Triphala is one of the most famous herbal compounds in
ayurvedic medicine. Triphala literally means "three fruits."
The three fruits contained in Triphala are Haritaki, Amalaki and
Traditionally, Triphala comes in many different forms, including the
Triphala tablets available from Maharishi Ayurveda Products
Triphala can also be mixed with other herbs in compound formulations.
Triphala Guggulu, for instance, is much more powerful than Guggulu
A powerful rasayana
There is a saying in India that if a vaidya (ayurvedic expert) knows how
to use Triphala properly, he can heal any disease. It is a highly
revered rasayana in Maharishi Ayurveda.
A rasayana is the most highly refined and powerful herbal and fruit
combination in ayurveda, and is known to promote long life and vitality.
A rasayana promotes ojas, the finest product of digestion that prevents
disease, creates luster in the skin and rejuvenates the whole body.
Besides nourishing the mind and body and promoting longevity, Triphala
has many specific effects. It is particularly rejuvenating for the
digestive tract, and is a rasayana for the eyes and the skin.
Triphala balances Apana Vata, the subdosha of Vata that governs the
colon, lower abdomen, menstrual flow and elimination. For most people
Triphala is a mild laxative, and for that reason it is excellent for
clearing toxins from the digestive system. In very rare cases it has a
stronger laxative effect, but usually it is an ideal bowel cleanser
precisely because of its mildness. In moderate doses it is gentle, and
detoxifies the body slowly.
Because it is slow, you can take Triphala for longer periods of time,
and then it has a deeply purifying effect. It goes deep into the
physiology and releases the toxins at a much deeper level. Because it
detoxifies the blood, muscle and fat tissues, it is excellent for
preventing skin disease. And because it removes ama from the fat tissue,
Triphala also helps balance cholesterol.
Triphala also purifies the urine and prevents urinary tract disease. It
enhances all thirteen agnis (digestive fires), especially the main
digestive fire in the stomach. It pacifies Kapha and Pitta, and if taken
regularly, is a powerful anti-aging rasayana.
The ingredients that make up Triphala are powerful individually. When
combined correctly, synergy enhances the healing quotient exponentially.
The first ingredient is Haritaki. This fruit is mentioned in almost all
ayurvedic textbooks. Charaka goes so far as to say that Haritaki is as
nourishing and useful for everyone as mother's milk. He mentions that
it's a rasayana for the eyes and good for the digestive system. It helps
enhance the absorption of nutrients in food. Haritaki is a yogavahini,
which means that it cleanses the channels and is absorbed quickly by the
body. In addition, the Charaka Samhita says that Haritaki is all-dosha
balancing. Very few fruits and herbs have this designation.
Amalaki, the second ingredient, is known as a divine plant in the
ayurvedic materia medica. Amalaki is also a rasayana, which means that
it has longevity-enhancing and disease-defying qualities. The Charaka
Samhita says, "Amalaki is the best among rejuvenative herbs."
Amalaki fruit contains the sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent
tastes. The only taste missing is salty. Because it contains five out of
the six tastes, it is balancing to all three doshas.
There are many excellent qualities in Amalaki. Amalaki helps purify
toxins from the body, by enhancing food absorption. When your digestion
becomes stronger, the food you eat is converted to nutrition rather than
staying undigested and producing impurities. The unique thing about
Amalaki is that it heightens digestion, yet is not heating. That's why
it's traditionally considered one of the best herbs for balancing
stomach acid. By enhancing digestion, it helps eliminate toxins from the
body. It also does this by strengthening and stimulating the liver.
Amalaki also helps elimination and helps relieve constipation, so you
can see why Triphala also has that quality.
Amalaki is an excellent source of Vitamin C, and is the most
concentrated and absorbable source of the vitamin in the plant kingdom.
It also contains other absorbable minerals that nourish the skin, the
blood and the whole body. Because of its high content of Vitamin C,
Amalaki is a powerful antioxidant.
Bibhitaki, the final ingredient in Triphala, is also famous in the
classical ayurvedic texts for its many good qualities.
Charaka reports that it is ideal for pacifying both Pitta and Kapha, and
that it cleanses the nutritive fluid (Rasa Dhatu), the blood, the muscle
and the fat tissue.
