Triphala for Better Digestion and Optimal Weight

Feeling sluggish and out of balance? This Ayurvedic formula can help you restore your digestive tract and beat gas, bloating, and fatigue.

In This Article

The Benefits of Feeling Balanced

While we have record numbers of Americans with weight concerns, it’s not the number on the scale that matters. It’s how you feel in your skin! It’s about the underlying imbalances in your digestion and metabolism that impact energy, vitality, and the efficiency of getting nutrients in and waste out. Yes, weight-related health concerns are on the rise, but our attention should shift from the symptoms to the cause, which is the very premise of Ayurveda.

A few years ago, I saw a patient whom I hadn’t seen in about 10 years. She had a history of digestive concerns, including bloating, gas, and indigestion. During my visit with her, she told me she had lost 50 pounds by doing what I had suggested 10 years ago to treat her digestive woes, which was to take an herbal formula called Triphala after each meal, along with following a healthy diet.

While this is certainly not the typical result I see with patients using this formula, today there is some compelling evidence to explain how Triphala actually supports balanced weight.

The Science Behind Triphala

In a study published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, mice were divided into 6 groups, given different diets and supplements, and monitored for 10 weeks:

  • 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 during the course of the experiment, along with the body weight of each mouse every third day.

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.

Hansel Shotsoflouis for Unsplash

How Triphala Works

During each meal, you produce a certain amount of mucus that helps lubricate your digestive tract. Over time, some of this digestive mucus builds up, clogging the little hair-like villi that help your body absorb nutrients and remove toxic substances.

Triphala, an Ayurvedic herbal formula, helps to cleanse the mucus off of the digestive villi, making for a more efficient digestive process. This formula is made up of three fruits that support elimination.1,6,7

  • Amalaki supports your intestinal skin
  • Bibhitaki pulls old mucus off the intestinal wall
  • Haritaki strengthens your intestinal muscles, so they can contract more efficiently when your bowels need to move

See also Ayurveda + Digestion 101: The 3 Steps to Feeling Great After Eating

Optimize Your Digestion with Triphala

Triphala is not classified as a laxative that creates dependencies, which is why I feel comfortable giving it to my patients. Taking this formula after each meal acts as a digestive sweep to pull residual mucus off the intestinal wall, leaving the villi cleansed and ready to absorb and assimilate the next meal. Once you start having a daily bowel movement within one hour of waking, you have re-vamped your digestion and can wean off of Triphala. The patient who lost 50 pounds using Triphala to support healthy digestion continued to use it until she reached a healthy weight for her.

Some clients with deep digestive vata imbalances and dried out intestines need a more complex formula that includes the ingredients in Triphala plus slippery elm and licorice, which are demulcents that support the natural lubrication and sliminess of the intestinal tract. With this formula, called Elim I, I am able to get most folks relief form their intestinal distress.

The problem may also be farther upstream and related to bile production in the liver. Read my article on liver and gallbladder health to help troubleshoot your own digestion.

Below are some symptoms related to sluggish digestion and elimination that Triphala may support:1,6,7

  • Mild and occasional 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
  • Cellulite
  • Elevated histamine irritation due to common environmental allergies
  • Mild fatigue
  • Unwanted belly fat
  • Recent moles or liver spots
  • Dry skin

If you experience any of these, perhaps your digestive system is not as efficient as you think.

triphala for immunity and digestion

For best results, take one to two 500mg capsules of  LifeSpa Whole Herb Triphala after meals.

Note: 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.

See also When to Use Whole Herbs vs. Extracts

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23251942/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/news/20200227/more-than-4-in-10-americans-are-now-obese-cdc#1
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
  4. https://www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/obesity/90142
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html#:~:text=Adult%20Body%20Mass%20Index%20(BMI)&text=If%20your%20BMI%20is%20less,falls%20within%20the%20obese%20range.
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3480757/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5567597/

39 thoughts on “Triphala for Better Digestion and Optimal Weight”

  1. Triphala works! I’ve seen people use it with a lot of success, in higher doses. If you take it with raw honey and another ayurvedic medicine called Trikatu (“three spices”), results are even faster. Of course, the people I know who tried either on (triphala or trikatu, or both) were also doing exercise and were already eating as healthy as they knew how.

