For Patients & Caregivers
The anticancer effects of Triphala have not been confirmed in humans.
Triphala is an herbal formulation used in the Indian medicinal system of Ayurveda for the treatment of various ailments. It consists of three medicinal plants: Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula, and Terminalia belerica. It is used for dental caries, anemia, jaundice, constipation, asthma, fever, chronic ulcers, inflammation, obesity and to strengthen the immune system against infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and AIDS. Triphala was shown to have beneficial effects in studies done in laboratory and in animals. However human data are limited.
- To treat infections
Studies done in mice showed that Triphala can reduce infections. Human data are lacking.
- To decrease high levels of cholesterol
Triphala was shown to reduce cholesterol levels in rats with high cholesterol. However, this has not been studied in humans.
- To strengthen the immune system
Studies in rats have shown that Triphala can improve immune function but human data are lacking.
For Healthcare Professionals
Triphala is an herbal formulation that is widely used in Ayurveda for the treatment of various ailments (1). It consists of equal portions of dried and powdered fruits of three medicinal plants: Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula, and Terminalia belerica (2). Triphala is used to treat dental caries, anemia, jaundice, constipation, asthma, fever, chronic ulcers, inflammation, obesity and to promote immunity against infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and AIDS.
It demonstrated antioxidant (3)(2), anti-inflammatory (4), antibacterial (5), immunomodulatory (6), chondroprotective (7), antidiarrhoeal (12), and anticancer (8)(1)(9)(13) properties in vitro. These effects are due to the polyphenols and flavonoids present in its constituents. Triphala also showed hypolipidemic (10) and enteroprotective effects against methotrexate-induced damage in rats (14). However, these effects have not been tested in clinical trials.
Several studies compared the anti-plaque efficacy of triphala mouthwash to that of chlorhexdine. However, results are mixed (15)(17)(18).
Triphala may cause gastrointestinal side effects.
The exact mechanism of action is not known although the polyphenols and flavonoids are thought to be responsible for many of Triphala’s effects. Gallic acid, a major polyphenol in Triphala, has antioxidant property (11). Triphala also increased the reactive oxygen species (ROS) in breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and T-47D), resulting in apoptosis (8). Terminalia chebula, one of the components of Triphala, was shown to be a potent hyaluronidase and collagenase inhibitor that prevented degradation of cartilage (7). Triphala also protected mice from radiation-induced mortality (2)(3). Oral administration of Triphala enhanced immune functions in rats (6).