Triphala is a well-known herbal formula commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is a traditional blend consisting of the three Indian fruits, Amalaki, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki. It is tridoshic by nature (meaning it is beneficial for all body types) and possesses a plethora of healing properties ranging from cleansing and detoxification to rejuvenation, anti-aging, and cancer prevention. Since Triphala does provide such a wide range of health benefits, taking this medicine by various methods will allow the herbs to become more specific for targeting the areas you are hoping to address the most.
Triphala is often used to flush out the GI tract, strengthen the liver and enhance digestion. As a mild laxative, it is extremely helpful in treating constipation issues and is a great way to promote healthy morning elimination each day. Although very cleansing by nature, this unique formula is equally as powerful in promoting rejuvenation and therefore is not depleting like many of the detoxifying herbs available. Triphala is well known for its high vitamin C content making it an excellent source of immune-boosting, anti-aging, liver-healing, cancer-preventing antioxidants (whew!).
Despite the powerful effects Triphala provides us with, this balanced formula can be used long-term by almost anybody without creating unwanted side effects. It does not create dependency and is said to be safe (and often recommended) to take regularly for an entire lifetime. It is such a necessity in Ayurvedic Medicine that according to Dr. Vasant Lad, no herbal protocol is complete without Triphala.
Triphala Health Benefits
- Increases the digestive fire (Agni)
- Detoxifies the system
- Flushes out the GI tract
- Cleanses and strengthens the liver and blood
- Promotes healthy daily elimination (mild laxative)
- Aids in weight loss
- Enhances the circulation
- Great source of Vitamin C
- Powerful antioxidant properties
- Anti-cancer (for prevention only, do not take if cancer is active or chemotherapy treatments are present)
- Immune boosting
- Beautifies the complexion (internal and external use)
- Increases the health of the hair, skin, and eyes (internal and external use)
Although you may have multiple reasons for taking this herbal panacea, there is likely one or two that you prefer to focus on at any given time. In order to really hone in on the specific action, you are desiring to receive, taking Triphala with different substances will naturally enhance the various effects. These substances are known in Ayurveda as anupans and act as a catalytic vehicle for the herbal formula, as they drive the herbs deeper into the selective tissues.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Since Triphala is made up of three fruits, one should not take this formula with other food (with other fruit is alright) as this is considered an improper food combination. Ideally, it is recommended to take Triphala either 30 minutes before food intake or at least 1-2 hours post-meal.
One person’s medicine in another’s poison. No matter how great Triphala may be on a general scale, the most important question is “is it great for YOU?”. Here are some of the main reasons to AVOID Triphala.
- Avoid during chemotherapy and during the healing period after (check with your doctor for a safe time to begin post-chemo)
- Avoid during menstruation (may increase blood flow and loose stools)
- Avoid during pregnancy
- Check with your doctor before taking if you are breastfeeding
- Check with your doctor before taking if you are on any prescription medications or experiencing any severe health condition
- Discontinue if Triphala causes loose stools or diarrhea
- Discontinue if Tripahla causes any unwanted reaction
- As a diuretic, Triphala may cause nocturnal urination when taken before bed; in this instance, you may prefer to take it in the morning
The Best Ways to Take Triphala For the Most Potent Effects
*Keep reading below the chart for more specific and detailed instructions!
For General Maintenance of Health
Being such a well-rounded, balanced formula, there are many individuals that take Triphala simply for maintaining health and preventing future disease. In this case, the best way to take Triphala is simply by steeping it in warm water. This method is often considered the best and most universal anupan for herbal formulas.
Directions: Take 1/2 teaspoon of Triphala Churna and steep it in 1/2 cup of warm water for 3-5 minutes. Stir well and drink down the mixture making sure to take in any sediment that may accumulate at the bottom. Drink this each night before bed.
If you are aiming to alleviate constipation and promote healthy free-flowing bowels, then taking Triphala each night before bed in warm water is the best method for this. It is recommended to take a bit of a larger dosage, especially if the constipation is severe or long-standing.
