Triphala is one of the most prescribed Ayurveda formulations across the world. In Ayurveda, it is considered as a panacea for various digestive system related disorders. In the previous post, we have discussed about the benefits of Amla (Indian gooseberry) for Psoriasis. Triphala contains amla (amalaki) along with two other fruits, haritaki and bibhitaki, in equal proportions. The dried powder of these three fruits is mixed to prepare an herbal formulation called as triphala powder (churna). In ancient Ayurveda text manuals, triphala is acknowledged as a digestive aid that regulates bowel movements, eliminates ama (body toxins) and reduces inflammation. Psoriasis healing starts with body detoxification, hence, it becomes quite obvious to discuss various benefits of triphala for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis along with the research evidences.
Triphala- The most versatile Ayurveda formulation
Triphala is a Sanskrit word.
Triphala = Tri + Phala
Tri means three
Phala means fruits
Hence, triphala is nothing but a mixture of three fruits- amalaki, haritaki and bibhitaki- in equal proportions.
- For triphala powder (churna), the dried powder of these three fruits is mixed in equal amounts.
- Triphala juice is prepared by extracting juice from fresh fruits and mixing them in equal proportion.
- In case of triphala capsules or tablets, the extracts of these three fruits are mixed together.
Amalaki is also known as amla, Indian gooseberry and Emblica officinalis. It is certainly the richest natural food source of vitamin C. It contains more than 10 times vitamin C than oranges. Vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant and humans don’t synthesize it. Hence, we need to rely on external dietary sources to get enough of this essential vitamin.
Amla is the principle ingredient of chyavanprash, an herbal nutritive jam which is referred as “elixir of life” in Ayurveda as it nourishes every cell and tissue of the human body.
There are research studies to prove the anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, anti-diabetic, liver protective and body detoxifying properties of this cooling, refreshing fruit.
Amla is beneficial in balancing the pitta dosha.
Read more: Amla juice for Psoriasis
Haritaki is also known as harad and Terminalia chebula. It has laxative, purgative, antioxidant and astringent properties. It is particularly beneficial for the gastro-intestinal tract- promotes digestion, reduces hyperacidity, protects against stomach ulcer, reduces bowel inflammation and removes toxins from the intestines.
Haritaki is particularly effective for balancing of vata dosha.
It is also known as baheda and Terminalia bellirica. Bibhitaki is derived from the Sanskrit word “vibheet” which means lack of fear. Hence, according to Ayurveda, Bibhitaki is a fruit that takes away the fear of disease. This statement itself explains the amazing health benefits of this medicinal fruit.
According to Charak Samhita, a classic text manual on Ayurveda, Bibhitaki has anti-viral properties, relieves fever and used in purgation therapy.
Bibhitaki is effective in pacifying the aggravated kapha dosha by cleansing off excess mucus from the intestinal tract. It is particularly beneficial for all respiratory tract related disorders like asthma, bronchitis, allergies and cough and cold.
Good to know– Here, we can see that each fruit in triphala balances one of the three doshas and hence, triphala, being the combination of these three fruits, balance all the three doshas to promote health and vitality.
Triphala health benefits- Research studies
- A research study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nov-Dec 2011, Vol 73, observed the protective action of triphala against stomach ulcer.
- A review published in the journal- Cancer Letters, Jan 2006, Vol 231, discussed the anti-cancer potential of triphala. It states that high antioxidant and polyphenol content in triphala makes it a promising natural supplement to suppress the growth of cancer cells and even promote the programmed death of cancer cells.
- Triphala mouthwash helped reduce the growth of tobacco induced pre-cancerous mouth lesions in Indian teenagers as published in the health journal- Ayu, Apr 2014, Vol 35.
- Another study published in the health journal- Ayu, July-Sep 2014, Vol 35, suggested the considerable and reliable effect of triphala in reducing colitis in rats.
Triphala for Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disorder; the faulty immune system triggers uncontrolled growth of skin cells resulting in thick psoriasis lesions on various parts of the body. These lesions are red in color often covered with silvery white layers. The severe skin dryness, inflammation and itching further worsen the complications. In 15-25% cases, people dealing with psoriasis further develops psoriatic arthritis- inflammation, pain and stiffness in joints.