    One thing though: I’ve noticed triphala alone may be hard on people who are iron-deficiency anemic. So for those out there who think they might be, consider eating a high-iron diet or supplementing with small amounts of a natural iron source before starting up the triphala. (While using triphala, you want to get the bowel-cleaning effects, which iron may slow down, so that’s why I recommend taking it prior to starting up triphala.)

    Just my experiences, of course!

    Reply
    • what do you mean when you say it’s “hard on people who are iron-deficiency anemic”. Makes them more deficient ? It’s more cleansing ? can you explain ?

      Reply
      • Hi Wendy. Thanks for commenting. Could you please supply a direct reference for the connection between iron-deficiency and triphala?

        Reply
  2. Hello Dr Douillard, Does Triphala help with sluggish digestion caused by insufficient production of pancreatic enzymes, and if so, what is the mechanism of its action?

    Reply
  3. Triphala on the bottle I purchased states it is to be taken BEFORE a meal! Yet your literature says to take it AFTER you meal. Which is most effective?

    Reply
    • Joy, you can take triphala on an empty stomach morning and evening to help with occasional constipation. It can also be taken after meals to help with weight management.

      Reply
      • I’m just saying, I can go literally go three weeks without a bowel movement and it’s been that way for already 20 year’s. I’ve tried so so so many things. And diets. I’m 5’2 female123 lbs give or take. I’ve only been taking two triphala pills in the morning before I eat daily for two weeks now and have been having bowel movements daily for 12 days of the 14. :- ) Leta just say I’m happy. My stomach hurts less. I crave healthier foods. And my extra skin from being 210 lbs before is actually slowly disappearing. I’m very active, high energy

        Reply
        • May I ask your complete fluid intake routine?
          Also, what kind of salts, vegetables and fruits (not how much) do you normally consume?
          Please note that true hydration can’t happen in a couple of days. You might need to increase your water intake substantially.

          Reply
  4. Article was fantastic! Quick question: taking triphala after a meal– does it speed up the flow of digestion and possibly decrease the absorption of nutrients & water in the stomach, small intestine, and colon?

    Reply
    • Sneha, triphala will not impair absorption or overly increase digestive speed. As a bowl toner, this herbal formula supports healthy intestinal strength, function, and mucus balance.

      Reply
  5. I have been taking Triphala for more than 4 years and no weight loss. A lot of good changes in my body but not weight lost. I think we most consider that obesity is a complexe chronic disease with multiple aspects to take care of. From my experience, some things works for some people and not of other. It worth the try… but may not be miraculous.

    Reply
  6. I would love to hear more from you about a couple of the things it mentions triphala can help, including itchy skin and the mast cell overactivity. Myself included, I think histamine reactions and mast cell activation conditions are coming up more and more, with no real definitive help. I’m following a pitta reducing diet, making pitta-balancing lifestyle changes and still have histamine reactions, flushing, sometimes hives. The only answer I’m given by my doctor is prednisone, and the only answer I’m given by nutritionists is to eliminate foods, which seems to just lead to increased sensitivity. I would appreciate hearing more on what Ayurveda thinks about these conditions.

    Reply
    • When I heal my gut lining by eating no gluten/dairy/soy/sugar/GMO …then I have less new allergies form and old allergies are less strong since they are not leaking into the blood undigested. I take HCl and enyzmes with meals an probiotic before a meal or at night. vitamins/good oils/minerals/LDN/detoxing also help me. LDN helps block hidden gluten and heal the gut lining. Prednisone may hurt the liver. Helping the adrenals may help prevent strong allergic reactions. Vit C and coenzymated B vitamins may help the adrenals.There are Adrenal formulas on Amazon.

