Triphala is one of the most popular formulations of Ayurveda, is a valuable means of prevention, purification and supportive treatment of various disorders and should not be missing in any Ayurveda medicine cabinet. In this article you will learn everything about the famous three-fruit mixture, which keeps the three dosha types Vata, Pitta and Kapha in balance like no other recipe.

This is what you will find out in the article:

Triphala and its components

The word “Triphala” is composed of the words “Tri” (three) and “Phala” (fruit). Triphala is thus a three-fruit mixture.

The three fruits from which Triphala is composed are:

Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)
Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica)
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)

There is a good reason for combining these three fruits. In their combination they have a balancing effect on all three dosha types Vata, Pitta and Kapha. But not only that: Triphala also acts on the main seats of the three doshas – the large intestine (Vata), the lower stomach and upper small intestine (Pitta) and the chest and upper stomach (Kapha). This combination of properties is exceptional and the reason why Triphala is one of the most popular Ayurvedic herbal blends.

Nahaufnahme der Indischen Stachelbeere (Phyllanthus emblica), auch Amla gebannt.
© iStock by Getty Images / natbits

Amalaki or Amla should already be known to you. The berry has a permanent place in every Ayurvedic medicine cabinet, because it is one of the most important Rasayanas of Ayurveda. Rasayana in Ayurveda is the science of promoting longevity, nowadays we would probably call it anti-aging. Food supplements that are Rasayanas are thus considered optimal herbs for maintaining health, have a strengthening and regenerating effect on the entire organism, and are used to reverse the effects of aging.

Therefore, regular consumption of the fruits promises a long and healthy life. Amalaki is one of the few plant species that has five of the six Ayurvedic flavors. Thanks to this property, the fruit has a balancing effect on all three doshas. Amalaki strengthens the appetite and digestive power (Agni) and invigorates the entire metabolism. It has a profoundly positive effect on skin, hair and nails, but also on all other body tissues, and is therefore considered the rejuvenating agent for body and mind in general. Most of these effects are attributed to its antioxidant properties, which are partly due to a high vitamin C content, but also to a large amount of tannin compounds. In the classical texts, it is recommended to take amalaki regularly. Internally, Amalaki can be consumed, for example, in the form of the herbal powder (Churna) or as Chyavanprash – the popular fruit puree, which has a particularly strengthening effect. But also for the beauty care Amalaki is suitable and is therefore a component of many Ayurveda natural cosmetics products. Amalaki has a particularly positive effect on Pitta Dosha.

Haritaki, the black-brown myrobalan, has a particularly positive influence on Vata Dosha and the large intestine and is therefore used, among other things, for Vata-related menstrual disorders and other disorders in the abdomen. It also supports the burning of Ama in the digestive tract. In higher doses the fruits have a laxative effect. Since Haritaki, just like Amalaki, combines five flavors, it has a very wide spectrum of effects. The fruit has tannins, polyphenols and bile acids, which supports its antioxidant and antibacterial effects.

The green myrobalan fruit Bibhitaki, unlike Amalaki and Bibhitaki, has only one flavor, tart. It reduces all three dosha types, but especially kapha. It is said to have a blood sugar-lowering, antimicrobial and liver-strengthening effect and is used Ayurvedically to strengthen the immune system and to support resistance to infectious diseases. But it is also a popular home remedy for coughs or sore throats.

Overall, Triphala contains vitamin C and polyphenols, among other ingredients, and has a balancing effect on all three dosha types.

Use of Triphala in Ayurveda

If you look at the properties of the individual components of Triphala, it quickly becomes clear why the combination of all of these results in such an outstandingly effective and famous herbal mixture.

Triphala is used in Ayurveda for a variety of disorders. Chief among these are:

  • Detox and digestive problems
  • Blood circulation disorders
  • Skin disorders
  • Eye problems
  • Urinary and reproductive tract disorders
  • General tonic and rejuvenator (Rasayana)

Triphala´s effect on digestion

As Amalaki is considered a deacidifier for Pitta disturbances in the stomach and Haritaki reduces Vata disturbances in the colon, Triphala has a general balancing effect on the digestive fire and all metabolic processes (Agni) and helps reduce toxins (Ama). It also promotes the growth of good bacteria in the intestines. It also has a gentle laxative effect. In contrast to many other preparations, no undesirable side effects occur in the correct dosage. For these reasons, Triphala is often used as part of an Ayurvedic detox cure at home. It is also used for obesity and as a supportive remedy for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion, flatulence, bloating and sluggish liver function.

