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Can You Take Ashwagandha And Triphala Together?

Can You Take Ashwagandha And Triphala Together?

The Ayurveda Experience May 21, 2018

Both ashwagandhaand triphalaare superstar herbs in their own way. But can you take ashwagandha and triphala together?

They’ve been used for millennia to relieve stress, support detoxification from endogenous and exogenous toxins and assist in every area of health. 

Let’s first take a look at ashwagandha and triphala individually, before explaining how they work together.

Here’s a quick review of what we’ll cover in this article.

  • Ashwagandha And Triphala
  • Ashwagandha, The Rejuvenative Herb
  • Ayurvedic Properties Of Ashwagandha
  • Triphala, Ayurvedic Rejuvenative Formula
  • Triphala, Digestion + Digestive Disorders
  • The Taste Of Triphala And The Emotions
  • The Three Fruits Of Triphala
  • Ashwagandha And Triphala: Differences
  • Can You Take Ashwagandha And Triphala Together?
  • If You Have A Sensitive Stomach
  • Ashwagandha Side Effects
  • Triphala Side Effects
  • Avoid During Pregnancy
  • Conclusion

Ashwagandha And Triphala

Ashwagandha and triphala are both revered in Ayurveda1 as potent rasayanas.

What does this mean?

Rasayana is a Sanskrit term that literally means ‘path of the rasa.2

Here, the word rasayana refers to the first juice of consumed food or the ahara rasa. This juice is formed after proper digestion and assimilation of food. It is further transformed into seven body tissues.3

According to the Ayurveda, the improved quality of the rasa and thereby other body systems supports longevity, strength, and strong immunity or ojas.3

Ojas, according to Ayurveda, is the subtle essence that is responsible for life, radiant health, strong immunity, vigor, longevity and the overall well being of an individual.

It is extracted from proper digestion and efficient metabolism of food.It nourishes the bodily tissues of blood, plasma, and lymph, muscle, fat, bones, bone marrow, semen, and ojas.2

The means or the path by which one receives the excellence of rasa, the nourishing fluid which is produced immediately after digestion, is known as rasayana or rejuvenation therapy.4

Ashwagandha And Triphala: Properties

Both ashwagandha and triphala are paths or means to the formation of this nourishing fluid. According to Ayurveda, it is responsible for one’s overall health and wellbeing.

According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Vagbhata, Rasayana is the best means to keep the rasa and the other body systems in excellent condition.

If you want to learn more about how Ayurveda can be used for anti-aging, check out Todd Caldecott’s course on Ayurveda and Anti-Aging below.

Todd Caldecott Course on Ayurveda and Anti-aging

Ashwagandha, Ayurvedic Rejuvenative Herb

One of the unique features of ashwagandha is its ability to enhance ojas, the essence of all the body tissues.

A bowl of Ashwagandha root. Can Ashwagandha and Triphala be taken together?

According to the Ayurvedic master Charaka, “When the ojas is diminished, the person is fearful, weak, always worried, having disorders of the sense organs, with deranged luster and mental ability, rough and emaciated.5

Ashwagandha is a Kapha rasayana as it enhances the ojas, which in turn enhances the sattva (balanced mental faculty).

It balances the Kapha dosha by nourishing the body tissues.

Used in India for thousands of years as a common home remedy, ashwagandha is one of the most versatile medicinal plants in Ayurvedic medicine.

Ashwagandha translated into English means ‘horse’s smell’.

It has a wide spectrum of actions and applications. It is because of its rejuvenating powers and the observations of the ancient Ayurvedic masters that it increases the dhatus and body weight.

It has been used traditionally for centuries, primarily for emaciated children and the elderly, for vigor and vitality in the young.

The root of ashwagandha exudes the peculiar odor of a horse. Also, it is widely believed that the regular ingestion of ashwagandha can help one gain strength and virility.

