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Triphala: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction

Three medicinal herbs make up Triphala (in Sanskrit, “tri” means “three” and “phala” means “fruits”). It is an antioxidant-rich herbal preparation described as a Rasayana (rejuvenator) medicine by Ayurvedic practitioners. Combining the three fruits is said to be responsible for triphala’s numerous health benefits. 1

Triphala is made from dried fruits of three different plants: Terminalia chebula (black myrobalan), Terminalia bellerica (bastard myrobalan), and Phyllantus emblica (emblic myrobalan or Indian gooseberry). The spring-harvested fruits of Terminalia chebula are high in tannins such as gallic acid, ellagic acid, chebulic acid, chebulinic acid, chebulagic acid, neochebulinic acid, corilagin, terchebin, punicalagin, and terfavin, flavonoids (rutins, luteolin and quercetin), starches, amino acids (glutamic acid, aspartic acid, lysine, arginine and proline), β-sitosterol, succinic acid, fructose and fatty acids.2 

triphala benefits

Did You Know?

  • Triphala has been shown to improve oral health by reducing plaque and gingivitis. source: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • Triphala may help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. source: heart.org
  • Triphala has been used in traditional medicine to treat skin conditions and promote healthy skin. source: aad.org
  • Triphala has been shown to have anti-diabetic effects and may help regulate blood sugar levels. source: diabetes.org
  • Triphala may help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms of inflammatory conditions. source: arthritis.org

Chemical Composition

The fruits of Terminalia bellerica consist of proteins and oils that include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid). Because of its high fatty acid content, this plant can impact cholesterol levels, increasing high-density lipoprotein levels (good cholesterol) while decreasing low-density lipoprotein levels (bad cholesterol), making it effective in treating coronary artery disease. Phyllanthus emblica (amla) fruits are high in ascorbic acid i.e. vitamin C. 2

The high density of tannins may contribute to the overall bitterness of amla. These fruits also include punicafolin and phyllanemblinin A, phyllemblin, and other polyphenols such as gallic acid, ellagic acid, flavonoids, kaempferol.2 

Based on my experience, I have come across evidence suggesting that Amalaki, which is a component of Triphala, may possess properties to manage diseases of the sense organs and enhance memory. It is believed that the active compounds present in Amalaki exert beneficial effects on the central nervous system, potentially improving sensory function and memory.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Uses of Triphala 

It is described as a tridoshic Rasayana in Ayurveda, capable of balancing and rejuvenating the three doshas that regulate human life: Vata, pitta, and Kapha. It is widely used in several disease conditions owing to its following properties:1,3  

  • laxative  
  • anti-inflammatory 
  • antiviral  
  • Blood purifying 
  • analgesic  
  • anti-arthritic  
  • hypoglycemic  
  • anti-ageing  
  • antibacterial  

Triphala is used to treat fatigue, oxidative stress, and infectious disorders like tuberculosis, pneumonia, AIDS, and periodontal disease, among others. for headaches, dyspepsia, ascites, and leukorrhea.3  

In my experience, I have observed that Triphala, a herbal formulation, may have the ability to increase the number of red blood cells and improve haemoglobin content in the body, making it potentially beneficial for managing anaemia. The active compounds in Triphala are believed to stimulate the production of red blood cells, leading to an increase in hemoglobin levels and overall improvement in anaemic conditions.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Benefits of Triphala

1. Benefits of Triphala for Infections: 

  • Triphala and its components have demonstrated potent antimicrobial properties against a variety of microorganisms.
  • Triphala churna has proven action against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • Triphala churna and triphala mashi have shown antibacterial properties against a variety of bacteria like E. coli and S. aureus.1 

2. Benefits of Triphala for Dental Care: 

  • Triphala reduced levels of chemicals which are implicated in the destruction of tissue during periodontitis.
  • Triphala mouthwash was tested clinically and found to be as effective as chlorhexidine in lowering plaque scores and inhibiting Lactobacillus bacteria microbial levels.1 

3. Benefits of Triphala for Stress: 

  • Triphala supplementation has been shown to alleviate stress.
  • Triphala treatment can prevent cold stress-induced behavioural and biochemical abnormalities by increasing lipid peroxidation and corticosterone levels.
  • In rats, triphala protects against noise-induced alterations in antioxidant and cell-mediated immune response.3 

4. Benefits of Triphala for Joint: 

  • Triphala prevented monosodium urate crystal-induced arthritis in mice (gouty arthritis) by reducing various parameters like paw volume, lysosomal enzymes, β-glucuronidase lactate dehydrogenase lipid peroxidation, and the proinflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor-alpha, according to research.
  • It might have potential use in the treatment of gout in humans, however, more studies are needed for the same.1 

