हरितकी / हरड़ (Haritakī)
Harda or Haritaki is revered as the King of Herbs in Ayurveda. While it is known to be a powerful herb to balance Vata, it is actually tridoshic in action and useful in removing any excess Vata, Pitta or Kapha.
The exact reason or rationale for this action is not identifiable and is attributed to its unique prabhav, or inexplicable energetic quality of the herb. Prabhav is something like a magical, natural alchemy of the plant or herb that cannot be explained with logic.
The fruit of the haritaki tree is harvested, dried and powdered for use as both an Ayurvedic herb that can be ingested and also for use in dye extraction. It is one of the three ingredients in the herbal formula for triphala, widely used to support digestion, optimal weight, a balanced gut and optimizing immunity.
Ayurveda also believes that Haritaki helps to increase prana, the essential and divine life force present in all the body’s cells.
When used as a natural dye, haritaki can impart shades that range from a buttery yellow, very subtle green to shades of warm grey. If used without alum, a natural mordant, it creates more grey and beige shades, and when the fibers are treated with alum, it produces the buttery yellow and light green.
Haritaki dyed fabrics and textiles are excellent to support creativity, promote awareness and cultivate balance.