The most common triphala side effects are diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset, and disrupted sleep. Whether or not a person is likely to experience these problems depends a lot on how much of the herbal supplement they’ve taken, how strong the dosage was, and how accustomed their bodies are to processing herbal tinctures. Side effects are most common among first-time users and tend to get better with time. Still, anyone with severe discomfort or symptoms that don’t seem to go away on their own should usually stop and get medical help.
Diarrhea and loose, runny stools tend to be the most common triphala side effects, particularly among people who have never taken the supplement before. Triphala is all natural, but the cleansing properties that make it so popular can also cause discomfort in people who aren’t prepared for it. Different chemicals in the triphala compound work to essentially purge the colon of its contents, which many practitioners of holistic and Eastern medicine believe can help restore the body’s balance and improve immune function — but in high doses, this property can also lead to intestinal trouble. Most experts recommend starting with a half or very light dose to get the body ready.
People should usually stop taking the supplement as soon as diarrhea sets in. Diarrhea is very dehydrating, which means that it strips the body of water and hydration. When this lasts for more than a day or two, people run the risk of becoming very ill. Continuing to take the supplement during a bout of diarrhea can make things a lot worse, effectively turning what is usually just a minor issue into a health crisis.
Gas and Intestinal Upset
It’s also very common for people taking triphala to experience increased gas and pressure in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Flatulence can be somewhat painful, but it is rarely a serious problem. Most of the time these side effects will fade once people get used to digesting and processing the herb, but, as with diarrhea, one of the best ways to avoid it is for patients to start slowly, taking just a small amount every day or every other day, and increasing their dosage gradually over time.
People who suffer from prolonged diarrhea or inflamed, gassy intestines are at an increased risk for colon damage, which can be very serious. The colon is part of the gastrointestinal tract and is primarily responsible for removing water, sodium, and some fats from solid waste before it exits the body. Repeated irritation, whether from runny stools or harsh gas, can lead its soft tissues to break down and lose their efficacy. Over time this can be very problematic and sometimes causes permanent digestive problems.
Many people who have just started taking triphala complain of sleeplessness or insomnia. These symptoms will usually fade away as time goes by, but can sometimes be avoided by taking the supplement in the morning rather than at bedtime, starting with a lower does, and making sure to stay very hydrated.
Special Concerns in Pregnancy
Most medical professionals discourage pregnant women from starting new herbal supplementation during gestation, and triphala is no exception. In fact, some doctors even advise women who have a history of ingesting the compound to stop during pregnancy in order to reduce the chance of harm to the unborn child. There is a risk that the properties that make the supplement cleansing and beneficial to adults could prove toxic to a developing fetus.
Proper Dosing and Benefits
Triphala is most commonly prescribed by holistic or Eastern Medicine practitioners, particularly those following the Ayurvedic tradition. Different experts may have slightly different blends, but in general triphala is made by combining the flesh and oils of the Amalaki, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki fruits, all of which are indigenous to India and parts of Southeast Asia. The potency and efficacy can vary depending on how the fruits were blended and prepared.
The supplement is most commonly sold as a powder or formulated into a capsule, and is often designed for daily consumption. People who have been taking it for a long time often claim it has a number of healing properties, especially where digestive health and immune strength are concerned.
Most experts do not recommend triphala for children, and anyone who has a history of bowel trouble or sensitivity should usually speak with a qualified medical practitioner before starting supplementation. The same is true for people who are on prescription medications. Just because the supplement is natural does not necessarily mean that it is safe for everyone.