Every day in life, we get exposed to thousands of environmental toxins and pollutants. This kind of exposure to harmful chemicals happens when we travel to our working place, in our homes or through the air we breathe. Also, we imbibe toxins through the food we eat or through the water we drink.
The situation can be even worsened with our ‘bad habits’ like smoking, not only harm us but also harm others and pollute the atmosphere around us.
These toxins, you know, could grievously harm our health. Though many factors can cause infertility. The harsh, synthetic chemical products we use every day could be the real cause.
Our body’s immune system can not cope up with continuous assimilation of toxins. It is liable to break down. Studies show that the chemicals found in everyday beauty products could cause hormone disruptions, a variety of health problems and even birth defects. Toothpaste, Mouth wash, shampoo, hair cream, deodorants, perfumes – all these could contain toxic chemicals.
It is imperative that persons with fertility problems and pregnant women should switch over to chemical-free alternative products. Waste and toxic depositions in the human body are a potential source of illness. Pharmaceutical drugs also contribute to toxin accumulation.
Picture credited to Wikipedia
Detoxification with Ayurveda
Ayurveda advises frequent detoxification of our body and mind. The process by which the toxic substances are removed or toxic effects are neutralized is one of the functions of the liver. The kidneys and lower gastrointestinal tract also help in this natural detox process.
Ayurveda calls the toxic substances accumulated in the body as “Ama”. Acharya Vaghabhata says that the Ama produces obstruction of channels (Strolosang), loss of strength (Balakshaya), Heaviness (Gauravta), impediment to the flow of Vayu (Mudhta), indigestion (Ajeerana), excessive salivation (Atyapraseka), obstruction of natural urges (Vegavrotha) anorexia (Madagni) and malaise (Angsada).
Ama can settle in different parts of the body. It also is a cause for reducing body immunity to diseases by producing free radicals in the body.
The benefits of detoxification
- It eliminates accumulated toxins.
- The body’s organs and systems are rejuvenated and become more efficient in function.
- Hormone balance is restored and sperm health is greatly enhanced.
Organisms that cause toxins are bacteria (e.g. clostridium, botulinum, clostridium perfrigens) (e.g. Entamoeba Histolytica, Stomach worms, Giardia lamblia), Viruses (Rhino virus, Rotovirus) and Fungi (candida abdicans). The bacterium clostridia are toxin-producing anaerobic bacteria that cause a number of diseases – tetanus. botulism & tissue infections.
Chemicals Causes of Toxic
Chemicals that cause toxic are – propylparaben found in body care products may affect normal levels of estrogen and also male reproductive functions. Common plasticizing chemical ingredients found is hair spray perfume, nail polish, shampoos, soap, etc can affect liver, kidneys, adrenals and also the male reproductive organs.
Talc found in baby powders and face & body powders could cause cancer – especially ovarian cancer when used in the genital area. Chemicals used in the car wash, floor cleaners could be carcinogenic.
Eating certain foods (either plant or animal) can also cause toxins to accumulate in the body. For example mushroom and seafood.
Seafood especially fish can cause food poisoning from one of three toxins – ciguatera, tetraodon or histamine. Lack of exercise, junk food, etc leads to unhealthy deposits in the body.
The’s depositions cause stagnation in the circulation of fluids including blood. Prolonged accumulation of sticky toxins makes the blood vessels narrow. In and outflows are affected.
The problem is that our body is not capable of coping with a variety of strong toxins and chemicals that load our body. The toxins get accumulated in our cells, tissues, blood, and organs. They may lay dormant for years and then manifest in a variety of health problems.
To combat toxins, we need to take a three-pronged action – Dietary modification, treatment for detoxification and exercises (brisk walking, yoga, and etc).
Some of the symptoms of overload of toxins stored in the body are:
Brain fatigue, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, mood swings, insomnia, cellulite, allergies overeating, poor circulation, headache, brittle nails, etc.
Ayurveda has excellent detoxification therapist. It is famous for its ‘Panchakarma’ therapy, which is applicable to all cases covering a wide range of preventive, curative and promotive conditions.
Ayurveda elucidates “Panchakarma” – five methods of bio purificatory procedures. These procedures are basically expulsion of waste products and toxins through the natural orifices provided in the body. Before the “panchakarma is started, it is essential to employ preparatory” (Poorvakarma) measures. These increase body’s “fire” and bring up the toxins and depositions from other locations of the body to the stomach from where they are easily expelled.
- Snehana (Internal – Vamana Dietary and external)
- Virechana management
- Asthapana Vasti to restore
- Anuvasana Vasti Agni
(Twenty three – Nasya types i.e. 13 (Shiro Virechana) with heat, 10 without heat)
Snehana karma – Literally Snehana means to oleate or to make smooth. This is the I stage of detoxification. The toxins that are stuck to pores of cellular walls and capillaries or in other parts of the body are not easily removable.
Therefore medicated oil and Ghrita which contain the medicines that go into the minutest pores of the body and lubricate them. The impurities are eradicated.
Drugs like Chitrakadivati, Lavana Bhaskara Churana, etc, medicated clarified butter, cream of curd with jaggery, etc are some preparations given internally. Dry heat, steam baths, massage with hot oils, etc are given externally.
External ‘Snehana is of 12 types. Whatever necessary for the patient will be chosen by the physician and used appropriately.
