He Zi

Fructus Chebulae

Chemical Constituents

Chebulic acid, chebulinic acid, D-fructose, D-glucose, gallic acid, punicalagin, saccharose, shikimic acid, quinic acid, tannic acid, terchebulin, terflavin A. [2]


Three to nine grams per day as directed by trained practitioner. [1] 



He Zi is bitter and astringent in taste. It has neutral properties and acts in the lungs and large intestine channels. [1] It is used in respiratory disorders to direct the Lung qi downward. It is also used to control Spleen and Intestinal qi to treat diarrhea. [3] 


Antioxidant activity: 

He Zi demonstrates antioxidant activity. [4] He Zi is an effective free radical scavenger and it also is a ferric-reducing antioxidant. [5] Its free radical scavenging ability is comparable to ascorbate and gallic acid. [6] The role of He Zi as an antioxidant directly relates to its hepatoprotective activity. [7] T. chebula protected rats against oxidative toxicity in the liver. [5] Pretreatment with He Zi resulted in a protective effect on the liver from tBHP-induced liver toxicity in rats. It reduced oxidative stress and the occurrence of liver lesions, hepatocyte swelling while it repaired necrosis in the liver. [8] 

Radioprotective activity: 

In addition to its hepatoprotective ability, the antioxidant properties of He Zi exhibited a radioprotective effect, according to some studies. [9][10] Radiation damage was reduced when pretreatment of He Zi occurred. The extract of He Zi also protected human lymphocytes from damage induced by gamma radiation. [6] The antioxidant property of He Zi also exhibits an inhibitory effect on cellular aging, as He Zi increased the lifespan of HEK-N/F cells by 40%. [11] 

Anticancer activity:

He Zi exhibited anticancer properties in some studies. He Zi reduced the occurrence of renal cell tumor in ferric nitrilotracetic acid-induced tumorigenises in rats. [12] It also induced cytotoxicity in several malignant cell lines, including human prostate, breast and bone cell lines. He Zi decreased cell viability and cell proliferation as well. [13] 

Antidiabetic activity

He Zi exhibited a hypoglycemic effect in an in vitro study. These findings in addition to increased insulin release suggest that He Zi may have use as an antidiabetic and a renoprotective however, more studies are suggested. [14] [15] 

Cardioprotective activity:

In rats, He Zi displayed a cardioprotective effect on isoproterenol-induced myocardial injury. It inhibited the lipid peroxide formation in the heart. [16] 

Antibacterial activity: 

The gastrointestinal benefits of He Zi have also been documented as it has demonstrated antibacterial activity against numerous intestinal bacteria. [17] Due to its antibacterial activity, He Zi has been shown to be effective in both treating open wounds. [17][18][19] The same properties exhibited beneficial results when used to treat caries and other dental disorders as a mouthwash. [20][21] 

Other activity: 

Additionally, He Zi increased gastric emptying time as well as emptying volume. [9][22] 

He Zi exhibited anti-anaphylactic action in rats decreasing mortality rates. [23]


No documentation.

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

Based on pharmacology, this herb should be avoided by those using diuretics and or laxatives and by those who are underweight or frail. [3]

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

No documentation


Not to be used by pregnant women

Age limitation

Not to be used by children

Adverse reaction

Not to be used without supervision of a trained professional.

 Not to be used in those with damp heat. [3] 


