Terminalia bellirica is found throughout the Indian subcontinent, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Southeast Asia. In India, it is commonly known as “Bahera” in Hindi, “Beleric Myrobalan” and “Bibhitaki” in English and Sanskrit, respectively.

As the leaves are arranged at the tips of the stems, the genus Terminalia takes its name from the Latin word “terminus.” It is a huge deciduous tree with a buttressed trunk and thick brownish-grey bark with shallow longitudinal fissures that grows to be 20-30 metres tall when fully grown. The leaves are found at the tips of the branches and have entire margins, a rounded tip, and a prominent midrib. They are pubescent when young and glabrous as they mature. Young leaves are copper-red, turning parrot green and eventually dark green as they grow.

The flowers are a pale greenish-yellow colour and have an unpleasant odour. The fruits are ovoid drupes that are round and pink in colour, turning greyish when dry. Each fruit has an ellipsoid seed in it. The bark is grey or pale brown with shallow cracks and longitudinal fissures.

Phytochemical analysis of behada fruit extracts revealed the presence of a broad range of bioactive constituents, including flavonoids, phenolic compounds, tannins, terpenes, and glycoside derivatives. The fruit is a significant source of gallic acid and its esters, tannin and pseudo tannins, ellagitannins, chebulic, chebulagic, chebulinic and non-chebulic acid, corilagin, ellagic acid and its glycosides, triterpenes and triterpenoidal glycosides. The dried fruits of three plant species native to the Indian subcontinent, P. emblica, T. chebula, and T. bellirica, make up “Triphala,” a well-known natural formulation in Ayurvedic medicine. 

Nutritional Value of Behada: 

The nutritional content fount in behada/100 gm is: 

Carbohydrates 20.26 ± 0.96 
Moisture 167.4 ± 0.5 
Fats 94.42 ± 0.63 
Fibres 6.24 ± 1.62 
Proteins 6.94 ± 0.03 
Potassium  3.37 ± 0.11 
Phosphorus 0.34 ± 0.018 
Calcium  3.50 ± 0.30 
Nitrogen 3.40 ± 0.06 
Zinc  50.83 ± 1.32 
Sodium  2.34 ± 0.21 
Iron  294.06 ± 24.05 
Copper  65.06 ± 0.84 
Magnesium  0.36 ± 0.01 
Table1: Nutrients found in Behada 

Therapeutic Uses of Behada: 

Various parts of behada plant have therapeutic properties are listed below.

Behada fruits:  

  • Asthma 
  • Bronchitis 
  • Hepatitis 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Piles 
  • Dyspepsia 
  • Eye diseases 
  • Hoarseness of voice 
  • Scorpion sting  
  • Hair tonic 
  • Menstrual disorders 

Behada green fruit decoction 

  • Cough 

Behada fruit pulp

  • Diarrhoea 
  • Leprosy 
  • Piles 
  • Dropsy (oedema/swelling) 

Behada ripe fruit:  

  • Purgative 
  • Narcotic 

Behada bark gum and kernel oil:  

  • Purgative 
  • Rheumatism 

Behada leaves:  

  • Stimulates appetite  
  • Relieves piles  
  • Lowers cholesterol 
  • Lowers blood pressure 
  • Boosts immunity 
  • Prevents ageing  

Benefits of Behada: 

1. Benefits of Behada for Ulcers: 

The antiulcer activity of extract of behada fruits was investigated in animal models by determining the ulcer index. In a study, the behada extract exhibited significant inhibition of stomach ulcers, decreased free acidity, total acidity, gastric volume, protein and pepsin content while increasing the mucus content, altogether lowering the ulcer index.

Inhibition of cytoprotective prostaglandin synthesis may suppress ulcers, however the antioxidant activities of fruit extract are responsible for its antiulcer efficacy. 

2. Benefits of Behada for Depression and Psychosis: 

In animal models of depression, the behada fruit extract demonstrated antidepressant efficacy, as it drastically reduced the mobility time. The presence of tannic acid and polyphenols in the extracts may be responsible for the antidepressant action.

Several animal models of psychosis in Wistar rats were used to investigate the antipsychotic activity of behada fruit powder. The results showed that behada fruit powder reduced stereotyped behaviour (doing the same thing repeatedly) in rats and dopamine levels in the brain.

3. Benefits of Behada for Kidney: 

In animal studies, the diuretic efficacy of Behada fruit extract has been studied. The extract boosted salt excretion in urine which benefits current diuretics. The anti-urolithiatic activity of behada fruit extract was investigated in animal studies. The therapy with behada fruit extract significantly reduced calcium, oxalate, and phosphate excretion, which is beneficial in reducing stone formation.

4. Benefits of Behada for Fertility: 

Behada fruit extract has shown antifertility and antiandrogenic properties in animal studies. The  male reproductive organs such as testis, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicle, and ventral prostate significantly reduced after the administration of fruit extracts. Furthermore, extract administration significantly reduced sperm motility and density. The activity of behada fruit extract is thought to be due to selective androgen deficiency in the epididymis, which affects sperm motility and metabolism. 

5. Benefits of Behada for Obesity: 

The anti-obesity activity of behada fruit extract was studied in obesity models in animals. According to the findings, behada fruit extract can prevent obesity in diabetic mice by lowering body weight, fat deposition, insulin resistance, and lowering plasma and hepatic lipid levels.

Another animal study looked at the effects of behada fruit extract on a diet-induced obesity, looking at changes in body weight, feed and water consumption, body temperature, body-mass index, organ weight, and lipid profile. The findings of the study indicated that oral administration of extract considerably improved the above parameters. 

