Terminalia chebula Retz

[From Latin, terminus = end]

Physical description: It is a tree which grows to a height of 30 m. It is found in India, Vietnam, Burma and Thailand. The bark is dark brown, 6 mm thick and the wood is very thick. The leaf-buds, twigs and young leaves are rusty hairy. Leaves: the petiole is 2cm-5cm long, pubescent

Common names: Myrobalan, chebulic myrobalan; pangah (Burmese); he lip (Chinese); srama (Cambodian); mirabolanos (Portuguese); abhaya, jaya (Sanskrit); amagola (Tamil); hara, hirala (Indian); chieu lieu, kha li lac (Vietnamese).

Uses: The dried immature fruits of Terminalia chebula Retz. (Myrobalans, British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1934) are astringent and contain 20% to 40% of tannins. In Burma, the fruits are eaten to relieve the bowels of costiveness and to invigorate health. In China, the fruits are used to stop flatulence and promote expectoration. In India, the fruits are eaten to invigorate health, promote digestion and expectoration, soothe sore throat and inflamed areas, stop dysentery and vomiting, and to treat ascite (Ayurveda). In Indonesia, the fruits are astringent. In Malaysia, the fruits are used to check bleeding, assuage liver discomfort and stop dysentry. In Vietnam, the fruits are used to relieve the bowels of costiveness.

with usually 2 glands near the top. The blade is 7cm-20cm x 4 cm-8 cm, glabrous when mature, elliptic, oblong, and shows 6-8 pairs of secondary nerves. The apex of the blade is acute, and the base is round or cordate. The inflorescences are terminal or axillary spikes. The flowers are hermaphrodite, 4 mm long, sessile, dull white or yellow and with a pungent odour. The calyx is campanu-late, 3 mm long, flat at the base and 5-lobed. The fruits are pendulous, 2 cm-4 cm, almond-shaped, green, smooth, glabrous, and 5-ribbed drupes. The seeds are oblong (Fig. 175).

Pharmaceutical interest: The fruits contain about 20% to 40% of tannins, gallic acid, chebulic acid, p-sitosterol, anthraquinones and oils. Tannins and anthraquinones make the drug both astringent and laxative. The mature fruits are used to tan in India (100000 metric tons produced in 1981). Gallic acid displays cytotoxic (Pettit GR et a/., 1996) and hepatoprotective properties (Anand KK et a/., 1997). Gallic and chebulic acids are immuno-suppressive on CTL-mediated cytotoxicity and inhibit the killing property of CD+ CTL clone at IC50 = 30 ¡M and IC50 = 50 ¡M respectively, and the granule exocytose in response to anti-CD3 (Hamada S et a/., 1997). Tannins extracted from Terminalia chebula Retz. do not cause mutations in Salmonella thyphimirium

Fig. 175. Terminalia chebula Retz.

(Kaur S et al., 1998). Tannins of the plant are antioxidant and radioprotector (Naik GH etal, 2004).

Staphylococcus aureus (Sato Y etal., 1997). An extract of Terminalia chebula Retz. inhibits the replication of several sorts of viruses including the human cytomegalovirus (Yakawa TA et a/., 1996; Shiraki K et al., 1998), the human immunodeficiency virus-1 (IC50 = 50 ^g/mL; El-Mekkawy S et al ., 1995) and the Herpes Simplex Virus type-1 (Kurokawa M et al., 1995).

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