Triphala: An exhaustive list of uses and benefits

Adhira Hari
Reading Time: 7 min

In this article: Triphala – What is it? | Ingredient properties in detail | Preparation | How to consume? | Shelf life | Benefits | Contraindications | Side effects

Triphala, meaning three fruits from the word itself, is a poly-herbal formulation consisting of equal parts of three fruits of plant species Emblica Officinalis (Amalaki), Terminalia Bellirica (Bibhitaki) and Terminalia Chebula (Haritaki) that are native to the Indian subcontinent. 

Known to be “the one medicine for hundreds of diseases”, Triphala is a traditional medicine that originated in India and has been used over 1000 years according to great physician Charaka’s writings in his text Charaka Samhita and in another text called Sushrutha Samhita.

Triphala and its ingredients

Ayurveda recognises six tastes- swadu (sweet), amla (sour), lavana (salty), katu (pungent), tikta (bitter), and kashaya (astringent), out of which five tastes except lavana is present in Tiriphala.

Triphala is, in fact, described as a Rasayana in the Ayurveda text. Rasayana is one that lengthens lifespan and invigorates the body. Ayurvedic medicine also classifies it as tridosha rasayana as it balances every one of the three doshas.

Thus, according to Charaka, taking Thriphala daily with honey and ghee can make a person live for one hundred years without ageing and infections.

Today, Ayurveda uses Tripala in the rejuvenation of patients of all ages and constitution.

The ingredients & their uses

Amalaki:

Amalaki is an excellent source of vitamin C, hence increases the immunity of the body, bolsters the cardiovascular system, enhances food absorption, restores stomach and intestinal enzymes. It is also a powerful skin and hair rejuvenator and eye and liver toner.

Also Read: Amla home remedies | How to use it for common health problems?

Bibhitaki:

The best herb to clean the gastrointestinal tract, Bibhitaki balances the metabolism. For any digestion related problems, Bibhitaki is the go-to herb.

Haritaki:

Ayurveda describes Haritaki to be the same as a mother to her child. Just as a mother would want the best for her child and nurture the child with the best possible care, Haritaki provides wellness to an individual in various aspects such as digestion issues, skin problems, gastrointestinal troubles, diabetes, and cancer.

Preparation of Triphala Churna

Take 100g of Triphala powder and make it into a paste with water. Take a clean iron vessel or iron pan. Apply the paste to the iron vessel and leave it to dry for 24 hours. Then, scrape out the paste from the iron vessel; this is the Tiripala powder that you can store in a container and use when needed.

Alternatively, you may opt for readymade Triphala churna available from reputed brands.

How to consume?

Collect 5 to 10 grams churna, mix it with a teaspoon of honey; make it into a paste, and consume with a glass of water.

  • Problems related to stomach and indigestion: Take one teaspoon Triphala powder with fresh water at night
  • To strengthen the immune system and for nourishment: Take one teaspoon triphala powder with honey in the morning
  • For weight loss: Take Triphala churna (3-5 gms) with one teaspoon of warm water in the morning

Do not consume anything until one hour after consuming Tiripala powder. Also, if the remedy is taken in the morning, you should consume at least 5 gm of ghee in the evening, and if taken at night, you should consume at least 5 gm ghee in the next breakfast.

Why should you take ghee?

Both Tiriphala and honey have rookshata (dryness) as quality. If rookshata increases, vata dosha can increase. Therefore, to counter it, ghee which is snigdha (unctuous), is advised to consume.

Shelf Life

It is best to consume Triphala powder within four months. When consumed after four months, the effectiveness decreases, making it less effective and will not produce results as expected.

Also Read: Herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine – An Overview

Uses and Benefits of Triphala

Triphala is beneficial for constipation, losing weight, reducing belly fat, body detox, indigestion, skin diseases, memory loss, hair loss, eye, teeth, cancer, and many more.

A few benefits are elaborated below:

1. Prevents upper respiratory infections:

It stimulates the immune system and thus helps prevent recurrent upper respiratory infections.

2. Enhances digestion:

The herbal formulation stimulates gastric secretions and hence improves digestion.

Due to its laxative and carminative actions, Triphala helps in constipation, flatulence, gas and abdominal distension. Since Triphala is a natural laxative, it is safe to use and is beneficial for people with mild and moderate constipation.