Sushruta points out the bhedana effect of this fruit, which means that
because of its heating quality it clears the clogged channels almost as
if drilling them clear.
So now you can see why Triphala is so powerful: it's because the three
fruits that make up the formula have remarkable abilities to cleanse
impurities, tone the digestive tract, nurture the body and restore
There are many brands of Triphala available in the market. Vaidya Rama
Kant Mishra, Director of Research and Development at Maharishi Ayurveda,
recommends that you look for top quality Triphala. Settling for
second-best can mean you do not derive the full range of benefits this
amazing formula has to offer.
At Maharishi Ayurveda, we are committed to only using the highest
quality ingredients, and to upholding the authenticity of the ayurvedic
tradition no matter what the cost. One example of this: the Haritaki
fruit comes in seven different varieties. While all are beneficial, the
Vijaya variety is mentioned by all the great ayurvedic seers as best
variety to use, which in itself is rare, as not many fruits and herbs
are universally acclaimed by all the seers.
Vijaya is the only variety that is used in Maharishi Ayurveda's Triphala,
because it is, quite simply, the best. But while it is the best, Vijaya
is also the most rare. This scarcity makes it more expensive; in fact it
is ten times the price of other varieties of Haritaki.
We use fruits that are grown without pesticides, chemical fertilizers or
exposure to environmental pollutants, and harvest the fruits only at
their peak, when they are ripe on the tree.
Once the fruits are collected, at the processing factory they are sorted
and tested to make sure the batch is of the right degree of ripeness and
the proper quality. The fruits are washed and cleansed of traces of jute
(jute bags are used to collect the fruit), dirt and dust. They are
tested for foreign material, heavy metals and for bacteria before,
during and after processing. The processing methods we use do not
destroy the natural properties of the fruits.
Diet and lifestyle tips to maximize benefits
Here are some tips that will help your body maximize the benefits from
It's important to avoid building up toxins in your body in the first
place. Avoid foods that include chemical preservatives, emulsifiers and
additives of any kind. Also try to avoid foods that are grown with
pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Eat fresh, organic, well-cooked
foods whenever possible.
Avoid eating packaged, frozen, canned, "fast" or leftover
foods, as these dead foods are hard to digest and create toxins when the
body can't digest them properly.
Avoid ice-cold drinks, as they reduce the digestive fire. Drink plenty
of warm water throughout the day to help flush out toxins. Eat sweet,
juicy fruits daily if possible, as these help cleanse the rasa (nutrient
fluid) and the bowels.
Go to bed by 10 p.m. so your body can rest during its natural
purification period from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Eat your main meal at midday, when your digestive fire is high. Eat
lighter at breakfast and supper, when your digestion is not as strong.
Save the harder-to-digest foods such as yogurt, meats (if you're not
vegetarian), and potatoes for the noon meal.
Eat your meals at the same times each day. Eat only when you're hungry,
and wait a full 3 hours after a main meal before snacking. This will
allow the food to digest properly. Take your time when you eat, and be
sure to chew your food. Don't try to watch TV, read or work while you're
eating, as that will only be a recipe for indigestion. Savor the
flavors, enjoy the colors, aromas and textures of your food. Light,
pleasant conversation with people you love is best for digestion. Avoid
intense conversations or emotional topics while eating.
Eat only until you are 3/4 full. Usually it takes a few minutes for the
brain to register that you're full, so if you eat until you're stuffed,
you're probably going to feel uncomfortable a while later. Also, the
digestive system needs some space to operate in, so stuffing yourself to
the maximum will actually inhibit digestion. Allow five minutes to sit
after the meal is finished to get your digestion off to the right start.
When you drink milk, boil it first with fresh ginger or cardamom pod, or
add a pinch each of the ground ginger and cardamom spices. Let the milk
cool to the temperature you like and then drink it. This is the
ayurvedic way to make milk more digestible and to avoid the build-up of
mucus. Avoid combining milk with salty foods, fish, and foods of mixed
taste. It digests well when you drink it alone between meals, or with
other sweet tastes such as cereal, desserts, or toast.
Note -- This ayurvedic info is educational, and is not intended to
replace standard medical treatment or advice.