Triphala is now touted as a natural remedy for a variety of
health conditions, although research doesn't yet confirm its effects. In
Sanskrit, the word Triphala translates to "three fruits," and it is
just that: a combination of Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis), black myrobalan (Terminalia chebula), and belleric myrobalan
In Ayurvedic medicine, Triphala is considered a tridoshic
rasayana, meaning that it has the properties to support all three doshas
(air/space, fire/water, and water/earth).
1 These qualities are believed to enhance strength and
immunity and may be applied to the treatment of numerous health conditions.
Triphala is available in powder, juice, tincture, extract,
capsule, or tablet form, and it is increasingly found online and in many
natural food and supplements stores.
According to the Ayurvedic tradition, Triphala has the
properties to treat an almost encyclopedic range of health conditions. Some of
this is attributed to Triphala's laxative effect, which proponents suggest can
"cleanse the system." Depending on how much is prescribed, Triphala
may be used as bowel tonic at lower doses, alleviating gas and promoting
digestion, or as a purgative (strong laxative) at higher doses.
Beyond its effect on the gastrointestinal tract, Triphala is
believed to relieve stress, control diabetes, promote weight loss, reduce
cholesterol, alleviate inflammation, and treat a variety of bacterial and
To date, there is little research that strongly supports
these claims, mainly because the studies that have been done were small or
poorly designed. With that being said, there have been some promising findings
in recent years that warrant further investigation.
According to a 2012 study in Alternative Therapies in Health
and Medicine, mice fed a high-fat diet and prescribed a daily dose of Triphala
had lower body weight, body fat, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and
"bad" LDL cholesterol than untreated mice on the same diet.
Moreover, the treated mice experienced an increase in
"good" HDL cholesterol along with improvements in their liver enzymes
and oral glucose tolerance, suggesting Triphala may aid in the control of type
As with many multi-herbal medications, it is unknown which
constituents in Triphala are bioactive. A number of test-tube studies have
shown that Triphala exerts anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal
properties, although these types of results rarely translate to the same degree
of effect in humans. One area in which Triphala may offer benefits is in dental
health, including reduction of plaque and the prevention of gum disease and