One little-known way to find relief from everyday digestive woes? An ancient Ayurvedic herb called triphala. Holistic health insiders such as Free & Native herbalist Lacy Phillips, beauty boss Shiva Rose, and Sun Potion cofounder Nitsa Citrine have cited this under-the-radar remedy as a part of their wellness routines, likely due to the fact that it’s got some serious digestion-enhancing superpowers.
Triphala is one of Ayurveda’s most important medicines, and yet it’s one that hasn’t quite achieved the same buzz as ashwagandha or turmeric.
According to Julie Bernier of True Ayurveda, triphala is one of Ayurveda’s most important medicines, and yet it’s one that hasn’t quite achieved the same buzz as, say, ashwagandha or turmeric. “Triphala is an ancient Ayurvedic herbal formula made from the dried fruits of haritaki, bibhitaki, and amalaki,” says the registered Ayurvedic practitioner and Ayurvedic yoga therapist. “It’s not habit-forming and it doesn’t irritate the bowels, making it a great formula for treating occasional constipation. Depending on how it’s taken and what it’s combined with, triphala is also used for gas, indigestion, diabetes, weight loss, skin imbalances, eye and hair health, and even yoni [vaginal] irritation.”
Ayurvedic practitioner Meredith Carter emphasizes that triphala is the Indian tradition’s main digestive fix, since it’s helpful for pretty much every gut issue you can imagine. “Triphala addresses problems typical of each dosha—the bloating and constipation of high vata, the hot, loose stools of pitta, and the slow accumulation of kapha,” she says. “Together, the three herbs have an awesomely synergistic effect covering the whole metabolic process. Amalaki helps with digestion, bibitaki helps with absorption, and haritaki helps with elimination.”
“Triphala addresses problems typical of each dosha—the bloating and constipation of high vata, the hot, loose stools of pitta, and the slow accumulation of kapha."—Meredith Carter, Ayurvedic practitioner
Bernier points out that triphala’s also a powerful antioxidant, which is one reason why it’s also sometimes used topically to treat skin conditions. “The overall benefits to skin when applied topically include reducing redness, preventing acne, and hydration,” says Anisha Khanna, CEO of Sonäge Skincare, who incorporated the ingredient into the brand’s new Tulsi Soothing Tri Clay Mask. She adds that the three fruits are a tag team that can scavenge free radicals, increase microcirculation to the skin, and support its ability to flush out toxins.
If you want to try it out for yourself, Bernier says it’s most effective to mix a half-teaspoon of triphala into a half-cup of hot water before bed. (Although, warning: It tastes gnarly. That’s why Carter usually recommends taking it in pill form. Both experts are fans of Banyan Botanicals.) If you’re pregnant, nursing, on blood thinners, have an eating disorder, or liver disease, this won’t be the right herb for you, she adds. Instead, you should contact an Ayurvedic practitioner who can help you come up with a customized plan.
Otherwise, you may find that triphala is just the thing that will bring you relief during those moments when your digestion’s off kilter.
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