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riphala (the three fruits) is an Ayurvedic, polyherbal preparation comprising three ingredients. The ingredients are all fruits, and theyâ€™re all native to India: bibhitaki, amalaki, and haritaki. Each fruit is thought to positively impact the bodyâ€™s three doshas. In Ayurvedic medicine, doshas are elemental forces believed to permeate body, mind, and spirit.
Ayurveda is a centuries-old Indian medicinal system. Triphala has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Itâ€™s thought to support bowel health and aid digestion. As an antioxidant, itâ€™s also thought to detoxify the body and support the immune system.
Triphala is not appropriate for everyone to use. Based on where itâ€™s manufactured, it may also contain toxins, such as mercury and lead, making some supplements unsafe for human consumption.
Triphala is very high in antioxidants. Itâ€™s touted for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral abilities, and itâ€™s prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners for a wide variety of ailments. These include strengthening the immune system, promoting oral health, and treating fatigue, gastric distress, pneumonia, cancer, and AIDS. Triphala has been studied in the laboratory and on animals, but not extensively on humans.
Triphala is available commercially in supplement form, as a pill, and as a liquid extract. The liquid extract is typically meant for external use and should never be put into the eyes, unless itâ€™s specifically prescribed for this purpose.
Triphala supplements have varying daily dosages based upon the manufacturer. Itâ€™s important to follow package directions exactly.
Triphala supplements may be most effective when taken right before bed with a large glass of warm water. Some people prefer to take this supplement on an empty stomach, while others prefer to take it with food. Discuss these options with your doctor.
Triphala is also available in powder form. The powder is meant to be dissolved in warm water and consumed as tea. It may also be used as an oral swish, like a mouthwash. Triphala may have a bitter taste, but it can be mixed with honey or lemon without diminishing its effects.
Triphala has been shown in multiple studies to have a positive effect on several conditions.
A study done on 60 female undergraduates found that a triphala-extract mouth rinse was effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis. Itâ€™s also found to be effective in preventing cavities and bleeding gums.
A laboratory study on human skin cells found that triphala had a protective effect on the epidermis and on dermal fibroblasts, which are the cells in the dermis layer of the skin that help it recover from injury. Triphala also increased collagen production.
A study of 150 people with diabetes found that triphala was able to reduce blood glucose levels.
A clinical trial analyzed the effects of a polyherbal formulation containing triphala on 34 people with constipation. The formulation also contained isabgol husk and senna extract. Study participants taking the formulation showed improvement in bowel movement frequency, incomplete evacuation, and other symptoms associated with constipation.