Plant Name: Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb.
Hindi: Karshphal, Bahuvirya, Bahera, Bhutvaas
English: Beleric or bastard myrobalan
Interesting facts and history
Fruit is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine. However, the tree is considered sacred and is never cut down because of the belief that the deity Shaneeshwara resides in it.
10-20 mm thick, surface blackish-grey, smooth, vertically shallowly fissured, exfoliations small, semi-fibrous; blaze yellow; branches sympodial; branchlets terete, thinly fulvous-hairy, leaf scars prominent.
Leaves simple, opposite or alternate, clustered at the tip of branchlets, estipulate; petiole 15-80 mm, stout, slightly grooved above, glabrous; lamina 9-35 x 5-16 cm, obovate, elliptic; base obliquely cuneate, attenuate or acute; apex obtusely acuminate, margin entire, both surface pubescent when young, glabrous at maturity, coriaceous, eglandular; lateral nerves 7-10 pairs, pinnate, prominent; intercostae reticulate.
Fruit a drupe 2-2.5 x 1.8 cm, obovoid, obscurely 5-ridged, yellowish-brown, honed, not winged, softly tomentose; seed one, ellipsoid.
Flowers bisexual, greenish-yellow, 5-6 mm across, in axillary spikes; peduncle puberulous; bracteoles 0.5-2 mm long, linear-lanceolate, caducous; calyx tube 2-2.5 ×1.3-2 mm, rusty pubescent, constricted above the ovary; lobes 5, cream, triangular, tomentose; disc 5-lobed, villous; petals absent; ovary 1.5 mm, inferior, tomentose, 1-celled; ovules 2 or 3, pendulous; style 4 mm, subulate; stigma small.
Habit / Habitat
It is a tree commonly found in semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests, also in the plains
1) Availability of the plant species in India: Throughout India except Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh.1
2) Global distribution: Southeast Asia
World wide use Fruits and Seeds
Used by tribal community in Jawhar Fruits and Seeds
Method of consumption
Seeds consumed raw by children only after the fruit dries and breaks.
Fruits of Terminalia bellirica commonly called Belliric myribalon, afford a yellow fixed oil which is used by poorer classes of Central Province (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra states) as a substitute for ghee and are also used in treatment of rheumatism.
Traditional Medicinal use
Powder of fruits is used for cold and cough.
Nutritional and medicinal information
Except few sugars such as D-glucose, fructose, sucrose, galactose and mannose which were identified in ethanolic extract of seeds , no significant nutritional composition have been studied so for.
- Terminalia bellerica is used as antidiarrheal, anticancer, ant diabetic, antihypertensive and hepatoprotective agent in traditional medicinal systems. The current research had been carried out to check its pharmacological properties against hyperactive gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders. It possesses a combination of anticholinergic and Ca++ antagonist effects, which explain its use in the colic, diarrhoea and asthma.
- A bioactivity-guided fractionation of an extract of Terminalia bellerica fruit rind led to the isolation of two new lignans named termilignan (1) and thannilignan (2), together with 7-hydroxy-3‘,4‘-(methylenedioxy)flavan (3) and anolignan B (4). All four compounds possessed demonstrable anti-HIV-1, antimalarial, and antifungal activity in vitro.
- From the petroleum ether extracts of seeds of Terminalia bellerica two compounds Friedelin, β-sitosterol have been isolated. These two compounds are associated with variety of biological activity like antifungal, antibacterial, anti-microbial etc. Isolation of friedelin justified analgesic and antipyretic activity of plant.
Harvesting and preserving
Flowers can be harvested directly.
powder of fruits could be stored.
Propagation and Storage
Season of collection:
How to grow it?
Soak seeds in warm water for 24hrs, after germination sow the seeds.
Method of storage:
- Wood very hard but not durable, so little used. Fruits used in tanning. The kernel is chewed with betel nut as substitute for areca nut.
- Nectar source, Green manure, Timber, Tanning and dyeing
- Terminalia bellirica seeds have an oil content of 40%, whose fatty-acid methyl ester meets all of the major biodiesel requirements in the USA (ASTM D 6751-02, ASTM PS 121-99), Germany (DIN V 51606) and European Union (EN 14214)
2 Kavitha, A., N. Deepthi, R. Ganesan, S. C. Gladwin Joseph. Common Dryland Trees of Karnataka: Bilingual Field Guide. Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, 2087
3 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2005.05.001 Prospects and potential of fatty acid methyl esters of some non-traditional seed oils for use as biodiesel in India
7 Kavitha, A., N. Deepthi, R. Ganesan, S. C. Gladwin Joseph. Common Dryland Trees of Karnataka: Bilingual Field Guide. Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, 2087