Myths and facts about Triphala

Ayurvedic supplements becoming more popular nowadays. The benefits and efficiency of the Ayurvedic herbs and formulas getting covered in health magazines and researches. The most widely used are Triphala, turmeric, moringa, ashwagandha, and many more. The only problem is that the Ayurvedic approach is a bit different from other medicines. According to Ayurveda, there is no substance in the world that cannot be used as a potential medicine. The only questions are 'when' and 'by whom'. These concepts should be kept in mind all the time.

Triphala is a well-known formulation described in classical texts by great sages Charaka, Sushruta, and Vagbhata. It is highly useful for eye care, digestive problems, dental care, boosting immunity, and many more.

Triphala is a herbal powder made from three dry fruits (tri - three; phala - fruit):

  • Amalaki - Emblica officinalis

  • Haritaki - Terminalia chebula

  • Bibhitaki (Vibhitaka) - Terminalia bellerica

Myths: Triphala is tridoshic, hence could be used by everyone in any situation.

Facts: Amalaki is known to be good for Pitta dosha, Haritaki - for Vata, and Bibhitaki - for Kapha. Hence, the mixture of three fruits seems to be good for all doshas. However, Triphala is good only for Pitta and Kapha, could aggravate Vata. I would explain below how this knowledge could be used and what difference it makes.


Myths: Triphala is a laxative and could be used in constipation.

Facts: Triphala is indeed a mild laxative, but it could be used only in specific problems. As mentioned above, Triphala is not good for Vata dosha (please read more about Vata here). What does it mean? If there a lot of dryness, bloating, cramps, gurgling sounds in the belly, this formula is not going to solve the problem. As we know, most types of constipation are caused by excessive dryness in the colon or dryness of the stool. Hence, it is better to use something else in this type of situation. Actually, Haritaki is the laxative among the three of them and could be safely used for this purpose with milk or warm water.


Myths: Triphala is claimed to be effective in digestive disorders, including Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, indigestion. I found it highly used by some practitioners and self-prescribed for all kinds of digestive problems.

Facts: In the same health condition each person could have different expressions. Let's call it the 'personality of the disease'. If the personality of the disease has symptoms correlated to Vata dosha (bloating, gas, cramping, constipation), Triphala is not suitable. On the other hand, triphala is a laxative, hence could not be used in diarrhea. However, it is a good appetizer and digestive stimulant, it helps in restoring intestinal lining, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There was research that shows a gastroprotective effect of Triphala on the stress-induced ulcer and other gastrointestinal issues. And one more, that shows an influence of Triphala and its single ingredients on gut health. I'm sure, the efficiency of the researches could be induced by using an ayurvedic approach and considering the 'personality of the disease'.


Facts:

  • Triphala has immunomodulatory and antiaging effects, high in vitamin C (Amalaki). You could find a detailed explanation of the immunomodulatory property of each ingredient of Triphala and the whole formula in this study. However, if you are looking for general immune support and boosting the respiratory system, consider using more specific for this purpose Ayurvedic supplements such as Guduchi, Chyawanaprash, etc.

  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial actions of Triphala are highly useful for dental health to prevent the cavity, in oral infections, and as wound healing. Simply use 1 tsp of Triphala boiled in 2 cups of water for a gargle, mouthwash, or to wash the wounds. Make sure to strain it first if pouring on the wounds. It could be used as a douche in candida for its antibacterial effect, but please consult with a practitioner/doctor before use, since it is not suitable for everyone and could cause dryness.

  • Because of its cleaning properties, Triphala is very effective in skin cleansing, acne healing, cellulite. It could be mixed with other herbs or green gram/chickpea flour and used as face/body scrub instead of soap.

  • Triphala is known as chakshushya (Cākṣuṣya - improves sight) in Ayurveda. It could be used as an eyewash or taken orally in diseases of the eyes. It is helpful in irritation, burning, and redness of the eyes, computer vision syndrome, dryness of the eyes, blurred vision or poor vision, cataract, etc. To use it as an eyewash, take one pinch of Triphala powder, add 1 cup of hot water and let it cool. Strain it well before use. The ghee preparation is better for dry eyes. Internally it could be used as powder, ghee, other preparation.

  • In the case of obesity, Triphala shows awesome results especially in combination with guggulu (Triphala guggulu). It could be used in diabetes as well, but there are more powerful formulations for this purpose.

As you can see, Triphala has amazing benefits, but a reasonable approach is required. Please be mindful and never use any herbs or supplements based on feedback from your friends, or suggestions from the internet. Always seek advice from the practitioner/doctor.

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