Triphala is a wonder ayurvedic formulation that should be a part of everyone’s daily life. Available as triphala churna or even as triphala guggulu, it is a sovereign tonic for the gastrointestinal tract. Learn about triphala benefits and the various ways you can use it.
What is Triphala?
What we know as triphala herb is actually a combination of amla, harde (haritaki) and baheda.
- Amla: Amla is a miraculous herb. It is tonic and restorative, known as “rasayan” in Ayurveda. Amla, if consumed regularly has a number of health benefits. It is anti-ageing and rejuvenates cells of the body to keep you youthful and vigorous throughout life. It has high amount of Vitamin C, an excellent antioxidant besides phytonutrients. Amla is good for the eyes and it is good for the skin and hair, preventing premature graying.
- Haritaki: Known as harde or haritaki, terminalia chebula, the herb, according to ayurveda is sweet and sour as well as bitter. It is also astringent and balances pitta as well as acidity in the stomach. It increases appetite and nourishes cells. It is digestive and rejuvenative and catalyses action of other herbs. It also absorbs fluid from the intestines while cleaning the inner walls. Haritake reduces vata and it is purgative. Haritake reduces piles and improves intellect as well as longevity.
- Baheda: Also known as Bibhitaki, it is the fruit of terminalia bellirica tree found all over India. Ayurveda classifies baheda as useful in treating fever, in the treatment of coughs and as an excellent purgative to keep the stomach and intestines clean. It is astringent, dry, light to digest and warm. It is excellent to balance kapha and pitta.
Each herb has its own benefit. However, when these three are combined together the magic happens. The benefits multiply because the action of one herb reinforces that of the other and the herbs work synergistically according to triphala ayurveda. Triphala churna is no stranger to traditional Indian households and grandmothers traditionally insist their families consume triphala powder to get triphala benefits.
How does triphala work?
The intestines produce mucus to lubricate the walls. However, the mucus build up can be excessive and it can block the villi from absorbing nutrients. Due to sedentary nature of current lifestyles, stomach and intestines do not get adequate exercise and become sluggish. Therefore, food does not move along the canal and constipation is a common complaint. This is where triphala benefits can be felt. Baheda removes mucus from the walls. Amla maintains pH balance and repairs cells. Haritaki helps in contraction of intestinal muscles to move digested food along the Gastrointestinal tract. Consuming triphala churna each night after meals has a number of benefits. The bowels are toned, bowel muscular function improves and intestinal walls become strong and help in proper evacuation. Other triphala powder benefits are that digestion improves and the body can make better use of nutrients while efficiently expelling wastes. Mucus is the cause for many illnesses. Triphala powder or triphala tea removes mucus and promotes good health. Triphala churan also good at reducing acidity in the stomach and is therefore recommended for those with gastritis. It is best to consume organic triphala regularly or at least five days a week to enjoy triphala powder benefits.
People with normal health will notice an improvement when they start consuming triphala powder. People with health related issues like obesity, frequent coughs and colds, constipation, flatulence, acidity, gas, bloating, jaundice, diabetes, pyorrhea, anemia, asthma and male infertility will notice even more improvements after six months of regular use.
Benefits of Triphala
Digestion: One of the major triphala churna benefits is that it improves digestion and helps the intestines to absorb nutrients from food. The result is more energy and good health.
Constipation: Constipation is a common complaint in children and adults these days. Allopathic medications have side effects. Triphala herb formulation, when taken at night after meals helps clean the bowels and relieves constipation. Just expelling all waste matter from the intestines contributes to improved energy and improved all round health because wastes contain toxins that cause a person to become sluggish.
Cholesterol reduction: Amla, baheda and haritaki work synergistically to reduce LDL cholesterol. Baheda is the primary agent responsible for increasing HDL and reducing LDL. Regular consumption of triphala powder or triphala juice not only improves digestion but it also keeps the heart healthy. Another spinoff is that of the benefit of triphala weight loss. By improving digestion and reducing cholesterol, it helps improve metabolism that helps in efficient burning of fats and conversion in the liver.
Balances kapha, vayu and pitta: It is a well known fact that imbalance in these three is the root cause of diseases in the body. Triphala health benefits are that the ingredients balance vayu, pitta and kapha and thus keep the system healthy. It also helps raise immunity and increases longevity. If someone is recovering from a wound or injury or illness, use of triphala will improve and hasten the healing process. According to ayurveda, strong agni is necessary for proper digestion of food and for good health. Triphala powder use improves digestion, eliminates toxic wastes from the body, improves agni and thereby leads to good health.
