Triphala – The wonder herb in Ayurveda
Triphala is one of the most popular medicines in Ayurveda .It is also the most prescribed Ayurvedic formula.Literally Triphala means ‘Three fruits’.
These three fruits are :
Haritaki- Terminalia Chebula
Bhibhitaki- Terminalia Belerica
Amalaki- Embilica Officinalis (Indian gooseberry)
These trees grow in India and middle east.
Fruits of these three plants are collected in appropriate season and dried. Seeds are removed and the fruits are mixed equally by weight.
The mixture is then grounded to make a fine powder.
Seeds need not be removed if one wishes to make a decoction .
Each of the components of Triphala has a medicinal property of its own but when combined they make a potent combination having unique qualities which can alleviate a number of diseases.
Each of the three drugs one particular dosha. For example Haritaki pacifies Vata while Bibhitaki and Amalaki pacify Kapha and Pitta respectively. Triphala has the unique property of balancing all the three doshas.This makes it one of the few drugs in Ayurveda which can be taken irrespective of the body type of the individual.It is mild enough for daily use without the fear of side effects or habit formation.
Ayurveda texts describe Triphala as ‘Rasayana’ or rejuvenator.
- Taste: Astringent, bitter, pungent, sour, sweet
- Virya : Ushna (warm)
- Guna (property) : light and dry
- Dosha : Tridoshic or balances all constitutions
- Prabhava : Rasayana (It builds ojas or innate strength)
- Rasayana (revitaliser) • Srotoshodhak (detoxifies micro channels)
- Anulomana( mild laxative) • Sthoulyanashak ( removes excessive fat )
- Deepana (appetizer) • Kanthya (to nurture voice quality)
- Pachana (digestive) • Keshya (for strengthening hair roots)
- Vrana prakshalan( washing of wounds) • Keshranjana ( enriching hair color)
- Amlapittanashak (antacid) • Chakshushaya (improving eye sight
- As Gandoosh (gargles for improving oral health)
In modern medicine
Modern scientific researches and clinical trials on animals have proved beyond doubt that Triphala has a number of effects.
- Scavenger of free radicals • Improves circulation (potentiates adrenergic function)
- Anti inflammatory • Marked cardio protective effect
- Antioxidant • Improves digestion
- Antipyretic • Reduces high blood pressure
- Improves liver function • Antibacterial and wound healing
- Anticancer and chemo protective • Normalises blood pH
- Anti stress • Anti ageing
- Hypoglycemic • Serum Cholesterol lowering
- Blood purifying
How to use Triphala
Triphala should be used on a daily basis,if one wants to derive maximum benefits from this wonderful herbal formula.
It is available in three forms:
- Fresh /dried fruits
- Powder made out of whole fruit
- Capsules/tablets containing whole fruit powder or extract
Fruits are not available easily so powder/capsules should be used.
Only whole fruit products are recommended.Products containing active principles are against the principles of Ayurveda.
The taste will be unpalatable initially particularly for the western society as they are not used to astringent and bitter tastes.Both these tastes are very important for total health and must form an integral part of one’s daily diet. Slowly as habit develops the drink will start tasting sweet.
Generally Triphala taken in the morning will promote Rasayana (rejuvenation) action while in the evening it will show laxative effect.
Triphala for Oral Health
Apply a little powder on the tooth brush and start brushing. Mouth will start producing excessive mucus which is a normal cleansing action.It will taste worse than any of the tooth pastes but oral health benefits will be much greater.
Add one teaspoon(1 g) of powder in 100 ml of water and leave it overnight in an iron/steel pot.Boil for one minute in the morning and then filter it.Rinse the mouth with it for 2 minutes.
Add one teaspoon(1 g) of powder in a glass of water and leave it overnight in an iron/steel pot. Drink the liquid leaving the settled powder behind first thing in the morning after warming(don’t heat) and adding one teaspoon of honey.
This drink is not ideal for underweight. If at all they wish to take Triphala for its health benefits it should taken just before food and honey should not be added.
For balanced body constitution
Drink should be taken first thing in the morning without honey.
The powder can be reused till it lends taste i.e 2-3 times depending on freshness of the powder.
Triphala eye wash
Soak one teaspoon of powder in 50 ml of water overnight.Filter it in the morning and splash the eyes. It is beneficial for general eye health as well as particular conditions like conjunctivitis,early stages of cataract,Horner Trantas etc.
Triphala wash for wounds and skin
In our practice we use coarse Triphala powder to make a decoction after reducing one fourth.If coarse powder is not available then fine powder should be used mixed in water then boil for one minute.It should be allowed to cool and then used to wash wounds or skin.
Triphala wash for Hair
The above mentioned preparation can be used to wash hair.Massage the scalp with it for about 2-3 minutes and then rinse with plain water.It will lend nourishment to hair roots making hair soft and silky,prevents premature greying and falling of hair.Cleansing action on the scalp controls dandruff.
Triphala for digestive health
This is the best Triphala preparation for digestive health.Make it a habit to take this drink with meals instead of water.
Add one teaspoon of powder in 100 ml of water and leave it overnight in an iron/steel pot. In the morning mix 2 tablespoons of yoghurt to this water ,also add sugar/ salt and cumin powder to taste.Stir well and drink with food .Sugar ,salt and cumin powder will make this drink palatable.
This drink will take care of intestinal flora, normalise the intestinal motility,remove unwanted toxins/materials from the gut and enhances the absorption and assimilation in the intestines.It will serve as a tonic for intestinal nervous system and our Immunity,as 70% of our immunity lies in the gut.
Otherwise Triphala powder (one teaspoon/1 gm) can be taken half way through meals mixed with food or with water.
Triphala for constipation
Take one tablespoon of Triphala powder at bedtime with warm water.
It is different from other laxatives like senna rhubarb, leptandra, buckthorne psyllium and flax seed.
Triphala combines both nutritional as well as blood and liver cleansing actions. It has little function as a demulcent or lubricating laxative,however it possesses some anthroquinones that help to stimulate bile flow and peristalsis. The nutritional aspect is in the form of its high vitamin C content, and the presence of linoleic oil and other important nutrients that make it more of a tonic.Triphala will prove useful for all kinds of constipation except that caused by a lack of vital energy.
Triphala as Rasayana (Rejuvenation/total health)
Take one tablespoon of powder and make a paste by mixing with little water.Apply the paste to an iron/steel pot and leave it for 24 hours.Then remove the paste in the morning (after 24 hrs) and mix it with 2 tablespoons of honey and 50 ml of water.Drink this mixture in the morning .
If powder of each fruit is available then take half teaspoon of Hareetaki empty stomach,Three fourths tea spoon of Bibeethaki half an hour before lunch and one teaspoon of Amalaki two hours after food. All to be taken with honey and cow’s ghee(purified butter).
Regular use of Triphala following any of these 2 methods for 1 year will result in longevity and disease free life.
In rural India,fresh Triphala fruits are cooked in sesame oil with onions,tomatoes and spices like cumin,fenugreek ,parsley,ginger etc. As fresh fruits are not available in the cities so one can use Triphala drink to cook vegetables,rice and kneading flour.
- With milk
- Bleeding disorders
- Acute diarrhea and Dysentery
- Excessively Underweight
So enjoy the nature’s gift to mankind