Triphala´s effect on blood circulation

The triple fruit blend cleanses the body channels (srotas) and promotes the flexibility of our blood vessels. Triphala is also said to reduce high cholesterol levels in the blood and thus has a positive effect on heart health.

Triphala´s effect on the skin

Triphala is considered a famous rasayana and natural anti-aging agent for skin, hair and nails. It promotes the growth of these and the building of healthy tissues. Due to its detoxifying and Pitta-soothing effect, Triphala also relieves skin problems such as inflammation and helps reduce excessive oozing and itching due to its Kapha-reducing properties.

Man sieht ein Auge, die Pupille ist hell grün - grau.
© Dejan-Ristovski / Stocksy United

Effect of Triphala on the health of the eyes

Triphala also strengthens and cleanses the eyes. Triphala Ghee is particularly popular and is excellent both internally and externally to relieve red, tired and irritated eyes caused, for example, by excessive computer work.

Effect of Triphala on the urinary tract and reproductive system

Triphala rejuvenates all body tissues and thus has a positive effect on the reproductive tract. It gives vitality and strength and removes the underlying cause in sexual disorders. In addition, Triphala is also used as a supportive dietary supplement in diabetes mellitus.

Other areas of using Triphala

It is popularly used as an ingredient in oral care oils (Triphala Gandusha oral care oil) for morning oil pulling. Since the herbal mixture promotes wound healing, it can also be used in washes and baths for wounds. Triphala is also considered an adaptogen and thus promotes our ability to adapt to internal and external stressors. Overall, it can thus be said that Triphala is one of the most valuable Rasayana of Ayurveda.

Auf einem strukturierten Holztisch liegt ein offenes Glas mit Ghee. Davor liegt ein Messlöffel auf den Ghee gestrichen ist.
© marekuliasz / Thinkstock

Intake and dosage forms of Triphala

There are different dosage forms of the three-fruit mixture. Whether as powder (Churna), tablet (Vati), prepared in ghee or as Triphala Guggulu – there is a suitable preparation for every indication. Let your Ayurvedic therapist advise you on the choice and dosage.

Even though no undesirable side effects are known, Triphala should not be taken daily on a permanent basis. However, it is highly recommended to take a course of Triphala several times a year for several weeks and then pause the remedy again for a few weeks.

Even a small amount of the herbal mixture taken in the evening promotes nocturnal tissue metabolism and has a cleansing and nourishing effect on the entire organism. For short-term use, two to six grams are usually taken once or twice daily. For longer-term, multi-week use, two to three grams (1 tsp) in warm water before bedtime is recommended.

Stilleben von braunem Churna auf einem blauen Untergrund mit einem Holzlöffel

© Nataša Mandić / Stocksy

5 Recipes and Instructions – How to Use Triphala at Home

  • Cleansing scrub with Triphala: Mix 1 tsp Triphala powder with slightly warmed coconut oil to form a paste and apply to cleansed facial skin. Leave it on for 10 minutes. If you have sensitive skin, do not scrub the skin. Then you can rinse off the mask with cold water.
  • Triphala Tea: However, you can also prepare Triphala as a tea for regular consumption. For one cup, pour 1/2 tsp of the powder with hot water and let it steep for 15 minutes. When it has cooled slightly, you can stir in another 1/2 tsp of forest honey if needed.
  • Eye wash with Triphala: Boil 1/2 tsp in 1 cup of water for 2 minutes. Strain the liquid through a double-strained cloth several times until the liquid is completely clear. Then wash the eyes with it.
  • Triphala milk: Heat 1 cup of almond milk. Add 1/2 tsp of triphala powder (churna), some cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla powder, and maple syrup. Stir and enjoy.
  • Triphala hair conditioner: Boil 3 tsp of Triphala with 1 L of water for 15 minutes. Let the liquid cool until it is just slightly lukewarm. Bend your head over a sink and run the liquid over your scalp and hair. Massage the conditioner in, let it sit for 30 minutes, and then wash it out. If you have a dry scalp, you can add another 1-2 tsp of sesame oil.

Thanks to its countless beneficial properties, the herbal combination Triphala is considered the jack-of-all-trades of Ayurveda. It is among the most potent rasayanas and can be used in numerous therapeutic applications. In proper dosage and modification, Triphala is suitable for all doshas from young to old.

The herbs are not intended to cure or prevent disease. The effects described here refer only to Ayurvedic dynamic principles (doshas), their relation to the organs and have no equivalent in Western science. They serve exclusively as nutritional supplements to harmonize the body’s own balance in the sense of Ayurvedic dosha teachings.