This process makes the body sweat. Certain areas in our body sweat more; e.g. armpits (under the arm). This sort of sweat may not run down the body and evaporate. It dries slowly and leaves behind an organic residue. Bacteria thrive in these conditions.
Ayurveda understands this. It employs Swedana therapy in two ways – with heat (Sagni) (using a steam bath or sitz bath, etc) and without heat (Niragni). (Physical exercises, covering the body with blankets, applying thick medicinal packs).
Sagni Swedana is of 13 types of therapy, while Niragni Swedana is of 10 types. Several other factors like the intensity of heat to be used, for which part of the body the heat has to be given or whether full-body fomentation is necessary, etc will be decided by the physician. There are a number of ways and means to practice Swedana.
After these preparations the main ‘Panchakarma’, the five different evacuatory procedures followed one by another is started.
This means expelling the toxins through the mouth. This procedure is particularly beneficial to patients with disorders of ‘Khapa’ dosha. Powdered mixture of Pippali, Vacha, Saindava Lavana, Liquorice, etc, in proper form and dosages, are given to induce 5 to 10 bouts of vomiting.
By this procedure, toxic wastes are eliminated. As said earlier, Poorva karma (Pre – Pancha Karma) procedures collect and bring in the toxins to the stomach from where these are expelled easily. Erand Taila, Terminalia Chebula (Haritaki) Indian senna, Triphala, Draksha, Hing, etc are some of the substances used to purge the body.
Virechana is an easy procedure, without pain. It cleanses the body of accumulated ‘Mala’. Virechana is specific for Pitta dominant doshas.
This procedure is similar to ‘Enema’. Medicines are given through anus, using an apparatus called ‘Vasti’ (animal’s urinary bladder). In Asthapna/Niruha Vasti, the medicines are given in large quantities of about one liter of decoctions. In Anuvasana Vasti – ‘Ghrita’ (ghee) and oils are used. In many cases, a combination of both the typed of Vasti is given. Charaka says that Vasti is good for Vata vitiated bodies.
Nasya (Sirovirecana Karma)
This last step in Panchakarma therapy involves the procedure of giving the medicine through the nostrils. The passage to the brain is through “Nasa” (Nose) which acts as a gateway for any infection to reach the brain.
Substances like water, oxygen, carbon – dioxide, cross the blood-brain barrier easily to reach the brain. Glucose appears to be actively transported while Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Chlorine, Carbonic acid pass very slowly. Bile salts, serotonin, epinephrine can not pass the blood-brain barrier. Nasya procedure needs careful handling.
It is classified according to its action, substances used and according to the dosage administered. In the Prenasya procedure, the smoke of the medicine is inhaled followed by fomentation and light massage of the frontal part of the head, throat, and cheeks.
In ‘Navana’ Nasya medicated oil is instilled in the nose, in drops. In “Auapida Nasya” extract/juice of the herb is instilled in the nose. In Dhamapana or Pradhamana Nasya, a Nadi – yantra, (Neti – pot) is used to let the nose inhale the fine powder of drugs. The Neti – pot is now becoming popular is the western countries of the world.
Thus the principles of evacuative procedures – Emesis, purgation and 2 forms of enema – are well adapted by Ayurveda to eliminate built-up toxins, which had been mobilized by lubricants and fomentations Individual Panchakarma procedures can be short as a week and longer as a month or more. If yoga and meditation follow panchakarma treatment, the detoxification could be complete.
After treatment with Panchakarma, start with a light diet first and then proceed gradually towards a normal well-balanced diet. This procedure is called “Samsarjana karma” in Ayurveda. This way the fire (Agni) is restored.
• Have breakfast around 8 A.M. It must consist of carbohydrates (cereals, whole wheat bread, cornflakes with milk, porridge, Idlis / Traditional break foot items like Upma, etc), proteins (lentils, eggs, cheese, etc), vitamins (fruits & fruit juices), millets, minerals (milk, curd, coconut water). The total calories consumed for breakfast should be around 350.
• Before each meal, drink a cup of warm water, infused with a slice of fresh ginger
• Eat small meals, instead of one or two big ones.
• Lunch may include, dal, paneer, mixed vegetables, lean meat, green fresh salad, Rice/chapatti
• Dinner may be taken around 8 P.M. and should be lighter than lunch
• Do not eat reheated food. It may produce toxins.
• Steer clear of junk food. Foods unnatural to the season, environment and your usual food habits, may cause disorders of metabolism. Avoid processed, tinned foods. Avoid foods with preservatives, Colourings, flavor enhancers.
• Restrict fats, salt, sugar, fried foods, etc.
• In between lunch & dinner, you can have lemon – honey drink ( 3 tablespoon honey with the juice of 1/2 lemon with water) or fresh fruit juice. If possible, take only liquid diet, fruit juice and or vegetable juice – for one day in 15 days. This needs approval from your family doctor.
• Of course, avoid alcohol & smoking.
• Include antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. (Fresh fruits & vegetables).
Detox products offer an easy way to cleanse your body of toxins. These products come in the form of footpads (herbal) which, the manufacturers claim, stimulate reflexology meridians in your feet and absorb the toxins released through perspiration. The other detox products come in the forms of pills, body washes, powders, drinks, diets, etc. You could check with your doctor and try these products.