Triphala is an Ayurvedic medicine made from three fruits, Phyllanthus emblica or Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula and Terminalia belerica. It is an antioxidant, a colon cleanser, digestive, diuretic and laxative. Gallic acid is an important component of all 3 fruits.
Triphala is described as being Rasayana, which produces “sturdiness of the body, the sense organs, and the teeth, as well to prevent wrinkling of the skin, graying of hair, promote immune functions, and render longevity.”
The authors used two formulations of triphala in their study. One had equal parts of the 3 plants. The other had ratio of 1 part T. chebula : 2 parts T. belerica : 4 parts P. emblica. P. emblica is known as Amla fruit. In general, the unequal formulation has greater anticancer benefits at 540 mg/kg.
Triphala is most often used as a colon cleanser. Triphala aids the body in recovering from stress. Studies from the past decade show that Triphala is cancer preventive and has antineoplastic, radioprotective and chemotherapeutic effects. Triphala has cancer preventive effects through the antioxidant effects, immunomodulatory effects and multiple other mechanisms.
The use of triphala in mice with skin cancers caused apoptosis of cancer cells without any negative effect on the animals. Laboratory studies show that triphala causes apoptosis (natural cell death) in neoplastic cells, but, does not damage normal cells. Treatment with glutathione (GSH) or N-acetylcysteine (NAC) before the triphala was given, blocked the production of apoptosis of the cancer cells.
The use of triphala in mice reduced death from radiation exposure and reduced radiation sickness. The best dose was 10 mg/kg. It worked best when given before radiation exposure and did not seem to work when given after the exposure.
CONCLUSION: Triphala is an Ayurvedic medical combination with numerous anti-cancer effects as well as anti-radiation effects when tested on animals. Clinical testing in humans is needed.