“Triphala”, as the name suggests is a combination of 3 herbs. They are Amla, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki. These three herbs in combination have various healing remedies. Triphala finds its place in Ayurvedic medicines for more than 3000 years.
Triphala is used in ancient ayurvedic medicines as a multipurpose treatment. These treatments range from stomach ailments to dental cavities. It is also believed to promote longevity and overall health.
Triphala is a polyherbal combination. Polyherbal combinations find their place in traditional Ayurvedic medicines. It is considered a tridoshic rasayana. This means Triphala supports all three doshas air/space, fire/water, and water/earth.
What are Doshas?
Doshas are the elements responsible for physical, mental, and emotional health. Ayurveda combines these three elements to heal the human body.
Ayurveda believes that the world is made of five elements – Aakash(space), Jal(water), Prithvi(earth), Tej(fire), and Vayu(air). A combination of each element results in the three doshas known as Vata, Kapha, and Pitta.
Every person is said to have a unique ratio of each dosha, usually, one stands out more than the others. For example, a person can be mostly Pitta while another can be Vata. An ayurvedic practitioner will help determine your dosha.
Nevertheless, Triphala supports all three doshas. In Sanskrit, Triphala means three fruits. Triphala is a combination of just that. These three fruits are:
- Amla or Indian Gooseberry
These three fruits are dried and grounded together in equal portions. This makes the powder potent in antioxidants because these three fruits have long played an important part in Ayurvedic medicine.
Amla or Indian Gooseberry
It is one of the oldest edible fruits in India. Indian Gooseberries are the edible fruit of a small to medium sized tree. The berries have a sour, sharp taste and fibrous texture. They are very nutritious and high in vitamin C, amino acids and minerals.
They contain powerful plant compounds like phenols, tannins, phyllaemblic acid, rutin, curcuminoids, and umbilical. Phenols, tannin, and curcuminoids are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent cell damage which can lead to cancer at times. Thus, they are said to have potent anti-cancer properties.
The scientific name for Bibhitaki is Terminalia bellirica. This is a large tree that grows in Southeast Asia. In Ayurveda, it is known as Bibhitaki.
The fruit of this tree is used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of common ailments like bacterial and viral infections. It contains tannin, ellagic acid, gallic acid, lignans, and flavones. These powerful plant compounds are responsible for their medicinal qualities.
The uses of this potent herb are many. This leads to its use in a wide array of medical uses. Bibhitaki is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
It is used to treat diabetes and blood sugar dysregulation. It is because Bibhitaki is high in gallic acid and ellagic acid. These two phytochemicals have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, and body weight.
The scientific name for this herb is Terminalia chebula. It is held in high esteem in Ayurveda and is referred to as the ‘king of medicines’.
This medicinal tree grows throughout the Middle East, India, China, and Thailand. It is used as a remedy for a number of conditions including heart disease, asthma, ulcers, and stomach ailments.
Haritaki contains phytochemicals such as terpenes, polyphenols, anthocyanins, and flavonoids. All these phytochemicals have numerous health benefits.
It is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant as well. Ayurveda uses it to treat constipation as well. It increases intestinal transit time thus, relieving constipation.
The health benefits of Triphala
There are notable levels of oleic and linoleic acid in Bibhitaki and Haritaki. These are known as good forms of fat. These fatty acids are able to rebalance your cholesterol levels and prevent excess deposition of plaque in the arteries. This prevents the onset of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, and coronary heart disease.
Triphala also corrects the imbalances in the cardiovascular system.
The anti-oxidants in Triphala perform protective functions in the body. Compounds like vitamin C, flavonoids, polyphenols, tannins, and saponins help fight oxidative stress. This oxidative stress is due to the free radicals in the body. Free radicals are molecules that cause cell damage and chronic diseases.
Diets rich in anti-oxidants reduce the risk of heart diseases, certain cancers, diabetes, and premature aging.
The presence of anti-oxidants in Triphala has sparked quite a bit of research into the herbal blend’s impact on cancer. The anti-oxidants have been shown to lower oxidative stress, and reduce tumor growth. It stimulates the immune system to eliminate excess free radicals that cause cell mutation.
Powerful antioxidants like gallic acid and polyphenols may be responsible for their cancer-fighting properties.
Aids in weight loss:
This herbal blend improves fat storage in the body by preventing certain foods from being stored in the body. It improves metabolism and boosts passive fat burning, even when you are not exerting yourself.
Detoxifies the body:
One of the most well-known characteristics of Triphala is its impact on toxicity levels within the body. Research has found that active ingredients in this blend can stimulate the liver and kidneys. Thus, it helps to clear the accumulation of toxins. It also prevents excess inflammation in the various parts of the body.
Primarily used as a digestive stimulant, Triphala can reduce the occurrence of excess gas. It reduces the symptoms of constipation by stimulating bowel movements.
This spice repairs damaged gastro-intestinal tract after infection or extended illness. This herbal preparation cleans out the digestive tract and colon. This allows normal bacterial balance in the gut.
Improves dental health:
Triphala has anti-oxidants which are anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial in nature. They help to prevent the formation of plaque on the teeth, which in turn can lead to cavities and gum disease.
Regulates blood sugar levels:
Amla in Triphala has anti-oxidants that provide anti-diabetic effects. These include lowering blood sugar levels and treating nerve damage in people with type 2 diabetes.
Potential side effects of Triphala
As a mild laxative Triphala can sometimes cause gastrointestinal disorders. They can be:
- Stomach upset
Pregnant or lactating women should not take Triphala, nor should kids be administered to the children. Very little or no information is available for this age group.
Sometimes Triphala can interfere with some medications. The reason for this could be because doses can differ from one preparation to another.
Some healthcare providers add some other herbs and ingredients depending on the condition being treated.
Triphala is an amazing preparation that works wonders for constipation, diabetes, and other health problems. Triphala acts as a mild laxative but can also cause gastrointestinal disorders. So before taking this powder you can consult your ayurvedic practitioner.