The first contains almost the most antioxidants of all plants, the second is called the “killer of diseases”, the third is the sacred, healing fruit of India. Amalaki, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki are a powerful blend that was already used for health in ancient Ayurveda. Triphala is one of the most important herbal remedies in Ayurvedic medicine and has been used for its incredible benefits for over 2,000 years.

In India, they say that not having a mother is not as terrible as long as you have Triphala. That’s because Indians believe that this herb mix cares for the internal organs just like a mother cares for her children.

In this article, you will learn everything about Triphala and how it can help you stay healthy. 

What is triphala

Triphala is a herbal preparation that is made from three dried and powdered fruits. The name comes from the Sanskrit tri – three, phala – fruit, and churcha – powder.

The first records of its use come from Sushrut Samhita, one of the oldest works devoted to surgery. Its author was Sushruta, an Indian surgeon who lived in the 6th century BCE. This means that it is one of the longest-used preparations in the world.

In old Ayurvedic texts you can read that while one plant can do a lot of good, it only discovers its full properties in combination with equally powerful herbs or fruits that complement and “enhance” its effect.

Triphala contains 5 of the 6 flavors distinguished in Ayurvedic medicine – sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, and tart, without salty. The three fruits that make up the blend correspond to each of the three doshas (energies circulating in the body that are a combination of 2 of the 5 elements). One of these fruits (Amla) contains a whopping 20 times more vitamin C than oranges. The blend also contains powerful antioxidants such as gallic acid, ellagic acid, and chebulinic acid, as well as flavonoids and polyphenols with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diarrheal properties.

Three main ingredients of Triphala

Triphala has so many health benefits thanks to a unique combination of three fruits: haritaki, amalaki, and bibhitaki. Each of its ingredients has powerful properties that balance dosha.

Amalaki

Often called amla or Indian gooseberry, are fruits the size of our Mirabelle with an extremely sour taste. They owe it to the exceptionally high content of vitamin C, antioxidants, and polyphenols. Amalaki is a Potta balancing herb that promotes liver and eye health. In 2008, Japanese scientists from Tohoku University decided to check which of the “superfoods” recommended for fighting free radicals really deserve this status.

Whole and half amla. Isolated on white background.

Out of a thousand plant extracts, only four have been confirmed for their extraordinary properties – amalaki among them.

Vitamin C is an extremely powerful antioxidant, but not the only one. The most effective group of antioxidants supporting its activity will be (all found in amalaki): ellagic and gallic acid, punigluconin, pedunculagin, quercetin, and many others, which have long been studied in terms of anti-cancer prevention.

Bibhitaki

(Terminalia bellirica, baheda, myrobalan) are small fruits that grow wild in India and Sri Lanka. It is a fruit that balances Kapha, i.e. for various ailments related to excess. They also have an intense flavor, but bitter. This is a sign of a very strong anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and cleansing effect. Bibhitaki also improves liver function.

Bahera or bibhitaki beleric or bastard myrobalan Terminalia bellirica medicinal plant.

So Triphala combines sour amalaki, which “sweeps away” free radicals, with bitter bibhitaki, which removes toxins from the body. These fruits are widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes, hypertension, and rheumatism. Research has shown that beheda extract can inhibit atherosclerotic plaque build-up.

Haritaki

Terminalia chebula – also called the Tibetan “king of medicine”. Legend has it that Indra, while drinking nectar in heaven, accidentally shed a drop of it. A bit of divine drink fell to the ground, and a plant with amazing properties grew out of it – Haritaki. It’s an Indian fruit that looks like a pear when it’s raw, and when dried – cocoa beans. They even grow at an altitude of 1,500 meters.

Haritaki Terminalia chebula or black or chebulic myrobalan Ayurveda plant.

Tibetan medicine uses an entire plant: a root for healthy bones, a stem for strong muscles, a bark that works well for the skin, branches to improve breathing, and fruit for the health of organs, including the heart. In turn, in Ayurveda, they are described as the fruits of the god Shiva and a sacred plant that removes disease and balances the Vata.

Indian medicine, on the other hand, uses Triphala as a health tonic for people who feel depleted of energy, weakened, or have just had an illness.

Some triphala preparations also contain guggul (Indian bdellium-tree) and resin, which makes the therapeutic benefits even wider. You can also apply this agent topically to the skin, in the case of bruises or sunburn. Many people use it as a hair tonic and even for eyewash.

Positive effects of triphala on the intestines

Tea made from Triphala a combination of ayurvedic fruits with mortar and pestle

Triphala has laxative properties, but is gentler than any other products on the market, nourishing the digestive tract and supporting regular bowel movements. Its action also helps to cleanse the colon. Proper and regular defecation gets rid of bacteria, heavy metals, and excess fatty acids from the body. A colon cleansing can also benefit the nervous system, relieving symptoms such as fatigue and anxiety. Amla contained in Triphala helps repair the intestines, haritaki strengthens the intestinal muscles (thus supporting bowel movements), and bibhitaki removes mucus from the walls.

The intestines are the basis of the health of the entire body. Ayurveda says that digestion, assimilation, cleansing and immunity begin with the intestines. In fact, many of the basic functions of life start with a well-functioning gut.

Ayurveda teaches that everything that sticks to our mouths also sticks to our intestines. And we eat a lot of things that stick in our mouths, starting with bread, flour, and noodles, ending with donuts and cheese.

Hence, anything that supports the intestines and anything that has a little laxative effect will be beneficial for us. This is how Triphala works.

It has a laxative effect, but not in such a way that you take it and go straight to the toilet. Triphala stimulates the intestinal peristaltic movements and makes the intestines remember what it is like to function properly, what it’s like to have a good bowel movement.

