Triphala: This Ancient Herb Can Benefit You In 10+ WaysLuke Coutinho
Triphala stands for tri-phal which translates to a combination of three fruits. These include Amla (Emblica Officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). This polyherbal formulation is rooted deeply in Ayurveda which also classifies it as a tridoshic superfood. It means that it can balance all three doshas and is powerful for people of all ages – young and old. Ayurveda also considers Triphala effective in gastrointestinal treatment, promoting longevity, rejuvenation, rehabilitation, and rebuilding.
Today, it is widely available in capsule or powder form. If you do not like the taste of Triphala powder, you can opt for the capsule. But we advocate using it in the powdered form. One big limiting belief that needs to change about Triphala today is that it is only a laxative. Scientific and medical studies strongly back that its health benefits go far beyond just being a laxative. And today, we will look at a few of these.
Triphala has potent antioxidants like tannins, gallic acid, ellagic acid, and chebulinic acid. It also contains bioactive compounds such as flavonoids (quercetin and luteolin), saponins, anthraquinones, amino acids, fatty acids, and various carbohydrates. The polyphenols in them are excellent for the gut microbiome.
Here are some interesting properties that scientific studies highlight about Triphala:
- Stimulates appetite
- Reduces hyperacidity
- Potent antioxidant that strikes down free radicals
- Hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugars)
- Prevents tooth decay and cavities
- Antipyretic (reduces fever)
- Analgesic (pain-relieving)
- Antineoplastic (used in cancer medication)
- Promotes wound healing
- Hepatoprotective (protects the liver)
- Chemoprotective and radioprotective effects
- Promotes digestion and absorption
- Reduces serum cholesterol levels
- Improves blood circulation
- Relaxes bile ducts
- Maintains homeostasis of the endocrine system
- Increases production of red blood cells and hemoglobin
How to consume Triphala?
There is an ayurvedic concoction that I and many of our patients have tried for months. It is a combination of half a teaspoon of raw honey, one teaspoon or half a teaspoon of Triphala powder depending on your taste, and 1 teaspoon of pure A2 ghee. You have this every morning for your vitality, energy, hair, and skin. You can do it for two weeks and then take a break for two weeks. There are many other ways of getting Triphala powder into your diet. The simplest way, I like to do it is a tsp mixed with water and drink it before I go to sleep. If I miss doing this before bed, I do it when I wake up in the morning on an empty stomach.
Once I am back from my travels after eating hotel food for days, I prefer using Triphala powder for 10 days to 15 days. It has worked brilliantly for me. I have half or one teaspoon mixed with water. You can start with a quarter teaspoon of Triphala powder or if you are doing a capsule 150 mg or 200 mg. You need to determine how much is good for you. Taking it the previous night helps with a beautiful motion the next day.
Health benefits of Triphala
Lowers blood sugar levels
Did you know most pharmaceutical diabetic drugs contain Triphala? It has a component that reduces the quick uptake of blood sugar into your cells. It makes it fantastic for diabetics. You can mix a pinch of each – Triphala powder and Sri Lankan rolled cinnamon powder in a glass of water. Have it 15 to 20 minutes after your meal.
Triphala can lower high blood sugar levels. If you are on diabetes medication, keep your doctor in the loop before adding it to the diet to avoid hypoglycemia.
Works as a laxative
Studies suggest that using Triphala helped reduce constipation, mucous, abdominal pain, hyperacidity, and flatulence while improving the frequency, yield, and consistency of stools.
If you are constipated, Triphala can help you pass a motion. Before you start thinking that it may cause loose motions throughout the day, let us correct you. It is a mild laxative. If you have very loose motions, it probably just means it doesn’t suit you. You may experience a loose motion an hour after you take it. But that’s it. Triphala is excellent for regulating irregular bowel movements and cleaning out the colon. It helps you push out fecal matter that may be dried up and stuck in your colon over the years.
But it is crucial to address the root cause of your constipation and change your lifestyle rather than relying on laxatives. Because taking them over a long time can cause bowel dependence.
