Antibacterial efficacy of triphala against oral streptococci: an in vivo study

Indian J Dent Res. 2012 Sep-Oct;23(5):696. doi: 10.4103/0970-9290.107423.


Background: Triphala is a botanical preparation consisting of equal parts of three herbal fruits. Much revered in Ayurveda, triphala has been proven to have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal actions.

Aims and objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of 6% triphala in a mouthwash formulation on the salivary streptococci levels at the end of 48 h and 7 days, of twice a day usage, and to compare the same with 0.2% chlorhexidine.

Materials and methods: Sixty undergraduate student volunteers aged between 18 and 25 years were randomly allocated into three study groups. (a) 6% triphala mouthwash, 15 ml twice a day; (b) 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwash, 15 ml twice a day (active control group); (c) passive control group asked to rinse with plain water, twice a day. The oral streptococci colony forming units/ml (CFUs/ml) was assessed by inoculating blood agar with saliva samples at the end of 48 h and at 7 days.

Results: The triphala group showed a 17% and 44% reduction, while the chlorhexidine group showed 16% and 45% reduction at the end of 48 h and 7 days (P < 0.001). The reduction in CFUs/ml seen in triphala group closely paralleled that of chlorhexidine group.

Conclusion: Triphala has been used in Ayurveda from time immemorial and has many potential systemic benefits. The promising results shown by Triphala call for further investigations of its antimicrobial effects against the numerous oral microorganisms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Load / drug effects
  • Chlorhexidine / therapeutic use
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / microbiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Mouthwashes / therapeutic use
  • Phyllanthus emblica
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Saliva / microbiology
  • Streptococcus / drug effects*
  • Terminalia
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Mouthwashes
  • Plant Extracts
  • triphala
  • Chlorhexidine