Can You Take Ashwagandha And Triphala Together?

Both Ashwagandha and Triphala are superstar herbs in their own way. They have both been used for millennia to relieve stress, support detoxification from endogenous as well as exogenous toxins and assist in every area of health. Can you take Ashwagandha and Triphala together?

Let’s 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, Ayurvedic Rejuvenative Herb
The Pharmacodynamics 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
Last but not least….

READ MORE: Ashwagandha Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects + More, 21 Ways To Take Ashwagandha (Ashwagandha Remedies + Recipes), Triphala For Weight Loss, Triphala Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Triphala Dosage, Churna + Guggul

Ashwagandha And Triphala

Ashwagandha is revered as a Sattvic Kapha Rasayana1 and according to Vaidya Ramakant Mishra of the Vaidya Mishra family tradition, Triphala is revered as a Tridoshik RasayanaWhat does this mean exactly?

Rasayana is a Sanskrit term that literally means path (ayana) of the Rasa (fluid or juice). Rasa can have different meanings in Ayurveda. It may mean the sap or juice, or the best and finest or prime part of anything, whether that be taste, essence, marrow, nectar, essential fluid of the body or chyle (ahara rasa).2

Here, the word rasayana is referred to the ahar rasa formed after proper digestion and assimilation of food. This substance is further transformed into the seven body tissues by their respective agni (metabolic fire) which is responsible for the nourishment of the entire body.3

Rasayana Chikitsa or rejuvenation treatment is a unique branch of Ayurveda. According to the Charaka Samhita, the improved quality of the rasa and thereby other dhatus (tissues) supports longevity, strength, and good 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. The subtle essence called ojas 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 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 dhatus in excellent condition.

READ MORE: How To Protect Your Memory After 50, Dates Benefits, How To Eat Dates + Amazing Date Pudding Recipe, How Golden Milk Benefits Memory

Ashwagandha, Ayurvedic Rejuvenative Herb

One of the unique features of Ashwagandha Rasayana 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. It has a wide spectrum of actions and applications. It is because of its rejuvenative 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.

Ashwagandha, translated into English means ‘horse’s smell’. The root of Ashwagandha exudes the peculiar odor of a horse. Also, it is widely believed that regular ingestion of Ashwagandha can help one gain the strength and virility of a horse. In addition, it’s 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 which in turn, supports restful sleep.

READ MORE: Will Ashwagandha Help You Sleep?, Can Ashwagandha And Tulsi Be Taken Together?

The Pharmacodynamics Of Ashwagandha6

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 in o the tissues, alleviating Vata dosha. By virtue of its sweet post-digestive taste, it provides nourishment to the body and pacifies the Vata dosha.

Ashwagandha is thus specifically a Vata Kapha pacifier and tridoshic in general, making it a nourishing and rejuvenating herb (Rasayana). Being a rasayana, the herb is adaptogenic. Adaptogens are those herbs which help increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and 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 (sotha), degeneration (kshaya), general weakness (durbala), vatik disorders and loss of virility (klaibya).6

Ashwagandha is also known as Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry. According to Ayurveda, Ashwagandha remains one of the most revered herbs and is famed for its wide-ranging natural benefits.

Ayurvedic master Charaka, in his ancient treatise Charaka Samhita Sutra Sthana, mentioned Ashwagandha under the ten best herbs for building strength. These are known as Balya mahakashaya. The ten herbs that nourish the body are known as bringhaniya mahakashaya.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. A study supported by an independent investigator grant from NARSAD, New York (now known as the Brain And Behavior Research Foundation) suggested that Ashwagandha extract can be considered for 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 and 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 also protects the brain from degeneration.10

READ MORE: Ashwagandha Thyroid Benefits: Everything You Need To Know, How Ashwagandha Helps Hypothryoidism, How Ashwagandha Helps PCOS

Triphala, Ayurvedic Rejuvenative

Triphala is an Ayurvedic herbal formula composed of the powder of three fruits, Amalaki, Haritaki, Bibhitaki, in equal proportions. There are a very few herbs in Ayurveda that have five tastes, or rasa. The more concentrated the taste, the more effective and broad spectrum the formula is for balancing the three Ayurvedic doshas.

In the ancient Ayurvedic texts, 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 balancing effect. 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 energy (ushna virya) while Amla (Emblica officinalis) has a cooling energy (sheeta virya). This combination makes it Anushna virya, neither too hot nor too cold in potency. It is a balanced formula, useful in internal cleansing and detoxification. All the three fruits of Triphala have Laghu and Ruksha guna. This means, their light and drying or rough qualities help in the elimination of excessive Kapha dosha and meda dhatu (fat). Its scraping action (lekhan karma) helps in weight loss gracefully.

The madhura vipaka or 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 removes all diseases and maintains active age if used regularly. It is said to be Sarvarogaghni, wherein roga denote dosha as well as diseases.12 This means that Triphala mitigates all kinds of diseases and all imbalances of the doshas.

READ MORE: Triphala Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Triphala Dosage, Churna + GuggulCan Triphala Cause Diarrhea?, Can Triphala Cause Acid Reflux?

Triphala, Digestion + Digestive Disorders

Ayurveda considers the digestive tract as the very first site that indicates the imbalance that is arising in the body.

As mentioned above, the Anushna Virya, the not-very-hot and not-very-cold potency of Triphala, renders a 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 helps 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 The three ingredients of Triphala mixed together pacifies Kapha and Pitta dosha in particular and stimulates the digestive fire.14 It aids digestion, assimilation and absorption of nutrients from your diet. In Ayurvedic practices, it has been regarded as the safest laxative used to cleanse the colon, relieve constipation and tonify the gastrointestinal tract and colon.

