Triphala is a mysterious, almost miraculous, blend that has endured as Ayurveda’s most widely used herbal formula. Most commonly, it is recommended to maintain regular bowel movements and support a healthy digestive system—which it does! But there is much more to the powers of triphala. Here are a few of our favorite ways to use triphala.Continue Reading >
Considered the most versatile and widely used of all Ayurvedic herbal formulations, Triphala is a unique blend with a very substantial value. Tridoshic, rejuvenating, nourishing, cleansing, and detoxifying, with countless benefits and numerous uses—it’s not difficult to understand why it’s so popular. But how often do we think about the wild plants that make up a formula such as triphala, and how those three special fruits—amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki—are obtained? How were they grown? Who harvested them? These are important questions to ask when buying any herbal product, but especially when buying products sourced from the wild, like our beloved triphala.
Wild plants play an integral role in our commerce, livelihoods, health, and well-being. They’re used as ingredients for food, cosmetics, medicines, building materials, and other products used every day around the world. And that’s not including plants harvested through agricultural or commercial farming—some herbs can only be found in the wild and thrive in thin air or harsh climates. Today, one in five of the world’s wild plant species are estimated to be under the threat of extinction due to over-harvesting and habitat loss, and the demand is only increasing.
The FairWild initiative is essentially what it sounds like: it ensures the protection of wild plant species and their habitats, while also fairly supporting the livelihoods of those involved in the harvesting process. We at Banyan are proud to launch our first FairWild certified formula, Triphala, using FairWild certified bibhitaki.
Protecting the Endangered Great Pied Hornbill
Banyan’s FairWild bibhitaki fruit is harvested from an old-growth bibhitaki forest, which serves as a home and nesting ground for the great pied hornbill, an iconic species in the Western Ghats of India. When the giant limbs from these trees naturally break off, a cavity is left; perfect for protecting the mother while she raises her young. The male hornbill collects food and returns day after day for several months to feed his growing family. Through this process, the hornbills also distribute seeds throughout the forest, making them a valuable player in the surrounding ecosystem. The bibhitaki trees are one of the only trees big enough to provide a suitable nesting location for these magnificent birds.
As a species that mates for life, the hornbills have come to prefer a home with permanence—but these majestic trees are becoming increasingly rare. The demands of modern society are encroaching on the forests, and it’s not uncommon for local villagers to chop down these trees for lumber as a source of income. However, the FairWild initiative has opened up an alternative opportunity for the communities: locals can now collect the bibhitaki fruits and get paid a fair price for that collection, giving value to the trees as they stand. FairWild ensures this ancient grove is stewarded in a way that preserves not only the forest but also the natural habitat of this beautiful bird species.
Supporting the People Involved
Historically, the fruits of the bibhitaki trees were rarely collected—the value was priced too low, and the market was too far away to be worth the time and effort. By providing a reliable market and a premium price for the bibhitaki fruit, the local community is given a genuine incentive to protect the trees. Now the benefits of collecting the fruits are shared throughout the supply chain, community social development is supported through means of a FairWild Premium fund, and the collectors involved receive fair compensation for their work and goods. Together with local NGOs (non-profit, non-governmental voluntary citizen’s groups) and private enterprises, Banyan is excited to support a sustainable alternative, conserving the trees and supporting the people involved.
A Collective Effort
Whether your curiosity about triphala was only piqued recently, or you’ve been a fan of the benefits and numerous uses of triphala for years, we’re excited to continue to offer our formula with the finest quality and sustainably sourced ingredients. Through our collective effort, we can preserve wild plant species like the bibhitaki trees, and continue to enjoy the benefits of the triphala formula for generations to come.
When you choose to purchase Banyan’s FairWild products, you’re also supporting this positive initiative. To learn more about the FairWild standard, watch the video below or visit their website to stay connected.