Note to readers: Ancient Wisdom is a series of guides that shines a light on age-old wisdom that has helped people for generations with time-honoured wellness solutions to everyday fitness problems, persistent health issues and stress management, among others. Through this series, we try to provide contemporary solutions to your health worries with traditional insights.
A laxative, an elixir for weight loss, and an effective dental remedy, Triphala, translated to ‘three fruits’, is a wonder remedy Ayurveda has trusted for at least a thousand years for balancing all three doshas and as a solution for a range of health disorders. A combination of three fruits Amla, Amalaki or the Indian Gooseberry, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki – added usually in equal proportions- there is no wonder that Triphala finds mention in well-respected ancient texts Charaka Samhita as well as Sushruta Samhita, and is referred to as Tridoshic Rasayana. In fact, Charak Muni, an ancient Indian physician and scholar claims that taking the Triphala Rasayana with honey and ghee on a daily basis can make a person live for one hundred years, that too without old age and diseases. Ancient physicist Sushrut found triphala effective in treating ulcers and wounds. As per Ayurvedic Formulatory of India (AFI), it is prepared by combining a 1:1:1 mixing of ground dry fruits, called as myrobalans. Triphala helps in boosting immune system of the body naturally and helps provide protection against disease. (Also read: Ancient Wisdom Part 23: 5 ancient spices for weight loss; how to add them to your diet)
The ancient remedy has even found approval in various studies of the modern days. It has been found that Triphala is useful in stimulating appetite, controlling acidity, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Triphala not only aids in digestion, but is the ultimate detoxifying agent that cleanses colon, treats constipation and has beneficial effect for GI tract and colon.
How Triphala was consumed in ancient times
“Triphala has its roots in ancient India, where it was considered the ‘nectar of life’. With a history spanning over 2,000 years, it has been a fundamental part of Ayurvedic medicine. The name ‘Triphala’ is derived from Sanskrit, where ‘Tri’ means three and ‘Phala’ means fruit. This powerful formulation consists of three key fruits: Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry), Bibhitaki, and Haritaki. These fruits were believed to harmonize and rejuvenate the body, promoting longevity and vitality,” says Dietitian Rashi Tantia, HOD – Dietician, Metro Hospital, Faridabad.
“Triphala finds its roots deeply embedded in the ancient texts of Ayurveda, dating back thousands of years. Ayurvedic scholars praised Triphala for its tridoshic balancing properties, meaning it helps balance the three fundamental energies or doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. It was traditionally used to promote digestive health, detoxify the body, and support overall well-being,” says CliniTriphala is a gentle yet effective natural laxative, aiding in regular bowel movements and promoting a healthy digestive system.cal Dietician Kajal Aggarwal, PCOD expert and Founder of Dietician Kajal’s App.
Many benefits of Triphala
Triphala’s benefits go beyond digestion and immunity; the herb is also effective for cardiovascular disorders, high blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, liver problems and as a blood purifier.
“Triphala is renowned for its digestive benefits. It aids in promoting regular bowel movements, alleviating constipation, and supporting a healthy digestive tract. As this its loaded with vitamin C from amla, strong antioxidants found in triphala can help fend off oxidative stress and shield the body’s cells from harm. It supports the body’s natural detoxification procedures that aid in the body’s removal of impurities and toxins and the rich content of Vitamin C and other bioactive compounds in Triphala contributes to a strengthened immune system as well. Triphala has been linked to weight management by promoting a healthy metabolism and aiding in the elimination of excess fat,” says Aggarwal.
Triphala is renowned for its wide-ranging health benefits, which have stood the test of time. Here are some of its key advantages:
1. Digestive health: Triphala is a gentle yet effective natural laxative, aiding in regular bowel movements and promoting a healthy digestive system.
2. Antioxidant powerhouse: It is packed with antioxidants that combat free radicals, contributing to radiant skin and bolstering the immune system.
3. Weight management: Triphala supports healthy weight management by detoxifying the body and encouraging a well-functioning metabolism.
4. Heart health: Research suggests that it may support cardiovascular health by helping maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
5. Blood sugar regulation: It shows promise in helping manage blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for those with diabetes or at risk of developing the condition.
6. Anti-inflammatory properties: Triphala’s anti-inflammatory effects can aid in managing various health conditions associated with inflammation.
Who should’s consume Triphala
People who are prone to low blood sugar levels or having chemotherapy should avoid Triphala. The herb is also not advised for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
“While Triphala is generally considered safe for most people, but there are certain individuals who should exercise caution or avoid it altogether, because there is little information on the safety of Triphala for pregnant and breastfeeding women, so it is advisable for them to speak with a healthcare provider before using it. And if you are having chemotherapy can have a side effect such as a loose stool then avoid it. Another caution is Triphala may lower blood sugar levels, so individuals with hypoglycaemia or those taking medications for diabetes should use it cautiously and under medical supervision and people with known allergies to any of the three Triphala ingredients should avoid its consumption and should be consulted before using Triphala to young children, it may not be suitable for that age group,” says Aggarwal.
While Triphala offers a multitude of health benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. It’s essential to exercise caution in the following situations, says Tantia.
1. Pregnant and nursing women: Pregnant and nursing women should consult with a healthcare professional before using Triphala to ensure its safety during this crucial period.
2. Underlying health conditions: Individuals with kidney problems, pre-existing gastrointestinal issues, or specific medical conditions should seek guidance from a healthcare expert before incorporating Triphala into their daily regimen.
Fascinating facts about Triphala
Beyond its health benefits, here are some interesting facts about Triphala, as suggested by Tantia.
1. The mother of herbs: Triphala is often referred to as ‘the mother of herbs’ due to its nurturing and balancing effects on the body.
2. Versatile forms: Triphala can be consumed in various forms, including powders, capsules, or as an herbal tea infusion.
3. Daily tonic: Traditionally, Triphala is recommended as a daily tonic to maintain overall health and well-being.
4. Clarity of mind: Its gentle cleansing properties are believed to promote mental clarity and enhance one’s sense of well-being.