Baheda: An Ingredient that Cures Diseases
Also known as Bibhitaki which means “the one that keeps away from diseases”, Baheda is one of the wonder ingredients that is a key ingredient in Triphala and is a trusted remedy to cure most health conditions. It is known by various other names such as Vibheetaki, Vibhita, Beleric Myrobalan, Bahedan, Bahera, Akaa, Akasaka, Bhomora, Bhomra, Bhaira, Bayada, Tare kai, Shanti Kayi, and Babelo. It is known by the scientific name of Terminalia bellirica.
Baheda is a large deciduous tree that is about 12-50 meters high and has a diameter of 3 meters. Its seeds are known as bedda nuts. The leaves are about 15 cm long and loaded with leaves toward the branch end.
Importance of Baheda
In Ayurveda, Baheda has immense importance as a medicinal herb and the same has been mentioned in various religious and ancient ayurvedic books. In the Charaka Samhita, fruits of baheda are mentioned to cure several diseases and enhance a person’s intellect and strength. It improves metabolism and reduces Ama by increasing the digestive fire. There are several remedies described in the Charaka Samhita, that use baheda as an ingredient for curing diseases.
Baheda is rich in essential nutrients such as proteins, Vitamin C, and minerals like manganese, iron, copper, potassium, and selenium. It also contains chemical constituents like tannic acid, β-sitosterol, mannitol, ellagic acid, chebulagic acid, gallic acid, oxalic acid, phyllemblin, galactose, glucose, fructose, rhamnose, etc. Due to the presence of these bioactive properties, Baheda portrays strong antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-diarrheal, anti-asthmatic, antispasmodic, anti-cancer, anti-hypertensive, antipyretic, antitussive, and expectorant properties.
At present baheda is still used as an important medicinal herb. It is used in preparing various ayurvedic medicines such as constipation, cough, cold, and weight loss.
Benefits of Baheda
In Curing Cough and Cold
Baheda is a wonderful cure for cough and cold due to its Kapha balancing properties. It helps to control cough by releasing the mucus and clearing air passages, which helps to facilitate breathing.
Stomach problems such as constipation and Bloating
The laxative property of Baheda plays an important role in minimizing mucous and the extra fat in the stools and preventing them from sticking to the intestinal walls and thereby allowing assisting in easy bowel movement. This further helps to prevent constipation and stomach bloating.
Loss of Appetite and Weight loss
Baheda helps to manage the loss of appetite, thirst, and flatulence as it is hot in potency. It enhances the digestion process which helps in digesting the food easily. It also assists in weight loss as it improves metabolism and reduces Ama by increasing the digestive capacity. It also removes accumulated waste products in the intestine due to its laxative properties.
Baheda contains a lot of anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antifungal properties, as well as antioxidants and bioactive components which help in improving the immune system by fighting microbes and protecting the body against various infections.
Good for Skin
The fruit of Baheda has antibacterial properties which help to control acne and reduce scars.
Baheda oil also helps in healing wounds and injuries quickly due to its healing quality. Besides, it also prevents infection in the body.
Good for Hair
Baheda helps in promoting hair growth and also controls dandruff due to its Ruksha (dry) and Kashaya (astringent) properties. It helps in removing excess oil and keeps the scalp dry which prevents dandruff. It also contains a unique hair growth enhancer property that boosts hair growth and promotes thick and healthy hair.
Side effects of Baheda
- Baheda should not be consumed in diarrhea, hyperacidity, gastritis, or loose motion due to its hot potency.
- Baheda should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Baheda has glucose-lowering properties which may lower blood sugar levels, so it is generally advised to avoid Baheda if you are on antidiabetic medicines.
Where is it Found?
Bibhitaki is commonly found on plains and lower hills in Southeast Asia such as India, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In India, it is found in many regions, mainly in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Odisha.