In the cleansing treatment of panchakarma, Ayurvedic physicians prescribe specific herbs that help the body release toxins stored deep in the tissues. At the Chopra Center, one of the purifying herbal blends we use is triphala, which was formulated in India thousands of years ago and remains extremely popular today.
Triphala is made from the fruits of three trees that grow in India and the Middle East (the Sanskrit term Triphala means ‘”three fruits”: tri = three, and phala = fruits).
The fruits are dried, ground into powder, and blended in a precise manner developed by the ancient herbalists. The herbs that comprise Triphala have potent healing properties:
(Emblica Officinalis), commonly known as Indian gooseberry or amla, is considered one of the best rejuvenating herbs in Ayurveda. It’s a strong natural antioxidant containing 20 times more vitamin C than orange juice. In India, Amalaki is known as the “nurse herb” because it strengthens the immune system and cools the body, balancing the Pitta dosha.
(Terminalia chebula) has the strongest laxative powers of the three fruits contained in Triphala. In Tibet, haritaki is so highly revered that in their sacred paintings, it’s often depicted in the extended palm of the medicine Buddha. The herb also has astringent properties and balances Vata.
(Terminalia belerica) is an excellent rejuvenation with both laxative and astringent properties. It eliminates excess mucous in the body, balancing the Kapha dosha. In addition, bibhitaki is a powerful treatment for a variety of lung conditions, including bronchitis and asthma.
Triphala is a valuable part of panchakarma because it gently cleanses and detoxifies the body without irritating the colon. In addition, unlike other laxatives that deplete the body, triphala actually strengthens and nourishes the bones, nervous system, and reproductive organs.