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A few years ago, I saw a patient that I hadn’t seen in about ten years. She told me that she had lost 50 pounds by doing exactly what I had told her to do 10 years ago. Gingerly, I asked her, “What exactly did I tell you to do?” She told me I had suggested that she take an herbal formula called triphala after each meal to gradually lose all the weight desired.
While this is certainly not the typical result I see with patients using this herb (I specifically tell patients that they should take an herbal formula only as long as necessary and then wean off of it), today, there is some compelling evidence to explain how triphala actually supports healthy weight loss. In one study, mice were divided into 6 groups and monitored for 10 weeks: (1)
- Group 1: Fed a normal diet.
- Group 2: Fed a high-fat diet.
- Group 3: Fed a high-fat diet plus supplemental triphala.
- Group 4: Fed a high-fat diet plus supplemental amalaki.
- Group 5: Fed a high-fat diet plus supplemental haritaki.
- Group 6: Fed a high-fat diet plus supplemental bibhitaki.
The team measured food and energy intake daily for 10 weeks, and measured the body weight of each mouse every third day during the course of the experiment.
The results were amazing. All of the groups lost significant amounts of belly fat – with the exception of Groups 1 and 2. (1) Clearly, supplementing with these herbs has a significantly measurable effect.
How Triphala Works
During each meal, the intestinal tract produces a certain amount of mucus that helps lubricate the digestive tract. Over time, some of this digestive mucus builds up in the digestive tract, clogging the little hair-like villi that help the body absorb nutrients and remove toxins.
Triphala, an Ayurvedic herbal formula, helps to cleanse the mucus off the digestive villi, making for a more efficient digestive process. This formula is made up of three fruits that support the eliminative process:
- Amalaki supports the intestinal skin.
- Bibhitaki pulls the old mucus off the wall.
- Haritaki strengthens the intestinal muscles to contract more efficiently when the bowels need to move.
Re-Vamp and Wean Off
Triphala is not classified as laxative that creates dependencies – which is why I feel comfortable giving it to my patients. Once you start having one bowel movement within one hour of waking up daily, you have re-vamped your digestion and can wean off of the triphala. My patient (who lost 50 pounds using it) continued to use it to release unwanted weight. Once she reached her ideal weight, she no longer needed the triphala. Taking this formula after each meal acts as a digestive sweep to pull residual mucus off the wall, leaving the villi cleansed and ready to absorb and assimilate the next meal.
Below are some symptoms related to sluggish digestion and elimination that triphala may support:
- Mild headaches
- Occasional constipation
- Mild sore throat
- Occasional swollen hands or feet
- Mild rashes or itchy skin
- Sore joints and stiffness upon waking
- Swollen breasts with menstruation
- Gas and bloating
- Elevated histamine irritation due to common environmental allergies
- Mild fatigue
- Weight gain around the belly
- Recent moles or liver spots
- Dry skin
If you experience any of these, perhaps your digestive system is not as efficient as you think.
Notes: The results shared in this article are not typical or expected for short- to medium-term use of triphala. While supplementing with triphala can help support healthy weight loss, the only tried and true method of losing substantial amounts of weight is changing one’s diet and exercise in accordance with the supervision of a certified health professional. Triphala is best for sluggish elimination, and is not indicated for looser stools.
For best results, take one to two 500mg capsules of the whole herb after meals.