5. Benefits of Triphala for Digestive Tract: 

  • Castor oil-induced diarrhoea was prevented by extracts of triphala churna powder and triphala mashi.
  • The extracts had a strong antidiarrheal effect, as demonstrated by increased first defecation time, cumulative faecal weight, intestinal transit time, improved stool volume, stool frequency, stool consistency, decreased mucus level in stool, and flatulence.1 

6. Benefits of Triphala for Liver: 

  • In mice, triphala was found to be beneficial against acetaminophen-induced liver damage, but with less efficacy than silymarin.
  • Triphala lowered the levels of proinflammatory cytokines and lipid peroxides while also restoring the levels of many antioxidant enzymes and reducing liver damage as seen by lower liver enzyme values.1 

7. Benefits of Triphala for Diabetes: 

  • Animal studies have demonstrated that giving the same amount of triphala and its separate ingredients to normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rats lowered serum glucose levels.
  • Thus, with more research, triphala might be useful in treating diabetes in humans.1 

8. Benefits of Triphala for Obesity: 

  • After the treatment of mice with triphala in an anti-obesity study, their body weight was observed to be lower when compared to control animals.
  • Gallic acid is a phenolic molecule found in triphala that was chosen as the bioactive marker because of its anti-obesity activity. 3 

9. Benefits of Triphala for Heart: 

  • Triphala has been found to have a lipid-lowering impact on rats, with significant reductions in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, very low-density lipoprotein, and free fatty acid, indicating hypocholesteremic condition.1
  • These properties make it cardio-protective.  

10. Benefits of Triphala for Skin: 

  • The topical application of triphala extract aided wound healing in rats infected with a variety of bacteria, according to a study.
  • Experiments revealed that the triphala ointment reduced bacterial count and promoted wound closure by increasing collagen, hexosamine, and uronic acid levels.1 

11. Benefits of Triphala for Radioprotective activity:  

  • Triphala has been proven in preclinical trials to have radioprotective properties when taken orally.
  • The most effective action of triphala was seen when given before irradiation, lowering DNA damage in both blood white blood cells and spleen cells, the normalizing activity of certain enzymes like xanthine oxidase and super oxidase dismutase found in the intestine.
  • This indicates that the observed effects were mediated through inhibition of oxidative damage in the cells and organs.1 

12. Benefits of Triphala for Immunity:  

  • Triphala has been shown to have potent immunomodulatory properties in a variety of animal models.
  • Flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids, glycosides, saponins, and phenolic substances are thought to have immunomodulatory properties.
  • Triphala treatment increased antioxidant activity and lowered corticosterone levels in animals exposed to noise stress, according to research.3 

13. Benefits of Triphala for Antioxidant activity:  

  • According to research, taking triphala boosts the activity of antioxidant enzymes which may have resulted in a considerable reduction in stomach cancers in mice.
  • When rats were given triphala and were subjected to noise stress, similar results were reported.
  • Such findings point to triphala’s ability to act as an antioxidant and to protect against a variety of stressors and illnesses.1 

14. Benefits of Triphala for Eyes: 

  • Triphala was found to be beneficial in preventing and reducing selenite-induced cataract formation, according to a study.
  • In animal trials, triphala restored antioxidant enzyme levels, resulting in a reduction in nuclear cataracts. As per Ayurveda, triphala can also help prevent blindness and near-sightedness.1 

15. Benefits of Triphala for Cancer: 

  • In cancer studies, triphala has shown killing activity on cancer cells.
  • Its main component gallic acid may be responsible for stopping cancer cell growth.
  • An increased concentration of triphala was found to reduce the viability of breast cancer cells while having no effect on normal breast cells.
  • In breast cancer cells, triphala caused an increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species.3 

16. Benefits of Triphala for Aging: 

  • On human skin cells, triphala extract has a strong antiaging effect.
  • It stimulates collagen-1 and elastin-synthesizing genes and antioxidant genes responsible for cellular antioxidants in human skin cells.
  • Due to the presence of protective phytochemicals, it suppresses melanin synthesis and hyperpigmentation.4 

Also Read: Shallaki – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Over the years, I have observed that Triphala, a herbal formulation, might have growth inhibitory activities against certain bacterial strains commonly found in HIV-infected patients. Studies have indicated that the aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Triphala, as well as its individual plant components, have shown potential antibacterial effects against these bacterial isolates.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

How to Use Triphala? 

