Triphala has been used in traditional Siddha medicine since ancient times as a multi-purpose treatment for symptoms ranging from stomach ailments to dental cavities. It is also believed to promote longevity and overall health.
It’s considered a polyherbal medicine, meaning it consists of several different medicinal herbs.
Polyherbal formulations are popularly used in Siddha medicine, a traditional system that emphasizes disease prevention and health promotion.
It’s believed that combining synergistic herbs results in extra therapeutic effectiveness and is a more powerful treatment than anyone component taken alone.
Triphala is a mixture of the dried fruits of the following three plants native to India.
Amla (Emblica Officinalis)
More commonly known as Indian gooseberry, amla plays an important role in Siddha medicine. It is one of the oldest edible fruits known to India.
Indian gooseberries are the edible fruit of a small to medium-sized tree that grows throughout India.
The berries have a sour, sharp taste and a fibrous texture. For this reason, the berries are often pickled, soaked in sugar syrup, or cooked into dishes to increase palatability.
Indian gooseberry and its extract are used in Siddha medicine to treat symptoms like constipation and also used in cancer prevention. Indian gooseberries are very nutritious and high in vitamin C, amino acids, and minerals.
They also contain powerful plant compounds like phenols, tannins, phyllembelic acid, rutin, curcuminoids, and emblicol. Several test-tube studies suggest that Indian gooseberries have potent anti-cancer properties.
For example, in test-tube studies, Indian gooseberry extract has been shown to inhibit the growth of cervical and ovarian cancer cells.
Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica)
Terminalia bellirica is a large tree that commonly grows in Southeast Asia.
It’s known as “Bibhitaki” in Siddha medicine, where the fruit of the tree is used as a treatment for common ailments like bacterial and viral infections.
Bibhitaki contains tannins, ellagic acid, gallic acid, lignans, and flavones, along with many other powerful plant compounds that are thought to be responsible for its medicinal qualities. This potent herbal remedy has a variety of uses and may help treat a wide array of medical issues.
In particular, Bibhitaki has been researched for its anti-inflammatory properties.
In one study, 500 mg of Terminalia bellirica substantially reduced uric acid levels in patients with gout, an inflammatory condition characterized by the buildup of uric acid in the body.
Bibhitaki is also commonly used in Siddha medicine to treat diabetes and blood sugar dysregulation.
This is because Bibhitaki is high in gallic acid and ellagic acid, two phytochemicals that have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, and body weight.
These plant chemicals help promote insulin secretion from the pancreas and have been shown to reduce high blood sugar and improve insulin resistance in animal studies.
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)
Terminalia chebula is a medicinal tree that grows throughout the Middle East, India, China, and Thailand.
This plant is known as “Haritaki” in Siddha, where the small, green fruit of the Terminalia chebula tree is used as medicine. It is one of the main components of Triphala. Haritaki is held in high esteem in Ayurveda and often referred to as the “king of medicines.”
It has been used since ancient times as a remedy for a number of conditions, including heart disease, asthma, ulcers, and stomach ailments.
Haritaki contains phytochemicals such as terpenes, polyphenols, anthocyanins, and flavonoids, all of which have powerful health benefits.
Studies have shown that haritaki has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Additionally, Haritaki is popularly used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat digestive issues like constipation.
Animal studies have shown that treatment with Haritaki increases intestinal transit time, which can help relieve constipation.