Triphala: Ancient formulation for a modern youVaidya Moninder kaur
Triphala is a simple formulation that has been used since thousands of years for restoration, rejuvenation and balance. Traditionally prescribed as a mild laxative, there are lot more beneficial effects hidden within this traditional preparation for the up-to-date you. Triphala means ‘the three fruits’. These three fruits are native to the Indian subcontinent. To understand it better, let us take a sneak peek into its three main ingredients – Amalki, Haritaki and Bibhitaki.
Triphala – The three fruits
Amalki (Emblica officinalis): This fruit has cooling effect on the Pitta Dosha and supports normal functioning of the liver and immune system. A good rejuvenator, it is full of vitamin C and helps lower cholesterol.
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula): Well known for its scraping effect, this fruit removes toxins and helps in the maintenance of healthy weight. Although somewhat heating in nature, it is good for all three Doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) and is particularly calming for vata. It has also shown marked anti-inflammatory effects.
Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica): This fruit is particularly good for the balance of Kapha and supports the respiratory system. It is very useful for reducing mucus within the body and has rejuvenating and detoxifying effects on blood, muscles and fatty tissues.
As evident from above, each ingredient of triphala has a specific effect on a specific dosha. This makes it a very potent formulation for balancing the Tri- Dosha. It is a very powerful Rasayana i.e. an herbal formulation that rejuvenates the body, prevents aging and promotes longevity. It is particularly rejuvenating to the digestive tract. It has a mild laxative effect and is an ideal bowel cleanser due to its gentle yet deep scrapping action. This makes it quite safe for long term use.
A glimpse into the benefits
Triphala is simple yet the best formulation for balancing your gut flora. It helps the body to digest and absorbs nutrients properly, and produces well formed bowel movements thus helping to stabilize the gut microbiome. Other benefits of Triphala are –
Mild laxative and colon cleanser
Improves the process of the digestion of food, absorption of nutrients and elimination of wastes
Helps in weight loss
Anti- inflammatory hence alleviates pain and inflammation in arthritis
Strengthens hair roots and treats dandruff
Rejuvenates skin and is an effective remedy to treat acne, eczema and other similar skin issues
Lowers cholesterol and regulates blood pressure
Beneficial for diabetics
Nourishes and heals the respiratory system
Helpful in maintaining reproductive health
Preferred form of administration
Triphala is available in powder, capsule and tablet form. If using triphala for balancing the Doshas, traditionally, the best way to take triphala is in powder form and there is a reason behind it. Ayurvedic system of medicine lays great stress on taste. In the context of triphala, it contains all five tastes (sour, pungent, bitter, astringent, and sweet) excluding salty taste. When taken orally with warm water in powdered form, the individual experiences the taste that is low in his/her diet. However, it rarely tastes sweet. The day it tastes sweet, you do not require it anymore. Your system has been balanced.
Triphala is most often recommended in powder form with warm water. The powder(churna) is simply a mix of above three fruits that have been dried and powdered. So, it is easy to make at home too. If anyone has aversion to its taste or difficulty swallowing it, capsules and tablets can be taken. If powder is not available, capsules can be opened and used as powder.
Time of administration
A change in the time of administration changes its effect within the body. If you are taking it for better digestion, absorption and elimination, the best time is to take it at night. It will have a gentle laxative and Ama (toxin) cleansing effect in the morning. A simple and effective way to cure constipation. If you are taking it for your respiratory issues, even then the best time is to take it at night as it will prevent the mucus build up during night.
It works best as a Rasayana when taken during the day, especially the first thing in the morning after waking up. This time also suits anyone looking to loose weight and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Contraindications of triphala
Not many side effects have been reported. It is non-habit forming. It is advisable not to take triphala if you have loose watery stools or diarrhoea. Triphala is also to be avoided if pregnant. However, some people may notice a drying effect so it is recommended to drink enough water when using it regularly. Ayurveda also recommends avoiding the use of this formulation and intake of haritaki only, if your stools are too dry and hard.
Simple recipes using Triphala
Triphala Tea or Infusion recipe
Triphala Powder: ¼ – ½ teaspoon
Freshly Boiled water: 1 cup
Honey: 1 tsp (optional, to enhance taste)
Add Triphala powder to a cup of freshly boiled water. Stir well and let it rest for 2-5 minutes. Sit relaxed and drink lukewarm. Honey can be added to make it more palatable if you do not like the taste.
An Ayurvedic medicine to relieve constipation and enhance digestion. Also, be mindful of taking dietary measures for constipation, like increasing fiber and water intake
Triphala Hair oil
Coconut oil: 200gm
Triphala powder: 100gm
Heat oil to full in pan. Switch off the stove, let the oil cool for 2-3 minutes then add triphala powder. Mix and transfer to a glass jar. No need to strain. Make sure that the stove is switched off and the oil is not too hot. This will prevent the powder from burning.
Use & Benefit:
This oil can be used to massage the scalp gently 2 times a week. Keep the oil on scalp for 1 – 2 hours before washing the hair with mild shampoo.
This helps to promote hair growth, makes hair strong and healthy, prevents premature greying and is beneficial in dandruff treatment.
Although traditionally prescribed as a mild laxative, Triphala has a lot more beneficial effects. There is a saying in India that if a Vaidya (Ayurveda physician) knows how to use Triphala properly, he can cure any disease. Being a Rasayana it increases ojas (vigor and vitality), prevents disease, adds luster and vitality to hair, skin, nails and revitalises the entire body.