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Triphala / Trifala

Triphala Research and Clinical Studies

Triphala (Trifala) the ayurvedic formulation of 3 herbs - Indian Gooseberry (Amalaki), Chebulic Myrobalan (Haritaki) and Bellirica Myrobalan (Vibhitaki) - has been the subject of numerous clinical studies and research. The various benefits of Triphala have long been known to ayurvedic practitioners. Now new research has shown that Triphala also inhibits the growth of cancer in mice.

More information on Triphala health benefits
See below for various research studies conducted on Triphala.

Research and Clinical Studies on Triphala

Immuno-modulatory activities of Triphala on neutrophil functioning.

Biol-Pharm-Bull. 2005 Aug; 28(8): 1398-403

Immune activation is an effective as well as protective approach against emerging infectious diseases. The immunomodulatory activities of Triphala (Terminalia chebula, Terminalia belerica and Emblica officinalis) were assessed by testing the various neutrophil functions like adherence, phagocytosis (phagocytic index (P.I) and avidity index (A.I)) and nitro blue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction in albino rats. In recent years much attention is being focused on the immunological changes occur during stress. Noise (100 dB) stress for 4 h/d for 15 d, was employed to alter the neutrophil functions. The neutrophil function tests and corticosterone levels were carried out in eight different groups of animals, namely control, Triphala, noise-stress, Triphala noise-stress, and corresponding immunized groups were used. Sheep red blood cells (SRBC 5 x 10(9) cells per ml) were used for immunizing the animals that belongs to immunized groups. In Triphala administration (1 g/kg/d for 48 d), A.I was found to be significantly enhanced in the Triphala group, while the remaining neutrophil functions and steroid levels were not altered significantly. However the neutrophil functions were significantly enhanced in the Triphala immunized group with a significant decrease in corticosterone level was observed. Upon exposure to the noise-stress, the neutrophil functions were significantly suppressed and followed by a significant increase in the corticosterone levels were observed in both the noise-stress and the noise-stress immunized groups. These noise-stress-induced changes were significantly prevented by Triphala administration in both the Triphala noise-stress and the Triphala noise-stress immunized groups. Hence our study has divulged that oral administration of Triphala appears to stimulate the neutrophil functions in the immunized rats and stress induced suppression in the neutrophil functions were significantly prevented by Triphala.
In vitro antioxidant investigation and free radical reactions of Triphala and its ingredients.

Phytother-Res. 2005 Jul; 19(7): 582-6

The aqueous extract of the fruits of Emblica officinalis i.e. Amalaki (T1), Terminalia chebula i.e. Haritaki (T2) and Terminalia Billerica i.e. Bhibitaki (T3) and their equal mixture Triphala were assessed for their in vitro antioxidant activity. Gamma-Radiation induced strand break formation in plasmid DNA (pBR322) was efficiently reserved by Triphala and its constituents in the attentiveness range 25-200 microg/mL with a % reticence of T1 (30%-83%), T2 (21%-71%), T3 (8%-58%) and Triphala (17%-63%). They also repressed radiation induced lipid per-oxidation in rat liver microsomes effectively with IC (50) values lower than 15 microg/mL. The extracts were found to have the ability to attack on free radicals such as DPPH and super-oxide. As the phenolic compounds present in these extracts are mostly accountable for their radical inhibiting activities, the total phenolic contents present in these extracts were resolute and expressed in terms of gallic acid equivalents and were established to vary from 33 percent to 44 percent. These researches exposed that all three ingredients of Triphala are active and they show slightly different activities under different circumstances. T1 shows greater competence in lipid per-oxidation and plasmid DNA assay, while T2 has greater radical scavenging activity. Thus their equal proportional mixture i.e. Triphala, is predictable to be more competent due to the mutual activity of the individual parts.
An in vivo and in vitro potential of Indian ayurvedic herbal formulation Triphala on experimental gouty arthritis in mice.

Vascul Pharmacol. 2008 Jan;48(1):14-20. Epub 2007 Nov 1

In the present study, we have investigated the efficacy of Indian ayurvedic herbal formulation Triphala on monosodium urate crystal-induced inflammation in mice; an experimental model for gouty arthritis and compared it with that of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Indomethacin. The anti-arthritic effect of Triphala was evaluated by measuring changes in the paw volume, lysosomal enzyme activities, lipid peroxidation, anti-oxidant status and inflammatory mediator TNF-alpha in control and monosodium urate crystal-induced mice. The levels of beta-glucuronidase and lactate dehydrogenase were also measured in monosodium urate crystal-incubated polymorphonuclear leucocytes (PMNL). Triphala treatment (1 gm/kg/b.w. orally) significantly inhibited the paw volume and the levels of lysosomal enzymes, lipid peroxidation and inflammatory mediator tumour necrosis factor-alpha; however the anti-oxidant status was found to be increased in plasma, liver and spleen of monosodium urate crystal-induced mice when compared to control mice. In addition, beta-glucuronidase and lactate dehydrogenase level were reduced in Triphala (100 microg/ml) treated monosodium urate crystal-incubated polymorphonuclear leucocytes. In conclusion, the results obtained clearly indicated that Triphala exerted a strong anti-inflammatory effect against gouty arthritis.
Potential of radiosensitizing agents in cancer chemo-radiotherapy.

