Triphala is an herbal preparation used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is a combination of three plants that are native to India:
- Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis)
- black myrobalan (Terminalia chebula)
- belleric myrobalan (Terminalia bellirica)
In Ayurvedic medicine, the body has three types of energy, or doshas. Practitioners believe that healing and balancing the three doshas can help a person achieve optimal health. Some believe that the ingredients in triphala support all three doshas.
According to the Ayurvedic tradition, Triphala has the properties to treat an almost encyclopedic range of health conditions. Some of this is attributed to Triphala’s laxative effect, which proponents suggest can “cleanse the system.” Depending on how much is prescribed, Triphala may be used as bowel tonic at lower doses, alleviating gas and promoting digestion, or a purgative (strong laxative) at higher doses.
Beyond its effect on the gastrointestinal tract, Triphala is believed to relieve stress, control diabetes, promote weight loss, reduce cholesterol, alleviate inflammation, and treat a variety of bacterial and fungal infections.
To date, there are few studies that strongly support these claims, often because the studies are small or poorly designed. With that being said, there have been some promising findings in recent years that warrant further investigation.