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Triphala: A Traditional Ayurvedic Herb To Help Cleanse The Body

Nov 8, 2007
Triphala is a traditional Indian ayurvedic remedy, that, as the name suggests, is actually composed of three different herbs or fruits. However, before describing the constituents, first an explanation of what ayurveda is and what it does.

Ayurveda is a science that is centuries old, and has been in use for at least five thousand years. Originating in prehistoric India, it is based upon the approach it takes in that all ills are caused by anomalies of the digestive system. All that exists on earth is believed to be composed of five elements (the pancha mahabhooota): earth (prithyi), fire (agni), water (jal), air (yayu) and ether (akash). The latter can be approximately described as space

Ayurveda combines these into three main doshas: Vata, a combination of the ether are air elements, Pitta, which is the same as the fire element, and Kapha that is a combination of the earth and water elements). Each of these has specific effects on the body, and when in equilibrium then the body is also in equilibrium.

Vata governs what is loosely described as movement in both the mind and body. An excess of vata leads to worries, anxiety, constipation and cramps of the stomach. It is responsible for waste elimination, flow of the blood, breathing and even movement of thought. Everything connected with movement in the body. It is believed to be expressed visibly and audibly as creativity and art and is believed also to be the initial cause of all disease and illness.

Pitta, the fire dosha, governs the metabolism and body heat. It is responsible for the way we digest our food and how we know right from wrong. An excess of pitta causes anger, ulcers, dyspepsia and criticism. If your pitta is balanced you are a good friend and warm personality.

Kapha provides and maintains the physical elements of the body, such as good joints, healing of wounds and strength. It maintains a strong heart and lungs, and everything physical. It promotes love and forgiveness, but also envy and greed. Too much in an individual causes lethargy, allergies, congestion and weight gain. It is also called the mucus humor.

The three fruits of triphala are amalaki, bhibitaki and haritaki, and together maintain these three doshas in balance. Amalaki, or amla, is used to treat an imbalance in the pitta, or fire humor. It is sour and is exceptionally rich in vitamin C and is therefore a strong anti-oxidant. It is the highest natural source of this vitamin. It is used as a tonic, for boosting the immune system and for its anti-aging properties. It is also a good adaptogen and has strong stomach acid neutralizing effects. It is therefore effective in reducing dyspepsia and in the treatment of gastric ulcers, and also possesses cholesterol-reducing properties. Amalaki provides the body with strength and is used in the treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract and any illness that creates burning sensations.

Bhibitaki, or bihara, is also useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders, and has a number of effects that are useful in treating digestive disorder. It deals with problems associated with the kapha or mucus humor. Thus, it possesses anti-mucal, laxative, astringent, digestive and anti-spasmodic properties, and is also a tonic and an expectorant and helps deal with allergies.

Haritaki, or haradaha, deals with diseases of the vata humor. It is very bitter with a strong antimicrobial and laxative effect on the digestive system, and is a rejuvenator that promotes long life and boosts the immune system of the body (though the scientific effect was unknown to the ancient exponents of ayurveda). It also possesses an astringent and lubricant effect and used to treat constipation, anxiety and stress.

When combined into triphala, the products are a popular treatment for all digestive disorders and is popularly used to cleanse the colon. It aids digestion, improves the metabolic processes involved and also aids abdominal pains, flatulence and eases conditions of the liver. It is useful in the treatment of what today are termed ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The ancient Indians were able to treat these conditions of the digestive systems without understanding what they were and what caused them.

Triphala is also widely used in the treatment of conjunctivitis and prevention of atherosclerosis. This is likely due to its antioxidant effect and the high level of ascorbic acid it contains. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also likely derived from the same source. These properties, and its effects as a tonic and cleanser, render it a popular treatment for many skin conditions. It is a multi-purpose treatment for a multitude of illnesses and conditions and has been used effectively for thousands of years.

Modern science has provided an explanation for most of these effects. Many of the conditions that triphala is effective in treating have been shown to be caused by excessive blood cholesterol and lipid levels. Many can be attributed to circulatory disorders caused by cholesterol build up in the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Some of the benefits of the three fruits are associated with the lowering of cholesterol and of blood pressure that benefits circulation.

Cholesterol build up and internal stress is associated with the consumption of hot spicy foods, the use of excessive stimulants and repression of the natural emotions. The way the body handles these is to produce corticosteroids that can contribute to cholesterol build up in the blood. Triphala can be used to reduce blood LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL lipoprotein that eliminates cholesterol from the body. Amla fruit has been shown to reduce serum and aortic cholesterol, and also increase cardiac glycogen that provides an energy source for the heart that can help prevent cardiac disease.

Bihara contains 35% oil of which 31% is linoleic that increases the good HDL cholesterol and reduces the bad LDL cholesterol. Harada has been found to reduce blood pressure and intestinal spasms, thus backing up its use for treating heart and intestinal conditions.

Triphala is a traditional ayurvedic herb that has many uses in cleansing the body that have been investigated and backed up by modern medical science. The mixture of the three fruits have strong anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic and cholesterol reducing effects, and also possess laxative properties that can ease a large number of different physical and psychological health problems.
About the Author
More information on Triphala and other great herbal cleanses is available at VitaNet, LLC Health Foods. http://vitanetonline.com/
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