What is it about?

'Triphala' is perhaps the most famous of all classical ayurvedic formulations, and widely used for maintenance of intestinal health. However, its effect on virulence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens remained under-investigated hitherto. This study demonstrates utility of 'Triphala' as a therapeutic as well as prophylactic formulation against certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Among its multifaceted mode of anti-pathogenic action, one interesting aspect is its ability to interfere with the mechanism (quorum sensing) through which bacteria 'talk' to each other.

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Why is it important?

Mortality on account of antibiotic-resistant infections is on rise. Since the discovery of novel antibiotics has failed to keep pace with the rapid spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), alternative approaches to tackle the threat of infectious diseases are warranted. Traditional Medicine (TM) systems like Ayurved can prove to be a reliable source of many effective formulations with a long history of safe usage. Polyherbal formulations like 'Triphala' by exhibiting a 'multiplicity of targets' can attenuate bacterial virulence effectively. Studies like the present one validating the biological activities of TM formulations are important for enabling wider acceptance of the ancient wisdom (i.e. complementary and alternative medicine) in modern times. Demonstration of the desired biological effect of TM formulations through properly-designed scientific experiments can boost the public confidence in TM.


This study has generated preliminary evidence of the 'in vivo' anti-pathogenic efficacy of 'Triphala'. Since polyherbal formulations are still not part of mainstream modern medicine, such investigations on multi-herb TM preparations are warranted to generate public confidence in their efficacy. If governments and funding bodies can come forward to support 'mainstreaming of TM to tackle AMR', and encourage more such studies on different herbal/ herbomineral TM formulations, it will have an overall positive effect on our efforts to combat AMR on a global scale. Molecular mechanisms underlining the biological efficacy of such formulations, once elucidated, can provide us with new leads and new targets, which are very much warranted for discovery and development of next-generation antimicrobials.

Dr Vijay Kothari
Institute of Science, Nirma University

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This page is a summary of: Anti-pathogenic potential of a classical ayurvedic formulation- Triphala, F1000Research, July 2019, Faculty of 1000, Ltd., DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.19787.1.
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