What is detoxifcation?

Do you feel low and out of focus at times and find it difficult to understand what may be the reason behind it? Symptoms like fatigue, pain, muscle aches, nasal congestion, headaches, bloating, sleep problems and heartburn may signify that your body may benefit from a detox. Toxins accumulated in the body may pose a higher health risk if not addressed on time. Unhealthy food habits, exposure to excessive pollution, and stress can cause toxins to accumulate in your body.

See: Panchakarma cleanse & treatment benefits

Detoxification is a process that helps remove and eliminate toxins from the body and then feeds it with healthy nutrients. Detoxification involves cleansing and nourishing the body inside-out, which can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.

See: Ashwagandha Benefits & Side Effects

Ayurvedic detox

Ayurveda employs the usage of herbal treatments like a wide range of plant material to neutralize or detoxify toxins from your body. This detox protects the body from the harmful effects of environmental contaminants, drugs, and chemicals. These herbal treatments purify the blood by eliminating the toxins from the liver and process them for elimination. Ayurveda also aims to correct the systems that are compromised and thus unable to filter out impurities from the body.

Ayurvedic healing is based on maintaining a balance between the three doshas (the Vata, Kapha, and Pitta doshas).

See: What are doshas? Dosha Quiz

It postulates that any imbalance between these three doshas can cause malfunctioning of the body. It’s critical to maintain a proper balance between the doshas and body tissues to maintain optimal health.


See: Ayurvedic herbs for constipation relief

What do toxins do?

What happens to your body when the toxins are not filtered out?

As a result of modern industrial society, which involves exposure to a variety of toxic substances leading to its accumulation in the body, especially in the fatty tissues, and bone and therefore is associated with numerous health problems. The process by which these toxic substances cause health problems involves a reduction-oxidation reaction. The liver is a vital organ of the body, removing all the impurities and harmful material out from the body. The liver, when it fails to filter out these impurities, can cause accumulation of these toxic materials and lead to subsequent health problems.

Now, what happens when the toxins levels in the body increases? Oxygen, which is vital in the metabolism of several reactions, is a robust reactive molecule that can generate reactive oxygen species. These free radicals can damage the cell membranes by activating inflammatory mediators, metabolic and proliferative and can cause diseases. All these pathogenic factors may be involved in numerous liver diseases as well.[1].


See: Buttermilk as Ayurvedic medicine

Ayurvedic herbs for detox

Numerous food plants and ayurvedic herbs may prevent and treat such diseases. These herbs, when incorporated into your diet, can make you feel rejuvenated, energetic, and happy. Numerous studies were carried out to understand the role of ayurvedic herbs in the detoxification process. Some of the Ayurvedic herbs for detoxification purposes are listed below:

Agrimonia eupatoria, Arctium lappa, Allium sativum, Asparagus Officinalis, Alpinia galangal, Alhagi maurorum, Anchusa strigosa, Artemisia campestris, Benincasa hispida, Canna indica, Astragalus hamosus, Bryophyllum calycinum, Brassica rapa, Bauhinia variegata, Brassica nigra, Bryonia dioica, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Caesalpinia crista, Capsicum frutescens, Calendula officinalis, Calotropis procera, Casuarina equisetifolia, Capparis spinosa, Celosia cristata, Carthmus tinctorius, Carum carvi, Cassia occidentalis, and Chenopodium album.

See: Ayurvedic Herbs for Hypothyroidism

Panchkarma Ayurvedic Cleanse

Ayurvedic cleanse

The Ayurvedic cleanse is a powerful remedy that helps balance all constitutions, or doshas of the body and maintain better health. Ayurvedic cleanse often referred to in its complete format as Panchakarma, aims at cleansing the whole body and nourishing it with healthy nutrients. It further focuses on healing and replenishing both the body and mind.

Panchakarma is one of the primary Ayurvedic therapy that aims to eliminate excessive Doshas from the body. It also helps maintain good health for a longer duration of time. Panchakarma is highly beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment. It involves five therapies that offer the most detoxifying treatments in Ayurvedic medicine. All five therapies of Panchakarma allow the body to rid itself of various toxins and wastes that have accumulated over time and lodged in the body. It involves the usage of herbal oils, herbal paste, vomiting therapies, steam therapy, purgation therapies, body treatments (including oil massage), nasal therapy, and enema therapy. These therapies cleanse all the channels of the body by removing toxins that may later cause illness. [2].

The five therapies of Panchakarma involve: 

Basti= Herbalized oil enemas introduced into the rectum to cleanse the waste from the bottom part of the body

Nasya= Nasal irrigation employs oil, smoke, or enemas. It is useful to eliminate Kapha doshas.

Vamana= medical emesis procedure conducted to remove Kapha toxins accumulated in the body and the respiratory tract 

Virechana= Purgation induced by drugs, and it specifically aims at the elimination of excessive Pitta Dosha from the body.

Raktamokshana= Bloodletting procedure in which controlled removal of small quantities of blood removes pitta toxins

Once the cleansing is complete, the body can resume its natural functioning without interference.

See: Try Panchakarma for Psoriasis Relief With No Side Effects

Study in Ayurveda detox for health benefit

The use of ayurvedic medicine for health promotion – a mixed-methods case study of an ayurvedic center in Sweden.[3]

A mixed-methods case study was undertaken of an ayurvedic center in Sweden to study the use of Ayurveda in the context of health promotion. The study was carried out in 55 individuals, with specific illnesses and had a reason for seeking Ayurveda. The most common conditions reported were found to be musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis, respiratory ailments like asthma, circulatory, tumor, and cutaneous illnesses. The patients in the first group were seeking ayurvedic counseling treatment to control their symptoms ranging from more severe diseases, such as rheumatic pains, hypothyroidism, ulcerous colitis, cancer, and depression. There was also a second group of patients engaging in Ayurveda striving for harmony and balance in life and not reporting any severe illnesses. The results showed positive experiences of people participated in the study were they found improvement in pulse diagnostics, and concrete, physical improvement of their symptoms.

See: Ayurvedic Treatment for Prediabetes & Diabetes Type 2

Summary

Apart from ayurvedic detox and cleanse, detoxification procedure can involve dietary changes, exercise, and consuming herbal tea. However, these treatments may not offer benefits for a more extended period, like Ayurveda. Ayurvedic therapies cleanse through various channels and promote not only the better functioning of the body but also protects from multiple illnesses.

See: Ayurvedic herbs for immune system

References

1. Guan, Yong-Song & He, Qing. (2015). Plants Consumption and Liver Health. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM. 2015. 824185. 10.1155/2015/824185.

2. Conboy, Lisa & Edshteyn, Ingrid & Garivaltis, Hilary. (2009). Ayurveda and Panchakarma, Measuring the Effects of Holistic Health Intervention. TheScientificWorldJournal. 9. 272-80. 10.1100/tsw.2009.35. 

3. Niemi, Maria & Ståhle, Göran. (2016). The use of Ayurveda (ayurvedic medicine) in the context of health promotion – a mixed-methods case study of an ayurvedic center in Sweden. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 16. 10.1186/s12906-016-1042-z.

See: Ayurveda and Indian Herbs for Sinusitis relief

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