The botanical name, Withania Somnifera, sheds some light on one of its immensely beneficial properties. Translated into English, somnifera means ‘sleep-inducing’, indicating the herb’s calming nature.

It supports restful sleep.

Ayurvedic Properties Of Ashwagandha6

 Can You Take Ashwagandha And Triphala Together? ashwagandha benefits dosage uses side effects weight and energy

Rasa (Taste): Tikta (bitter), kashaya (astringent)
Guna (Property): Laghu (light)
Virya (Potency): Ushna (hot)
Vipaka (Post-Digestive Taste): Madhura (sweet)

Ashwagandha, by virtue of its bitter and astringent taste, alleviates Kapha dosha.

Its ushna virya (hot potency) alleviates Vata dosha. It is also light in property and heating in potency and so it penetrates deep into the tissues, alleviating Vata dosha.

By virtue of its sweet post-digestive taste, it provides nourishment to the body and pacifies Vata dosha. There are many ways to take ashwagandha by itself. 

Ashwagandha is specifically a Vata Kapha pacifier and tridoshic in general, making it a nourishing and rejuvenating herb. Being a rasayana, the herb is adaptogenic.

Adaptogens are those herbs that helpincrease the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress. They promote or restore normal physiological functioning.

Actions: Rasayana (rejuvenative), Vatakaphahara (pacifies Vata and Kapha dosha), balya (strengthening), vajikarana (aphrodisiac).6

Ashwagandha is indicated in inflammatory disorders, degeneration, general weakness, Vata disorders and loss of virility.6

According to Ayurveda, ashwagandha remains one of the most revered herbs and is famed for its wide-ranging natural benefits.

Ashwagandha is known in Ayurveda as one of the ten best herbs for building strength.7

Ashwagandha has been used for generations to increase stamina and endurance and to maintain overall immune support and optimal health.

It also supports the thyroid and adrenal glands.

Ashwagandha is known in Ayurveda as one of the ten best herbs for building strength

A study supported by an independent investigator grant from NARSAD, New York (now known as the Brain And Behavior Research Foundation)suggested that ashwagandha extractcan be considered for the treatment of sub-clinical hypothyroidism in mood disorders.

Prospective controlled studies among patients with laboratory-confirmed subclinical hypothyroidism (i.e. TSH and free T4 along with thyroid antibodies) and other risk factors may provide answers to whether ashwagandha extracts are more specifically beneficial in persons with unipolar or bipolar disorders with treatment-resistant depression or rapid cycling.8

A recent study compared the effects of Ashwagandha with two commonly used antidepressant medications. 

It was found that Ashwagandha helped stabilize moods and relieve feelings of occasional sadness and anxiety, without the terrible side effects of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication.9

Ashwagandha is more than a stress reliever. It can also protect the brain from degeneration.10

Triphala, Ayurvedic Rejuvenative

Triphala is an Ayurvedic herbal formula composed of the powder of three fruits, Amalaki, Haritaki, Bibhitaki, in equal proportions.

There are very few herbs in Ayurveda that have five tastes, or rasas. The more concentrated the taste, the more effective and broad spectrum the formula is for balancing the three Ayurvedic doshas.

In Ayurveda, triphala has been described as a tridoshic rasayana.It balances the three doshas and rejuvenates the whole body.

Each component of triphala has a specific effect on the tridoshas of the body. Due to the Rasa composition of the three fruits, when mixed together it works on all the tridoshas and has a balancingeffect.

The three fruits mixed together in equal quantities possess the following tastes or rasa.11

  • The sour taste (amla) pacifies Vata dosha.
  • The astringent taste (kashaya) pacifies Kapha dosha.
  • The bitter taste (tikta) pacifies Pitta dosha.
  • The sweet taste (madhura) pacifies Pitta and Vata dosha.

Among the three ingredients of triphala, haritaki and bibhitaki have a warm effect while amla has a cooling effect. This combination makes it neither too hot nor too cold in potency. It is a balanced formula, useful in internal cleansing and detoxification.