      Gluten may hurt all glands and gut lining etc. Below is what I do..short form. Best wishes.

      No gluten/dairy/soy/sugar/GMO and vitamins/good oils, LDN and detoxing help me. Vit D3 5000IU, zinc 50mg if detoxing, 2000mg fish oil , 20000mg evening primrose oil. 2000 mg lecithin, Phosphatidylserine/DMAE, krill oil, CLA, Coenzyme Q10, Rhodiola, Mg citrate 400mg, Vit C, 5000mcg of biotin, Nature’s Plus- Source of life multiple, HCl and enzymes with meals, dairy free probiotic, Vit B12 methylcobalamin shot/spray/under the tongue kind/intrinsic factor kind, MTHF folate, coenyzme Q10, rhodiola, may help brain/body/thyroid/depression/immune system and more. Gluten is wheat/barley/rye..oats may act like gluten with avenin. GMO corn/soy/canola oil may hurt. Amour thyroid maybe needed since gluten may made antibodies to the thyroid. Coenzymated B vitamins far from synthetic kind make make me calm.

      Sunlight (helps the immune system and helps to heal the gut lining),exercise, organic food, good water..not tap water, cooking by scratch pure food….. no food in a box/bag/premade/label/restaurant which may help avoid hidden gluten. Certified gluten free food may have 20ppm of gluten…too much. Nuts not sold in the shell/meat basting/some spices may have hidden gluten and lotion/make up etc. One restaurant cooks special for me…rice/veg/tea/extra mushrooms (no meat since the woks may have MSG/gluten in them).

      EDTA/DMPS IV chelations from an Alternative doctor, 600mg of cilantro, organic sulfur, Now brand- Detox support, Far Infrared Sauna and more may help detox. Hair tests show good minerals and heavy metals. Heavy metals can block thyroid and other chemical reactions in the body/brain.

      LDN may help block hidden gluten/heal the gut lining and help the immune system, but the Celiac diet is still needed. 100% no gluten..no hidden or microscopic gluten may help. Cutting back on gluten or cheating by eating gluten hurts the immune system. It may take 1 1/2 months to heal the gut lining after getting hidden gluten.

      Amour thyroid has some T3 and Calcitonin. Synthroid is only T4..may not convert to T3. Zn/Se/enough iron/strong probiotic may help convert T4 to T3 for thyroid.

      Alternative doctors/chiropractors/acupuncturists and more may help with health/vitamins etc.

      Reply
    • It seems to me that just not eating anything is the best way to go.. Too many people have to many opions and who knows the real truth. Seems like a money scam to me.. No one has ever said what to do if your gall bladder has been taken out. Why is that? I don’t think anyone knows what they are talking about… You can poison your body doing the wrong things. Then no one knows how you died. I have been so sick for the last 10 years and have been diagnosed with several different things and nothing works.. Im done spending money on all this crap. The only thing I do is apple cider vinegar raw unprocessed and sweeten with organic honey raw unfiltered through a straw. Just be carefull who you take advice from.

      Reply
      • Dr. Berg is a DC as well and he talks about what to do if your gall bladder is removed. You can purchase bile salts from your health food store or from his site. Dr. Doullard provides a lot of free literature and always says you can purchase from him or your local health food store as well.

        Reply
  7. I know Triphala is good for washing hair.As kids we would boil Triphala Amala and Shikakai and use that water to clean hair instead of shampoo. Didn’t know about loosing weight. Where would I get this
    and should I take as powder or liquid.
    Radha

    Reply
    • You can get TRIPHALA PRODUCTS in certain Herbal Stores, in certain SUPER MARKETS, in the form of Juice, Tablets. It is better to take it as a health supplement. ….. TRIPHALA JUICE should be taken in empty stomach in the morning and just 30ml at a time. After 30 minutes of consuming Triphala Juice, drink atleast 3 to 4 glasses of water and then after 15 minutes you can have your Breakfast. You can also take it in the Night, One hour after having your food.