Potential of herbs and other plant-based formulations have been increasingly recognized in prevention and treatment of human diseases including cancer. There exist enormous prospect for screening and evaluation of herbal/plant products for developing effective radiosensitization and radioprotection relevant to nuclear research program. Investigations in our laboratory have focused on the mechanism of activity of variety of anticancer and antioxidant agents, namely, Eugenol, (EU), Ellagic acid (EA), Triphala (TPL), Tocopherol Succinate (TOS) and Arachidonic acid on normal and cancer cells with view to design effective protocols in practical radioprotection and cancer radiotherapy. This paper is mainly focused on studies on cytotoxic effects on cancer cell lines. Results have shown that these agents produced radiosensitizing action involving oxidative damage, membrane alteration and damage to nucleic acid in various human cell lines. Studies were performed employing fluorescence probes and electron spin resonance methods and gel electrophoresis protocols. It has been found that cytotoxic effect was induced by initiating membrane oxidative damage and by triggering intracellular generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by gamma radiation in combination with phytochemicals like TPL, EA and TOS in tumor cell line Ehrlich Ascites (EAC), Human cervical (HeLa) and breast (MCF-7) cells. Membrane damage and ROS generation was measured by DPH and DCF-FDA fluorescent probes respectively after exposure to low to moderate doses of gamma radiation. This talk will present the cytotoxic effects of phytochemicals in combination with ionizing radiation. It is emphasized that modulation of membrane peroxidative damage and intra cellular ROS may help achieve efficient killing of cancer cells which may provide a new approach to developing effective treatment of cancer.
Antiinflammatory effect of the Indian Ayurvedic herbal formulation Triphala on adjuvant-induced arthritis in mice.

Phytother Res. 2007 Sep;21(9):889-94

In the present study, attempts have been made to evaluate the antiarthritic effect of the Indian Ayurvedic herbal formulation Triphala on adjuvant-induced arthritis in mice and to compare it with that of the non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug indomethacin. Arthritis was induced by intradermal injection of complete Freund's adjuvant (0.1 mL) into the right hind paw of Swiss albino mice. Triphala (1 g/kg/bxwt) and indomethacin (3 mg/kg/bxwt) were administered orally for 8 days (from day 11 to 18) after adjuvant injection. The levels of lysosomal enzymes, tissue marker enzymes, glycoproteins and paw thickness were increased in adjuvant-induced arthritic animals. The body weight was found to be reduced when compared with the control animals. These physical and biochemical changes observed in arthritic animals were altered significantly to near normal conditions after oral administration of Triphala (1 g/kg/bxwt). The results obtained clearly indicate the fact that the Indian Ayurvedic herbal formulation Triphala has promising antiinflammatory activity.
Potential of traditional ayurvedic formulation, Triphala, as a novel anticancer drug

Cancer Lett. 2006 Jan 18;231(2):206-14

The cytotoxic effects of aqueous extract of Triphala, an ayurvedic formulation, were investigated on human breast cancer cell line (MCF-7) and a transplantable mouse thymic lymphoma (barcl-95). The viability of treated cells was found to decrease with the increasing concentrations of Triphala. On the other hand, treatment of normal breast epithelial cells, MCF-10 F, human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, mouse liver and spleen cells, with similar concentrations of Triphala did not affect their cytotoxicity significantly. The drug treatment was found to induce apoptosis in MCF-7 and barcl-95 cells in vitro as determined by annexin-V fluorescence and proportion of apoptotic cells was found dependent on Triphala concentration. MCF-7 cells treated with Triphala when subjected to single cell gel electrophoresis, revealed a pattern of DNA damage, characteristic of apoptosis. Studies on Triphala treated MCF-7 and barcl-95 cells showed significant increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a concentration dependent manner. ROS increase was, however, found to be insignificant in MCF-10 F as well as in murine spleen and liver normal cells. In vivo, direct oral feeding of Triphala to mice (40 mg/kg body weight) transplanted with barcl-95 produced significant reduction in tumor growth as evaluated by tumor volume measurement. It was also found that apoptosis was significantly higher in the excised tumor tissue of Triphala fed mice as compared to the control, suggesting the involvement of apoptosis in tumor growth reduction. These results suggest that Triphala possessed ability to induce cytotoxicity in tumor cells but spared the normal cells. The differential effect of Triphala on normal and tumor cells seems to be related to its ability to evoke differential response in intracellular ROS generation. The differential response of normal and tumor cells to Triphala in vitro and the substantial regression of transplanted tumor in mice fed with Triphala points to its potential use as an anticancer drug for clinical treatment.
The in vitro antimutagenic activity of Triphala--an Indian herbal drug.

Food Chem Toxicol. 2002 Apr;40(4):527-34

A study to evaluate an antimutagenic potential of water, chloroform and acetone extracts of Triphala has been made in an Ames histidine reversion assay using TA98 and TA100 tester strains of Salmonella typhimurium against the direct-acting mutagens, 4-nitro-o-phenylenediamine (NPD) and sodium azide, and the indirect-acting promutagen, 2-aminofluorene (2AF), in the presence of phenobarbitone-induced rat hepatic S9. A combination drug 'Triphala' - a composite mixture of Terminalia bellerica, T. chebula and Emblica officinalis, has been used in traditional system of medicine for the treatment of many malaises, such as heart ailments and hepatic diseases. The drug was sequentially extracted with water, acetone and chloroform at room temperature. The study revealed that water extract was ineffective in reducing the revertants induced by the mutagens. The results with chloroform and acetone extracts showed inhibition of mutagenicity induced by both direct and S9-dependent mutagens. A significant inhibition of 98.7% was observed with acetone extract against the revertants induced by S9-dependent mutagen, 2AF, in co-incubation mode of treatment. Various spectroscopic techniques, namely 1H-NMR, normal 13C-NMR, distortionless enhancement by polarization transfer (DEPT-90 and DEPT-135), UV and IR, are under way to identify the polyphenolic compounds from an acetone extract.
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