Triphala benefits the digestive system in more ways than one, and health experts everywhere agree that good digestion is crucial to overall health and to any weight-loss goal. Getting our digestive systems to function properly can be quite a challenge, especially during or after the indulgences of the holidays. With this in mind, we’ve done some research on the Ayurvedic supplement to help you determine if it’s right for you.
What is triphala?
Triphala is an herbal remedy used in Ayurvedic medicine — the sister science of yoga. Interestingly, triphala is actually made up of three different fruits native to India: amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. According to one 2017 review of studies published in The Journal of Alternative Complimentary Medicine, triphala is balancing for all three doshas — or personal body compositions — and can therefore be health-promoting for all body types.
Traditionally, triphala has been used primarily as a gastrointestinal treatment. In one 2005 study published in the journal Pharmacology & Therapeutics, participants with gastrointestinal disorders reported that treatment with triphala reduced constipation, mucous, abdominal pain, hyperacidity, and gas while encouraging healthy stool production and elimination. According to the review of studies, triphala acts as a “mild laxative at normal doses, bowel tonic at low doses, [and] purgative at high doses.”
Because triphala encourages optimal digestive functioning, it is a promising supplement to help with weight and fat loss. As a bowel tonic, triphala aids digestive health by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. One 2011 study published in Biofactors found that the use of triphala promoted the growth of gut-boosting Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus bacteria while inhibiting the growth of undesirable gut bacterias like E. coli. Triphala’s gut benefits are largely attributed to its notably high antioxidant and flavonoid content, and the review of studies suggests that this is also responsible for triphala's ability to “promote proper absorption of food, reduce cholesterol levels, [and] improve circulation.”
Not only that, but this superfood supplement can also help protect you from getting sick! Triphala benefits the immune system as it is particularly high in vitamin C, and it’s also shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory, making it a useful supplement if you’re dealing with a chronic health condition or are looking to lose weight.
Research suggests that triphala aids the body in losing unwanted body fat, especially around the mid-section. A 2012 study of obese adults published in the DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences found that those who supplemented with a daily dose of 10 grams of triphala powder experienced a significantly greater reduction in weight, waist circumference, and hip circumference than the placebo group. Just as well, body fat was reduced more in the group taking triphala.
How to Use Triphala
Triphala comes in many different forms, and there are several ways to take it. In the fall and winter months, Ayurveda reccomends mixing triphala powder — like this one from Banyan Botanicals ($13.99, Amazon) — into a fat of some kind (like ghee) and taking it mixed in a basic food such as rice or warm water. If that doesn’t sound too appealing, you can mix triphala powder into honey, or you can take triphala capsules, like these from Organic India ($13.97, Amazon). Typical dosage ranges from 500 mg to one gram per day. As always, check with your doctor before starting a regimen with any new supplement.
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