Directions: Take 1 teaspoon of Triphala Churna and mix it in 1 cup of warm water*. Steep for 5 minutes. Stir well and drink down the mixture making sure to take in any sediment that may accumulate at the bottom. Take this each night before bed. For more severe cases of constipation, this same dosage should be taken again in the morning on an empty stomach until the bowels have been cleared out and become more regular on a consistent basis. Once constipation has ceased, the dosage can be reduced to 1/2 teaspoon before bed solely.
*Alternatively one can blend 1 teaspoon of Triphala with 1 teaspoon of Vata Honey Infusion to make a paste and follow with 1 cup of warm-hot water (take at the same times as above). This will increase the potency even further!
For Rejuvenation, Anti-Aging, and Longevity
If your goal is to focus on rejuvenation, preventing or reducing signs of aging, and promoting a long, healthy life then pairing Triphala with ghee and honey is an excellent way to enhance these life-promoting qualities of the formula even further.
Directions: Take 1/2 teaspoon of Triphala Churna and blend it with 1/2 teaspoon of ghee and 1 teaspoon of honey to make a paste. Take this mixture each night before bed during times of rejuvenation therapy, depletion, or anytime these healing properties are desired.
For Purgation Therapy During Detox Programs
If you are performing a home Panchakarma therapy, Kitchari Cleanse, or any other detoxification program, taking Triphala before the cleanse and throughout will undoubtably help to flush the system and clear the colon, making the overall cleanse much more effective. For this purpose, one can take a slightly higher dosage to enhance the flushing quality further.
Directions: Begin to take the Triphala Churna at least 7 days prior to the cleanse. At this time one should take 1/2 teaspoon of Triphala in 1 cup of warm water each night before bed. Once the cleanse begins, continue to take the Triphala nightly, increasing the dosage to 1 to 2 teaspoons until the cleanse is complete. After completing the cleanse, switch to the rejuvenation method listed above for 30 days.
For Weight Loss, High Cholesterol, and Kapha Imbalances
To enhance weight loss and reduce Kapha, the best anupan is said to be warm honey water. Honey possesses a “scraping” quality and is very effective in removing fat, cholesterol, congestion, and general accumulation in the system.
Directions: Take a cup of warm water (make sure it is under 108 degrees – read why here), add 1 teaspoon of honey and stir until the honey has completely dissolved into the water. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon* of Triphala Churna and steep for 3-5 minutes. Stir well and drink down the mixture making sure to take in any sediment that may accumulate at the bottom. Drink this each night before bed.
*For more severe Kapha imbalances the amount of Triphala can be increased to 1 teaspoon.
For Vata Imbalance
If your Vata is high, taking Triphala with ghee will help to reduce the Vata further and eliminate any dryness that the formula may potentially cause (due to the astringent and bitter taste). The ghee will help to lubricate the GI tract, reducing Vata symptoms such as gas, bloating, dryness and constipation.
Directions: Take 1/2 teaspoon of Triphala Churna and mix it into 1 teaspoon of melted ghee. Blend together and wash down with 1/2-1 cup of warm water. Take this before bed each night. For extra potency, one can add 1 teaspoon of Vata Honey Infusion to this mixture.
For Pitta Imbalances or Excessive Heat
Although Triphala is tri-doshic by nature, one can focus on the Pitta-reducing benefits by simply steeping the powder in cool water rather than taking it in warm water. This method is called Hima and will help to enhance the cooling potential of the formula even further.
Directions: Take 1/2 teaspoon of Triphala Churna and mix it in 1 cup of cool water. Steep this overnight. Stir well and take this cool infusion first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Wait at least 30 minutes before eating any food.
For Low Liver Energy and General Liver Disorders
If you are experiencing liver issues, then Triphala is a great tonic to increase the strength of this vital organ while simultaneously cleansing the liver and blood. Taking Triphala with aloe vera juice will increase the liver healing properties further, targeting the liver and driving the herbs deeper into the tissues.
Directions: Take 1/2 teaspoon of Triphala Churna with 2 tablespoons of aloe vera juice in 1 cup of warm water. Take this each night before bed. For severe liver issues, take this dosage again in the morning on an empty stomach.