This Ayurvedic treatment to improve digestion uses one herbal formula that you probably never heard of before. Introducing: Triphala.
In my quest for holistic alternatives I came across a well-known herbal compound used in Ayurvedic medicine, specifically as an Ayurvedic treatment to improve digestion. Most popular in powder form, Triphala piqued my curiosity after reading that it is commonly used as a natural laxative without the dependency. I’m all about keeping things moving along through our system because it’s so crucial to our overall health!
My New Go-To Ayurvedic Treatment To Improve Digestion: Triphala
What Is Triphala?
Triphala a blend of three botanical fruits that thrive naturally in India: amalaki, haritaki and bibhitaki. Considered as medicinal plants that are abundant in nutrients, these fruits each have unique properties and are used to balance and calm the Ayurvedic “doshas”. When combining these botanicals they make the powerful and versatile Triphala.
Amalaki is an Indian gooseberry and known to be a wonderful rejuvinator that’s been used for centuries. It’s packed with vitamin C and is also known to balance the pitta dosha specifically.
Bibhitaki is a cleansing fruit that works to detoxify the fatty tissues of the body as well as our muscles and blood. It is specifically useful for the kapha dosha.
Haritaki is a fruit that is calming to the Vata dosha and is believed to promote a healthy heart and brain. It’s also been a fruit that is featured in many Buddha depictions. This is the fruit that is believed to have the strongest colon detoxifying properties.
What Are the Benefits?
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that by utilizing the nutrient synergy that exists by combining these three fruits, Triphala acts as an anti-inflammatory, improves liver function, acts as an immune system booster, and is an ideal Ayurvedic treatment to improve digestion. Some go as far as touting it as a natural cancer treatment.
Digestive benefits: Triphala is primarily used as a natural laxative that doesn’t cause dependence on it, and it helps pull toxins from the digestive tract. Because it promotes healthy elimination, it may also assist our digestive tract to achieve optimal absorption of nutrients.
A way to balance our dietary needs: In Ayurveda, we need to experience all six tastes in order to achieve healthy digestion. These tastes are: Sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Folks who follow an Ayurvedic lifestyle consume a 1/2 teaspoon of triphala powder every night to uncover what type of taste (or type of food) they need to incorporate more into their diet. Since triphala has all six tastes, it is said that every time you consume the 1/2 tsp nightly, you will experience a different taste, indicating what you are missing from your daily diet. I found this information particularly fascinating, and definitely want to learn even more about using triphala as an intuitive guide for any sort of food deficiencies. This article on using triphala for balancing your digestion discusses this in more detail, and how our tastes are also connected to our mental and spiritual well-being. Super cool stuff!
Although more scientific support is needed, it’s been shown in preliminary research that the compounds contained in Triphala may help reduce cholesterol and improve lipid levels, improve digestion, regulate elimination, fight bacteria and improve the nervous system. As with many other holistic remedies, their use over hundreds of years passed down from generation to generation with positive results lead to their continual popularity and use.
How To Use Triphala:
Triphala comes in powder, tablet or liquid extract. Using powder form is less expensive than tablets but tablets are very popular for ease of use. It’s also important to purchase quality and from reputable sources. Those that praise its holistic value suggest that to reap all the benefits it should be organic and used on a regular basis.
Add To Your Juice or Smoothie: You can add Triphala into your daily juice or smoothie. Start out with 20 drops of the liquid extract (eventually you can add up to 30) or a half teaspoon of the powder form will do the trick.
Make a Tea: Add a half teaspoon of Triphala powder to a cup of hot water to make a tea. If your goal is to use this as an Ayurvedic treatment to improve digestion and gently maintain regularity, it’s suggested that you make it a habit of drinking the tea at least 30 minutes before bedtime preferably on an empty stomach.
For those that want to start out slow, I suggest using it topically:
Dry Massage: While in the shower take a handful of powder and massage the powder over your skin toward the heart. You can spend at least 15 to 30 minutes massaging your skin and then rinse off. The idea of a Triphala massage is to break up the “toxins” in your body. If you practice dry body brushing then you can certainly add this powder to your regimen.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant for diagnosis or treatment. It’s always advisable to consult your doctor or alternative practitioner before using alternative medicine or starting a new regimen. Do not experiment with new herbs or supplements without consulting your physician first.
Scientific Validation of Triphala: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23239004
The wonders of triphala: https://www.planetherbs.com/specific-herbs/the-wonders-of-triphala.html
Benefits of Triphala: http://www.md-health.com/Triphala.html
Triphala: Ayurvedic Formulation: http://globalresearchonline.net/journalcontents/v15-2/12.pdf
Cancer Care / Integrative Medicine: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/triphala