Triphala, the Lion King in Ayurveda

Almost 25 centuries ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, proclaimed “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Exploring the association between diet and health continues even today. Emblica officinalis Gaertn. or Phyllanthus emblica Linn, commonly known as Indian gooseberry or amla, is arguably the most important medicinal plant in the Indian traditional system of medicine, the Ayurveda.

Fruit is most important

Various parts of the plant are used to treat a range of diseases, but the most important is the fruit. The fruit is used either alone or in combination with other plants to treat many ailments such as common cold and fever; as a diuretic, laxative, liver tonic, refrigerant, stomachic, restorative, alterative, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, hair tonic; to prevent peptic ulcer and dyspepsia, and as a digestive. Preclinical studies have shown that amla possesses antipyretic, analgesic, antitussive, antiatherogenic, adaptogenic, cardioprotective, gastroprotective, antianemia, antihypercholesterolemia, wound healing, antidiarrheal, antiatherosclerotic, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and neuroprotective properties.

Triphala, the Lion King in Ayurveda

At present it is the season of emblica officinalis. The markets in Kerala are full with this precious fruit. We use this herb in combination with Terminalia chebula Retz.and Terminalia belerica Retz. to make Triphala.Triphala is an antioxidant-rich herbal formulation and possesses diverse beneficial properties. It is a widely prescribed Ayurvedic drug and is used as a colon cleanser, digestive, diuretic, and laxative. Recent studies have shown that Triphala is also useful in the prevention of cancer and that it possesses antineoplastic, radioprotective and chemoprotective effects. In pubmed 24 articles prescribe the effect of this precious fruit on various disseases and one among them is cancer. The power of this magic fruit has just begun to explore. I keep you informed.
Cornelis Peters

1.[Study of galic acid extracted from the leaves of Phyllanthus emblica on apoptotic mechanism of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells BEL-7404].
Huang JL, Zhong ZG.
Zhong Yao Cai. 2011 Feb;34(2):246-9. Chinese.
PMID: 21823485 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

2.Emblica officinalis Gaertn. attentuates N-nitrosodiethylamine-induced apoptosis, autophagy, and inflammation in rat livers.
Chen KH, Lin BR, Chien CT, Ho CH.
J Med Food. 2011 Jul-Aug;14(7-8):746-55.
PMID: 21761987 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

3.Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn), a wonder berry in the treatment and prevention of cancer.
Baliga MS, Dsouza JJ.
Eur J Cancer Prev. 2011 May;20(3):225-39. Review.
PMID: 21317655 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

4.Triphala, Ayurvedic formulation for treating and preventing cancer: a review.
Baliga MS.
J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Dec;16(12):1301-8. Review.
PMID: 21138390 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

5.Progallin A isolated from the acetic ether part of the leaves of Phyllanthus emblica L. induces apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma BEL-7404 cells by up-regulation of Bax expression and down-regulation of Bcl-2 expression.
Zhong ZG, Wu DP, Huang JL, Liang H, Pan ZH, Zhang WY, Lu HM.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jan 27;133(2):765-72. Epub 2010 Nov 10.
PMID: 21073944 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

6.Antitumour effects of Phyllanthus emblica L.: induction of cancer cell apoptosis and inhibition of in vivo tumour promotion and in vitro invasion of human cancer cells.
Ngamkitidechakul C, Jaijoy K, Hansakul P, Soonthornchareonnon N, Sireeratawong S.
Phytother Res. 2010 Sep;24(9):1405-13.
PMID: 20812284 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

7.[The effect of gallic acid extracted from leaves of Phyllanthus emblica on apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma BEL-7404 cells].
Zhong ZG, Huang JL, Liang H, Zhong YN, Zhang WY, Wu DP, Zeng CL, Wang JS, Wei YH.
Zhong Yao Cai. 2009 Jul;32(7):1097-101. Chinese.
PMID: 19873740 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

8.Apoptosis of human primary osteoclasts treated with molecules targeting nuclear factor-kappaB.
Piva R, Penolazzi L, Borgatti M, Lampronti I, Lambertini E, Torreggiani E, Gambari R.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Aug;1171:448-56. Review.
PMID: 19723088 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

9.Modulatory role of Emblica officinalis fruit extract against arsenic induced oxidative stress in Swiss albino mice.
Sharma A, Sharma MK, Kumar M.
Chem Biol Interact. 2009 Jun 15;180(1):20-30. Epub 2009 Feb 3.
PMID: 19428342 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

