If you suffer from occasional bouts of constipation from overeating, eating unfamiliar food while traveling, or improper food combining, triphala might help you. Triphala is the combination of three Ayurvedic (Indian) herbs: amalaki, bibbitaki and haritakis. Taking triphala is appropriate for any mind-body (dosha) type and it balances Vata (wind) in the colon to relieve irregularity. It is generally safe enough to use daily if needed and is not habit-forming. If you have not taken Ayurvedic supplements before, consult an integrative medicine physician or an Ayurvedic specialist.
Take triphala as a laxative, as it is a combination of herbs taken for constipation. Triphala is available in capsules and tablets. It is also available as a medicinal tea. Closely read the labels and do not exceed the recommended dosage. If you take triphala at night, you may find it has a diuretic effect. Ideally, take triphala very early in the morning before 6 a.m., the hour of Vata.
Know that using triphala is appropriate for all 3 doshas, or Ayurvedic mind-body type. If you are a Vata, you are the most likely to experience constipation. Vatas generally are of a slight build, with variable appetite and variable digestion. As Vatas like to multi-task while eating, this can create a hurried eating pattern that can contribute to irregularity.
Make a tea with triphala herbs or use the tablets or capsules. Triphala is said to pacific Vata, and the colon is the seat of Vata. While the other 2 Ayurvedic types of Pitta and Kapha may also experience irregularity, it is for different reasons. Pittas generally have a strong digestion and it may be from overeating that they become constipated. Kaphas generally have a sluggish digestion and may eat food to comfort themselves, leading to overeating and irregularity.
Examine root causes of irregularity to prevent future episodes. Observe the foods that you eat that create indigestion or constipation. By being aware of food allergies or foods that are difficult for you to digest, you can reduce or avoid these foods. The saying "What works best is what you are able to fully digest" carries some weight here.
Notice how and when you eat foods to improve your digestion. Eating while talking on the phone and watching TV and flipping through a magazine simultaneously is not conducive to digestion. These behaviors are Vata aggravating and can be done by anyone of any dosha type. Americans are productive multi-taskers but it is a good idea to focus strictly on eating during meals to avoid the gastrointestinal upset later.
Eat dried fruits such as raisins and prunes, which are well-known remedies for irregularity. Consuming raw apples and ripe bananas between meals can help. Add more fiber to the diet by eating oat and wheat bran, oatmeal and fresh fruits and vegetables. Doing all of these things are appropriate if you determine triphala is not suitable for you.