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triphala -a great ayurvedic medicine
Triphala: an age-old ayurvedic medicine
No other herb, or group of herbs, finds such repeated mention in the Ayurvedic system of medicine as triphala. It has become a household name in our country. As the name suggests, triphala is a combination of three important herbal fruits — amla (emblica officinalis), harad (terminalia chebula), and baheda (terminalia bellirica). The popularly known Triphala Churna is the powder of dried fruits of these herbs without their seed part. Usually, these herbs are mixed in equal quantity but references are found when their ratio has been modified as harad one part, beheda two parts and amla three parts.
The first of these fruits, amla, is the richest source of Vitamin C. According to an old Indian saying, what gold is to the minerals, amla is to the herbs. It also contains tannic acid, resinous matter, glucose, protein, cellulose and calcium. Amla is useful as stomachic, antipyretic, hair tonic, alterative and nerve-brain tonic. Anaemia, hyperacidity, urine anomalies, haemorrhages, epistaxis and gynaecological disorders are among the indications where amla is prescribed as medicine and also as a preventive, restorative and curative.
The next among this traid, baheda or vibhitaka, is a pungent, acrid and bitter fruit. It is rich in Vitamin A and has astringent, digestive, laxative, anti-allergic, anthelminitic(killer of intestinal worms) and expectorant properties. Baheda, in fruit form, is used in a number of ailments like cough, bronchitis, billiousness, inflammatory conditions of the small intestines, problems of the eye, dropsy and in the enlargement of liver and spleen.
Finally, harad or haritaki which is also known as pathya in Sanskrit is also a very prestigious herb of Ayurveda. It is a carminative, a killer of intestinal worms, a laxative, and is not only a general tonic but also a protector of the lungs. Harad contains tannin up to 30 per cent, chebulinic acid and a sufficient amount of Vitamin B complex. The use of harad is beneficial in a number of diseases like asthma, constipation, piles and sinus allergies.
When these three fruits are mixed together, an excellent combination is achieved which can cure all the three vitiated doshas like, vata, pitta and kapha. Triphala is used as a medicine as well as a rejuvenating agent. Its use removes toxins and various other undesirable accumulations from the body. Triphala is known to nourish the tissues by increasing digestion and assimilation and, while regulating the metabolism, it strengthens all physiological systems. It also acts as a very good antioxidant.
Triphala helps one to recover from anaemia, indigestion, bowel toxicity and constipation. Its use is also beneficial in chronic lung disease, skin disorders, eye problems, hypertension and conditions where cholesterol is raised. Ayurvedic texts are replete with references where distinction is made according to disease and the use of triphala is prescribed with different anupaan or modes. However, if it is to be taken in the morning, one should mix it in honey. During daytime it should be taken with warm water and at bedtime with warm milk. Its average daily dose varies from two to five gms.
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