0.2%) ointment. [53]

Antioxidant activity

The methanolic extract of the fruits of T. bellirica elicited both in vitro and in vivo antioxidant, antimicrobial and free radical scavenging activity. [54]

Anti-inflammatory activity

In an experimental study on rats, pyrexia was induced by yeast injection. Both aqueous and alcoholic extracts of T. bellerica at the dose of 200mg/kg body weight, markedly decreased the rectal temperature of pyretic rats. It was postulated that by inhibiting the prostaglandin synthesis in hypothalamus, flavonoids of T. bellirica exhibit anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic activity. However further study is necessary to identify the phytochemicals involved in these activities. [55]

Immunomodulatory activity

The methanolic extract of T. bellirica stimulated the immune system of mouse. In the study on mouse, stimulation of macrophage phagocytosis and maximal activation of phytohemagglutinin were observed. This revealed that the methanolic extract of T. belliricashowed both the cellular and humoral immune response in vitro. [56]

At a dose of 350mg/kg body weight of ethanolic extract of Terminalia bellirica was found to increase the activity of reticuloendothelial system in Swiss albino mice. 

Cyclophosphamide acts as an immunosuppressive agent. It induces neutropenia. Ethanolic extract of Terminalia bellirica at a dose of 150 and 350mg/kg body weight caused reduction in neutrpenia induced by cyclophosphamide. Furthermore, at the dose of 350mg/kg bodyweight of the extract a significant increase in weight of spleen was observed but no remarkable change in thymus index. Thus T. bellirica triggers both non-specific and specific cellular immunity. [57]

The methanolic extract of T. bellirica stimulated the immune system of mouse. In the study on mouse, stimulation of macrophage phagocytosis and maximal activation of phytohemagglutinin were observed. This revealed that the methanolic extract of T. belliricashowed both the cellular and humoral immune response in vitro. [58]

Antibacterial activity

In the laboratory experiment methanolic extract of T. bellirica inhibited the coagulase activity of Staphylococcus aureus and brought about major alterations in the capsular morphology of Klebsiella pnuemoniae after 24-48 hours of treatment, suggesting that T. ellericaextract possesses antibacterial activity against these organisms. [59]

To evaluate antibacterial activity of T. bellirica, Chloroform-Ethyl Acetate fraction of the fruit rind powder of T. bellirica was obtained. On further purification of the fraction Epigallo-catechin-gallate was obtained. Both, the fraction and Epigallo- catechin-gallate showed a significant antimicrobial activity against E. coliB. subtilis and S. aureus. [60]

In an experimental study, aqueous and alcoholic extracts of T. bellirica showed a significant antibacterial activity against Salmonella typhi and Salmonella typhimurium. No toxicity of the herb was observed. [61]

Aqueous extract of dry fruit of  Terminalia  bellirica, at 4 mg concentration showed the highest zone inhibition against S. aureus, while methanol extract showed a significant antibacterial activity against E. cloi and P. aeruginosa. [62]

The hydroalcoholic extract of T. bellirica leaf showed antibacterial activity against E. coliStreptococcus pyogenes and Pseudomonas aureus (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) [63]

Antiviral activity

From T. bellirica fruit rind, two new lignans termilignan and thannilignan were isolated together with 7-hydroxy-3, 4-(methylenedioxy) flavan and anolignan B. All the four compounds show anti-HIV-1, antimalarial and antifungal activities. [64]

Methanolic extract of T. bellirica inhibited HBV DNA polymerase.[65]

Antifungal activity

The aqueous and petroleum ether extracts of T. bellirica inhibit the growth of various species of Mucor and Aspergillus.  [66]

In one study antifungal activity of T. bellirica was tested against 5 clinical and 5 environmental fungi. At the concentration of 4mg/ml of ethanolic extract of the fruit of T. bellirica showed anticryptococcal activity. [67]

Actions on Nervous System

In experiments on rats at the dose of 200mg/kg bodyweight, aqueous and alcoholic extracts and at doses of 50-100mg/kg bodyweight of crude extract of T. bellirica exhibited analgesic activity. [68]

Aqueous extract of T. bellirica administered orally to Swiss young male albino mice at 50, 100 and 200mg/kg for 10 consecutive days and ethanolic extract at 100mg/kg exhibited antidepressant activity. The aqueous extract (200mg/kg) and ethanolic extract (100mg/kg) showed optimum activity similar to 15mg/kg of imipramine and 20mg/kg of fluoxetine administered orally for 10 consecutive days. This activity was attributed to interaction with adrenergic, dopaminergic and serotonergic systems. [69]

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors have been extensively used for the symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The ethanolic extract of T. bellirica inhibited AchE (Acetylcholinesterase) in electric eel. The effect was dose dependent. This activity was attributed to the phytochemicals Gallic acid, ellagic acid and phenolic acids present in the fruits of T. bellirica. [70]

Actions on the eye

Eye drops containing T. bellirica are useful for the treatment of conjunctivitis, trachoma, corneal opacity, pterigium, immature cataract, myopia etc. [71]

Actions on CVS

Terminalia bellirica showed hypotensive effect in rats under anaesthesia. In rabbits contraction thoracic aorta was induced by using phenylephrine. T. bellirica relaxed the thoracic aorta in these rabbits. In isolated guinea pig atria, T. bellirica inhibited the rate and force of atrial contractions. [72]

