Triphala, the Legendary Three Fruits in One
Triphala literally translated means "three fruits," with "tri" meaning "three" and "phala" meaning "fruit." The three main fruits contained in Triphala are Haritaki (Chebulic Myrobalan), Amalaki (Amla), Bibhitaki (Belleric Myrobalan) and in the case of Maharishi Ayurveda, an important fourth ingredient, Cabbage Rose. This fourth ingredient makes the formula more effective by addressing indigestion, flatulence and constipation in the digestive system. There is a saying in India that if a vaidya (ayurvedic expert) knows how to use Triphala properly, he can heal any disease. It is highly revered in Maharishi Ayurveda.
According to the ancient texts of ayurveda, when these three fruits are combined as Triphala, they form a very powerful rasayana. A rasayana is the most highly refined and powerful herbal and fruit combination in ayurveda, and is known to promote long life and rejuvenation. A rasayana promotes ojas, the material equivalent of bliss. Ojas, according to ayurveda, is the finest product of digestion, and prevents disease, creates luster in the skin and rejuvenates the whole body.
As described in the texts of ayurveda, besides nourishing the mind and body and promoting longevity, Triphala has many specific effects. It is particularly rejuvenating for the digestive tract, and is a rasayana for the eyes and the skin.
Ayurveda regards Triphala as an herb mixture that balances Apana Vata, the subdosha of Vata that governs the colon, lower abdomen, menstrual flow and elimination. For most people Triphala is a mild laxative, and for that reason it is excellent for clearing toxins from the digestive system. In very rare cases it has a stronger laxative effect, but usually it is an ideal bowel cleanser precisely because of its mildness. In moderate doses it is gentle, and detoxifies the body slowly.
But because it is slow, you can take it for longer periods of time, and then it has a deeply purifying effect. It goes deeper into the physiology and releases the toxins at a much deeper level.
According to ayurveda, there are seven tissues (dhatus) in the body, and they form in a sequence. Starting with Rasa (the nutrient fluid derived from food), the tissue chain progresses to Rakta (blood), Mamsa (muscle), Meda (fat), Asthi (bone), Majja (bone marrow) and Shukra (reproductive fluid) in a chain of reactions that is sequential and orderly.
Organic Digest Tone cleanses toxins up to and including the fat tissue, according to Maharishi Ayurveda. This is a much deeper effect than just cleansing the bowel. As described by aurvedic texts, it cleanses toxins from the nutrient fluid, the blood, the muscle and the fat tissues if used for a long enough time.
Because it detoxifies the blood, muscle and fat tissues, it is excellent for preventing skin disease, according to Maharishi Ayurveda, and because it removes ama from the fat tissue, Triphala also helps balance cholesterol.
Triphala can also repair any damage that has occurred in the intelligence of nature that governs the transformation from one tissue to the next. It is in the gap between the tissues that the intelligence of nature operates, and if there is any damage, Triphala can repair and reset the chain to enable proper transformation of one tissue to the next. That's what makes it a very great rasayana. Also, it has two of the three major herbs contained in Maharishi Amrit Kalash, which is the most highly refined and rejuvenating rasayana of all.
Triphala, according to ayurveda, also purifies the urine and prevents urinary tract disease (prameha). It enhances all thirteen agnis (digestive fires), especially the pachagni, the main digestive fire in the stomach. It pacifies Kapha and Pitta, and if taken regularly, the ancient texts state, is a powerful anti-aging rasayana.
One study (Food Chemistry and Toxicology, 2002) showed that Triphala had an antimutagenic effect in vitro. This is interesting, because as described in Ayurvedic texts, Triphala can repair damage to the sequence of nature's intelligence in the "gaps" in the tissues, in the mechanics of transformation from one tissue to another. In other words, if a type of tissue forgets its connection to nature's intelligence, or is in some way damaged, Triphala can repair that damage before it manifests as a disease. Scientists suggest this could have implications for fighting the growth of cancer or other aberrant cells.
Another study (Phytomedicine 2002) showed that Triphala had a radioprotective effect in mice exposed to gamma-radiation. It delayed the onset of mortality and reduced the symptoms of radiation sickness in one group significantly more than the control group, which did not take Triphala. This demonstrates the ability of Triphala to act as a radiation-protective agent when administered in the proper doses.
A third study tested the effect of the three fruits used in Triphala on cholesterol-induced hypercholesterolaemia and atherosclerosis. Although all three fruits used in the Triphala formula were found to reduce serum cholesterol and cholesterol of both the liver and aorta, Haritaki had the greatest effect.
Of course, these studies are limited in their ability to show the true effects of Triphala, because they focus on the isolated ingredients. It may take years before modern science understands the importance of testing whole herbs and fruits that are combined in the right proportions according to traditional ayurvedic herbal methods — rather than the raw isolated ingredients or the so-called "active" components. The effects are much more balanced and holistic when the whole herb or fruit is processed properly and combined with other herbs in the traditional manner.
There is a verse in Charaka that explains this principle: "The understanding of the total nature of the subject does not arise from a fragmentary knowledge of it." (Charaka Samhita, Vimanasthana 4.5). ***
Still, these studies help illustrate the intelligence of the herbs and the herb combinations of Maharishi Ayurveda.
The ingredients that make up Triphala are powerful individually. When combined correctly, synergy enhances the healing quotient exponentially, according to ayurvedic texts. The first ingredient is Haritaki — that is the Sanskrit name, pronounced har-ee'-tuck-ee. It's called Terminalia Chebula or Chebulic Myrobalan in Latin. This fruit is mentioned in almost all ayurvedic textbooks. Charaka goes so far as to say that Haritaki is as nourishing and useful for everyone as mother's milk. He mentions that it's a rasayana for the eyes (netra ruja apaharini), and helps prevent eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts. This is what makes Triphala, contained in MAPI's Organic Digest Tone, so powerful.
Haritaki is also a rasayana for the skin. It's known as a Twagamayagni, which means, according to ayurveda, that it destroys skin disease. Sushruta Samhita, a classical ayurvedic text on surgery, says that Haritaki and Triphala are useful in cleansing wounds and promoting healing and regeneration from the inside. The famous ayurvedic surgeon Sushruta calls it branya, which means having the ability to heal an ulcer or wound.
Charaka also says that Haritaki is good for the digestive system. It helps enhance the absorption of nutrients in food. It is also a cardio-preventive, helping to promote heart health.
Another excellent quality of this fruit is that it cleanses the macro- and microcirculatory channels, known as shrotas in Maharishi Ayurveda. In one verse of Charaka Samhita, it says Haritaki is "shrotovishodhini," which means that it can clear the channels, both big and small. The Bhavprakash Nigantu, an ayurvedic text on herbal science, mentions that Haritaki is a yogavahini, which means that it cleanses the channels and is absorbed quickly by the body.
Because of the yogavahini effect, Haritaki also enhances mental clarity and memory. Haritaki is a Medhya fruit, which means that it enhances coordination among the mental functions of dhi (acquisition of knowledge), dhriti (retention of knowledge) and smriti (recall of knowledge or memory). It enhances mental clarity and memory, and the stamina of the mind and senses. The Bavprakash Nigantu also mentions that it is good for the health of the spleen and liver, and is a famous preventive for any liver problems.
In addition, the Charaka Samhita says that Haritaki is sarvah dosha prasamani (all-dosha pacifying). Very few fruits and herbs have this designation. According to ayurveda, it also supports the body's immune system. On top of everything else, Haritaki is regarded in ayurveda as having an anti-aging value known in the Charaka Samhita as vayasthapani.
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