Triphala, Ayurveda’s Wonder Formula
Triphala is probably one of the most popular Ayurvedic compounds, and it can be found nowadays in almost every health food store and Indian grocery store. It is well known for being a mild laxative and lower bowel tonic. Triphala literally means ‘three fruits’ and contains equal parts of the amalaki, haritaki, and bibitaki fruits. These fruits come from the various Myrobalan trees found in India and have particularly balancing effects on each of the three doshas.
Amalaki or amla is regarded as a sacred tree in India. The tree was worshipped as Mother Earth and is believed to nurture humankind because the fruit is very nourishing. Amalaki fruit is well known for its cooling, pitta pacifying properties, and is rich in iron and vitamin C. It is strengthening to the blood, bones, liver, and heart. It is used alone or with other herbs to treat a variety of inflammatory types of disorders related to excess pitta. Even though it is sour to the taste, it has a special cooling quality that helps balance pitta.
It is also nourishing to all the bodily tissues and a tonic to the immune system, and it is the basis for the herbal jam known as Chyavanaprash, which is a general rasayana (rejuvenative tonic) used in Ayurveda. It reduces the toxicity of environmental pollutants, normalizes cholesterol, sheds unwanted fat, cures ulcers, prevents cancer, detoxifies the body, and regulates digestion.
Haritaki fruit rejuvenates vata dosha; it is warming and nourishing to all the bodily tissues. It promotes digestion and absorption, helps tonify the colon and regulate healthy eliminatory functions, and also has anti-parasitical properties. It nourishes the brain, respiratory tract, throat, nerves, eyes, and skin and is supportive to mental functions. It is also referred to as the king of herbs in Tibetan medicine.
Bibhitaki fruit is primarily a tonic to kapha and has an affinity to the lungs and stomach, and is nourishing to the bone tissue. Its anti-kapha action helps to break down stones in the urinary tract. It also has both a laxative and tonifying effect on the colon and promotes digestion, absorption and the elimination of parasites. It is also used to improve and restore the voice and vision and to promote hair growth.
A Well Balanced Mix…
When these three fruits are mixed together in equal quantities they form a well balanced and rejuvenating formula. Most laxatives tend to be habit forming and can weaken the tone of the colon over time, whereas triphala can be used safely for extended periods to provide both a cleansing and rejuvenating action.
Drinking triphala tea everyday helps to cleanse the body of toxins, promotes digestion, assimilation, and absorption, and rejuvenates the body and mind.
A word of caution: Triphala shouldn’t be taken in cases of ulcerative colitis or during pregnancy. In these cases, amalaki alone can be used safely.
Triphala tea is made by stirring a 1/2 to 1 tsp. of the powder into a cup of hot water and letting it steep for five to ten minutes.
As laxative and bowel tonic, any of the following methods are effective ways to aid and regulate elimination: Drink the tea, powder and all, before bedtime.
To provide a stronger effect, when needed, boil 1/2 to 1 tsp. in a cup of hot water for 3 to 5 minutes, then strain it before drinking.
A cold infusion can also be made by soaking 1/2 to 1 tsp. of triphala in a cup of room temperature water overnight and drinking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
If there is dry constipation and triphala doesn’t work, then adding a 1/4 tsp. of licorice powder per 1/2 half tsp. triphala can help promote moisture in the colon.
A Final Note…
Anyone following an Ayurvedic regime and lifestyle should make a habit of drinking Triphala tea on a daily basis to help eliminate toxins and rejuvenate their intestines. Triphala also helps increase the digestion and absorption of other herbal formulas one may be taking as part of an Ayurvedic regime.
In Ayurveda good digestion is the key to optimal health, and a healthy GI tract is the key to good digestion and elimination. Triphala can do wonders to cleanse and rejuvenate it.
So keep drinking that triphala tea!