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Herb Reference Guide

Triphala

History

Triphala is a staple of Ayurvedic (Indian) practice used for well over 2,000 years. It is made from the dried powder of three different fruits, hence its name: tri (Three) and phala (Fruit). Amla (Emblica officinalis), Harada (Terminalia chebula) and Bihara (Terminalia bellirica) are mixed in equal parts to make a proper Triphala.

It is said of Triphala; "No mother? Do not worry so long as you have Triphala." Indian people believe that Triphala can care for the internal organs as a mother cares for her children. References to the use of Triphala can be found in the Sushrut Samhita, which is dated to 1500 BC. The Sushruta Samhita contains 184 chapters and description of 1120 illnesses, 700 medicinal plants and a detailed study on Anatomy.

Function

Amla (aka. Indian Gooseberry, aka. Amalaki) is one of the highest natural known source of vitamin C, having 20 times the vitamin C content of an orange. The vitamin C in Amla is also uniquely heat stable. Amla is associated with the pitta dosha. Bihara is astringent, tonic, digestive and anti-spasmodic. It targets imbalances associated with the kapha dosha or where an excess of mucus/ama. Harada is a bitter and associated with the vata dosha, elements of air and space. It has emollient properties and as with most bitters encourages peristalsis and proper digestion. The Medicine Buddha in Tibetan tankas (sacred pictures) holds the harada plant.

Uses of Triphala

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Ascorbic acid, Essential fatty acids, Fiber, Protein, Ellagic acid, linoleic acid and linolenic acid.

Parts Used

  • Dried fruits

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy and lactation. Consult a physician if you are taking any prescription medications.

Additional Resources

Carlsen, Halvorsen, Holte, et.al. Nutr J. 2010; 9: 3. The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide.