Ever since I underwent a course of detoxification procedures in an Ayurvedic clinic I realized that detoxification is as important as nourishment of our body. It is essential to keep not only toxins but also toxic thoughts & toxic people at bay for our well being. Since Ayurveda is popular for effective detoxification, I feel it is a good idea to include detoxifying herbs & spices by incorporating ayurvedic concepts into the detox diet. We all know that Ayurveda is pivoting on the principles of three major forces of energy vata (air), pitta (fire), and kapha (water) and we have a mixture of these energies (dosha) within ourselves and in our environment in different proportions at different times. Ayurveda believes that when any of these forces are out of balance (or exerted excessively on us) it causes disease, so it recommends us to take appropriate dosha-pacifying food (or avoid taking dosha-aggravating food) to reduce the effects of excessive dosha. You may refer the comparison tables below to understand how our body & mind is influenced by these forces.
According to Ayurveda children until their adolescence are influenced by kapha dosha, adults up to the age of 50 by pitta and people above 50 by vata dosha irrespective of their body type. This is the reason we normally find children suffering from frequent cough & colds, adults finding it to difficult to manage acid reflux, and old people with arthritis. We also find some children rebellious, adults audacious, or old people inflexible most likely due to excessive dosha. If we notice pimples on the face of an adolescent we all cry out for hormonal imbalance today, but my grandmother simply dubbed it as “choodu” (excessive body heat), she asked us to wash our face with tender coconut water and to take overnight soaked fenugreek seeds in the morning to reduce the body heat.
So it is better to exercise prudence by encouraging kapha type children taking kapha-pacifying food till they become adolescents, pitta type adults avoid taking pitta-aggravating food until they could feel the decline of pitta, and vata type old people taking necessary precautions before they turn 50. Besides we are influenced by these dosha in different seasons of a year and at different times of a day. You may refer the dosha calendar & dosha clock (created for tropical Indian climate) shown below to know when each dosha is exerted more on us.
The dosha clock below indicates that our mind & body is as cool as water duing kapha time, aggressive like fire during pitta time, and as active as air in vata time. Our grand parents considered vata time in the morning (4-6 am) auspicious for every new beginning like conducting a house-warming ceremony, making pongal for harvest festival, etc. They used to insist children to wake up & study before sunrise (4-6 am) and play in the evening (4-6 pm) during vata time. Spiritual leaders suggest that kapha time in the morning (6-8 am) is ideal for practicing yoga (or other fitness regimens) and in the evening (6-8 pm) for prayers & meditation. It is our custom that we light lamps at 6 pm and offer prayers, it may be the reason that we all would feel grounded just like water during kapha time. We are usually hungrier in pitta time (10 am to 2 pm) and our digestive system is also fiery enough to assimilate the ingested food during pitta time. It was a common practice to take liquid food in the morning, a large meal (arusuvai virundhu, a feast comprising 6 tastes) for lunch and a light meal for dinner followed in our families.
Essentially Ayurveda recommends to restrain ourselves from taking any dosha aggravating food particularly when the same dosha is at its peak as shown in the above pictures. Interestingly I find a similarity between ayurveda & astrology as they both were meant to guide common people when to take risks or when to stay low. However, it is said that wise old people (like our grandparents) or enlightened souls (like a yogi) do not rely on such support systems since they are able to strike a chord of harmony with Mother nature promptly. As an ordinary woman I like to cling on to Ayurveda even for my detox routine. Although Ayurveda recommends a number of detoxifying herbs, I like to take water infused with cumin seeds, plantain stem juice and haritaki drink as I find these very effective and can be easily included into our regular diet also.
Cumin seeds (jeera) are well known for pacifying all three dosha and also for its excellent detoxifying properties. So we can prepare jeera water as shown below and drink all day long instead of water.
Plantain stem juice, a natural diuretic, aids in detox & weight loss. Since banana stem pacifies kapha & pitta dosha, we can take this juice during kapha or pitta time of a day. You may add a tablespoon of curd (or a teaspoon of lemon juice) to prevent oxidation while extracting juice.
Haritaki (kadukkai) is one of the most famous herbs used in Siddha & Ayurveda for its numerous health benefits including detoxification (as natural laxative) & weight loss properties. A teaspoon of haritaki powder may be mixed with tepid water and taken before going to bed.
Besides these we can include other detoxifying juices into our detox diet at an appropriate time according to their dosha properties. I have not added sugar or salt into any of the juices shown below, but I added cumin seeds powder into some to balance the dosha and also to improve the taste. You may include/ exclude any juice shown below according to your dosha.
Here I have just shared my experiences with which I got benefited, but you may consult an Ayurveda practitioner before taking them. Luckily I grew up listening to the words vatham, pitham & kapam articulated by my grandparents and other elders in our family, and I am grateful to all of them who taught us invaluable life lessons and made us richer by peerless experiences.