Although you may not have heard of, or taken, Triphala before, Triphala has been used for centuries. It is documented in the textbooks of Ayurveda from more than 5000 years ago. Triphala, one of the time-tested formulas in Ayurvedic medicine, has numerous health benefits.
Triphala is a Sanskrit word which literally meaning “three fruits”. The three fruits are Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). There is a well known saying, “You have no mother? Don’t worry, so long as you have Triphala.” It conveys the idea that Triphala can care for all the internal organs as a mother cares for all her children, equally. Triphala is considered a blessed herb, as it balances all the three Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Not surprisingly, Triphala is the most popular polyherbal formula, effectively used as a laxative, bowel cleanser, and body detoxifier on the cellular levels.
It is much more than a bowel regulator. Triphala is considered valuable for many health issues:
- Improving digestion and also as gut tonic
- Reducing serum cholesterol and helping fat metabolism
- Improving circulation
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Improving eye sight, as an eye tonic
- Improving bile function and liver functions
- Proven anti-inflammatory and anti-viral formula
- Balancing all the three Doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha)
When used as a laxative, why is Triphala is different than common laxatives?
There are generally two types of laxatives. One works by stimulating the peristaltic action of the intestinal lining, either directly or by promoting the secretion of bile through the liver and gall bladder. The second type of laxative is a lubricating bulk laxative. It usually does not have any significant direct effect on either the liver or the gall bladder.
Triphala is a formula which oncludes both of the above qualities—nutritive and promoting secretion of bile through the liver and gall bladder.
The nutritional aspect of Triphala is present as it contains high vitamin C, linoleic oil and other important nutrients.
Triphala as a Rasayana
Triphala is classified as a Tridoshic Rasayana which means its energetics are appropriate for all three Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and also for all kinds of imbalance and disease. In Charaka, Rasayanas are described as having the qualities of anti-ageing, and supporting strength and immunity. Other Ayurvedic classifications attributed to Triphala are Shukrala (building reproductive tissues), digestive, mild laxative at normal doses, bowel tonic at low dose, purgative at high doses, carminative, expectorant, antispasmodic, and bronchodilator.
What are Triphala’s Energetic properties?
We Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners undersrtand that the three fruits of Triphala correspond to the three qualities or Tridoshas. The Tridoashas are called:
Vata – This is translated as wind energy and corresponds to the mind and nervous system. Its nature is dry, cold, light, active and irregular.
Pitta – This is translated as fire or bile which is responsible for all metabolism, digestion and transformation. Its nature is hot, light, moist and sharp.
Kapha – This is translated as water or mucous/phlegm which is responsible for anabolic or building function of bodily tissues. Its nature is cold, heavy, slow and moist.
What do the components of Tripahala include?
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula).
This fruit is associated with Vata Dosha—with the elements air and space. It helps to balance the Vata Dosha and treat disease caused by Vata imbalance. Haritaki has the laxative, lubricant, astringment, anti-spasmodic, nervine properties, therefore it is used to treat acute chronic constipation, and nervous disorders caused by Vata.
Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)
Amalaki is sour in taste. It corresponds to the Pitta hour and fire elements. It is a cooling, astringent, mild laxative and is used to treat Pitta imbalances including ulcers, heat and inflammatory disease in the intestines, infections, and general burning feeling throughbout the body.
Amalaki is one of the highest natural sources of vitamin C, with, typically, 20 times more vitamin C than oranges. This “heat stable” vitamin C is maintained even on prolonged high heat.
Bibhitaki ( Termanalia Belerica)
Bibhitaki has the properties of tonic, digestive, anti-spasmodic, and astringent, which balance the mucous humour or Kapha Dosha. It is important, as Bibhitaki helps to purify Kapha and balance excess mucus conditions in the lungs like asthma, allergies, hiccough, and water imbalances.
Is Triphala Safe to use?
Triphala is a safe ayurvedic herb because of its combined tonic and eliminative properties. However, it is always recommended to consult with Ayurvedic doctor for prolonged use. Triphala can be prescribed alone or along with other Ayurvedic herbs for any acute or chronic disease.
How best to take Triphala?
There are different forms of Triphala available, for example: powder, tablet, capsules and juices.
The traditional form of Triphala often used is in powder or Churna form as it is the most effective. Some recommendations inlcude:
- Triphala powder – 2-3 gram of the powder with the warm water as per the instruction of your Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner
- Triphala capsules/tablets – 1-2 capsules/tablets after food with warm water as per the instruction of your Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner
- Triphala juice – 10-20 ml juice with warm water as per the instruction of your Ayurvedic practitioner
The dosage may be adjusted up and down according to the required result.
How and where to buy Tripahla?
Triphala is commonly available in the natural pharmacy and natural health care centre. However, Triphala is a proprietary Ayurvedic formula, and therefore it is best to source from a recognised Ayurvedic practice and should preferably be of organic quality. Self prescription of Triphala is okay for short term use, but prolonged use of Triphala needs the guidance of an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner.
Triphala is available at Sunshine Ayurveda to purchase with or without a prescription. If you have more queries about Triphala, make an appointment with experienced Ayurvedic expert, Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari who is able to answer your questions.