Another ingredient in triphala regenerates irritation – small damage to the lining of the intestines. Thanks to this, they can close together and the film stays continuous and flexible. 

Health benefits of Triphala

Due to its detoxifying properties, this blend is used in Ayurvedic rejuvenating therapies called Rasayana. In addition to the fact that Triphala stimulates the metabolism and improves digestion, it also has a beneficial effect on the circulatory system – it lowers high blood pressure, increases the number of red blood cells, and improves circulation.

You can use Triphala in the treatment of diseases such as inflammation of the intestine, gastric ulceration, hepatitis, bronchitis, anemia, jaundice, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, osteoporosis, and obstruction. It is also a great blood sugar regulator, which is why this Indian blend is successfully used in the treatment of diabetes.

Triphala has a very beneficial effect on the eyes, nails, hair, and skin. Its cleansing properties of the three-herb blend give the skin a natural, healthy glow. It also supports the immune system, benefits the muscles and the heart, improves the overall condition of the body, and increases vitality.

Amla fruits on a branch.

It enables better absorption of nutrients, and thanks to amla, it is an incredibly rich source of vitamin C. Triphala promotes the formation of “ojas“, the final digestive product, a unique substance that reaches every cell in our body, nourishes them, and consequently ensures mental and physical health.

It is effective in the fight against various viruses and bacteria, protects against infections, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Besides, Triphala shrinks cancerous tumors and fights cancer cells. This is confirmed by reports from several Indian universities and the Atomic Research Center in Mumbai. No wonder that Triphala has such amazing properties since it consists of three such unique herbs.

Below you can see the list of the most important health benefits of Triphala:

1. Eliminates constipation, cleanses and tones the digestive tract,
2. Detoxifies the body and improves the absorption of nutrients,
3. Lowers high blood pressure and improves its rheology,
4. Soothes the inflammation of the intestines and improves the condition of patients with Diverticulosis,
5. Effective in irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis,
6. Helps with persistent diarrhea and intestinal cramps,
7. Helps with fatty liver and heart,
8. Has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties,
9. Helps to cleanse the liver and blood of toxins,
10. Helpful in removing stones from the urinary tract,
11. Accelerates the reconstruction of the epithelium,
12. Prevents the aging of the body (especially strengthens eyesight, hair, mental clarity, and voice),
13. Helps fight excess weight,
14. Helps fight inflammation of the eyes,
15. Helps in the treatment of lipomas.

In what form should you take Triphala?

Close up of powder of ayurvedic herbs Triphala.

Triphala is available at many health food and supplement stores, both in-store and online. It comes in the form of powder, capsules, tablets, and liquid extract and is usually taken on an empty stomach. Triphala tea is also available, but It won’t have strong enough benefits if you have specific ailments, diseases, or diagnosis. In this case, you need a strong concentration of herbs, not a tea that has a relatively low content of them.

The form of the powder is a tricky topic because it depends on the quality of the herbs. We usually don’t know that, because it’s often a powder bought by the kilogram. We don’t know where it was stored when it was ground and whether it was aired – all of these affect the quality of Triphala. 

The most powerful Triphala is the one in form of tablets, i.e. herbs that are pressed and compressed. The tablet may be the same size as the capsule, but the herb content is usually several times greater.

When buying Triphala, see how much one capsule or tablet weighs. Thanks to this, you can also know immediately whether the manufacturer is legit. Sometimes there may be 100 tablets, but they may be very small, and in another package, there will also be 100, but bloated. There are herbs on the market that contain either 300 mg or 2000 mg. This is a huge difference, and both are called “Triphala”.

When choosing a herb, pay attention to its composition. Triphala is made of three herbs: amalaki, haritaki, and bibhitaki. This is absolutely fundamental. In the classic Triphala, these three herbs are in equal proportion.

The ideal dose of triphala 

The therapeutic dose used for cleansing, when you really want to start specific actions in your gut, is 2000-4000 mg per day.

Of course, if you take 500 mg or 1000 mg a day it will work well, but remember that Triphala does not work like homeopathy. Larger doses are needed for this to make sense.

Also, be sure to drink 1.5 liters of warm water throughout the day. Staying hydrated is essential in staying healthy.

The method of taking it depends on the purpose for which you take it. If the goal is to cleanse the body, then you take 1000-2000 mg twice a day, half an hour before a meal, on an empty stomach, in the morning and evening.

If we want to take advantage of its laxative properties, it is best to take it in the evening, about 2 hours after eating and at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

Triphala side effects and precautions

Triphala can cause undesirable gastrointestinal effects. After you first start taking it, you might experience increased gas, which is due to the cleansing of the digestive tract.

If you experience diarrhea or loose stools, it means that you are taking too much and should lower the dose.

Also, when using Triphala as a laxative, be aware of the possible symptoms of dehydration: muscle weakness, dizziness, or excessive thirst. If you experience any of these symptoms it’s better to discontinue taking the blend. Avoid it in the case of diarrhea or dysentery.

People taking blood-thinning medications should be especially careful with the use of Triphala. It’s also not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children.

If you have any medical conditions or are taking medications or supplements, it’s always a good idea to consult your physician about your intention to use triphala.

Bottom line

Triphala has a ton of benefits and is the perfect solution for people who struggle with troublesome ailments of the digestive system. The properties of the three Indian fruits are invaluable in the treatment of digestive disorders. These ingredients create the perfect herbal cleansing mixture. It’s a perfect blend to support your body and feel the power of Ayurvedic herbs.

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Author

I'm Lucas, a 30-year-old guy from Poland who's passionate about natural ways to fight aging and staying healthy for as long as possible.