Triphala: current applications and new perspectives on the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders

Chin Med. 2018 Jul 18;13:39. doi: 10.1186/s13020-018-0197-6. eCollection 2018.


Background: Ayurvedic medicine is based on natural healing methods that use herbal medicine to cleanse the body of toxins and to attain physical and mental regeneration. Triphala (TLP) is one of the most important ayurvedic supplements and is believed to have a beneficial effect on the entire gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Purpose: We aim to summarize available literature focused on the components of TLP (Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellerica and Phyllanthus emblica) and discusse their effectiveness and therapeutic value for improving lower GI symptoms in functional GI disorders, particularly irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Methods: This study is based on pertinent papers that were retrieved by a selective search using relevant keywords in PubMed and ScienceDirect databases.

Results: The components of TLP are believed to cause restoration of the epithelium lining of the digestive tract, and by exhibiting mild laxative properties facilitate passage of stool in the colon. TLP is rich in polyphenols, vitamin C and flavonoids, which provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It also contains various types of acids, such as gallic, chebulagic and chebulinic, which additionally possess cytoprotective and antifungal properties.

Conclusion: Triphala holds potential in improving lower GI symptoms and may be a valuable and effective addition to standard treatment of IBS. Supplementation of TLP herbal formulations alone or along with other probiotics can be recommended in ongoing clinical studies.

Keywords: Ayurvedic medicine; Irritable bowel syndrome; Triphala.

Publication types

  • Review