Triphala has many benefits beyond the GI tract. 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. It nourishes the digestive tract and helps produce regular bowel movements. Triphala can help to naturally cleanse the colon. Having regular bowel movements is 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, and 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.

READ MORE: The Capacity To Recover: Building Resilience After Trauma, Amla: The Sour, Anti-Aging Ayurvedic Super Fruit + Amla Recipes, The Ayurvedic KEY To Managing Autoimmune Disorders

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 or 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. For instance, sweetness may mean you need more nourishment.

READ MORE: How To Include Bitter Foods In Your Diet, How To Include Astringent Foods In Your Diet

Amla fruit, one of the three fruits in Triphala, on a tree. Can you take Ashwagandha and Triphala together?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 oranges.15 It has all the five rasas or tastes with Amla rasa (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.

Haritaki: The name Haritaki literally means that which is Sarva dosha hara or that which helps get rid of all the doshas or rogas. Haritaki consists of all the five rasa with Kashaya rasa (astringent taste) 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 a hot potency (ushna virya), it balances all the three doshas. In addition to this, because Haritaki is Laghu (light) and Ruksha in nature (drying and rough), it has a scraping effect. It detoxifies the blood and the digestive system.  

Bibhitaki: Bibhitaki has an astringent taste (kashaya rasa) which pacifies Kapha. Due to Madhur Vipak (sweet post digestive taste), it pacifies Pitta dosha. Its Ushna potency helps in reducing Vata dosha. This way it is Tridoshic in 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.

READ MORE: Triphala Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Triphala Dosage, Churna + GuggulCan Triphala Cause Diarrhea?, Can Triphala Cause Acid Reflux?

Healthy woman smiling. Can you take Ashwagadha and Triphala together?Ashwagandha And Triphala: Differences

What are the differences between Ashwagandha and Triphala? Over 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 Rasayana (rejuvenatives) but have different modes of action. Ashwagandha is Balya (strengthening)18, and Brighaniya (nourishing)19 and useful in those who are emaciated (dhatu kshaya).

Triphala has more of a cleansing effect and is useful in those with an accumulation of Ama (toxins), Kapha dosha, and Meda (fat). It detoxifies without causing an imbalance in the dosha and the dhatus (body tissues), at the same time providing nourishment to the body tissues.

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 (deha prakriti), Agni (metabolic fire) and bowel movement (mala kriya) condition. Food and diet should also be considered before starting any herbal supplement. Consult a qualified Ayurvedic practioner to know whether Ashwagandha and Triphala is the right combination for you or not.

Triphala helps stimulate the digestive fire (deepan) and encourages proper digestion (pachan) 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 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 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 or vomiting.

Triphala Side Effects

Triphala is an Ayurvedic compound herb that has been used for hundreds of years to cleanse the body. This powder supplement 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 also not be used by pregnant women.

Both Triphala and Ashwagandha are to be avoided if you are taking anti-diabetic drugs. It may cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Both herbs have anti-diabetic properties.

READ MORE: Triphala Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Triphala Dosage, Churna + GuggulCan Triphala Cause Diarrhea?, Can Triphala Cause Acid Reflux?

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 (vataanulomak) 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. So use these herbs with caution.

READ MORE: How To Breastfeed The Ayurvedic Way, What’s An Ayur Doula?

Last but not least….

Both Ashwagandha and Triphala are revered as Rasayana but with different modes of action. Ashwagandha enhances the Ojas, the vital essence of the dhatus (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 of food and results in 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 which can be followed by Ashwagandha to improve energy and vitality (Ojas).

READ MORE: Why You Should Take Ashwagandha With Milk, 21 Ways To Take Ashwagandha (Ashwagandha Remedies + Recipes), Ashwagandha Anxiety Relief Remedy That Works

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 Series Office, 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 Protect Brain-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 Phd, 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, chowkhamba sanskrit series office, varanasi(2016), Verse-2, pp 88.

mm
Ditimoni Goswami, BAMS is an Ayurvedic Practitioner since 2001. She served as Medical Officer (Ayur) for the government of the state of Assam, India from 2005 to 2012. She is certified in Panchakarma Therapy under Guru Shishya Parampara. Her specialization (D.Pch.) is in Panchabhautik Chikitsha. Additionally she is a Pranic healing practitioner, presently working as Ayurvedic Consultant for Transformative Learning Solutions, New Delhi India and TheAyurvedaExperience.com.

4 comments

  1. Hello!
    I take triphala before i go to sleep and i would like to take ashwagand too.What is the best time to take ashwaganda?My dosha isvata and I have digestive problems and also hormonal imbalance.

    • mm

      Hello Laura, thank you for your query. Like with every herbal supplement or herbal combination, first the person’s body constitution, metabolism, doshik imbalances etc many factors has to be considered so before starting any herbal supplement or herbal combination it is always advised to consult a Ayurvedic practitioner near you. However in Ayurvedic medicine, It is advised to take Ashwagandha at bed time with a cup of warm milk( if milk is tolerable) and Triphala can be taken before meals(apan kala according to Ayurvedic medicine) mixed with a little rock salt and followed by warm water. I still suggest you to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner near you.

  2. can diabetic patients take ashwagandha and triphala

    • mm

      Hello Vinodhini.
      Thanks for your query. Like with every herbal supplement or herbal combination, first the person’s body constitution, metabolism, doshik imbalances etc many factors has to be considered so before starting any herbal supplement or herbal combination it is always advised to consult a Ayurvedic practitioner near you.
      As it is already mentioned in the article, that both Triphala and Ashwagandha have anti-diabetic properties and may cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels if you are on anti diabetic medication. So it should be taken with precaution with regular blood sugar checkup.

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