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Triphala (''three fruits''), an herb originating in India, has been found to act as a complete body cleanser. Not only does Triphala help to detoxify and cleanse the colon, it also purifies the blood and removes toxins from the liver, improving liver function. Other cleansing benefits of Triphala include reducing some forms of cholesterol (serum cholesterol), and reduces high blood pressure. It is the most popular Ayurvedic herbal formula of India, since it is an effective laxative that also supports the body's strength. (Ayurveda roughly translates to ''knowledge of a long life'').
It is no mystery why Triphala is considered a panacea. It has proven anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties and a cardio-protective effect. It is also used to promote appetite and digestion, increase the number of red blood cells, and aid in the removal of undesirable fat in the body. It can also help maintain normal blood sugar levels, as well as improve skin tone and color. The herb also has a high nutritional value, including high levels of Vitamin C, which allows the herb to uniquely cleanse and detoxify at the deepest organic levels without depleting the body's reserves.
In fact, the benefits of this herb are so well known in India, that there is a popular folk saying that says: ''No mother? Do not worry so long as you have Triphala.'' This illustrates the belief that many people have that Triphala is able to care for the internal organs of the body as a mother cares for her children. Each of the three herbal fruits--Harada, Amla, and Bihara--in Triphala takes care of the body by gently promoting internal cleansing of all conditions of stagnation and excess while simultaneously improving digestion and assimilation. It is the combining of these fruits, meshing their very unique properties, that makes Triphala so effective.
Harada, having a bitter flavor, is associated with the air and space elements. It treats imbalances and diseases of the vata humour. Harada possesses laxative, astringent, lubricant, anti-parasitical, alterative, antispasmodic and nervine properties. It is therefore used to treat acute and chronic constipation, nervousness, anxiety and feelings of physical heaviness.
Among Tibetans, Harada is so highly revered for its purifying attributes that it is the small fruit that is depicted in the hands of the ''medicine Buddha'' in their sacred paintings, or tankas. Of the three fruits, Harada is the most laxative and contains anthroquinones similar to those found in rhubarb and cascara.
Amla is the highest natural known source of Vitamin C, having 20 times the amount that an orange has. It has a sour taste and is considered good for inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
Bihara is astringent, tonic, digestive and anti-spasmodic. It corresponds to the earth and water elements in Ayurvedic medicine. Specifically Bihara purifies and balances excess mucus, treats asthma, bronchiole conditions, allergies and hiccoughs.
Future Applications of Triphala
Recent medical research conducted by several leading academic institutions in India, such as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has revealed that Triphala has a significant medicinal value as a potential detoxifying and anti-Cancer agent.
Scientists at the Radiation Biology and Health Sciences Division, BARC, found that Triphala had the ability to induce cytotoxicity (cell death) in tumor cells but spared the normal cells.
Researchers at JNU noted that Triphala was effective in reducing tumor incidences and increasing the antioxidant status of animals. It has even been found useful for treatment against noise and stress induced conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Triphala
How does Triphala cleanse the bowels and colon?
Triphala combines the properties of both a purgative laxative and a lubricating bulk laxative. It has both nutritional as well as blood and liver cleansing actions. It possesses some bitter anthroquinones that help stimulate bile flow and peristalsis. The nutritional aspect is partly in the form of its bioflavonoids, high vitamin C content and the presence of linoleic oil, phospholipids and other important nutrients that it makes more of a tonic. Here is how the three fruit Myrobalans help in cleansing process:
The Emblic Myrobalan (Amla) is used to treat fire imbalances that include ulcers, inflammation of the stomach, intestines, constipation, diarrhea, liver congestion, eruptions, belching, gas infections and burning feelings throughout the body.
The Chebulic Myrobalan (Harada) possesses laxative, astringent, lubricant, anti-parasitical, alterative, antispasmodic and nervine properties. It is therefore used to treat acute and chronic constipation, nervousness, anxiety and feelings of physical heaviness.
The Beleric Myrobalan (Bihara) is tonic, digestive and anti-spasmodic. Its primary flavor is astringent and the secondary is sweet, bitter and pungent. It targets imbalances associated with the kapha or mucus humour, corresponding to the earth and water elements in Ayurvedic medicine
How is it different from the other natural laxatives available?
While other laxatives might be either purgative or lubricating, Triphala combines the best of both worlds. Other laxatives and colon formulas might be depleting while cleansing, Triphala is very mild in action, non-habit forming and a complete rejuvenative. A person taking Triphala regularly will feel pure, light and revitalized. Your body metabolism will be regularized and detoxified.
Triphala is an eye rejuvenator and a good treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Triphala is also widely taken for all eye diseases including the treatment of conjunctivitis, progressive myopia, the early stages of glaucoma and cataracts. For these conditions, it is taken daily both internally as described above, as well as externally as an eye wash. To make the eye wash, steep one tablespoonful of the powder, or six tablets, in an 8 ounce glass of water overnight. In the morning, strain the infusion through a clean cloth. The resultant tea is used to sprinkle over the eyes or used in an eye wash in an eyecup that can be readily purchased at most drug stores. One can drink the remainder in one or two doses, morning and evening. Taken in this way for at least three months, Triphala becomes an herbal eye tonic. The Haritaki present in Triphala contains eye rejuvenation properties.
In Irritable Bowel Syndrome, sometimes our dietary habits throw the digestive system out of gear. As a result the body excretes water in the stools. It is the body's mechanism for removing irritable and improperly digested products. Triphala is a gentle bowel tonic excellent for chronic constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, for clearing toxins from the bowel and balancing the doshas. It can be taken in powder or tablet form before retiring to bed.
What is the best dosage of Triphala for effective bowel movement?
Normal Dosage is 2 tablets of Triphala taken twice daily (With breakfast and just before bed). However, doses can be increased or adjusted depending on the bowel movements and the how long there has been constipation or bowel disorder. The maximum dosage suggested should not exceed 6 tablets thrice daily. As a result, it may take two or three days to regulate the dose that is best. After the constipative tendencies are removed, usually within 15 days of daily application, it will no longer cause loose bowels.