Rejuvenates your gut
Whether you have inflammation in your gut, have recovered from surgery, have colorectal cancer, acidity, bloating, constipation, IBS, or a broken-down gut microbiome, Triphala powder is effective. Triphala works both as a prebiotic and probiotic. It populates your good gut bacteria and gets rid of your bad bacteria. You need good gut bacteria for your brain health and to regulate your hormones, insulin, and weight. It also produces neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. It down-regulates bad bacteria that cause cravings for sugar, stimulants, and simple carbohydrates that cause candida, dysbiosis, and SIBO. Most people who have an imbalance in their gut have constipation. Remember, your gut microbiome is also responsible for stool formation.
Protects the liver
The liver has the burden of taking everything from medicines to toxins and even pollution and processing it. And that’s why our liver function tends to be slow when we put it through the burden of preservatives, junk food, alcohol, drugs, smoking, and so on. And that’s why when people have thyroid, diabetes, pancreatic issues, losing weight, or body fat – the protocol is not just about a diet plan. It’s about cleaning and enhancing your liver to enable it to perform one out of 500+ functions better.
Helps manage chemotherapy and radiation side effects
If you are going through chemotherapy and radiation, it has a protective mechanism for you, your gut microbiome, and yourselves. Do it under supervision.
Research highlights Triphala as a chemopreventive, chemotherapeutic, immunomodulatory, and radioprotective agent. It can play a role in blocking the multiplication or metastasis of cancer cells in cases of breast, prostate, colon, gastric, gynecological, and pancreatic cancer.
It is one of the richest sources of antioxidants. Polyphenols like gallic and ellagic acid play a massive role in cancer management, prevention, and immunity. It has chebulinic acid that can aid chemo-protection, is anti-cancerous, and works as a promising natural multi-target antitumor agent.
If your chemotherapy is causing you to have diarrhea and loose motion, do not consume Triphala excessively because we don’t want to add to it. Using just a pinch should be enough. On the other hand, if your chemotherapy or radiation is creating constipation, use Triphala powder more frequently, depending on your unique case. Remember, if something doesn’t suit you, don’t do it. If it suits you, don’t overdo it.
Boosts eye health
Whether it is diabetes, high blood pressure, or eye, hair, and skin health, Triphala contains quercetin that can play a major role. For those with cataracts, poor eyesight, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, luteolin with zeaxanthin, found in Triphala, plays a crucial role in boosting your eye health.
It is also fantastic for your cholesterol levels. Studies suggest that Triphala works as a therapeutic agent for weight loss and reduction of body fat. Triphala can also help decrease total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and free fatty acid levels. It boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol.
Improves bile duct health
For people who have gallstones, adding Triphala to their diet can improve the health of their bile ducts, allowing bile to flow. When your bile doesn’t flow it can cause various issues and pains in the long run. Today we see so many people opting to remove their gallbladder at the drop of a hi-hat.
Maintains endocrine health homeostasis
Triphala maintains homeostasis in the endocrine system which controls everything from your thyroid, blood sugar levels, and hormonal balance. It also plays a role in producing red blood cells and hemoglobin. The beauty of Triphala is that it can work parallelly with your medication unless your doctor advises you not to do it.
Is antimicrobial and antibacterial
Have a stomach infection and are put on antibiotics? You can also use Triphala powder parallelly after confirming with your doctor. If your stomach bug is not serious and your doctor hasn’t prescribed any medication, Triphala can work brilliantly for you too.
Is excellent for oral health
It is excellent for oral health and hygiene. Many pulling oils and kinds of toothpaste have Triphala. It prevents cavities, tooth decay, dental plaque, and gingivitis. Research shows that depending upon its concentration, a Triphala mouthwash can be as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash. Triphala can be powerful in irrigating the root canal and treating cavities. It keeps your gums healthy.
Research links Triphala to antiaging, increasing collagen and elastin, increasing cellular antioxidants, and decreasing hyperpigmentation.
Triphala cannot work on its own. There is no magical Ayurvedic herb or concoction that will ever do. You need to be responsible and change your overall lifestyle. Sleep better, and look after your stress levels because we know chronic stress can cause inflammation in your body. Get your fundamentals right. Exercise, but do not over or undertrain. Add diverse foods and colors to your plates from fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds.
Triphala is nature’s gift to us. We can choose to use it to boost our health or ignore it. The choice is ours. Use it if it works for you, avoid it if it doesn’t. Let me know if you have used it in the past and how it has worked for you in the comments.
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