The history of medicinal herbs encompasses many years of use in different civilizations. One of them is the grouping of herbs known as Triphala, with a history of more than 1000 years.
Triphala is formed by the union of 3 medicinal plants native to the Indian continent.
- Emblica officinalis
- Terminalia bellirica
- Terminalia chebula
This mixture of plants belongs to the traditional Ayurvedic medicine, whose history dates back more than 3000 years.
That is why in the last decade the benefits for the organism of Triphala have been analyzed and how we can take advantage of it with medical and diagnostic advances.
What exactly is triphala?
Traditional Ayurvedic medicine used herbal blends for multiple benefits. These ranged from correcting stomach upsets to relieving headache or gum pain. [Triphala Uses in Ayurvedic Medicine]
Indian Currant (Emblica officinalis)
Its common name is halfway between Indian currant and mirobálano. It is a well-known edible fruit in the Indian continent that is being linked to preventive activity against cancer [See study]
This plant is commonly used in traditional medicine for the treatment of constipation and various stomach pains.
At the nutritional level, they have a high content of vitamin C, amino acids and various minerals.
The most remarkable are its active ingredients, many of them related to antioxidants, such as polyphenols, philelic acid, curcuminoids, emblicol and rutin. [See antioxidants]
In vitro laboratory studies have found positive responses in inhibiting the growth of cervical and ovarian cells. [See study]
In this aspect, it is still necessary to advance more with clinical trials to establish more truthful conclusions in the fight against cancer.
Bahera (Terminalia bellirica)
This medicinal plant that is part of Triphala is a tree commonly known as Behera or myrobalan bastard. It has its origin in Southeast Asia.
Bahera has antimicrobial properties and serves to cure bacterial and viral infections.
Among its components we find tannins, lignans, flavones, ellagic acid and gallic acid, all with interesting medicinal activity.
Some flavonoids present in Triphala have anti-inflammatory properties, and can significantly reduce uric acid levels in gout patients. [See study]
In turn, several investigations have been done to analyze its potential against diabetes and blood sugar imbalance. Compounds such as gallic acid or ellagic acid may be involved in regulating insulin sensitivity.
Bibhitaki is also commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat diabetes and blood sugar dysregulation. [See study]
In these trials, positive responses have been found in the control of insulin secretion at the pancreatic level, reducing blood peaks in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)
The third plant that forms Triphala is scientifically known as Terminalia chebula, is a medicinal tree typical of the Middle East, India, China and Southeast Asia.
It is commonly known as Haritaki or black myrobolan, using its green fruits for medicinal purposes.
In traditional medicine it has been used to treat various respiratory conditions (asthma), heart disease and stomach pains. [See study]
Its properties come from the phytoactive principles of various polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins, all of them with antioxidant potential.
Medical trials conducted to investigate Haritaki have been conducted on animals, finding positive responses to stomach pains and constipation. [See study]
Properties of Triphala for health
The sum of these 3 medicinal plants make the benefits of Triphala multiply, being able to help in chronic diseases and relieve acute diseases.
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
As we have analyzed individually with each herb, we have 3 very interesting plants for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
We add compounds such as vitamin C, different po polifenols, tannins, saponins and flavonoids.
Triphala contains several antioxidants that perform protective functions in the body.
Antioxidant substances reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals that we take in food. This reduces the occurrence of chronic diseases and cell damage.
Some clinical trials conducted on animals have shown that its continued use prevents inflammation and chronic arthritis damage. [Arthritis and Triphala]
2. It can help you lose weight
Although the mechanism that leads to this situation is unknown, several studies have shown how Triphala favors the loss of localized fat in the abdomen. These demonstrations have been carried out in animals and, subsequently, in humans, with very positive replicas, especially in obese patients, as several trials have shown.
3. Can act as a preventive against cancer
Triphala’s historical interest in recent research has proven to be a future weapon in the prevention and fight against certain types of cancer. At the moment, good results have been achieved in the laboratory and tested on animals, and there is the great step of doing so in humans.
Scientific studies have concluded positive results in inhibiting the development of stomach cancer, pancreas and lymphoma. [See results]
Other studies are trying to replicate it in colon and prostate cancer. In this case, the results obtained correspond to the influence of the antioxidant substances contained, especially the different polyphenols and gallic acid, all of them as preventive.
4. Can be used as a natural laxative
One of the historical uses that were given in antiquity to Triphala was focused on eliminating the problems of constipation. This alternative to commercial laxatives has been studied and interesting and promising results have been found. [See study]
Likewise, the positive results have also extended to the reduction of symptoms of flatulence and abdominal swelling.
5. May protect against dental disease and cavities
The effects of various medicinal plants in Triphala can also be positive for some oral diseases, the most common being the appearance of caries and gengivitis. Especially, both problems should be monitored in children.
In a study that analyzed the evolution of oral bacterial plaque and inflammation of the gums of children, it was found that Triphala-based mouthwash considerably reduced the development of these problems. [See study]
How to use Triphala
The Triphala blend of medicinal herbs can be found at most herbalists and specialty stores. It is quite common to find it in various presentations, either capsules, in powder form or even in liquid form.
Consumption suggestions recommend taking it before main meals or fasting, ensuring its maximum absorption. The recommended dose of use is up to 500 mg per day, although the dose may be increased if constipation is suffered.
In general, we can take it mixed with water or with some type of honey (heather honey or also acacia honey, for example).
Are there any side effects?
Generally, the use of medicinal plants is quite safe, although some precautions must be taken depending on the physiological state in which we find ourselves, especially in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Due to its laxative effect, high concentrations can cause diarrheal problems and stomach discomfort.
In any case, its consumption is not recommended in pregnant or lactating women. This is because there are no studies that have established the minimum safety levels, although there is no reason to consider that it can cause any type of damage.
Its use should consult you with a medical specialist, especially when we are taking medications.