What You Need to Know About Triphala

Health Benefits, Uses and More

Triphala
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What Is Triphala?

A blend of three botanicals, triphala is a popular remedy in ayurveda (the traditional medicine in India). Triphala contains dried and powdered fruits of amla (Emblica officinalis), myrobalan (Terminalia chebula), and belleric myrobalan (Terminalia belerica), all of which are medicinal plants.

Health Benefits of Triphala

So far, scientific support for the potential benefits of triphala is lacking.

Preliminary studies have suggested that triphala may offer antioxidant and immune-enhancing benefits.

In animal research, scientists have shown that the herbal blend may help keep cholesterol in check. A report published in 2008, for instance, found that feeding triphala to mice helped suppress the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. Further studies are needed.

Although ayurvedic practitioners often use triphala to promote the cleansing of toxins from the body, there's no clinical-trial-based evidence that the formula can act as a detox or weight loss supplement.

In alternative medicine, triphala is purported to stimulate digestive health, improve liver and gallbladder function, boost immunity, and ease inflammation.

Caveats

In some cases, triphala may trigger gastrointestinal side effects such as gas, stomach upset, and diarrhea. 

Triphala supplements haven't been tested for safety.  It's important to note that, due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some triphala products may differ from what is specified on the product label.

In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. While consumers face such risks when purchasing any dietary supplement, these risks may be of greater magnitude in the purchase of Ayurvedic products containing a variety of herbs in varying doses.

In addition, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements here, but if you're considering the use of triphala, talk with your primary care provider first. 

Sources:

Jagetia GC, Malagi KJ, Baliga MS, Venkatesh P, Veruva RR. "Triphala, an ayurvedic rasayana drug, protects mice against radiation-induced lethality by free-radical scavenging." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2004 10(6):971-8.

Rasool M, Sabina EP. "Antiinflammatory effect of the Indian Ayurvedic herbal formulation Triphala on adjuvant-induced arthritis in mice." Phytotherapy Research 2007 21(9):889-94.

Shi Y, Sahu RP, Srivastava SK. "Triphala inhibits both in vitro and in vivo xenograft growth of pancreatic tumor cells by inducing apoptosis." BMC Cancer 2008 10;8:294.

Srikumar R, Jeya Parthasarathy N, Sheela Devi R. "Immunomodulatory activity of triphala on neutrophil functions." Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2005 28(8):1398-403.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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