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What is Triphala

What is Triphala

Triphala (“three fruits”), an herb originating in India, has been found to act as a complete body cleanser. Not only does Triphala help to detoxify and cleanse the colon, it also purifies the blood and removes toxins from the liver. Other cleansing benefits of Triphala include reducing some forms of cholesterol (serum cholesterol), and reducing high blood pressure.

The plant’s popularity in India stems from the vegetarian diet of much of this country’s population, requiring a laxative that does not counteract with the diet of these people. Triphala is categorized as a purgative form of laxative, i.e. an herb type of intestinal stimulant that works similar to Senna and Rhubarb. Purgative preparations are often needed by people who have certain degrees of liver and gall bladder congestion. As Triphala is known as a cleaning agent, including a blood cleanser, the herb is very beneficial for these people. The herb also has a high nutritional value, including high levels of vitamin C.

Triphala, said to contain three different ‘fruits’ is well known in ancient Indian folklore, and is widely used by natural healers experienced in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, which literally translated means ‘long life practice’.

In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Triphala is used for:

  • Immune system stimulation
  • Improvement of digestion
  • Relief of constipation
  • Gastrointestinal tract cleansing
  • Relief of gas
  • Treatment of diabetes
  • Treatment of eye disease

The fruits, Harada, Amla, and Bihara, relate to the three sections or ‘humors’ of Indian medicine.

Harada, which is bitter tasting, is best known for its laxative qualities as well as being an astringent and antispasmodic.

Amla, which is high in Vitamin C (20 times more than citrus fruit) is sour tasting and is considered good for inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

Bihara is astringent, tonic, digestive and anti-spasmodic. Its primary flavor is astringent and the secondary is sweet, bitter and pungent. It targets imbalances associated with the kapha or mucus humour, corresponding to the earth and water elements in Ayurvedic medicine. Specifically Bihara purifies and balances excess mucus, treats asthma, bronchiole conditions, allergies and hiccoughs.

Because of its high vitamin content, Triphala is often used as a food supplement like vitamins are in Western countries. In fact, the benefits of this herb are so well known that a well known Indian saying goes like this: “You do not have a mother? Don’t worry, as long as you have Triphala in your life!”

In recent years, a number of research studies have found new uses for this herb, including treatment for various forms of cancer. It is also found to have high antioxidant qualities, and is even useful for treatment against noise and stress-induced conditions.

An Ayurvedic doctor friend of mine recommended I try it a few years ago. It made a huge different in my bowl movement and it has been an important part of my well-being toolbox every since.


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