Triphala : An Ayurvedic Superfood
Wether you are familiar with Ayurveda's pharmacopea or not, you have probably heard already of some its common staple remedies' health benefits, namely those of turmeric (the star of the famous Golden Milk), ginger, ghee and the nerve tonic Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng). A little more under the radar but growing in popularity in the West is one of Ayurveda's most prescribed and versatile rasayana (science of lengthening lifespan) formulations : Triphala.
Triphala is made with equal parts of three fruits: Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), that when combined, synergistically help build overall strength and nourish the body while gently cleansing and detoxifying it all at once. In western culture, we most commonly see it being recommended as a mild laxative although its benefits are far beyond this single form of application. What I also like about this superfood is that it's generally safe to use (although like with everything, in moderation and if appropriate for your particular state of heath) and can be used in imbalances of all three doshas : Vata, Pitta and Kapha. I think nothing says it best like the old Indian saying, that goes : ''You don't have mother? Not to worry, you have Triphala!'', implying it's nurturing and life-giving qualities.
If you want to know if this ayurvedic herbal remedy is right for you, read on to learn more about what I consider to be one of the most powerful and nourishing superfoods!
Traditional Medicinal Uses:
- In cases of sluggish digestion (accumulation of ama - toxins), gas and bloating
- As a supplement to relieve constipation
- As support in a weight loss treatment
- Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
- Treatment of high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Treatment of diabetes mellitus
- Treatment of eye disease
- In hair and mouth rinses
- Helps to rejuvenate and restore tissues (dhatu) to health
- helps to cleanse and detoxify the colon
- Natural and mild laxative effect - stimulates peristalsis
- Rekindles the digestive fire (agni) and tones the entire digestive system
- Reduces acidity in the body
- Very high concentration of Vitamin C
- Purifies blood and improves circulation
- Strengthens immunity
- Natural anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antioxidant effects
Like with any cleansing formulation, you may experience a few mild side effects from its initial detoxifying actions, such as (all mild normally) headache, nausea, gas and diarrhea. If you happen to experience these symptoms, rest assured that in most cases these symptoms are mild and resolve very quickly. Also, due to its laxative effect, some do experience looser stools than usual at the beginning of supplementation.
Do not take Triphala if you have diarrhea, dysentery or are pregnant. There are no known drug interactions for triphala, however it is advised to use with caution if you are taking blood-thinning medication. If you have any doubts or concerns, make sure to consult with your health care professional or ayurvedic practitioner to know if this formula is right for you.
How to Take:
If using as a digestive aid or laxative, It is recommended to ingest Triphala in the evening, at least two hours after dinner and a minimum of 30 minutes before bedtime. In all cases, always use Triphala on an empty stomach. Keeping in mind that Triphala can have a really bitter and off-setting taste for most, here are some options on how to use, from most to least potent in taste. Note that the fist three refer to the powder form:
- Traditional Triphala Tea : Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of Triphala powder to a cup of warm water and let steep for 10 minutes before drinking.
- Triphala Paste : Mix 1/2 to 1 tsp of Triphala powder, 1 tsp of raw honey and 1 tsp of ghee to form a paste. Eat between meals.
- Triphala Bedtime Milk : Mix 1/2 to 1 tsp of Triphala powder in a cup of warm milk (regular of plant-based) and add 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg.
- Triphala Tablets : Take 1 or 2 tablets a day, before meals.
** Triphala can be found in most health food stores. Please consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation.