- Triphala churna
- Triphala choornam
- Phala trika
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 may also be combined with Guggulu, a tree gum resin, for additional therapeutic effects. Triphala 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 test tube and animal studies, but human data are limited.
- To treat infections
Studies done in mice showed that Triphala can reduce infections. Human data are lacking.
- To treat gastrointestinal problems
A few animal models suggest gastroprotective effects. Human data are lacking.
- To control inflammation
Animal studies suggest that Triphala may reduce inflammation. Human data are lacking.
- To decrease high levels of cholesterol
Animal studies show that Triphala can reduce cholesterol levels and other markers associated with obesity. 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 only one small study in healthy humans suggests immune system benefits. Larger confirmatory studies are needed.
- To treat cancer
Although anticancer properties of Triphala have been observed in the lab, these effects have not been verified in human studies.
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 (Amalaki), Terminalia chebula (Haritaki), and Terminalia belerica (Bibhitaki) (2) and may also be combined with Guggulu, a tree gum resin, for additional therapeutic effects. 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.
In animal models, Triphala showed hypolipidemic (10) and enteroprotective effects against methotrexate-induced damage (14). Triphala also alleviated colitis (22) and bromobenzene-induced nephrotoxicity (23). Other animal studies have demonstrated antiobesity (24), antiarthritic, and anti-inflammatory (25) (26) properties. However, none of these effects have been tested in clinical trials.
In humans, several studies compared the anti-plaque efficacy of Triphala mouthwash to that of chlorhexidine, although results are mixed (15) (17) (18) (27) (28) (29). Another study found that Triphala may actually promote oral bacterial biofilm formation (30). In a pilot study of healthy human volunteers, Triphala demonstrated immunostimulatory effects (31). Triphala rinse may help to reverse tobacco-induced oral precancerous lesions (32). More studies are needed to validate these effects.
Triphala may cause gastrointestinal side effects.
In laboratory studies, one of the components of Triphala known as Terminalia chebula was shown to be a potent hyaluronidase and collagenase inhibitor that prevented degradation of cartilage (7). In animal models, bromobenzen-induced nephrotoxic effects were reduced via increased antioxidant enzyme activity (23). Antiarthritic and anti-flammatory effects are linked to NF-kBp65 and COX-2 inhibition (25) (26), and its anticolitic effects are linked to its antioxidant activity and presence of flavonoids (22).
Triphala also appears to stimulate neutrophil function and decrease corticosterone levels in immunized rats exposed to noise stress (34). In a small study of healthy human volunteers, Triphala increased cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells (31).
Triphala may have radioprotective effects (21) through inhibition of oxidative damage in cells and organs. Triphala also increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) in MCF-7 and T-47D breast cancer cells resulting in apoptosis (8), and protected mice from radiation-induced mortality (2) (3).
Despite its antibacterial properties, compounds in Triphala may promote the formation of oral bacterial biofilm formation via activation of glucosyl transferases (30).