1. Triphala churna (Powder): 

Haritaki, bibitaki, and amlaki are powdered to make triphala churna (powder). As per research, it is advisable to take it with ghee, honey, or milk.1 

2. Triphala kwatha (Decoction):

It is made by combining the powder with water and boiling it. The decoction is then filtered through a clean cloth, and the filtrate can be used to treat skin conditions like erysipelas, eruptions;  scrotal enlargement, colic pain, worm infestation, and urinary diseases. It is applied directly to open wounds and eyes, as well as gargled during pharyngitis.1 

3. Triphala taila (Oil):

It is made by boiling triphala powder with oil. It is used as a gargle, snuff, an enema, and orally to treat obesity and itching.1 

4. Triphala masi (Ash):

It’s made by heating triphala powder for a long time at a low temperature in a controlled setting. Mashi/Masi is an intermediate product containing organic and inorganic ingredients. The mashi is black and has a high carbon and oxide content. Triphala mashi, when mixed with honey, can be used to treat soft chancres and wounds. 1 

5. Triphala gritha (in ghee or clarified butter):

It is made by cooking the paste of triphala, trikatu (a herbal compound of Indian Long Pepper (Piper longum), Black Pepper (Piper nigrum), and Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in ghee and milk, as well as grapes (Vitis vinifera), Yestamadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Kutki (Picrorhiza korroa), and cardamom (Elettaria cardamom). It is frequently used to treat eye conditions like conjunctivitis, blindness, and cataracts. Triphala gritha is also used to treat jaundice, leucorrhoea, tumours, greying, and hair loss.1 

Also Read: Can You Have Sex With UTI? Understanding Risks and Precautions

Precautions to Take with Triphala:  

Terminalia chebula: It should not be used if you have an acute cough, diarrhoea, or early-stage dysentery.5 

Also Read: Nagkesar – Benefits, Uses & Side Effects

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is Triphala? 

Triphala is an ayurvedic herbal formulation made up of dried fruits from three different plants: Terminalia chebula (black myrobalan), Terminalia bellerica (bastard myrobalan), and Phyllantus emblica (emblic myrobalan).2 

How to use triphala churna? 

It is suggested that triphala churna can be taken with ghee, honey, or milk.1

Can we take triphala churna with milk? 

Yes, we can take triphala churna with milk.1

How to use triphala to regain eyesight?

The triphala gritha is made by boiling the triphala paste in ghee and milk. It is frequently used to treat eye conditions like conjunctivitis, blindness, and cataracts.1 

What is the use of triphala churna?

Triphala churna has analgesic, antibacterial, anti-arthritic, hypoglycemic, antiaging, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps with headaches, dyspepsia, fatigue, oxidative stress reduction, and infectious disorders like tuberculosis, and periodontal disease. 3and eye problems such as infections, blindness, myopia, and cataractogenesis.1

Is triphala good for the liver? 

Yes, triphala is good for the liver as it reduces pro-inflammatory chemicals, restores the levels of antioxidant enzymes, and reduces liver damage, as seen by lower serum enzyme values.1

How triphala churna is made? 

It is made by grinding haritaki, bibitaki, and amlaki.1

What are the triphala fruits? 

Triphala is an ayurvedic herbal formulation made up of dried fruits from three different plants: Terminalia chebula (black myrobalan), Terminalia bellerica (bastard myrobalan), and Phyllantus emblica (emblic myrobalan or Indian gooseberry).2 

How does triphala works for eyesight? 

Triphala restores antioxidant enzyme levels in experimental animals, resulting in an 80% reduction in cataract formation.1 Thus, it might be helpful in improving eyesight in humans, but more studies are needed to prove the same. 

Is triphala good for hair? 

Yes, triphala is good for hair. Hair greying and hair loss are treated with this product. 1 

 

Also Read: Munakka – Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

References: 

  1. Baliga MS, Meera S, Mathai B, Rai MP, Pawar V, Palatty PL. Scientific validation of the ethnomedicinal properties of the Ayurvedic drug Triphala: a review. Chin J Inter Med. 2012; 18(12): 946-954. https://sci-hub.st/10.1007/s11655-012-1299-x
  1. Tarasiuk A, MosiÅ„ska P, Fichna J. Triphala: current applications and new perspectives on the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Chin Med. 2018; 13(1): 39. https://sci-hub.st/10.1186/s13020-018-0197-6
  1. Kumar NS, Nair AS, Nair AM, Murali M. Pharmacological and therapeutic effects of triphala-A literature review. J Pharmacog Phytochem. 2016; 5(3): 23. https://www.phytojournal.com/archives/2016/vol5issue3/PartA/5-2-33-672.pdf
  1. Peterson CT, Denniston K, Chopra D. Therapeutic uses of triphala in ayurvedic medicine. The J Altern Complement Med. 2017; 23(8): 607-614. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5567597/pdf/acm.2017.0083.pdf
  1. Duke JA. Handbook of medicinal herbs. CRC press; 2002 Jun 27; Page No: 181. https://www.enpab.it/images/2018/James_A._Duke_-_Handbook_of_Medicinal_Herbs.pdf

Also Read: Suhaga – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Disclaimer:

The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.
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