What Is Triphala?

Triphala capsules, tablets, and powder

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

In Sanskrit, Triphala means "three fruits." Triphala is a combination of three different fruits: Indian Gooseberry, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki. It is available in powder, juice, tincture, extract, capsule, or tablet form.

Triphala has long been used in Ayurveda, a healing system that originated thousands of years ago in India. Some studies have focused on the possible benefits of Triphala for weight loss and gingivitis. However, research is limited for these and other health claims, including anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits.

This article discusses the potential uses, risks, and side effects associated with Triphala.

Dietary supplements are not regulated in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement that has been tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLabs, or NSF. However, even if supplements are third-party tested, that doesn't mean they are safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and check in about potential interactions with other supplements or medications.

Active Ingredient(s): Tannins, gallic acid, ellagic acid, chebuilinic acid (antioxidant)

Alternate Name(s): Triphala churna, Triphala choornam, Phala trika

Legal Status: Not regulated by the FDA

Suggested Dose: More research is needed on dosage for certain ages and conditions

Safety Considerations: Use caution with certain medications for diabetes and hypertension

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Uses of Triphala

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian nutritionist, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent a disease.

Many of the studies examining Triphala are small and use nonhuman animal models. More high-quality human research is needed to verify its purported benefits.

Gingivitis

In 2016, a randomized controlled clinical trial looked at the use of Triphala mouthwash for controlling gingivitis. The study assessed 90 people diagnosed with gingivitis and assigned to one of three groups: Placebo mouthwash, Triphala mouthwash, or chlorhexidine mouthwash.

At the end of the two-month study, those in the Triphala mouthwash group had decreased gingivitis inflammation comparable to the chlorhexidine mouthwash group (traditionally used for gingivitis). However, more research is needed to determine long-term effects.

Weight Loss

It is important to note that little scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of many weight-loss dietary supplements. Be especially wary of supplement manufacturers that make health claims about weight loss that sound too good to be true. Instead, consult a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian nutritionist on the most healthy way to achieve weight loss.

Triphala has been studied for its role in weight loss. In 2012, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-control study was conducted with 62 obese individuals. The participants were given either a placebo or 10 grams (g) of Triphala. They did not adhere to any specific diet recommendations. At the end of the three-month study, participants who took the Triphala had an average weight loss of 4.82 kilograms (10.6 pounds) and a decrease in hip circumference. However, more research is needed to determine the long-term effects.

Other Suggested Uses of Triphala

While Triphala has been studied in lab and animal studies for the below conditions, there is NOT enough evidence to support its use for any of these conditions. More research is needed before using Triphala for the below diseases. Please discuss your use of Triphala with your registered dietitian nutritionist, pharmacist, or healthcare provider.

Triphala has been studied for its use in:

Please note that the data is limited and is an area that needs future research.

What Are the Side Effects of Triphala?

Consuming a supplement like Triphala may cause side effects.

Triphala acts as a mild laxative. Therefore, it may cause gut-related side effects, including:

  • Gas
  • Stomach upset
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea

These side effects may even occur with smaller doses. If your symptoms do not improve, stop taking Triphala altogether and speak with your healthcare provider.

Precautions

Triphala has not been proven safe for pregnant or lactating people and/or children. As a precaution, these groups should avoid Triphala.

Dosage: How Much Triphala Should I Take?

Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your needs.

There are no guidelines for the appropriate use or amount of Triphala. There are no standard doses, and there are many different ways (e.g., capsules, extract, juice, powder, tablet, tinctures) to consume it. More research is needed on dosages for specific populations and health needs.

If you are interested in using Triphala, talk to your healthcare provider to ensure you take the appropriate amount for you.

What Happens If I Take Too Much Triphala?

As a rule of thumb, never take more than the manufacturer's recommended dosage. If you experience side effects, stop taking Triphala and call your healthcare provider.

Interactions

You may want to avoid Triphala if you are taking medications for diabetes and hypertension since it may make them less effective.

Additionally, many of the compounds found in Triphala are processed in the body by liver enzymes known as cytochrome P450 (CYP450). Taking Triphala with other drugs processed by CYP450 may increase or decrease the amounts of those drugs in the blood and reduce how well they work.

As such, you may need to avoid Triphala if you're taking any of the following:

  • Anti-arrhythmia drugs like quinidine
  • Anticonvulsants like Tegretol (carbamazepine) and Trileptal (oxcarbazepine)
  • Antifungal drugs like ketoconazole and Vfend (voriconazole)
  • Antipsychotic drugs like pimozide
  • Atypical antidepressants like nefazodone
  • Benzodiazepine sedatives like Klonopin (clonazepam) and Halcion (triazolam)
  • HIV drugs like Reyataz (atazanavir) and Crixivan (indinavir)
  • Immune-suppressive drugs like Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
  • Macrolide antibiotics like Biaxin XL (clarithromycin)
  • Migraine medications like Ergomar (ergotamine)
  • Opioid painkillers like fentanyl and alfentanil
  • Rifampin-based drugs used to treat tuberculosis
  • Alcohol
  • Kava kava

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included. Please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.

Triphala powder
Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

How to Store Triphala

Store Triphala according to the manufacturer's directions. Discard as indicated on packaging.

Sources of Triphala & What to Look For

See below for more information on food and supplement sources of Triphala.

Food Sources of Triphala

Triphala is a combination of three fruits (Indian Gooseberry, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki). Because of this, it is not normally found for sale in one form.

Supplement Sources of Triphala

Triphala is sold as a powder, juice, tincture, extract, capsule, or tablet. Triphala supplements are available in vitamin supplement stores. When buying a supplement, don't be fooled by claims that it can cure or treat any specific disease. Under the FDA labeling laws, it is illegal to make such claims, which are rarely supported by clinical evidence.

Summary

Triphala has been long used in Ayurveda. It has been studied for various uses in certain health conditions, but more research is needed to determine its benefits and potential side effects. You can purchase Triphala in supplement form from vitamin supplement stores. However, it is important to note that no supplement is intended to cure or treat any disease. Talk to your healthcare provider first if you are interested in using Triphala.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Triphala being studied for?

    Studies have looked at Triphala's uses in weight loss and gingivitis. However, more research is needed. You should always consult your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement and follow their medical advice.

  • What does Triphala mean?

    In Sanskrit, Triphala means "three fruits", and is a combination of three different fruits: Indian Gooseberry, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki

  • What happens if I take too much Triphala?

    As a rule of thumb, never take more than the manufacturer's recommended dosage. If you experience side effects, stop taking Triphala and call your healthcare provider.

14 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Alena Clark, PhD
Alena Clark, PhD, is a registered dietitian and experienced nutrition and health educator

Originally written by
Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong

Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.

Learn about our editorial process