10 Incredible Benefits of Triphala (Ayurvedic Herb)

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The most powerful benefits of Triphala (an Ayurvedic herbal powder) include improving digestion, reducing signs of aging, detoxifying the body, aiding weight loss, strengthening the immune system, managing diabetic symptoms, and optimizing nutrient uptake efficiency.

In terms of herbal remedies, Triphala is an incredibly complex treatment approach that addresses dozens of different health concerns, thanks to its anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, antioxidant, soothing and antiseptic qualities.

What is Triphala?

Triphala, also known as Triphala churna, is an age-old Ayurvedic herbal powder which helps cleanse the colon, smoothen the digestive system, and boost overall health. Triphala is a Sanskrit word that means “three fruits”. This is appropriate, given that this herbal powder is a blend of three different dried fruits – Indian gooseberry or amla (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). The three dried fruits are ground and mixed together, usually in equal parts. This what makes the powder potent in antioxidants because these three fruits have long played an important part in Ayurvedic medicine. [1]

Triphala is very popular in India and other parts of Asia, and its efficacy has resulted in its widespread to the rest of the world, particularly for herbalists and other practitioners of natural medicine. The powder is readily available across Asia and is ideal for making tea or even sprinkling on certain savory dishes for a nutritious boost. With a broad range of antioxidants and organic compounds, including gallic acid, chebulagic acid, and chebulinic acid, this herbal mixture provides a wide range of positive health effects for those who regularly use it.

Health Benefits of Triphala

Let us look at the most powerful benefits of Triphala in detail.

Lowers Cholesterol

There are notable levels of oleic and linoleic acid in Bibhitaki and Haritaki, which are known as “good” forms of fat. These fatty acids are able to re-balance your cholesterol levels and prevent excess deposition of plaque in the arteries. World-renowned wellness and Ayurveda expert Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Christine Tara Peterson, in their 2017 study (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine) stated that Triphala helps reduce total cholesterol and corrects imbalances of the gastrointestinal tract as well as the cardiovascular system. [2] [3]

Ancient Triphala powder in a spoon with other spices

Triphala is an ancient herbal remedy with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Skin Care

Studies have found a significant level of antioxidants in the Triphala blend including a number of different phenolic compounds that can neutralize the activity of free radicals and improve the health and appearance of the skin. Antioxidants can stop oxidative stress that leads to wrinkles, age spots, and other blemishes, while also minimizing the appearance of scars. [4]

Immune System

Amla, one of the key ingredients in Triphala, is rich in vitamin C, which can stimulate the immune system and increase the production of white blood cells. These represent the first line of defense for the body, while also functioning as an antioxidant to reduce free radical activity within the body. [5]

Growth and Repair

The active ingredients in amla and haritaki have both been linked to improved healing and repair of damaged tissues and cells in the body. This is likely due to the role of vitamin C in collagen production, which is required for all cells, tissues, muscle fibers and blood vessels. [6]

Helps Diabetes Management

Indian gooseberry has long been known to regulate the levels of insulin and glucose in the body, which is good news for diabetics. Even as just one of three components in Triphala, amla is able to improve the body’s insulin sensitivity and prevent the dangerous spikes and drops in blood sugar that plague diabetic patients. However, excess consumption of this herbal mixture may lead to an increase in blood sugar levels. [7]

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 the active ingredients in this blend are able to stimulate the liver and kidneys, helping to clear the body of accumulations of toxins and prevent excess inflammation in various parts of the body. [8]

Improves Digestion

Primarily used as a digestive stimulant, Triphala can reduce the occurrence of excess gas, while also reducing symptoms of constipation by stimulating normal bowel function. The spice is also used to repair a damaged or compromised gastrointestinal tract after infection or extended illness. This herbal preparation can clean out the digestive tract and colon, which allows for a normal bacterial balance in the gut. [9]

Aids In Weight Loss

This herbal blend is known for improving fat storage in the body by preventing certain foods from being stored as fats. This can improve the speed of the metabolism and boost passive fat-burning, even when you’re not exerting yourself. [10]

Enhances Nutrient Intake

Aside from optimizing digestion and eliminating constipation symptoms, Triphala can also improve the efficiency of nutrient uptake, which will increase feelings of satiety and prevent overeating. This can further help with weight loss efforts. [11]

Improves Vision Health

The antioxidants found in Triphala can also affect the rate of macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. In some preparations where Triphala is in liquid form, it is even mixed with other compounds to form an eyewash, intended to reduce blurriness of vision and soothe chronically red eyes. [12]

How to Use Triphala?

Triphala is most commonly found in powdered form, with varying concentrations of each fruit in the three-part blend. This powder is frequently made into a rich and earthy tea, and only requires 1/2 of a teaspoon of powder to be mixed in one cup of hot water and steeped for 5-8 minutes. Due to the popularity of this herbal remedy around the world, it is also made into tablets, which guarantee even more of a concentrated effect on the body.

Depending on what type of Triphala you purchase, it may come in concentrated liquid form, which is likely a combination of the extracts from these three fruits. 20-30 drops of this liquid can be mixed into a glass of water or juice 2-3 times per day, specifically 30 minutes before bed if you are using the spice mixture for gastrointestinal issues.

Three different forms of triphala on a table

Triphala helps relieves stomach disorders. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Side Effects of Triphala

Despite the many valuable benefits of Triphala, there are some potential side effects that must be considered, such as gastrointestinal distress, dehydration, allergic reactions, insomnia, drug interactions, weight loss, and diabetic issues.

Dehydration: Although this herbal mixture is excellent for cleansing the colon, it can also cause excessive release of bowel movements and water from the body, leading to a condition of dehydration. If you are regularly drinking Triphala tea, be sure to accompany this with equal parts water to prevent the serious side effects of dehydration. [13]

Insomnia: Numerous people have reported that regular use of Triphala can interrupt normal sleep patterns and lead to insomnia, as well as mood shifts, fatigue, and exhaustion. One of the best ways to avoid this symptom is to drink a cup of this tea on an empty stomach in the morning, rather than consuming it later in the day. [14]

Weight Loss: The weight loss-supporting properties of Triphala are excellent unless you are already suffering from eating disorders or abnormally low body weight. You may find it difficult to gain weight or may experience unexplained weight loss when using this herbal blend regularly. In moderation, however, these side effects are quite rare.

Stomach Issues: The cleansing nature of this herbal mix is great for digestion and cleansing the colon but when more than 2-3 cups of this herbal tea are consumed every day, it can cause severe gastrointestinal distress. This will include diarrhea, stomach cramping and bloating, as well as irritation in the colon. Over time, this could lead to a breakdown of the colon’s soft tissues, resulting in even more serious side effects. [15]

Allergic Reactions: With three different components in Triphala, there are three times as many chances for people to be allergic to one of the fruits. Allergic reactions tend to result in stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and occasional swelling in the tongue or lips. [16]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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