4. Increases metabolism:

The herbal remedy improves body metabolism and increases fat burning, thus helping in fat loss, especially in the belly area.

5. Diabetes:

The churna reduces cellular resistance to insulin and helps in the proper use of insulin, thus effectively treating diabetes mellitus.

6. Prevention of dental caries:

The medicine is antimicrobial and hence helps fight oral infections. Besides, it can control dental caries, gingival and periodontal diseases. It also prevents tooth decay and bad odour.

How to use it? Take 10 gm of Triphala powder and boil it in one glass of water till it reduces to one- fourth quantity. Cool it, and then use it as a mouth wash.

7. Prevents cancer:

Experimental studies show that Triphala is helpful in the prevention of cancer. It possesses antineoplastic, radioprotective and chemoprotective properties, which are all useful in preventing cancerous cells. It also has antimutagenic properties that can reverse DNA changes and help rejuvenate affected tissues and cells.

8. Balance tridosha:

According to Ayurveda, every individual possesses three bodily humours called dosha (vata, pitta, kapha), and for optimal health, there should be a balance in the three doshas. Triphala balances the three doshas and maintains equilibrium, thus enabling your body to function efficiently.

9. Reduces stress:

Every day, our body is exposed to different kinds of stress, and the body must react to stress without significant damage. To be more specific, say, when a deadline to your thesis is fast approaching, your body should work with increased alertness and decreased lethargy. If your body can cope with the stress without physical or mental discomfort, then your body is able to respond to stress well. Otherwise, you will be facing health problems.

The Ayurvedic medicine Triphala has adaptogenic properties that can improve stress response and trigger actions as per the body’s needs. Besides, its high level of antioxidant properties can reverse stress induce cortisone levels in the blood. Thus, the medicine is of great use in relieving stress, high levels of anxiety, and even depression.

10. Detox body:

Triphala is a natural detoxifying formula. The herbal remedy enhances kidney function, thus helping flush out toxins effectively and preventing urinary tract infections. It also cleanses numerous Shrotas (body channel) and Dhatus (tissues) in our body and helps the body to absorb more nutrients from the food we eat.

11. Reduce bad cholesterol:

It has also been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and arterial plaque.

12. Treats piles, fistula, & fissure:

Using Tiripala powder for external bathing for about 7-10 days will help to shrink the pile mass, heal the fissures and in case of fistula will remove the pus completely and heal the fistula tract.

13. Increases fertility:

In men, it helps improve the quality and quantity of sperm. Women suffering from PCOD, endometriosis, and any tubal defect can also use Triphala daily. The medicine treats the problems and is also effective in people who have infertility due to unknown causes, which increases the chances of fertility.

14. Improves eyesight:

The herbal medicine strengthens the eye muscle and improves vision. It has also been used to cure glaucoma and conjunctivitis.

15. Cures many skin problems:

From acne and eczema to fungal infections, psoriasis and rosacea, the herbal powder can treat several skin problems. Furthermore, using the powder promotes collagen production and causes the skin to absorb nutrients effectively. It is also antibacterial, therefore cleanses the skin of toxins and bacteria. The emollient properties help make the skin softer and well-moisturised. 

How to use it? Mix Triphala powder with a little water and apply as a facemask. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water.

16. Great for your hair:

Triphala prevents hair loss and hair thinning, promotes hair growth, and also has a toning effect on hair. Further, it works as a conditioner and reduces the frizziness of hair. The herbal formulation can either be taken orally or used as a hair mask. 

Contraindications

  • Triphala is contraindicated in babies, children, and the elderly and also in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Some individuals who are taking prescription medications may be at risk for harmful drug interactions and side effects.
  • Also, it is advised for people with severe liver conditions not to take Triphala.

Side effects

The most common side effects are diarrhoea, gastrointestinal upset, and disrupted sleep. An individual to likely experience side effects depends on how strong the dosage was. Side effects are most common for first-time users but tend to become better with time.

The final word about Triphala

Thus, Triphala, like several other Ayurvedic medicines, is a wonderful remedy for numerous conditions. From general health aspects such as better immunity, skincare, and hair care to specific conditions such as diabetes, constipation, and piles, Triphala promises a cure. So, there is no reason why you should not try this extraordinary home remedy. 

However, before you start to use it, you better visit an Ayurveda expert, get your dosage fixed, and then enjoy the health benefits. You must also note it is not safe to use in children, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly.

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