by Rama Kant Mishra
It happens every Spring. You fling open the windows, shed your winter coat, and suddenly get the urge to clean your house. But do you ever think about "Spring cleaning" the toxins from your body?
Detoxifying in Spring is an important part of the ayurvedic seasonal routine, called ritucharya. Spring is the Kapha season, because the wet and cool weather reflects the moist, cool, heavy qualities of Kapha dosha that predominate during this time of the year (March-June).
Biologically, nature supports cleansing of the body in spring. In winter the digestive fire is high, and people eat more sweet and heavy food. Most of the time they aren't able to assimilate these hard-to-digest foods, so Ama (the sticky, toxic product of indigestion) starts accumulating.
When the warm weather melts the snow in spring, it has a similar effect on the body. In spring the Ama melts and the volume of Ama becomes so great that the shrotas, the microcirculatory channels of the body, become clogged.
Some Symptoms of Excess Toxins in the Body
If you don't assist these toxins in moving out of the body, you can become prone to flu, colds and cough, or allergies. Or you might feel unusually fatigued, sluggish or drowsy after lunch, or lose your appetite.
Sharp headaches, dizziness, mild tremors in the limbs, and unexplained muscle aches, especially in the calf, can also be symptoms. Your tongue may be coated, and your throat may be sore.
The skin can be less radiant, heavier, more oily. You may also find that you break out more often, are more prone to sunburn, and have dry patches on your skin.
Yet, Spring is the best season for detoxification, because nature is already trying to clear out the toxins. It's the time to help the body to efficiently detoxify the channels and the dhatus [body tissues].
Helping Your Body Detoxify
How do you help the body with its own spring cleaning? While most detox herbal products purify the colon and the digestive tract, it is helpful to choose a holistic formula that does more, such as cleansing the liver and blood, purifying the sweat glands and the organs of elimination, preventing buildup of toxins in the fat and muscle tissues, and paving the way for more energy, health and vitality.
A Kapha pacifying diet and lifestyle is best. If you avoid eating heavy, cold, hard-to-digest foods, and avoid or reduce the sweet, sour, and salty tastes, your digestive system will be more efficient in burning away the accumulated Ama.
Sweet juicy fruits can help cleanse the body, although they should be eaten before sunset, as they have a Kapha-increasing effect after the sun goes down. And you can add spices to your food -- such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, and fennel -- to help stimulate the digestion and detoxify the skin. (See Ghee recipe below for how to prepare).
In Spring you can sip hot (if you are a Pitta body type or have a Pitta imbalance then drink warm) water to help melt the Ama (digestive impurities) that have accumulated. Daily exercise, and avoiding day sleep will also help.
So this Spring, why not think about what you can do to help your body do its own housecleaning?
Ghee -- Spice Recipe
The Ghee-spice recipe given below is a synergistic combination that is a simple, yet effective way to stimulate the digestion and help the body detoxify:
2 tsps. Ghee (Clarified Butter)
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. fennel
Heat the Ghee in a small pan. Add the spices and stir to mix well, so that the aromas are released. Remove from heat before the spices burn. Use to top seasoned cooked vegetables.
Turmeric contains the flavanoid curcumin, which is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. This wonder spice helps detoxify the liver, balance cholesterol levels, fight allergies, stimulate digestion, boost immunity and enhance the complexion. Cumin and coriander contain oils that are effective in helping to detoxify the liver and aid digestion.
Note - Information in this article is given solely for the purpose of providing education about Ayurveda and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or mitigate any disease. If you have a medical condition, please consult a physician.
Rama Kant Mishra is head of research and development for Maharishi Ayurveda Products International, an Ayurvedic products distributor located in Colorado Springs.