Protects against cancer: Amla in triphala churna has a number of phytonutrients that help keep the body protected against cancer. The other ingredients bolster the effect, keep the GI tract clean and remove toxins.
Good for eyes: Make an infusion of triphala powder and filter it. With this water you can rinse your eyes every night. It will fight eye infections and it will reduce redness in the eyes. Use it regularly and you will not need to wear glasses for life.
Improves vigor: Males with reduced libido can improve their sexual health by combining regular intake of triphala with “vajikaran” herbs.
Diabetes: Amla in triphala churna as well as haritaki and baheda are known to have the properties of regulating blood sugar and improving functionality of pancreas so that they produce insulin and the body makes good use of insulin. As such it is beneficial for people with type I and type II diabetes.
Hair: Wash hair with an infusion of triphala churna and hair becomes thicker, stronger and remains black. It also remains free of dandruff.
Teeth: Brush teeth with triphala churna and your gums become strong and teeth whiten.
High blood pressure: For people with high blood pressure, regular use of triphala churna results in good management of this health issue without any adverse effects.
Anti–allergenic: Some people are extremely sensitive and are prone to viral fevers, coughs, colds and stomach upsets with change of season. Regular use of triphala churna after meals boosts immunity and develops resistance power.
Irregular periods: women who complain about irregular periods benefit by regular consumption of triphala churna along with lodhra churna and infusion of ashoka bark. It brings about hormonal balance and reduces menstrual cramps too.
Skin: People with issues such as acne, pimples, dark patches, oiliness, enlarged pores and even infections can make a paste of triphala powder and apply it to the skin. It improves skin texture, reduces wrinkles and tightens the skin.
Arthritis: Triphala is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent and regular use will benefit those people with arthritis. It reduces swelling and pain in the joints while improving overall health.
The formulation of triphala is powerful in itself. However, if one adds guggul, a time-honored ayurved herb, the result is triphala guggulu, with even more specific benefits.
Triphala guggulu and its benefits
Guggulu (commophora guggul) is well known in ayurveda as being one of the best herbs for the gastrointestinal tracts. Combined with triphal, the resulting triphala guggulu confers even more benefits:
- Triphala guggul not only improves digestion but it also proves helpful in a number of stomach and intestinal ailments, bringing about gradual healing.
- Triphala weight loss benefit increase when one consumes triphala guggulu since guggulu is a well proven lipid reducer.
- Trifala gugul is also a wonderful formulation to cleanse stomach, eliminate toxins and improve digestion that contributes to better all round health.
- Guggul with triphala is not only good for constipation but it also gives relief in the case of anal fissures, fistula and piles.
- Triphala guggul also has a beneficial effect on the thyroid gland and removes imbalances in secretion of thyroxine hormone. When thyroid gland works well, a person feels more energetic and mentally alert so one can say benefits of triphala guggul are that you become more alert and active with improvement in memory power.
It is best to consume triphala guggulu after meals at night. You can get triphala guggulu as a powder you can mix with water or milk or in the form of capsules. Please note you would need to consume at least 10 grams of this powder mix for the ingredients to have an effect on the system. Which brings us to the point of how much triphala to take and how to take it.
Triphala dosage and how to take it
Ideally, according to ayurveda, you should consume about 10 grams of triphala or two teaspoons of triphala only after meals for it to be effective. It is best to eat it a little while after eating or before going to bed. Triphala can be mixed in lukewarm water with honey and lemon juice for added benefit or it can be added to milk. You can also take one spoonful of triphala in the morning, mixed with hot water, lemon juice and ginger juice to cleanse your stomach. Do not eat anything for an hour after you consume triphala in the morning. One can also make triphala tea. Put some water in a vessel, add crushed ginger, crushed mint leaves, a half lemon and a pinch of pepper powder. Bring to boil. Add a spoonful or two of triphala powder. Let cool. Squeeze lemon in the water itself so oils from the rind are infused into the water. Now strain it and add honey and enjoy your herbal organic triphala tea.
Ayurved recommends other methods of triphala consumption. It is recommended to consume the individual ingredients separately. For instance, ayurveda recommends that baheda churna should be consumed half hour prior to meals and haritaki and amla churna should be consumed just after meals. This may not be practical for everyone and one can get by with consuming triphala churna or triphala infusion after meals.
