Triphala Fruit Blend [Amlaki (Emblica officinalis) Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) and Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellerica)]

Long used as a general health tonic in Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India), Triphala is now touted as a natural remedy for a variety of health conditions. A blend of three fruits, Triphala contains Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis), black myrobalan (Terminalia chebula), and belleric myrobalan (Terminalia belerica). In Sanskrit, the word Triphala translates to "three fruits."

In Ayurvedic medicine, Triphala is considered a tridoshic rasayana, meaning that it has the properties to support all three doshas (air/space, fire/water, and water/earth).1

These qualities are believed to enhance strength and immunity and may be applied to the treatment of numerous health conditions.

Triphala is available in powder, juice, tincture, extract, capsule, or tablet form and is increasingly found online and in many natural food and supplements stores.

Health Benefits
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.

Weight Loss
According to a 2012 study in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, animals fed a high-fat diet experienced weight loss and a reduction in high cholesterol when supplemented with Triphala.

The researchers concluded that, after 10 weeks of use, mice prescribed a daily dose of Triphala had lower body weight, body fat, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and "bad" LDL cholesterol than the untreated mice.

Moreover, the treated mice experienced an increase in "good" HDL cholesterol along with improvements in their liver enzymes and oral glucose tolerance (suggesting Triphala may aid in the control of type 2 diabetes).

Whether the same can occur in humans is yet to be proven.

Dental Diseases
As with many multi-herbal medications, it is unknown which constituents in Triphala are bioactive. A number of test-tube studies have shown that Triphala exerts anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, although these types of results rarely translate to the same degree of effect in humans.

One area in which Triphala may offer benefits is in dental health, including reduction of plaque and the prevention of gum disease and cavities.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Periodontology in 2016 reported that adults prescribed a twice-daily Triphala mouthwash for 60 days had a greater reduction in oral plaque, oral bacteria, and gingivitis than those provided a placebo.

A similar study in Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry concluded that Triphala mouthwash exhibited equivalent efficacy in preventing cavities as chlorhexidine gluconate germicidal mouthwash.

Which Mouthwash Is Best for You?
The fruits used in Triphala are rich in vitamin E, flavonoids, and polyphenols, all of which are potent antioxidants. It has been proposed that by neutralizing free radicals that damage cells at the molecular level, the antioxidants in Triphala may slow or prevent the development of certain aging-related diseases. One such example is cataracts.

A 2011 study in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine investigated the effect of Triphala in nine-day-old rat pups with chemically-induced cataracts. According to the researchers, half of the rats were given Triphala prior to the induction and the other half were left untreated. At the end of the study, only 20% of the pretreated mice had cataracts, while 100% of the treated mice did.

The results suggest that Triphala may aid in the prevention of other aging-related eye diseases, including macular degeneration. Further research is needed.