6. Benefits of Behada for Wound Healing: 

Studies have investigated the wound healing efficacy of behada fruit extract. The extract paste was used and improved fibroblast function, glycosaminoglycan synthesis, and collagen deposition, all of which are necessary for wound healing.

7. Benefits of Behada for Inflammation: 

The behada fruit extract exhibited anti-inflammatory action in animal studies. The investigators suggested that inhibition of cyclooxygenase enzyme by fruit extract could be a possible mechanism behind its anti-inflammatory activity.

The inhibitory effects of ellagic acid and gallic acid from behada were investigated on animals. The inhibition of numerous proinflammatory molecules, enzymes, and cytokines by downregulation of multiple signalling pathways might be responsible for the inflammatory response.

8. Benefits of Behada for Microbial Activity:  

The antibacterial properties of behada fruit extracts were tested on several human microbial pathogens, including Escherichia coliStreptococcus pneumoniaStaphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhiS. typhimuriumPseudomonas aeruginosaYersinia enterocolitica, and Candida albicansS. aureus was inhibited most effectively the fruit extracts. Except for E. coli and P. aeruginosa, all pathogens were susceptible to the behada fruit extract.

The antiviral effectiveness of behada leaf extracts was tested against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) via cell lines assay. Extracts of behada leaf showed weak anti-human immunodeficiency virus-1 activity.

9. Benefits of Behada for Immunomodulation:  

The immunomodulatory action of behada extracts is apparent owing to the influence on T and B cell proliferation affecting cellular mediated immunity.

10. Benefits of Behada for Diarrhoea: 

The antidiarrhoeal effect of behada fruit extracts was investigated in animal models. Prostaglandins E2 caused fluid accumulation in the intestinal lumen due to sodium, chloride, and glucose absorption inhibition. The administration of behada extract reduced the incidence of diarrhoea.  

Behada extract delayed defecation time in the animals as well. The behada extracts were found to inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins E2, ricinoleic acid, and nitric oxide resulting in the prevention of diarrhoea.

11. Benefits of Behada for Liver:  

Researchers examined the liver-protective effects of behada fruit extract and its active ingredient, gallic acid, in lab animals. Biochemical parameters such as serum enzymes, lipid peroxidase, and glutathione demonstrated improvement.

12. Benefits of Behada for Diabetes:  

Investigators have studied behada fruit extracts for their anti-diabetic properties. With the restoration of body weight and total serum protein, the fruit extract significantly enhanced plasma insulin, C-peptide, and glucose tolerance levels. All biochemical markers, including total cholesterol, triglycerides, urea, uric acid, and creatinine, showed improvement, preventing diabetic kidney complications and dyslipidemia.

13. Benefits of Behada as an Antioxidant: 

The behada fruit extract exhibits antioxidant activity due to presence of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. It can be potent against infections and several diseases. The antioxidant activity of behada extract fractions was demonstrated by scavenging free radicals that cause cellular damage.

14. Benefits of Behada for Lung: 

The behada crude extract was studied in animals to evaluate bronchoconstriction. It produced bronchial smooth muscle relaxation in animal trachea and thus might be helpful in lung airway diseases in humans.

15. Benefits of Behada for Blood Clots: 

In an in-vitro model, the clot-lysing action of behada fruit extract was investigated. The study found that behada fruit extracts slowed the formation of blood clots.

16. Benefits of Behada for Cancer: 

The behada fruit extract has exhibited antiproliferative action in several cancer cell lines with a high degree of selectivity.

Skin, tongue, and pharyngeal carcinoma cell lines were used to assess the anticancer activities of behada seed extract and gallic acid. Apoptotic characteristics such as cell shrinkage, loss of cytoskeletal integrity, and DNA fragmentation were exacerbated in cell lines treated with seed extract.

How to Use Behada? 

  • Behada fruits
  • Behada green fruit decoction 
  • Behada fruit pulp
  • Behada partially ripe fruit
  • Behada bark gum and kernel oil
  • Behada leaves

Precautions to Take with Behada:  

The safety studies of behada on pregnant and breastfeeding women have not been conducted. Therefore, it should only be taken under the supervision and advice of a physician. No research has been done on the safety of behada in children. 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

There is not much information on how behada interacts with other medications. Hence, patients should consult a doctor before taking behada if they take any other drug or supplement. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What is behada? 

It is a huge deciduous tree that grows to be 20-30 metres tall when fully grown.

2) What are the chemical constituents of behada? 

Tannin, pseudo tannins, gallic acid, chebulic, chebulagic, chebulinic acids, non-chebulic acid, ellagitannins, corilagin, ellagic acid, triterpenes and triterpenoidal glycosides are among the compounds found in behada.

3) What are the other names of behada? 

Bahera, beleric myrobalan and bibhitaki are the common names of behada.

4) What are the benefits of behada fruits? 

Behada fruit is used to treat asthma, bronchitis, hepatitis, diarrhoea, piles, dyspepsia, eye diseases, hoarseness of voice, scorpion-sting, hair tonic and menstrual disorders.

5) Is behada fruit is good for diabetes? 

Yes, behada is good for diabetes. The behada fruit extract anti-diabetic properties were tested in animal models. The extract restored body weight and total protein levels while increasing plasma insulin, C-peptide, and glucose tolerance. Studies for efficacy in humans are lacking. 

6) Is behada is good for the liver? 

Yes, behada is good for the liver. Treatment of animals with behada fruit extract and gallic acid improved biochemical indicators such as serum enzymes, lipid peroxidase, and glutathione, indicating liver protection.

7) Is behada is good in preventing kidney stones? 

Yes, behada is good for preventing kidney stones. The behada fruit extract prevented kidney stones in animal models by reducing oxalate, calcium, and phosphate excretion, which is beneficial in reducing stone formation. However, studies are needed for efficacy in humans.  

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