Triphala For Colon Health

Constipation and improper elimination seem to be a common issue I see in many of my clients. As a result, many ask for a natural solution. Some may turn to ongoing magnesium supplementation; foods known to move the bowels, such as prunes; and herbs, such as cascara and senna.

Even though they are natural, it’s important to note that there are some potential harmful effects of using cascara and senna on an ongoing basis, as they do not address the cause of constipation. Considered “natural laxatives,” they can create dependence and disrupt peristalsis (the natural contractions of the bowel).

Instead, I often recommend an herbal formula that can be very helpful to relieve constipation and restore normal bowel function over time: Triphala.

This is an Ayurvedic formula made of three herbs: Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). High in vitamin C, linoleic oil, and other nutrients, Triphala offers nutritional benefits, as well as blood and liver cleansing actions. It contains some anthraquinones that help to stimulate bile flow and peristalsis.

There’s also plenty of scientific research and clinical reports demonstrating that Triphala is an effective blood purifier that stimulates bile secretion as it detoxifies the liver, helps digestion and assimilation, and significantly reduces serum cholesterol and lipid levels throughout the body. As a result, it is regarded as a kind of universal panacea and is one of the most commonly prescribed herbal formulas in India.

As always, addressing the root cause of improper elimination is first and foremost. I also usually recommend keeping the magnesium (glycenate or citrate) supplement. Most people are deficient in this very important mineral anyway, and this may be contributing to the problem. In fact lifestyle and diet can play big role in digestive health and proper elimination. (Learn more about the link between elimination and health here).

If constipation is a chronic issue for you, it might be the right time to address it as part of your overall health. Though there are variations in what is considered “normal” from person to person, it’s not a topic that that should be avoided. Maybe it’s time to discuss the best strategy for you with your a qualified healthcare practitioner knowledgeable in this area, like a nutritionist, Ayurvedic practitioner or acupuncturist.


  • Gowda, D.V., G. Muguli, P.R. Rangesh, and R.D. Deshpande. “Phytochemical and Pharmacological Actions of Triphala: Ayurvedic Formulation – A Review.” International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review & Research 15, no. 2 (July/August 2012).
  • Mukherjee, P.K., et al. “Clinical Study of ‘Triphala’ – A Well Known Phytomedicine from India.” Iranian Journal of Pharmacology & Therapeutics 5, no. 1 (January 2006).
  • Svoboda, R. Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution. Lotus Press: 1998.
  • Tierra, M. “The Wonders of Triphala: Ayurvedic Formula for Internal Purification.” Accessed February 17, 2015.