Angiogenesis is important in the treatment of ischemic cardiovascular disease. Ethanolic extract of the leaf of T. bellirica shows profound angiogenic activity in mice. This activity is due to the presence of proteins and phytosterols in the plant. It suggested that the extract of T. bellirica modulates endothelial cell function. [73]

Actions on RS

Terminalia bellirica is a potent bronchodilator. [74]

Actions on GI System

Activity of T. bellirica against various microorganisms is useful in treating diarrheas. (see above)

Actions on the Pancreas

The aqueous extract of T. bellirica stimulated the basal insulin output and potentiated glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in clonal pancreatic β-cell line. This insulin secretary activity was abolished in the absence of extracellular Ca2+ and by inhibitors of cellular Ca2+ uptake, diazoxide and verapamil. [76]

Actions on the Liver

The methenolic extract of T. bellirica leaf inhibits cell growth of Hep G2 cells at G2/M-phase and induces apoptosis by triggering caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation. Thus T. bellirica can be a source of compounds for the treatment of cancers. [77]  

Hepatoprotective activity

The fruit extract of T. bellirica and its active principle, Gallic acid protect the liver cells from CCl4 intoxication.  [78]

Actions on metabolism

The fruit of T. bellirica prevents obesity, insulin resistance and lowers the increased levels lipids. The fruit suppresses the absorption of triglycerol from the intestine and shows a strong inhibitory effect on pancreatic lipase activity. Gallic acid is the component responsible for the inhibition of pancreatic lipase activity. Thus T. bellirica can be useful in preventing metabolic syndrome. [79]    

Antidiabetic activity

In one study diabetes was induced in rats by using streptozotocin. Hexane, Ethylacetate, and Methanolic extracts of T. bellirica fruits were administered orally to these diabetic rats at 200, 300, 400 mg/kg doses for 60 days. There was a significant increase in plasma insulin, C-peptide, glucose tolerance, body weight and total serum protein and a significant decrease in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, urea, creatinine and uric acid.  The effect was more pronounced in rats treated with methanol extract. [80]

The effects of continuous administration of T. bellirica fruit against alloxan induced hyperglycemia and antioxidant mechanism was studied in rats. There was a significant reduction in glucose level and oxidative stress as was evident by increased levels of Superoxide dismutase, glutathione reductase and catalase in blood and liver. [81]

Also see effects of T. bellirica on pancreas

Actions on Urinary System

To evaluate anti-urolithiatic effect of T. bellirica, renal stone was induced in a test group of animals by administering 0.75% ethylene glycol in drinking water for 28 days. The methanolic extract of T. bellirica was then administered orally at doses of 100, 200 and 400mg/kg body weight once a day from 15th day to 28th day. The results demonstrated that antioxidant activity of the methanolic extract of T. bellirica at the dose of 400mg/kg body weight protected the kidney from ethylene glycol-induced renal calculi. [82]

Actions on Male Reproductive System

The benzene and ethanol extract of the bark of T. bellirica was administered to male albino rats at the doses of 10mg and 25mg/100g body weight of the animal for 50 days. The treatment resulted in decrease in the weights of testis and reproductive organs and spermatogenesis was arrested. [83], [84]

Actions on Female Reproductive System

At the dose of 25mg/100g body weight, ethanolic extract of the bark of T. bellirica administered to female albino rats causes loss of implantation of embryo. This may be due to antizygotic, blasto-cyto-toxic anti-implantation activity of the plant. Further research is necessary to establish the mechanism of anti-implantation activity of T. bellirica. [85]

Antitumor activity

Ethyl acetate and n-butanol fraction of T. bellirica show high grade reducing activity which is said to be useful in the treatment of cancers [86]

Culinary uses

Not used

Acute and Sub acute Toxicities

A single oral dose of 5000mg/kg body weight of ethanolic extract of T. bellirica did not show any acute toxicity and repeated administration of 1000mg/kg body weight for 14 days did not show subacute toxicity [87]

Medicinal Actions and uses

Traditional usages

It is used for PUO, common cold, cough (expectorant), pharyngitis, bronchitis, diarrhea, constipation, helminthiasis, ophthalmic disorders, rasaayana (adaptogen), anemia, UTI, aphrodisiac, leucorrhea etc. [88]

Ayurvedic Uses

As rasaayana (as adaptogen), to build muscle mass and body tissues, to build immunity

Internal Uses:

To improve digestion, to treat diarrhea, as laxative, as expectorant and to relieve bronchospasm

External Uses:

Conjunctivitis, trachoma, to relieve inflammatory edema, for wound dressing, vaginal douche in leucorrhea and for premature graying of hair [89]

Uses in Modern Medicine

As antidiabetic, laxative, to treat obesity, to treat hypercholesterolemia and as hepatoprotective. To treat cough, cold, diarrhea, oral thrush and skin disorders [90]

Preparations and Doses

Powder: 3-6 grams in divided doses
Important Ayurvedic Preparations:
All preparations containing Triphlaa (e. g. Triphalaa ghrita, Triphalaadi Taila etc.)
Wibheetakee Tailam:  [91]

Aksha Taila: For external use (massage, hair care etc.)
Bibheetakee Suraa: Beer/ Wine of Bibheetakee (T. bellirica). It is appetizer, digestive, improves health, useful for the treatment of anemia and skin diseases [92]

Triphala choorna, Talisaadi choorna, Lawangaadi choorna, Bibheetakee kwaatha [93]



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