Triphala, a combination of potent herbs, is one of the most popular Ayurvedic herbal formulas of India. It is an effective laxative which also enhances and maintains the body's strength. Since triphala is potent yet mild, it is the laxative of choice for vegetarian Hindus whose constitution is not able to handle harsh laxatives. In addition, because of its high nutritional value, triphala uniquely cleanses and detoxifies at the deepest organic levels without depleting the body's reserves. For this reason triphala is considered one of the most valuable herbal preparations to Hindus. Consider how tremendously valuable a formula is that not only regulates bowel movement but also provides the following:
- Improves digestion
- Reduces cholesterol
- Improves circulation (potentiates adrenergic function)
- Contains 30 linoleic acid
- Provides a cardio-protective effect
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Improves liver function
- Offers anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties
- Is an expectorant, hypotensive
So how is triphala that much different from other varieties of herbal laxatives? There are two main types of herbal laxatives. The first is called a purgative and includes herbs such as senna, rhubarb, leptandra, buckthorne, and cascara. Purgative laxatives often contain bitter principles in the form of anthroquinones which function by stimulating the peristaltic action of the intestinal lining, either directly or indirectly by promoting the secretion of bile through the liver and gall bladder.
The second variety of laxative is a lubricating bulk laxative that includes demulcent herbs such as psyllium and flax seed. Demulcent laxatives offer more nutrition than do purgative laxatives and usually do not have any significant direct effect on either the liver or the gall bladder. Rather, they function like a sponge by swelling and absorbing fluid, thus acting as an intestinal cleanser.
Unlike other herbal laxatives, triphala combines both the nutritional as well as blood and liver cleansing effects. It does not however have the same effects as a demulcent or lubricating laxative. It does have some anthroquinones which stimulates bile flow and peristalsis. Triphala offers users nutrition in the form of Vitamin C, the presence of linoleic oil, and other important nutrients which it makes more of a tonic.