You may have discovered this herbal supplement while searching for natural remedies for constipation or to promote regularity. Constipation affects one in every seven adults and up to one in every three children in the United Kingdom, according to the NHS. So, exactly is Triphala and what are Triphala’ s benefits?

What is Triphala?

A little more about this Ayurvedic herb or ‘churna’ as it is referred to in Ayurvedic terms. Triphala is a Sanskrit word that means "three fruits”. 'Tri' means 'three' and 'phala' means 'fruits'. This herbal preparation was traditionally made by Ayurvedic practitioners by combining these three nutrient-rich fruits in a delicate ratio. These Triphala ingredients are blended to form a 'churna,' which means a treatment blend. The three incredible fruits are - Amalaki or Amla, also known as the Indian gooseberry, which is high in vitamin C. Haritaki, also known as the 'King of Herbs' which is enormously beneficial in improving the digestive functions of the body. Last but not least, Bibhitaki, which has detoxifying and purifying properties while also strengthening our bodies' natural defences against potential diseases.

triphala  3 fruits

Looking at constipation from an Ayurvedic perspective should help you understand what's going on inside your body that creates this condition. Constipation is classified as a ‘vatic’ disorder in Ayurveda, and if you know your doshas, you will know Vata means wind/air. It is Vata that regulates movement and elimination within the body. As a result, anything that aggravates this dosha, such as stress, tension, travel, dehydration, cold wind, exhaustion, or dry, cold or rough foods, can aggravate your constipation. Which is why Triphala is often used and recommended for constipation issues.

So here are some Triphala health benefits...

Triphala benefits for constipation

Triphala is best known for its traditional use as a gentle bowel tonic, aiding digestion and promoting regular bowel movements. The combination of the three fruits has a synergistic effect that benefits a variety of other systems. In Ayurvedic terms, Triphala is said to benefit all three doshas, vata, pitta, and kapha, when consumed in moderation. It is best known to improve bowel movement and cleanse toxic waste build up. Most diseases in the human body, according to both Western medicine and Ayurveda, begin in the gut. A key component of the Vata is located in the colon, where Triphala is most active and emphasises the important role it plays in helping constipation. As a result, Triphala has very important and beneficial effects on health for promoting digestion, elimination, and rejuvenation. It is these Triphala health benefits that have propelled this herb to popularity in the West.

Triphala benefits for digestive support

The bitter taste of Triphala powder stimulates the production of natural digestive juices and bile, which is a natural body requirement for a healthy digestive system. When taken before bed, the taste that you experience may vary from day to day. From a bitter and earthy taste to a sweeter or astringent taste – theoretically, whichever taste you taste is exactly what your body's environment, and thus your diet, is lacking. Triphala’ s flavour is rarely sweet, and when it is, ayurvedic principles dictate that it is no longer required. Triphala helps rekindle the digestive fire (deepana) and improve digestion (pachana), allowing you to get the most nutrition from their dietary intake. 

Triphala benefits for regularity

Maintaining a healthy digestive system is important to ensure we are properly opening our bowels daily to clear and remove waste from the body. Stools are simply the body’s way of getting rid of waste, thus preventing said waste re-entering the body systems which can contribute to symptoms manifesting in other ways – including, but not limited to brain fog, acne & skin complaints, and bloating. The primary exit pathway for waste in your body is elimination and a significant part of the waste is formed up of toxins including pesticides, drugs, chemicals, plastics, heavy metals, and excess oestrogen - poo is not just undigested food! The bowels can be thought of as perhaps the most important element of the body’s detoxification process and Triphala is good for maintaining the motility, and at the same time balancing the doshas.

Triphala for detoxification

Triphala is said to help those with stagnant digestion and Ama build-up. Ama is the general term for toxins in Ayurveda, and toxic by-product of improperly digested food. It clogs the body's subtle channels, disrupts digestion, and attracts localised Dosha imbalances that can lead to disease. Triphala is widely regarded as the best remedy for removing toxic Ama from the body, and it is frequently combined with Ayurvedic cleansing diets. Triphala slowly but effectively removes Ama - it acts as a mild laxative during the process, but unlike most laxatives, it is safe to take on a regular basis for long periods of time. This is due to the fact that it moves slowly and gently. It cleanses gradually so that your body's balance is not jeopardised. It gradually helps to remove even the most deeply embedded and prolonged toxic Ama over time.

How to take Triphala for constipation

Triphala powder is best taken in the evening before bed as a powdered drink to benefit from the three fruits' potent bitter taste. When using a capsulated Triphala, open the capsule and pour the Triphala powder into warm water. If the taste is too bitter, try adding a dash of honey to sweeten or some freshly grated ginger, both of which will soothe and relieve bloating.

Triphala for constipation

What are the side Effects of Triphala?
Triphala is a detoxifying formula or ‘churna’ that is completely natural. However, Triphala side effects include the possibility that toxins may be released from deeper tissues and enter the bloodstream as part of the cleansing process on their way out of the body. When a large number of toxins are released at once, some people may experience a headache, rash, or nausea, in addition to gas, upset stomach, and diarrhoea. As a natural remedy, this is easily avoided by ensuring that the supplement is used in an appropriate way, following the correct directions. If there is an occasion where the side effects do happen, cease use of Triphala and allow your body to naturally reset and return to normal. As always, severe pain or the appearance of blood or mucus in the stool should be investigated by a medical professional.

Can children take Triphala?
Many people wonder if Triphala can be given to children. Because of the potent power of Triphala, and taking into account that young children have delicate systems, this can be a little trickier. Always check with an Ayurvedic practitioner to be sure of the best dosage. Traditionally children were administered Triphala powder mixed with honey and generally for children between 5 to 10, half a teaspoon is normally advised for a healthy child. However, if the child has any other health concerns or is under medications always check with a qualified expert. 

What makes a good quality Triphala powder?
The fresher the herb, according to Ayurveda, the more 'prana' or life force it contains, and thus the more effective it is. Herbs were freshly ground as needed for treatment, using a traditional pestle and mortar and using the correct proportion of the three fruits, Amla, Haritaki, and Bibhitaki. This fresh Triphala churna was then mixed with honey or ghee. That is one of the reasons why, in our London Workshop, we freshly grind all of our own herbs and encapsulate them within 3 days to maintain freshness and 'prana'.

Lastly, to see the most benefit from any herbal supplements you take, it's extremely important to understand your dosha in Ayurveda. Although the doshas are believed to be determined at the time of conception, they can also be altered though different life stages, diet, lifestyle, or external factors. It is important to identify which dosha is more predominant to keep them in balance, as this will enable us to better understand our strengths to improve our wellbeing. Certain foods, herbal medicines or lifestyle practices will favour you more depending on if you are Pitta, Vata or Kapha. On the contrary, not knowing this may lead to choosing the wrong foods, spices, herbs, or activities, and this can result in creating more imbalance of the delicate dosha system and aggravate the body in the form of intolerances, or bad reactions. Ultimately a long term dosha imbalance can cause disease. To find out your dosha, take our Dosha Quiz.