Background: Triphala (Sanskrit tri = three and phala = fruits), composed of the three medicinal fruits Phyllanthus emblica L. or Emblica officinalis Gaertn., Terminalia chebula Retz., and Terminalia belerica Retz. is an important herbal preparation in the traditional Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda. Triphala is an antioxidant-rich herbal formulation and possesses diverse beneficial properties. It is a widely prescribed Ayurvedic drug and is used as a colon cleanser, digestive, diuretic, and laxative. Cancer is a major cause of death, and globally studies are being conducted to prevent cancer or to develop effective nontoxic therapeutic agents. Experimental studies in the past decade have shown that Triphala is useful in the prevention of cancer and that it also possesses antineoplastic, radioprotective and chemoprotective effects.
Conclusions: This review for the first time summarizes these results, with emphasis on published observations. Furthermore, the possible mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects and lacunas in the existing knowledge that need to be bridged are also discussed.