  1. Z. You-Ping. Chinese Matria Medica: Chemistry, Pharmacology and Applications. Florida:CRC Press;1998.663-665.
  2. H. Thomson. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Thomson Healthcare Inc; 2007.
  3. D. Bensky, S. Clavey, E. Stoger, A. Gamble. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, 3rd Edition. Seattle WA:Eastland Press;2004.867.
  4. H.Y. Cheng, T.C. Lin, K.H. Yu, C.M. Yang, C.C. Lin. Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities of Terminalia chebula. Biol Pharm Bull. Sep2003;26(9):1331-1335.
  5. H.S. Lee, S.H. Jung, B.S. Yun, K.W. Lee. Isolation of chebulic acid from Terminalia chebula Retz. and its antioxidant effect in isolated rat hepatocytes. Arch Toxicol. Mar2007;81(3):211-218.
  6. N.M. Gandhi, C.K. Nair. Radiation protection by Terminalia chebula: some mechanistic aspects. Mol Cell Biochem. Sep2005;277(1-2):43-48.
  7. S.A. Tasduq, K. Singh, N.K. Satti, D.K. Gupta, K.A. Suri, R.K. Johri. Terminalia chebula (fruit) prevents liver toxicity caused by sub-chronic administration of rifampicin, isoniazid and pyrazinamide in combination. Hum Exp Toxicol. Mar2006;25(3):111-118.
  8. H.S. Lee, N.H. Won, K.H. Kim, H. Lee, W. Jun, K.W. Lee. Antioxidant effects of aqueous extract of Terminalia chebula in vivo and in vitro. Biol Pharm Bull. Sep2005;28(9):1639-1644.
  9. R.R. Chattopadhyay, S.K. Bhattacharyya. Terminalia chebula: An update. Phcog Rev. Jan-May2007: 1(1); 151-156.
  10. G.H. Naik, K.I. Priyadarsini, D.B. Naik, R. Gangabhagirathi, H. Mohan. Studies on the aqueous extract of Terminalia chebula as a potent antioxidant and a probable radioprotector. Phytomedicine. Sep2004;11(6):530-538.
  11. M. Na, K. Bae, S.S. Kang, B.S. Min, J.K. Yoo, Y. Kamiryo, Y. Senoo, S. Yokoo, N. Miwa. Cytoprotective effect on oxidative stress and inhibitory effect on cellular aging of Terminalia chebula fruit. Phytother Res. Sep2004;18(9):737-741.
  12. L. Prasad, T.H. Khan, T. Jahangir, S. Sultana. Abrogation of DEN/Fe-NTA induced carcinogenic response, oxidative damage and subsequent cell proliferation response by Terminalia chebula in kidney of Wistar rats. Pharmazie. Oct2007;62(10):790-797.
  13. A. Saleem, M. Husheem, P. Härkönen, K. Pihlaja. Inhibition of cancer cell growth by crude extract and the phenolics of Terminalia chebula retz. fruit. J Ethnopharmacol. Aug2002;81(3):327-336.
  14. Y.K. Murali, P. Anand, V. Tandon, R. Singh, R. Chandra, P.S. Murthy. Long-term effects of Terminalia chebula Retz. on hyperglycemia and associated hyperlipidemia, tissue glycogen content and in vitro release of insulin in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. Nov2007;115(10):641-646.
  15. N.K. Rao, S. Nammi. Antidiabetic and renoprotective effects of the chloroform extract of Terminalia chebula Retz. seeds in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 7May2006;6:17.
  16. S. Suchalatha, D.C.S. Shyamala. Protective effect of Terminalia chebula against experimental myocardial injury induced by isoproterenol. Indian J Exp Biol. Feb2004;42(2):174-178.
  17. H.G. Kim, J.H. Cho, E.Y. Jeong, J.H. Lim, S.H. Lee, H.S. Lee. Growth-inhibiting activity of active component isolated from Terminalia chebula fruits against intestinal bacteria. J Food Prot. Sep2006 ;69(9):2205-2209.
  18. F. Malekzadeh, H. Ehsanifar, M. Shahamat, M. Levin, R.R. Colwell. Antibacterial activity of black myrobalan (Terminalia chebula Retz) against Helicobacter pylori. Int J Antimicrob Agents. Jul 2001;18(1):85-88.
  19. L. Suguna, S. Singh, P. Sivakumar, P. Sampath, G. Chandrakasan. Influence of Terminalia chebula on dermal wound healing in rats. Phytother Res. May2002;16(3):227-231.
  20. A.G. Jagtap, S.G. Karkera. Potential of the aqueous extract of Terminalia chebula as an anticaries agent. J Ethnopharmacol. 15Dec1999;68(1-3):299-306.
  21. U. Carounanidy, R. Satyanarayanan, A. Velmurugan. Use of an aqueous extract of Terminalia chebula as an anticaries agent: a clinical study. Indian J Dent Res. Oct-Dec2007;18(4):152-156.
  22. M.D. Tamhane, S.P. Thorat, N.N. Rege, S.A. Dahanukar. Effect of oral administration of Terminalia chebula on gastric emptying: an experimental study. J Postgrad Med. Jan-Mar1997;43(1):12-13.
  23. T.Y. Shin, H.J. Jeong, D.K. Kim, S.H. Kim, J.K. Lee, B.S. Chae, J.H. Kim, H.W. Kang, C.M. Lee, K.C. Lee, S.T. Park, E.J. Lee, J.P. Lim, H.M. Kim, Y.M. Lee. Inhibitory action of water soluble fraction of Terminalia chebula on systemic and local anaphylaxis. J Ethnopharmacol. Feb2001;74(2):133-140.