All three fruits of triphala have light and dry qualities. This means they help in the elimination of excessive Kapha dosha and fat. Its scraping action helps in weight loss gracefully.

The sweet post-digestive taste of each of its components balances Pitta and Vata dosha and makes triphala nourishing and rejuvenating. 

Triphala mixed with one-third ghee helps all diseases and maintains active age if used regularly. It is said to mitigate all kinds of diseases and imbalances of the doshas.12 

Triphala, Digestion + Digestive Disorders

Triphala fruits and Triphala powder. Can Triphala cause bloating?

Ayurveda considers the digestive tract the very first site to indicate an imbalance that arises in the body.

The not-very-hot and not-very-cold potency of triphala, renders very balanced energy making it useful in internal cleansing.

Triphala has a gentle effect on the bowels. It improves peristalsis and cleanses the colon of toxic wastes.

Triphala is highly nutritious and a blood and liver cleansing agent.

It does not function as a bulk producing or lubricating laxative but contains some anthraquinones which help stimulate bile flow and peristalsis.

Triphala is also full of Vitamin C and other nutrients like linoleic oil.

This makes it a nourishing supplement that rejuvenates the body tissues and helps you age gracefully.13

Triphala has many benefits beyond the GI tract.

The three ingredients of triphala mixed together pacify Kapha and Pitta dosha in particular and stimulates the digestive fire.14 It aids digestion, assimilation, and absorption of nutrients from your diet.

In Ayurveda, it is regarded as the safest laxative to cleanse the colon, relieve constipation and tonify the gastrointestinal tract and colon.

It is a recommended dietary supplement for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy and happy brain-gut connection.

Triphala tends to be gentler than over-the-counter laxatives. Regular bowel movements are important for removing bacteria, heavy metals and excess fatty acids from the body.

A colon cleanse can also impact the nervous system positively, which is why it might help symptoms like fatigue and anxiety.

When it comes to the elimination process, amla supports intestinal repair. Haritaki strengthens the intestinal muscles to contract more efficiently when the bowels need to move. Bibhitaki pulls the old mucus off the wall.

This herb goes far beyond helping digestion. By promoting a tridoshic balance, the use of triphala reveals how taste contributes to managing emotions.

If you want to learn more about how Ayurveda can be used for anti-aging, check out Todd Caldecott’s course on Ayurveda and Anti-Aging below.

Todd Caldecott Course on Ayurveda and Anti-aging

The Taste Of Triphala And The Emotions

When you take triphala, you will notice it has a different taste every time.

Whatever taste you detect, you can discover new and interesting facts about your food intake. The full spectrum of tastes includes sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.

Whichever taste you detect determines what’s missing in your diet. This can help you establish a better food balance.

This happens because of the connection of the body with the mind. Your ability to perceive these tastes directly corresponds to your emotions.

You can find what emotions are missing in your life based on what you taste. Sweetness, for instance, may mean you need more nourishment.

The Three Fruits Of Triphala

Amalaki

Amalaki or Indian gooseberry has been considered one of Ayurveda’s therapeutic boons since ancient times. The vitamin C content of one amalaki is 20 times more than an orange.15

It has all the five tastes with sour being predominant. This property makes it tridoshic in general and specifically Vata pacifying.

Due to its cooling energy, it is Pitta pacifying and supports the healthy functioning of the liver and immune system.

Amla fruit, one of the three fruits in Triphala, on a tree. Can you take Ashwagandha and Triphala together?

Haritaki

The nameharitaki meansthat which helps get rid of all the doshas.

Haritaki consists of all the five tastes with astringent taste being predominating. It is used as a mild laxative and its dry fruit is anti-diarrheal.