      Reply
    • Hi Robin, this should be fine if you are needing some extra support for elimination during the cleanse. I typically recommend our Eim 1 over triphala during cleansing, however. It can be easier to wean off of Elim 1 when the time comes.

      Be well,
      Dr. John

      Reply
  8. hello,
    I am just beginning to look towards another way of taking care of my body other than the pharmaceutical way. I have SEVERE stress (brought on by the loss of my son), have gained 30 lbs. in 4-6 months, lymphedema, and have recently been told I will need surgery on my foot/ankle/leg which will leave me bedridden for 6 weeks or so. Other than my off the charts stress level, anxiety ,residual aches and pains from injuries, I have now come up with an impacted colon..2 enemas 4 days of stool softeners and 4 laxatives later, with not much relief I am more determined than ever to find ANOTHER and BETTER way of treating my body. I do not know where to begin and will be truthful when I say.. I am VERY sensitive to smells, and TEXTURES of food and drinks. If it has a weird texture to me I can’t eat it (macaroni salads slaws kraut those type things gag me) drinks with an off putting smell, things floating in it, and an odor to it, I can’t do.. After finding this site, I read things that seem so healthy and a much better way of taking care of myself, I just don’t know were to begin.. any ideas thoughts paths I could start on would be most appreciated… Thanks in advance,

    Reply
  9. Hi,
    how long does it take for Triphala to yield results? I have a very slow transit time and suffer from constipation, I started taking Triphala but have yet to see results.

    Reply
  10. Just heard about Triphala, wondering if it is safe for those without a stomach. I had my entire stomach removed eleven years ago, because of a stomach cancer. I lost thirty pounds right away and that was all i now weigh 200 pounds and have a tremendous sugar addiction. I am seventy seven years old .
    Is Triphala a safe way to go?

    Reply
    • Hi Rose, thanks for reaching out. Yes you can use triple-a for the intestinal wall without a stomach. It should be very nourishing for the intestinal skin. If it feels like it loosens the stool a bit too much then take less, take it with food, or try our elim II which has triphala and slippery elm and licorice all of which soften and nourish the intestinal skin a bit more than triphala alone. http://store.lifespa.com/elim2.html Be well.

      Reply
  11. Hi,i am 27 year old female. And currently started morning run.i want to know dat will triphala held me to reduce belly fat, and taking cinnemon powder with honey helps in reducing weight, i read its side effect as liver damage.is it safe to use.please help

    Reply
  12. Peace be with you, know that many times when people take triphala to improve digestion, they might also consume some Manjistha well. It’s a very good combination.
    Jai Guru Dev
    Jyotimitra

    Reply
    • Hi Jass,

      I do not consider triphala as a weight loss agent but as a balancing agent for healthy elimination.

      If elimination is compromised it can surely be linked to unwanted weight loss but by how much is impossible to know as this is such an individual issue.

      Be Well,
      Dr. John

      Reply
  13. I definitely recommend Triphala to others it’s a really good plan especially if you want to lose weight asap I’d go to bit.ly/35utwVD

    Reply
  14. Hi
    I have been having Triphala after a diverticulitis episode and it really has helped. However I have lost a lot of weight so needing to gain some (as currently underweight). I don’t really want to stop taking it so I am in a bind. Can you suggest an alternative with similar effects? Or any thoughts in terms of gaining weight? This option is a bit more tricky as still on a diet and there are quite a few things I still not tolerate well. Thank you so much. Carmen

    Reply
    • Hi Carmen,

      We would recommend making a consult appointment with Dr. John to further to help answer your questions regarding triphala, weight, and digestion.

      Well wishes,

      LifeSpa Staff

      Reply
    • Hello, which Triphala are you taking that has helped with your weightloss? is it the ELIM1 from lifepsa or was it from another company? I’m obese, diabetic and looking to loose at least 80 lbs. Thank You

      Reply

Leave a Comment