Triphala Side Effects and Precautions
Triphala has many benefits for better health. What are the potential side effects to be aware of when using it though? And what should you do if you have a negative reaction to it?
First a quick summary of the important contraindications to be aware of before taking triphala churna.
These are especially relevant for pregnant women, those on blood thinning medication and people suffering from IBS or other digestive disorders.
Common Precautions and Side Effects of Triphala Powder
- Unsafe for women during pregnancy and not recommended while breastfeeding. Triphala should never be taken by pregnant women as it could increase miscarriage risk. It it is also suggested to avoid the herb during breastfeeding.
- Avoid triphala if you have irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea or other digestive upsets. This herbal preparation can improve digestion over time but may initially increase intestinal distress if the dose is too high.
- Triphala detoxification can lead to a healing crisis. Potential symptoms include headaches, nausea, an upset stomach and a feeling of being tired and rundown.
- Possible allergic reaction to triphala churna. If you experience swelling in the mouth or throat, shortness of breath or sudden skin redness and itchiness discontinue use.
- Potential drug interactions with blood thinning medications. Triphala should be taken away from important medications and may interfere with blood thinning medications like warfarin.
Let’s look at each of these potential side effects and how to avoid them so you can experience the the many benefits of triphala without problems or issues.
Avoid Triphala During Pregnancy
The major precaution to be aware of when using triphala is that it shouldn’t be taken by pregnant women.
While this is often a blanket statement used with a wide variety of herbs, Ayurvedic practitioners and texts advise specifically against taking it during pregnancy so it’s very important.
It is said to have a ‘downward flowing’ energy that may increase the risk of miscarriage. It is also not recommended during breast feeding.
Ayurvedic amla, one of the three ingredients in triphala, is often recommended for pregnant women and lactating mothers in India.
It is the other two ingredients in it – haritaki and bibhitaki – that are strongly contraindicated during pregnancy.
So if you’d still like to keep your antioxidant intake high whilst pregnant, switching to amla powder instead would be a possible solution.
Amla is also believed to enhances fertility in both men and women by balancing the Apana Vata. It is noted as being beneficial for overall reproductive health and supporting healthy conception.
Digestive Side Effects of Triphala Churna
It is recommended not to take powdered triphala if you are experiencing diarrhea, IBS or other digestive problems.
Higher doses can trigger loose stools and more regular trips to the bathroom. If this happens unexpectedly, don’t take it for day or two and then start using it again at half the dose you had previously.
See if this amount is better tolerated the next morning before continuing. From that point on it is best to only increase the dosage slowly and in small amounts, perhaps just 1 gram at a time, while monitoring the effects you’re getting from it daily.
Some people experience an increase in intestinal upsets, bloating and flatulence as a side effect of taking triphala, though this is usually only a temporary effect.
Once the powder has got to work clearing out the intestinal tract most people report less gas and belly bloat after a few weeks of using it.
Low dose triphala, like these digestive cleanser capsules, is also recommended as a natural treatment for gastritis, acid reflux and ulcers, though consult your doctor first if being treated for these conditions
One issue to be aware of with detoxifying formulas like triphala churna is the potential for a healing crisis.
When too many toxins are being expelled from the body than it is used to handling it can be a bit overwhelming for your system.
Some potential symptoms and side effects of a healing crisis can include headaches, nausea, stomach gas and diarrhea and a generally tired and rundown feeling.
Dealing with Triphala Detox
If you experience anything like this when you start using triphala then realize that there is a good chance it is as a result of your body detoxifying and eliminating trapped wastes.
With any of these types of symptoms, stop taking it for a day or two and then, if you’d like to continue using it, start again at a smaller dose, half is usually a good recommendation.
So for instance, if you took a heaped teaspoon of triphala powder for the first time and experienced side effects like headaches and tiredness, then try and drink a lot of water and healthy foods throughout that day.
Don’t take any the next day. Then after two days, if you’d like to try it again, start with a smaller dose.
In this case, two grams or half a level teaspoon, or even just one gram or a quarter of a teaspoon of the powder could be a good start to check for triphala side effects.
If you still experience the same negative reaction with the same intensity it would be best stop taking it and consult an Ayurvedic practitioner.
In most cases though, once you find your correct dosage, you’ll feel a lot better after a week or two of using it.
Possible Allergic Reactions
While very rare, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to triphala churna. Symptoms could include:
- Swelling in the mouth or throat.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- A sudden onset of skin redness and itchiness.
- Diarrhea shortly after taking it and ongoing for several hours afterwards.
Should you experience any of these triphala allergy symptoms, immediately stop using it and consult a doctor if they continue or worsen.
Using Triphala with Medications
There are no commonly reported drug interactions with triphala in the medical literature, but it is always best to take medications well away from any cleansing formulas in general.
So if you are taking important drugs in the morning then take the powder or triphala capsules in the evening or vice versa.
Some research has suggested avoiding taking it if you are on blood thinning medications like warfarin due to a possible interaction between gallic acid (a beneficial antioxidant) and the cytochrome P450 inhibitory effect used by these drugs.
Check with your practitioner before using this herbal preparation if you have any concerns or are taking pharmaceuticals like blood thinning medications for a serious condition.
For the vast majority of people, triphala powder, like this organic bestseller I take, is a safe and effective detoxifier that can greatly improve your digestion, elimination and health in general.
Photo 1 credit with thanks: notsogoodphotography
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