Ayurveda is a holistic medical system of traditional medicine, and Triphala is one of the most popular formulations in Ayurveda. Triphala is composed of three kinds of herb, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica, and Emblica officinalis. Since Triphala is shown to exhibit a protective activity against ionizing radiation in mice, we investigated its activity in HeLa cells.
We found that Triphala showed the protective effects against X-radiation and bleomycin, both of which generate DNA strand breaks, in HeLa cells. Further, Triphala efficiently eliminated reactive oxygen species (ROS) in HeLa cells.
Thus, the antioxidant activity of Triphala would likely play a role in its protective actions against X-radiation and bleomycin because both agents damage DNA through the generation of ROS.
These observations suggested that the radioprotective activity of Triphala can be, at least partly, studied with the cells cultured in vitro. The simple bioassay system with human cultured cells would facilitate the understanding of the molecular basis for the beneficial effects of Triphala.
Triphala (Sanskrit tri = three and phala = fruits), composed of the three medicinal fruits Phyllanthus emblica L. or Emblica officinalis Gaertn., Terminalia chebula Retz., and Terminalia belerica Retz. is an important herbal preparation in the traditional Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda.
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. Cancer is a major cause of death, and globally studies are being conducted to prevent cancer or to develop effective nontoxic therapeutic agents. Experimental studies in the past decade have shown that Triphala is useful in the prevention of cancer and that it also possesses antineoplastic, radioprotective and chemoprotective effects.
This review for the first time summarizes these results, with emphasis on published observations. Furthermore, the possible mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects and lacunas in the existing knowledge that need to be bridged are also discussed.