Now, the million dollar question is- what makes the immune system so much angry and uncontrolled?
Well, just like any other autoimmune disease, the modern medical world is still clueless about the exact cause. However, the long list of probables includes:
- Faulty genes (hereditary)
- Chronic stress and anxiety
- Poor gut (gastrointestinal tract) health- Chronic constipation, indigestion, lack of healthy microbes in the gut
- Nutritional deficiency
- Unhealthy diet
- Poor lifestyle
- Over-consumption of alcohol
- Long term intake of antibiotics and steroids
- Infections such as strep throat
- Skin injuries
When it comes to holistic (natural) healing approach, Psoriasis is directly linked to compromised gut health and leaky gut is considered as the root of the problem. Any 2 or more of the above stated causes club together to cause leaky gut syndrome, which in turn wreak havoc on your immune system to trigger an autoimmune response in the form of psoriasis.
Leaky gut simply refers to leakage in the gut walls. The gut (gastrointestinal tract) is a long, hollow tube that starts at the mouth and terminates at the anus. So, leakage in the walls of this long tube, particularly in the small intestine, is known as leaky gut. The digestion of food and absorption of food nutrients in the bloodstream- both these steps take place in the small intestine. What if the walls (linings) of small intestine get damaged, thin and porous enough to allow the seepage of toxins (undigested food particles, unhealthy microbes, heavy metals and pesticides) into the blood stream? Yes, you are right- this is leaky gut! In ideal scenario, these toxins should be expelled out of your body through natural channels of elimination that includes bowel movements, urination, sweating and breathing out. But, in case of leaky gut, they make their way into the blood stream which is completely undesirable.
When these toxins enter the blood stream and circulate through the body, your immune system falsely identifies them as harmful invaders and overreacts to trigger an autoimmune response.
So, to reverse this situation, we need to get rid of these accumulated body toxins and then, repair the gut walls and strengthen the digestive system to avoid any further pile up of toxins.
How to do that? A healthy diet, positive lifestyle, consumption of dietary supplements and powerful body detoxifying herbs and stress management techniques make the healing protocol.
How triphala is going to help here? Fortified with rich antioxidant and polyphenol content, triphala regulates bowel movements, accelerates body detox, heals the gut walls, relieves inflammation and aids in digestion.
How Triphala helps in holistic healing of Psoriasis
A research study published in the journal- Phytotherapy Research, Aug 2009, Vol 23, observed the protective effect of triphala in methotrexate induced leaky gut in rats.
Let us discuss some of the most prominent benefits of triphala in holistic healing of psoriasis:
- Relieves constipation– Triphala is the number one remedy in Ayurveda for constipation. All the three ingredients of triphala possess laxative properties. Irrespective of your body type- vata, pitta or kapha- triphala would help normalize your bowel movements. Unlike the other over-the-counter laxatives available in the market, triphala is neither addictive in nature nor it irritates the bowel. It is simply a bowel toner that strengthens the intestinal muscles to stimulate peristalsis (contraction and relaxation of muscles of the intestinal wall) to facilitate bowel movements. It doesn’t disturb the natural balance of intestinal mucus even if used regularly and hence, it will never become ineffective. Otherwise, most of the commercially available laxatives become less and less effective with use and you always need to increase their dosage to get the same effect and eventually, they become almost useless.
- Aids in Digestion– The digestion process begins with taste and triphala contains five out of the six tastes- sweet, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent- as recognized in Ayurveda. It only lacks the salty taste. Hence, triphala supports digestion in a natural way by awakening the digestive fire. It improves the appetite also.
- Improves Liver health– Liver is the chief eliminatory organ of human body. It filters the blood and expels toxins from the body in the form of stool via colon. Accumulation of toxins over a period of time overburdened the liver to eventually impair it. Triphala regulates liver enzymes, fat in the liver and cellular health in the liver. It boosts bile flow to relieve liver congestion and supports optimum liver functioning. Apart from liver detox, optimum bile flow ensures healthy level of friendly microbes in the intestine to promote digestion and regular bowel movements.
