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February 13, 2008


Triphla, again with many spellings, is another of the most common formulas in Ayurvedic medicine. So much emphasis is placed on digestion and so what comes in must come out. And triphla is one of the safest ways of ensuring that it does indeed come out.

It is cleansing as well as being a rasayana, normalising the doshic processes in the body to improve digestion and absorption, and in turn strengthening the deeper tissues. It is tridoshic and nutritive, as well as expelling ama. Most laxatives, which are pungent, aggravate pita, often the cause of constipation in the first place. Triphla will keep all doshas in check, and in combination with an anti-ama diet over a period of time can result in excellent cleansing and rejuvination. It can also be taken as a preventative measure and is non habit forming so can be used safely long term.

Triphla means three fruits, and strangely enough it is made of three fruits. Amla (one of Ayurveda's most sacred foods), haritaki, and bibhitaki. But don't expect some fruits of the forest cough syrup flavour. Triphla tastes absolutely revolting. There's no denying it. And whilst you can mask it, by taking it in tablet form, I am a purist. Taste is the tongues way of preparing the stomach for what's coming. If you can stand the taste your body will know better what to do with the medicine.

Whils most doctors recomend a dosage of between half and two teaspoons, my experience is that less is more. Triphla is regulating, more will treat constipation and less will treat diarrhea. I take a pinch mixed in warm water at night last thing before going to bed. I take it on nights when I know I have eaten badly that day, or if I have an early start the next morning which will disrupt my regular routine. Take the right amount so that you go to the toilet normally upon waking.


Nags said...

its really amazing to see someone like you interested in traditional ayurveda concepts :) i am from kottayam in kerala where ayurveda is practised extensively!

Julia said...

Yes, there aren't many people who have heard of Ayurveda here, but those who have are often really passionate about it. I wish I could live where it is practiced extensively! Does it impact upon your daily lives? Like using spices as home remedies?

Happy cook said...

My mom back at home used to use a lot of aurvedic medicnes.
And i second what Nags is saying.

Alpa said...

that's such an informative post! i agree, it is quite difficult to find authentic sources to educate yourself as well as a lack of regular practitioners to learn from.

vimmi said...

Having quick fixes like allopathy have had a bad effect on the natural remedies like homeopathy and ayurveda.

A-kay said...

Have been a silent reader of your blog for sometime. As Nags said, it is really intriguing to me when I see you practicing Ayurveda in your everyday life.

I have blogrolled you, hope you don't mind.

Red Chillies said...

Ah! For once I thought you were referring to the spice called 'Tepal' and only after reading the details, I knew you meant somethin else.
I have been a huge fan of Deepak Chopra and his books and your thoughts remind me of his books.

Julia said...

Yes Deepak Chopra is often credited with bringing Ayurveda to the West. Kurma Das is another favourite of mine ( whilst not strictly Ayurvedic, he has some great recipes.

As for allopathic medicine, Doctors here won't even acknowledge Ayurveda. I suspect they feel threatened by it!

Anonymous said...


I am a pregnant lady living in USA and having severe constipation. Can I use this triphala?? Or any limitations??



Julia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia said...

Ooh...that's a tricky one. Out of respect for the power of Ayurveda I would have to say no. I do not know of any contra-indications (except dysentry), but I know Ayurvedic medicine to be as strong as any modern drugs. Always with pregnancy it is better safe than sorry.

I posted a bit about constipation here:

Constipation during pregancy is very common as it affects Upana, a sub dosha of Vata moving from the bellybutton down. This channel of air is responsible for pooing as well as delivering your child. It is a very important and sensitive sub dosha. Understanding and healing the root of your constipation will aid the delivery of your baby too.

I'm sorry I can not help you more.

Purvi said...

wonderful blog Julia. I was so amazed to see this one! Regarding Triphla during pregnancy, I am no expert, but took it on my mom's advice very regularly. She said having a clean stomach will ensure easy labour (dunno why but I tend to believe what she says because sometimes even though she has no logic, but her theories are always backed by Ayurvedic concepts whenever I get to learn/know about it)

Again during pregnancy, the last few months were strictly simple, nutritious food - sprouts, khichdi, daal soup, less oil/more ghee in regular cooking etc

Wonderful blog again Julia, I am going to frequent it more often!

Julia said...

Purva, I suspect you are absolutely right, and that triphla is safe during pregancy.

But alas, I can't find any reputable source to prove it. I'm always a bit worried about making Ayurvedic recommendations in case someone takes it to the extreme and gives Ayurveda a bad name. Maybe I shouldn't be so paranoid.

And yes, a clean intestine is certainly good for labour (and everything else!), due to Upana Vata.

Spillay said...

Hi Julia. I think I need this.. :) Where can I get it in Melbourne?

Julia said...

Try Dr George at Trinity Health. He is very skilled and might even offer you something more tailored to your needs.