It is anti-inflammatory and has been used for wounds, chronic ulcers, chronic constipation, and piles.16

Although it has hot potency, it balances all the three doshas. In addition to this, because haritaki is light, rough and drying in nature, it has a scraping effect. It detoxifies the blood and the digestive system. 

Bibhitaki

Bibhitaki has an astringent taste that pacifies Kapha.

Due to its sweet post-digestive taste, it pacifies Pitta dosha. Its hot potency helps in reducing Vata dosha. This way it is tridoshicin general and works on Kapha dosha in particular.17  

Bibhitaki has a scraping effect on Kapha accumulation in the respiratory and other systems of the body.

Ashwagandha And Triphala: Differences

What are the differences between ashwagandha and triphala?

For millennia, triphala has been regarded as a powerful way to balance the mind, body, and soul for optimal health and well-being.

Looking at the properties and mode of action of both ashwagandha and triphala, you can see that ashwagandha and triphala both are rejuvenatives but have different modes of action.

Ashwagandha is strengthening18 and nourishing19 and useful for those who are emaciated.

Triphala has more of a cleansing effect and is useful in those with an accumulation of undigested food matter, Kapha dosha, and fat.

It detoxifies without causing an imbalance in the dosha and the body systems. At the same time, it provides nourishment to the body.

Can You Take Ashwagandha And Triphala Together?

Like any other herbal supplement, whether or not you can take ashwagandha and triphala together depends on your Ayurvedic body constitution, agni(metabolic fire), and bowel movement condition.

Food and diet should also be considered before starting any herbal supplement. Consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner to know whether ashwagandha and triphala is the right combination for you.

Triphala helps stimulate the digestive fire and encourages proper digestion and elimination of toxins from the body. Ashwagandha will help in nourishing the body tissues.

Ashwagandha contains a class of compounds called withanolides, which may help reduce stress and inflammation while boosting immune system activity in the body.

Despite the myriad of health benefits, there are some conditions where ashwagandha is contraindicated.

If you have questions about Ashwagandha contraindications, seek additional guidance from your primary medical care provider or a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.

If you want to learn more about how Ayurveda can be used for anti-aging, check out Todd Caldecott’s course on Ayurveda and Anti-Aging below.

Todd Caldecott Course on Ayurveda and Anti-aging

Ashwagandha And TriphalaSide Effects

If You Have A Sensitive Stomach

Ashwagandha, if used alone, tends to worsen mild to moderate stomach irritation in people with a sensitive stomach. It also causes constipation in some.

Because of its innate hot nature, people with a Pitta dominance feel increased heat with the use of ashwagandha. Taking triphala may help in such a condition.

Ashwagandha Side Effects

Taking triphala alone for a long time may aggravate Vata dosha in some people, especially in the elderly when there is a natural Vata predominance.

Ashwagandha may help in alleviating excessive Vata dosha in such conditions and provide nourishment to the elderly.

Ashwagandha may cause mild to moderate side effects during treatment. Stomach irritation caused by this herbal treatment may result in diarrhea and/or vomiting.

Triphala Side Effects

Triphala is an Ayurvedic compound herb that has been used for hundreds of years to cleanse the body.

It’s a powder that has a similar consistency to fiber supplements, but is considered to be effective for all three doshas, or body types, in Ayurveda.

Triphala is generally considered a safe herbal preparation, yet it may cause some minor side effects similar to those caused by high fiber foods or supplements, such as loose stools, gas, and bloating.

It should not be used by pregnant women.

Avoid both triphala and ashwagandha if you are taking anti-diabetic drugs. It may cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels as both herbs to have anti-diabetic properties.

Avoid During Pregnancy

Triphala should not be used during pregnancy.

As with many supplements, there has not been sufficient testing to prove it is safe during pregnancy. Also, triphala is considered to have a “downward flowing” energy that may stimulate miscarriage.

Both ashwagandha and triphala are contraindicated during pregnancy and can stimulate miscarriage. Its safety is not studied in cases of nursing and lactating mothers. Use these herbs with caution.

