Triphala: A Powerful Tonic for the Digestive System
Triphala literally means “three fruits.” Made of equal proportions of the three powerful Ayurvedic herbs of Amla, Chebulic Myrobalan, and Belleric Myrobalan, Triphala is revered in Ayurvedic medicine for the cleansing and nourishing benefits it imparts.
It helps cleanse and tonify the entire digestive tract, and helps detoxify the liver, intestines, and blood. This formula also helps regulate elimination and the flushing of toxins from the body.
However, unlike “heroic” laxatives like Senna, Rhubarb, Aloe, and Cascara Sagarda, whose use is only safe short term, Triphala may be used over long periods extending into even years. Why?
Triphala enhances the digestive fire and supports your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat It is, therefore, deeply nourishing for all the seven types of body tissue (dhatus) named in Ayurvedic medicine.
Because of this, in Ayurveda Triphala is in the category of medicinals called Rasayana or Rejuvenatives that are used to promote longevity and radiant health.
In fact, Amla fruit, one of the three herbs found in this formula (and also the leading herb in the restorative formula Chavanaprash) is found in Buddhist art in the right hand of the “Medicine Buddha.” Amla has high levels of a very bio-available form of Vitamin C as well.
Who Should Use Triphala?
Anyone (safe for children and seniors) suffering from chronic bowel problems such as the following:
Gas and bloating after meals, during Pre-menstrum
Irregular bowel movements such as going a day without elimination, or even just going at different times each day.
Acute/Chronic Constipation: Lack of urge or presence of urge, but with dry, hard, difficult-to-pass stools, or a feeling of incomplete elimination (snakes or rocks!)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Alternating Diarrhea and constipation, with painful intestinal cramps, similar to menstrual cramps in quality, and with bowel movements often urgent, and preceded by feverish sensation or chills.
Ulcerative Colitis: Diarrhea, with blood and mucus in the stools, sudden weight loss, fatigue. This needs to be diagnosed by a bio-medicine physician in order to rule out more ominous disorders. This is, however, a serious and life-threatening disorder. Natural Medicine, including Triphala, and other herbals increase the efficacy of any treatment plan. Must be combined with other herbs like Boswellia.
Acne and skin disorders: Especially if there is constipation, Triphala is a starting point for cleansing the liver, blood, and intestines of toxins. This can be taken along with other herbals specific for your skin disorder.
How Should I Use Triphala?
For chronic constipation, take 2 to 3 caps one hour before bed. If this is ineffective, take 1 to 2 with meals, up to 9 per day.
For other problems, take 1 to 2 capsules with meals.
For dosha balancing.
Trifal is Tri-doshic, meaning it is balancing for all three doshas. It is alsoSattvic, meaning it balances the vital and emotional self.For Vata: Mix with a tsp. honey and take
For Pitta: Mix with a tsp. ghee and take
For Kapha: Mix with 6 oz. of water
What is Good Quality Triphala?
Good quality Triphala is strong tasting. It tastes sour, astringent, faintly sweet, subtly salty, and a little bit bitter.
My favorite Triphala brand is by Ayush. Ayush’s herbal products are the best I have found so far. Ayush is owned by a practicing Ayurvedic physician in Seattle, who is from India, and who manufactures all his products under traditional methods in modern laboratory settings.
I have tried other products and found them to be of less complex flavor, tasteless, or worse, just powdered dried herb. In Ayurveda the preparation of herbs follows strict rules, so you should never just find ground up untreated herb matter in a capsule.
Finally, Ayush’s herbals are concentrated, so that they are very easily digested with high bio-availability.
Over the last 23 years I have given Triphala to over a thousand patients, and have cured many cases of even the most severe chronic constipation with a combination of Triphala, Acupuncture, and other herbal medicines specific to the case. I have also used it in the treatment of of the above mentioned disorders with great effect.
copyright eyton j. shalom, l.ac san diego, ca 2016 use with permission