Herbal Spotlight – Triphala (The Three Fruits)


Triphala, is an ancient Ayurvedic formula made up of a combination of three fruits, native to the Indian subcontinent. Amalaki (Emblica officinalis,) Bibhitaki, (Terminalia belerica,) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebulabelerica) are each outstanding healing plants individually. When put together, they produce one the best tonic and rejuvenative preparations in Ayurveda. 

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    Ingredients in Triphala

    Haritaki (Terminalia chebulabelerica)

    The basis of the formula Triphala, Haritaki is one of the most important herbs is Ayurveda. This is according to Drs. Frawley and Lad in their book, “Yoga of Herbs.” The herb is named for its ability to destroy or carry away disease. Haritaki harmonizes the entire system, bringing it back into constitutional balance by removing metabolic toxins (called mala in Ayurveda.) This herb helps regulate the colon, correcting both constipation and diarrhea. It improves digestion and absorption, checks excessive discharges (anywhere in the body,) feeds the brain and nervous system, promotes the voice, improves vision, aids in longevity, and helps raise prolapsed organs. Energetically and emotionally Haritaki is used to promote a sense of wellbeing. It is said to increase wisdom and intelligence and to impart pure awareness.

    Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)

    Also known as Indian Gooseberry, Amalaki is the highest source of vitamin C found in nature, containing about 3000 mg per berry. One of the strongest rejuvenatives tonics in Ayurveda (called rasayanas,) it is especially useful for the blood, bones, liver, and heart. Amalaki helps rebuild and maintain new tissue growth and increases red blood cell counts. It relieves inflammation of the stomach and colon, improves appetite, clears the intestines, and helps regulate blood sugar. This herb also helps nourish the bones, cleans the mouth, strengthen teeth, and cause the hair and nails to grow.

    Bibhitaki, (Terminalia belerica)

    Another powerful rasayana, Babhitaki helps liquify and expel growths, including parasites, from the digestive tract, urinary system, lungs, and colon. It is a tonic for the lungs and helps improve voice, vision, and hair growth. Bibhitaki is a strong laxative and astringent, cleansing the bowels while increasing tone and function. It also helps tone the stomach and increase appetite.

    Medicinal Benefits of Triphala

    The formula Triphala is most often used as a harmonizing agent for the lower digestive system and as a rasayana or rejuvenating agent to vitalize the whole system. As blockages and metabolic toxins are removed, digestion improves, and we can assimilate more nutrients. As more nutrients are absorbed and the body is nourished, all parts are revitalized. The formula can be used for any of the conditions indicated by the individual fruits.

    Triphala is helpful for both diarrhea and constipation. It is gentle, safe, and non-habit forming. Triphala tones tissues in the colon and supports healthy circulatory, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, and nervous system functions. It is used to treat hemorrhoids, prolapse, and to improve appetite and digestion. Triphala helps alleviate stress and inflammation, control diabetes, and reduce cholesterol.  Further, the formulation can be used to support weight loss, when combined with diet and exercise. It does this by promoting better digestion and by suppressing cravings.

    Externally, Triphala is used as a paste or wash as an effective astringent and anti-inflammatory. It is also used traditionally as a hair and eye wash.

    How to use Triphala

    The supplement is available in a variety of forms. It is available in a tablet, capsules, tincture, powder, and liquid extract form.


    Traditionally, and I think the best way to take the formula is as a tea or infusion. The tea is made by adding half a teaspoon of the powder in a cup of hot water. It is then stirred and allowed to cool before drinking. The taste is a strong mixture of sour, bitter, sweet, and sharp. If you find the taste unpleasant, honey and/or milk can be added. Over time the taste seems to smooth out, becoming more palatable, some even find it a little sweet.

    This tea is best taken once a day on an empty stomach.  It can be taken at night, just before you go to bed or first thing in the morning after letting the powder infuse in the water overnight. 

    Triphala tea


    Triphala is commonly available in tablet form, where it can be found at most natural food stores. Take 1000 mgs at night before bed or first thing in the morning after you wake up. Tablets are convenient for people who travel a lot or people who do not like Triphala tea due to its taste. However, it’s important to understand that taste is a big way natural medicine and food nourish the body. With the perception of taste, the body knows how it should respond, how best to digest and assimilate something. It will work without the sense of taste but much better with it.

    Liquid extract/Tincture

    Another way of taking the concoction is by liquid extract. The suggested dose is 30 drops (1 dropperful) added to about an ounce of water or juice. Take it on an empty stomach up to three times a day or as advised by a healthcare professional.

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    Further Reading




    Frawley, David Dr; Ayurvedic Healing, A Comprehensive Guild; Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wi, 2000

    Frawley, David Dr and Lad, Vasant Dr: The Yoga of Herbs, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wi.  2001

    Lad, Vasant Dr; The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies; Three Rivers Press, NY, NY.  1998

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    The statements and ideas presented here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. They have not been evaluated by the FDA. All ideas presented are for the sole purpose of education. To help you take control of your own health. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. We suggest that you always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.

    These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.

    Herbs taken for health purposes should be treated with the same care as medicine. Herbal remedies are no substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you are serious about good health, you’ll want to combine diet, exercise, herbals, a good relationship with your doctor and a generally healthy lifestyle. No one of these will do it alone.

    This information is designed to be used as part of a complete health plan. No products are intended to replace your doctor’s care, or to supersede any of his/her advice or prescriptions.

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