Conclusion

Both ashwagandha and triphala are revered as rejuvenating herb but with different modes of action.

Ashwagandha enhances ojas, the vital essence of the body tissues. This is beneficial in conditions of emaciation, lack of energy, lack of vigor and vitality, lack of concentration and memory.

Triphala works by improving and detoxifying the digestive system.

It helps in the proper digestion, assimilation, and absorption of nutrients. It also results in the formation of healthy body tissues like the blood, plasma and lymph, muscle, fat, bones, bone marrow, semen, and the ojas.2

If you have a digestive or metabolic disorder, intake of triphala initially will help improve the metabolism. This can be followed by ashwagandha to improve energy and vitality.

Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before taking ashwagandha and/or triphala. Do not take these herbs if you are diabetic, pregnant, or suffering from blood-pressure issues. 

References
1Changhadi Govardhan Sharma, “Ashwagandharishta – Rastantra Sar Evam Sidhyaprayog Sangrah,” Krishna-Gopal Ayurveda Bhawan (Dharmarth Trust) Nagpur, (1938): 743–744.
2. K.R  Srikantha Murthy, Ashtanga Hridaya Vol 1, Sutra Sthana, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi, 2016,verse-37-38,pp-163.
3. R.K Sharma, Bhagwan Dash, Charaka, Chi.vol-3, Chowkhambha Sanskrit series office, Varanasi, 2017 pg4.
4. R.K Sharma, Bhagwan Dash, Charaka, Chikitsa Sthana Vol-3, Charaka Samhita with English translations, Chowkhambha Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi(2016) verse-7-8, pp-8.
5. R.K Sharma, Bhagwan Dash,  Charaka Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Vol 1, Charaka Samhita with English translations, Chowkhamba Sanskrit SeriesOffice, Varanasi(2016), verse-73-75, pp-325.
6. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India Part 1, vol 1, govt. Of India, Ministry of Health &family welfare, Department of Ayush, Serial no.10, Pp-15
7. R.K Sharma, Bhagwan Dash, Charaka Samhita, Vol 1, Sutra Sthana, Chowkhambha Sanskrit Series office, Varanasi, verse-2,7,pp-88,89
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296437/
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11194174
10. Combinations of Ashwagandha Leaf Extracts ProtectBrain-Derived Cells against Oxidative Stress and Induce Differentiation Navjot Shah1, Rumani Singh1 , Upasana Sarangi1, Nishant Saxena1, Anupama Chaudhary1, Gurcharan Kaur2, Sunil C. Kaul, Renu Wadhwa.
11. Sharma P.V. Sushruta Samhita Vol1, Sutra Sthana, Chaukhambha Vishva Bharati, Varanasi, 2013, pp 409-410, 70.
12. P.V Sharma, Sushruta Samhita with Dalhan commentary, Chaukhambha Vishva Bharti Varanasi, 2013, pp411.
13. Dr. Michael Tierra L.Ac., O.M.D. The Wonders of Triphala.
14. Sharma P.V. Sushruta Samhita Vol 1, Sutra sthana, Chaukhambha Vishwa Bharati, Varanasi,2013, pp 363.
15. Sharma P.V. Dravyaguna Vigyan Vol 2, Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi 2005, pp 758-759).
16. Chunekar.K.C Ph.D., Indian Materia Medica of Sri Bhava Mishra, Hindi commentary, Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi, 2015, pp 7-8.
17. Sharma P.V., Dravyaguna Vigyan Vol 2, Chaukhambha Bharti Academy, Varanasi, 2005, pp 239-240.
18. R.K Sharma, Bhagwan Dash, Charaka Samhita, Sutra Stahan, vol 1, with English translations, Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi(2016), verse-7, pp 89.
19. R.K. Sharma, Bhagwan Dash, Charaka Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Vol 1, with English translations, Chaukhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi(2016), Verse-2, pp 88.

 


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