Haritaki comes in various qualities. It is important to know which ones are the best.
How to find the best quality haritaki ? The topic is quite complicated as with any fruit grown in different areas.
The quality will vary with the climate and soils and terrain, depending on what for the plant is considered ideal.
With haritaki we find that the fruit loses its ayurvedic properties as it ripens and then falls to the ground, so the early ripening period is the best time for harvesting. However when harvesting happens at this time the seeds are not yet fully mature. If there is extensive harvesting over years in this condition then there can be a serious decrease in germination of new trees of Terminalia chebula.
Here is some great information on this topic: http://www.banajata.org/harida.htm
The different grades of myrobalans are at present known by the names of the areas from where they are exported. The grades are based on shape, colour, compactness of the nuts and freedom from insect attack. Following four grades are known: (1) Jabalpore coming from MP and partly from Orissa, (2) Bimilipatnam coming from Andhra pradesh and partly from Tamil nadu, (3) Rajpores or Bombay varity coming mostly from Kolhapur and other parts of Maharashtra, (4) Salem or Madras variety coming mostly from Tamil nadu
The fruits fall on the ground soon after ripening. The harvested seeds are dried in thin layers, preferably in shade and graded for marketing. In trade parlance, Harra is divided into three categories.
Bal/ Choti/ Jawa Harra – Harvesting period of this is usually January and is primarily used for Ayurvedic medicines. Price is around Rs. 40 per kg. The fruit of this category is collected before maturity as small Harra has more medicinal value. However harvesting at such an early stage is not considered sustainable. Forest dwellers are forced to do it as it fetches more prices. When Harra becomes mature, it looses medicinal value thereby fetching less money.
Badi Harra – It is used in Tanneries and not very useful for Ayurvedic medicines as it has lesser medicinal values. Average price is about Rs. 3 per kg. February is considered the best month for collection of this variety. Badi Harra is loosing its ground rapidly as it is believed that tannin production companies have developed a substitute.
Kacheria -It is the crushed pulp of Badi Harra as the astringent quality is found in the same. It can be used as substitute of bal Harra. The crushed Myrobalans are preferred as it reduces bulk and weight of the material while whole fruits are preferred to avoid adulterations. But transport difficulties forces exporters to send Myrobalans in crushed form. Price comes to about Rs.10 per kg. 60 kg of Kacheria comes out from 100 kgs of Badi Harra.
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