- Optimum absorption of food nutrients– Poor gut health, as in case of psoriasis, obviously lead to nutritional deficiency. Triphala can help here by supporting optimum absorption of food nutrients. Every time we eat food, our gastrointestinal tract produces a certain amount of mucus that lubricates the food particles to aid in digestion. In case of poor elimination aka constipation, this digestive mucus can build up on the intestinal linings (walls) to clog the villi.
Villi are small hair like projections of tissues that help the seepage of food nutrients from small intestine into the blood stream.
The clogged villi would hinder the optimum nutrition of food nutrients. Triphala contains bibhitaki which helps to pull off the excess mucus from villi to complete the digestion process.
Apart from that, triphala itself is a rich source of vitamin C and linoleic acid (a type of omega 3 fatty acids).
- Body detox– Body detoxification is the first step towards psoriasis healing. Triphala helps in regular bowel movements and liver detox to cleanse and detoxify the body tissues deeply without depleting the body’s natural reserves of electrolytes and minerals.
- Weight loss– Getting rid of excess body weight helps relieve psoriasis symptoms. It is pretty obvious to discuss the weight management benefits of triphala as it is highly effective in encouraging regular bowel movements and improving liver functioning. In short, it accelerates the body metabolism.
A case study published in the DARU journal of pharmaceutical sciences, Sep 2012, Vol 20, discussed the weight management properties of triphala. Obese men and women in the age range 16 to 60 years were administered 5 grams triphala powder twice a day for a period of 12 weeks. It resulted in significant reduction in body weight, body mass index and hip and waist circumferences as compared to placebo.
- Reduces inflammation (Anti-arthritis)– Thanks to the high antioxidant and polyphenol content, triphala is an excellent anti-inflammatory formulation. It is widely prescribed by the Ayurveda doctors to relieve symptoms of inflammatory joint problems like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and gout.
A research study published in the Pharmaceutical Biology, Jan 2015, Vol 53 observed the promising anti-arthritic properties of triphala in arthritis induced rats.
How to consume
Being a mild laxative and digestive tonic, triphala is best taken at night after the meals, about 1 to 2 hours after the dinner.
Due to its laxative effect, you may experience loose stools during initial few days of consumption. Nothing to worry! In most of the cases, such mild diarrhea symptoms would fade away with time. However, if the symptoms persist, then simply reduce the dosage and gradually increase the dosage to the optimum level over a period of time.
Similarly, you may experience increased intestinal gas and bloating during initial few days of consumption as triphala is cleansing your digestive tract. It’s quite natural and beneficial actually. Don’t bother about it and continue with your daily dose.
Due to its non-addictive nature, triphala can be consumed on a daily basis for a long time. However, it is recommended to take a break of 2 weeks after every 2 months and then you restart again. It would give your body a rest and maintain the effectiveness of this Ayurveda formulation.
Triphala can be consumed in many ways- powder, juice, capsules and tablets.
- Triphala powder– Optimum dosage is 4 to 8 grams (1 to 2 teaspoons) per day. Take it with a glass of plain water, preferably warm water.
- Triphala juice– Optimum dosage is 30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tablespoons) per day. Mix it with equal amounts of water and drink it. Do remember to rinse your mouth well with plain water after drinking the juice.
- Triphala capsules (or tablets)– Optimum dosage is 1500-2000 mg per day. Consume the capsules with a glass of plain water.
Generally, a smaller dose provides gradual blood purification effect and a larger dose provides laxative effect.
For more info, refer to the instructions provided on the packaging.
In general, triphala is safe to consume for people of all ages. However, self medication is strongly discouraged in below cases:
- Kids (age up to 12 years)
- Pregnant ladies
- Breastfeeding women
- People with serious health issues
- People taking blood thinning medications
- People suffering from diarrhea, dysentery and diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome
From where to buy
Always buy organic, pure triphala prepared from organically grown amalaki, haritaki and bibhitaki fruits. Buy from an herbal store near to you or check below Amazon links:
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