If one goes into more details, ayurveda recommends varying the proportions of amla, haritaki and baheda to suit people according to whether they have vata, pitta or kafa dispositions.
Another method is to make a paste with triphala churna and apply it on the insides of an iron vessel and leave it in place for one day. Scrape it off, add it to warm water and add honey and drink it on an empty stomach before meals. This should work well for those on weight loss programs.
The maximum dosage per day for normally healthy adults is 10 grams that can be split into two doses. Dosage can vary according to age and condition. Infants up to 1 years of age can be given 1 gram of triphala. Children between 1 and 5 years of age should be given a maximum of 2 grams of triphala with honey. Limit the dosage to 3 grams for children between the ages of 5 to 12 years. Teenagers can benefit by consuming about 5 grams and adults can take 5 to 10 grams. Those above 60 years of age should not consume more than 5 grams. Pregnant women should avoid use of triphala. Breastfeeding women can take about 5 grams per day.
It is observed that triphala is not habit forming. However, it is best to take triphala for 5 days and abstain for two days.
It is best to use the organic triphala powder and not extracts now so popular in pill form.
For normally health people triphala with water, milk and honey is best as tonic and rejuvenant. However, combination can vary when there are different health issues. Those with vata issues should mix it with warm water and consume it in the morning and at night. Those with pitta should mix it with cow ghee and consume it an hour after meals. For kapha disorders it is best to mix it with warm water and honey. If you have cough mix triphala churna with honey and trikatu churna. For hair related issues consume triphal with honey and yashtimadhu powder. Make a paste with honey and consume for eye related issues. This is the way to get maximum triphala health benefits.
Triphala for weight loss
According to ayurveda the body is made up of dhatus or tissues and imbalance in pitta, vayu or kapha causeimbalance in dhatus. The medha dhatu is responsible for increase of fatty tissue. Triphala weight loss effect is achieved due to its regulatory function on the fatty tissues, better absorption of nutrients and cleansing of toxins. Make triphala tea as outlined above and consume one cup thrice per day to see its weight loss effects. The effects of triphala are enhanced if you mix 1 spoon of triphala powder with 1 spoon of trikatu churna and make a paste with honey and lick it one hour after meals.
Triphala side effects caution
When people start consuming triphala churna for the first time they experience loose motions and stomach upsets, especially if taken on empty stomach. This is why it is always advisable to consume it after meals. Some people feel stomach pain. With regular use these symptoms subside. For people with irritable bowel syndrome one side effect of triphala is diarrhea. Triphala use is not recommended for people who are malnourished, for those who are fasting, for those with severe weight loss and abdominal issues. Likewise triphala is contraindicated in heartburn, hyperacidity, gastritis, ulcers and irritable bowel disease. Pregnant women should not use triphala because it might induce contractions.
If you are taking medications for heart, stomach, blood pressure or cholesterol please consult your doctor for possible interactions.
Make triphala churna at home
It is easy to get ready to use organic triphala powder from ayurvedic stores these days. However, you can make it at home. This is how to do it:
Buy separately amla churna, baheda churna and haritaki churna. The proportions to mix are as follows:
- Amla 80 grams
- Baheda 40 grams
- Haritaki 20 grams
If desired you can add 40 grams of shuddh gugul powder to it, especially for stomach ailments and for cholesterol issues.
The proportions can be varied according to vata, pitta and kapha constitution:
- Vata: Amla 2 parts, baheda 1 part and haritaki 3 parts.
- Pitta: Amla 3 parts, baheda 1 part, haritaki 2 parts
- Kapha: Amla 1 part, baheda 3 parts, haritaki 2 parts
Lastly, a few interesting facts about triphala churan
- How important triphala is for health can be gauged from the fact that in ancient times one used to consider that triphala takes care of internal organs the same way a mother cares for her children.
- Sushruta Samhita, the ancient ayurveda treatise, mentions triphala as a sovereign remedy.
- Triphala powder combination embodies tastes such as sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent with only the salty taste left out.
- The three fruits in triphala represent three doshas kapha, pitta and vata.
- Triphala can be used internally and externally in a variety of conditions and for just good health.
The stomach is the engine of the body. Keeping it in good health means the entire body and mind function in top gear. Triphala promotes good health, endows one with vigor and gives long life. Make it part of your life and you will surely enjoy the many triphala health benefits.