This information describes the common uses of Triphala, how it works, and its possible side effects.

Common Name

Triphala churna, Triphala choornam, Phala trika

How It Works

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.

Purported Uses

  • 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.

Do Not Take If

  • You are taking Cytochrome P450 (CYP) substrate drugs: Triphala may increase the risk of side effects of drugs that are metabolized by enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 in the body.

Side Effects

  • Triphala may cause gastrointestinal side effects, but these are rarely reported.