Triphala (// or //; Hindi/Sanskrit: त्रिफला, triphalā [trɪˈpʰɐlaː], “three fruits”) is an Ayurvedic herbal rasayana formula consisting of equal parts of three myrobalans, taken without seed: Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula).
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Triphala is used for:
- immune system stimulation
- improvement of digestion
- relief of constipation
- gastrointestinal tract cleansing
- relief of gas
- treatment of diabetes
- treatment of eye disease
These health claims have not been yet tested in clinical trials on human. Even within the practice of Ayurvedic medicine, there are controversies about the composition (amlaki, haritaki and bibhitaki), preparation, and medicinal uses of Triphala, however, its effectiveness remain unaffected. Triphala has been reported to cause weight loss and to be useful in anemia, jaundice, constipation, cough, asthma, fever, chronic ulcers, leucorrhea, and pyorrhea. Preclinical studies have shown that Triphala is a potent free radical scavenger and possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, analgesic, antibacterial, antimutagenic, adaptogenic, anticancer, and hypoglycemic effects.
The active constituents are unknown. Triphala contains several compounds that have been proposed to be responsible for its claimed health benefits, including gallic acid, chebulagic acid, and chebulinic acid.
Contemporary research on triphala
There is preliminary evidence that Triphala contains compounds with antioxidant properties in isolated cells and rats, however this has not yet been demonstrated in people. Triphala has significant immunostimulatory effects on cellular immune response, especially cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells. Increases in the absolute number of these cells may provide a novel adjuvant therapy for HIV/AIDS positive people in terms of immunological improvement.  Triphala extract significantly prevents selenite induced experimental cataractogenesis in vitro and in vivo for rats. Recently, triphala's active ingredient chebunilic acid have been found to have the anti-tumour activity through suppression of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF) action.
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- Jagetia, GC; Baliga, MS; Malagi, KJ; Sethukumar Kamath, M (2002 Mar). "The evaluation of the radioprotective effect of Triphala (an ayurvedic rejuvenating drug) in the mice exposed to gamma-radiation.". Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology 9 (2): 99–108. PMID 11995956.
- Reddy TC, Aparoy P, Babu NK, Kalangi SK, Reddanna P (May 2010). "Kinetics and Docking Studies of a COX-2 Inhibitor Isolated from Terminalia bellerica Fruits". Protein Pept Lett. PMID 20441561.
- Pawar V, Lahorkar P, Anantha Narayana DB. Development of a RP-HPLC method for analysis of Triphala curna and its applicability to test variations in Triphala curna preparations. Indian J Pharm Sci [serial online] 2009 [cited 2010 Aug 1];71:382-6. Available from: http://www.ijpsonline.com/text.asp?2009/71/4/382/57286
- Mahesh R, Bhuvana S, Begum VM (August 2009). "Effect of Terminalia chebula aqueous extract on oxidative stress and antioxidant status in the liver and kidney of young and aged rats". Cell Biochem. Funct. 27 (6): 358–63. doi:10.1002/cbf.1581. PMID 19548245.
- Sandhya T, Lathika KM, Pandey BN, et al. (October 2006). "Protection against radiation oxidative damage in mice by Triphala". Mutat. Res. 609 (1): 17–25. doi:10.1016/j.mrgentox.2006.05.006. PMID 16860592.
- Srikumar R, Parthasarathy NJ, Manikandan S, Narayanan GS, Sheeladevi R (February 2006). "Effect of Triphala on oxidative stress and on cell-mediated immune response against noise stress in rats". Mol. Cell. Biochem. 283 (1-2): 67–74. doi:10.1007/s11010-006-2271-0. PMID 16444587.
- Phetkate, Pratya; Kummalue, Tanawan; U-pratya, Yaowalak; Kietinun, Somboon. "Significant Increase in Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes and Natural Killer Cells by Triphala: A Clinical Phase I Study". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012: 1–6. doi:10.1155/2012/239856.
- Gupta, SureshKumar; Kalaiselvan, V; Srivastava, Sushma; Agrawal, ShyamS; Saxena, Rohit. "Evaluation of anticataract potential of Triphala in selenite-induced cataract: In vitro and in vivo studies". Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine 1 (4): 280. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.74425.
- Lu, Kai; Chakraborty, Debanjan; Sarkar, Chandrani; Lu, Tingting; Xie, Zhiliang; Liu, Zongfa; Basu, Sujit (24-August-2012). "Triphala and Its Active Constituent Chebulinic Acid Are Natural Inhibitors of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A Mediated Angiogenesis". PLOS one 7 (8): 7 Extra