You’ve probably heard of detoxing, but did you know that this practice goes back to ancient times? Many people associate detoxing with the health trends of the 1970s and today; however, this process dates back to times before written history. Detoxing even predates Indian, Native American, Roman and Greek cultures.
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The idea of a detox with herbal medicines is to support purification and cleansing. Whether you’re doing it as a form of devotional fasting or to rid your body of harmful substances and illness, detoxing is still a long time, celebrated way of connecting your body and mind to the universal way of life.
When you detox, it’s a very personal experience. You must go into the deepest part of your mind and body to remove all that toxic waste. There are many effective techniques that are still great ways to remove harmful substances in your body, but choosing the right one for you can be a bit difficult. Check out these ancients methods for detoxing that are still in use today.
1. Native American Cleansing
In many Native American cultures, purification rituals are used to cleanse your mind, heal your body and bring on visions. The main source of purification was the sweat lodge, used to promote deep healing.
Today, depending on the practices of the tribe, sweat lodges have dry herbs on the lodge’s dry rocks. Some tribes used tea before and afterward to increase the level of detox. Smudging, the purification of air using sacred herbs, is also a part of detoxing in some Native American cultures. Herbs used include cedar, juniper and resins.
Some healing centers offer Native American-inspired programs. You may also be able to visit a center associated with a local tribe in your area.
2. Ayurveda Cleansing
Ayurveda is an ancient whole-body healing system that originated in India. In this system, there are two main practices used to remove toxins from your body: panache karma and palliation.
Panache karma consists of physical rituals done with medicated enemas and purgatives, while palliation involves the use of pungent herbs to stimulate a heated digestive action that burns away toxins. Other heat therapies, such as sunbathing, are used to get your body to release its toxins.
Enemas and heat are longtime mainstays of toxin removal but do use caution if you have any digestive illnesses, before trying these detox methods.
3. Cleanses In Shamanism
Several native rainforest cultures have cleanse traditions based on limpias, herbal dietas and ceremonies involving plant medicines.
Limpias are spiritual and emotional cleanses that use smoke from herbs to clean the air and baths with fresh herbs and flowers. The types of flowers and herbs used depend on the condition you’re looking to heal. White sage, for example, is often used to absorb anger and conflict.
A dieta is a strict food, and herbal diets last for a week, months or even years. These types of diets aim to cleanse your body of emotional imbalance, toxins, and even spiritual confusion. Many ancient traditions call for these diets to be done with limited sensory stimulation to really help you get down to your inner self. The meal plans themselves are simple and often free of dairy, meat, alcohol, gluten, oil, fermented foods, sugar, and salt.
In plant medicine ceremonies, you are connected back to the ancient source grains of berries, flowers, and fresh plants, the things your ancestors relied on in nature to fill their needs. A medicine man, or shaman, conducts the ceremony using special plants he has grown. Be aware that some “power” plants in this culture are toxic and need to be handled by an experienced person.
Starting Out With Ancient Cleanses
You don't have to run out and spend a lot of money to get started with ancient cleansing methods. Try some simple things at first so you can identify the right practices for your mind and body.
One easy herbal cleansing tea to try is the “Rainforest” tea, used before some more active detoxes and as a digestive cleanser.
What You Need
1 or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of freshly grated or powdered turmeric
3 teaspoons of Chanca Piedra powder
¼ teaspoon of Boldo leaf powder
2 teaspoons of moringa powder
1 teaspoon of powdered nettles or a handful of its fresh leaves
1 teaspoon of Pau D’ Arco
What To Do
- Infuse all of your herbs in approximately one liter of water. Allow this mix to infuse for about ten minutes.
- Shake the mixture really well so that the ingredients are activated and drink slowly.
- Drink the entire liter of your tea in the morning on an empty stomach.
- When you're cleansing, avoid dairy, meat, oils and spicy foods on that day, as they will interfere with the process. Many cultures around the world set aside one day a week for cleansing to keep up with basic body maintenance.
- You can pair other things with simple detox methods like the tea above. Try using sweat lodges, steam therapy or a sauna's heat therapy to help increase the effect of the herbs you're using. Try different things so you know what you're comfortable with and what doesn't work for you.
- Consider enema use if you’re in the middle of an active detox, as these can help your body with elimination. However, make sure all the enemas you’re considering are safe and sanitary. Speak to your doctor before using an enema if you have any digestive health conditions.
- Drink more water. Being hydrated helps your body remove toxins naturally, and it can also help intensify the level of your detoxes. Substitute water for your other daily drinks, such as soda, to get yourself into the habit of drinking water more often.
- Start breathing exercises to help you breathe more deeply. When you get more oxygen, your body will work better because your circulation is improved. Take a few minutes each day to practice your deep breathing.
- Hydrotherapy can help and it’s simple to do! Take a very hot shower for about five minutes, and let the water run down your back. Follow this up with cold water for about 30 seconds. After you’ve done this three times in a row, get into a bed for about half an hour.
- Eat as many whole foods as possible. The fewer additives your food has, the fewer toxins you’ll accumulate. Cleansing works better when there aren’t as many harmful substances in your body to begin with, and you’ll feel better, too.
The ancient detox methods of the past are still in use today because they provide true benefits to the people who use them. Evaluate these ancient practices to find the best fit for your body and your lifestyle.
Try some ancient detox practices today to help you get both your body and your mind into a healthier state!