10.Pyrogallol induces G2-M arrest in human lung cancer cells and inhibits tumor growth in an animal model.
Yang CJ, Wang CS, Hung JY, Huang HW, Chia YC, Wang PH, Weng CF, Huang MS.
Lung Cancer. 2009 Nov;66(2):162-8. Epub 2009 Feb 23.
PMID: 19233505 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

11.Synergistic growth inhibitory effects of Phyllanthus emblica and Terminalia bellerica extracts with conventional cytotoxic agents: doxorubicin and cisplatin against human hepatocellular carcinoma and lung cancer cells.
Pinmai K, Chunlaratthanabhorn S, Ngamkitidechakul C, Soonthornchareon N, Hahnvajanawong C.
World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar 14;14(10):1491-7.
PMID: 18330936 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article

12.An ethnomedicinal survey and documentation of important medicinal folklore food phytonims of flora of Samahni valley, (Azad Kashmir) Pakistan.
Ishtiaq M, Hanif W, Khan MA, Ashraf M, Butt AM.
Pak J Biol Sci. 2007 Jul 1;10(13):2241-56.
PMID: 19070189 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

13.Chemopreventative strategies targeting the MGMT repair protein: augmented expression in human lymphocytes and tumor cells by ethanolic and aqueous extracts of several Indian medicinal plants.
Niture SK, Rao US, Srivenugopal KS.
Int J Oncol. 2006 Nov;29(5):1269-78.
PMID: 17016661 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

14.Cytotoxic response of breast cancer cell lines, MCF 7 and T 47 D to triphala and its modification by antioxidants.
Sandhya T, Mishra KP.
Cancer Lett. 2006 Jul 18;238(2):304-13. Epub 2005 Aug 30.
PMID: 16135398 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

15.Expression of estrogen receptor alpha gene in breast cancer cells treated with transcription factor decoy is modulated by Bangladeshi natural plant extracts.
Lambertini E, Lampronti I, Penolazzi L, Khan MT, Ather A, Giorgi G, Gambari R, Piva R.
Oncol Res. 2005;15(2):69-79.
PMID: 16119004 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

16.Potential of traditional ayurvedic formulation, Triphala, as a novel anticancer drug.
Sandhya T, Lathika KM, Pandey BN, Mishra KP.
Cancer Lett. 2006 Jan 18;231(2):206-14.
PMID: 15899544 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

17.Screening of antioxidants from medicinal plants for cardioprotective effect against do
Wattanapitayakul SK, Chularojmontri L, Herunsalee A, Charuchongkolwongse S, Niumsakul S, Bauer JA.
Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2005 Jan;96(1):80-7.
PMID: 15667600 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

18.The in vitro cytotoxic and apoptotic activity of Triphala–an Indian herbal drug.
Kaur S, Michael H, Arora S, Härkönen PL, Kumar S.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Feb 10;97(1):15-20. Epub 2004 Dec 25.
PMID: 15652269 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

19.Effects of extracts from Bangladeshi medicinal plants on in vitro proliferation of human breast cancer cell lines and expression of estrogen receptor alpha gene.
Lambertini E, Piva R, Khan MT, Lampronti I, Bianchi N, Borgatti M, Gambari R.
Int J Oncol. 2004 Feb;24(2):419-23.
PMID: 14719119 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

20.Induction of apoptosis in mouse and human carcinoma cell lines by Emblica officinalis polyphenols and its effect on chemical carcinogenesis.
Rajeshkumar NV, Pillai MR, Kuttan R.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Jun;22(2):201-12.
PMID: 12866570 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

21.Identification of pyrogallol as an antiproliferative compound present in extracts from the medicinal plant Emblica officinalis: effects on in vitro cell growth of human tumor cell lines.
Khan MT, Lampronti I, Martello D, Bianchi N, Jabbar S, Choudhuri MS, Datta BK, Gambari R.
Int J Oncol. 2002 Jul;21(1):187-92.
PMID: 12063567 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

22.[Ethnopharmacology of Phyllanthus emblica L].
Xia Q, Xiao P, Wan L, Kong J.
Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1997 Sep;22(9):515-8, 525, 574. Review. Chinese.
PMID: 11038937 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

23.Modifying role of Phyllanthus emblica and ascorbic acid against nickel clastogenicity in mice.Dhir H, Agarwal K, Sharma A, Talukder G.
Cancer Lett. 1991 Jul 26;59(1):9-18.
PMID: 1878862 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

24.Records of usage or assays in Phyllanthus (Euphorbiaceae). I. Subgenera Isocladus, Kirganelia, Cicca and Emblica.
Unander DW, Webster GL, Blumberg BS.
J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Oct;30(3):233-64. Review.
PMID: 2259214 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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