Market samples of Terminalia chebula (Harde) fruit: an in-depth study of their phytochemical and pharmacognostic characters


Latha Sadanandan
Department of Botany, Sree Narayana College, Kollam, Kerala, India.

Mammen Daniel
Dr. Daniel’s Laboratories, Vadodara, ,Gujarat, India.


Of the two types of Terminalia chebula fruits available in the market, Haritaki (mature fruit rinds) and Himaj (unripe tender fruits), only the former one is studied, that too very cursorily and all these studies are found incomplete as many of the cellular features are missing. During an in-depth study involving anatomy, it is found that the samples contained a good percentage of stones which are the hard endocarp enclosing seeds. The new distinguishing characters of the mature fruits (Harde) unearthed in the present study are more than a dozen. The aggregation, arrangement and orientation of various types of macrosclereids and brachysclereids to produce an endoskeleton in mesocarp of fruit are well documented. The components of endocarp such as tightly packed macrosclereids, resins and resin chambers as well as the cell architecture of testa and tegmen provide absolute new data. It is for the first time tender fruits (Himaj) are subjected to a detailed study on their phytochemical and pharmacognostic characters. Chemically they are having the same constituents as of mature fruits, albeit in differing amounts. The anatomical/pharmacognostic characters, which here also, amount to a dozen or more, consist of a wide variety of macro- and brachysclereids of different levels of maturity, their shapes and sizes, arrangement, resin chambers and cells constituents. All these can be effectively used in quality control measures