Spring Detoxification Guidelines
By Khabir Southwick ©2020
Each year in the springtime, we have a peak opportunity to cleanse our bodies at the deepest levels. My mission at this time of year is to encourage my patients to take action for their best health by detoxifying their body with herbal medicines and all-natural home treatments. As we all know, our modern society inundates us with chemicals, pollutants and other toxic substances each day, which makes this annual detoxification critical for maintaining healthy digestion, optimum health and longevity.
From the perspective of our natural environment, Spring is the season when the earth begins to warm, and the plants and creatures come to life. This is fundamentally our inclination as humans also, yet we tend to be so overburdened with toxins, and disconnected with nature, that we don't feel the essence of brightness and cleansing that is Springtime. When the heat of Summer arrives, we have more energy and feel more light, when we've utilized the Spring to cleanse our bodies.
Most people acknowledge the importance of detoxifying the body; however, few individuals regularly practice this critical aspect of health maintenance. I hope that this article will educate, motivate and inspire each of us to cleanse and detoxify this spring. Contact me, if you need personal assistance and suitable herbal products for your Spring Cleanse, Khabir of Ojai, CA.
Detoxification and Disease
Since ancient times, Ayurveda has outlined the importance of cleansing the body regularly, and strengthening its natural healing mechanisms through detoxification, before disease and illness develop.
Almost every chronic health condition at its core is a form of toxicity overload. Thus, to recover from obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammation and many chronic health conditions requires comprehensive cleansing and detoxification.
To some degree, the body will detoxify naturally, but due to the excessive amount of toxins in our environment the body is unable to keep up. Various health conditions result when toxins accumulate, congest and irritate an organ or system to the point that it stops functioning properly. Usually, it tends to be the weakest organ that is affected first.
We build up toxins daily through undigested food, airborne chemicals, chemicals in the water, pesticides on produce, preservatives in food and the use of medications. Irregular eating habits, excessive snacking and eating at night contribute to undigested food in the intestinal tract which becomes a toxic substance. Any congestion in the colon or build up of fecal matter due to constipation will leach toxins back into the bloodstream - a type of auto-toxicity.
Signs of Toxicity
Generally, the first signs of excessive toxicity according to Ayurveda are stubborn weight issues, poor circulation, skin rashes, allergies and brain fog. This is often followed by inflammation, pain, liver or kidney problems and other more serious health conditions.
The Need to Improve Digestion
Intolerance or allergies to foods like dairy and grains are largely a sign of weak digestion and other imbalances. A person's digestive capacity becomes weakened from poor eating habits, cold foods and drinks, pesticides in foods or improper food combinations. When digestion is weak, it is difficult to digest heavier foods like [the proteins in] wheat and milk, so it starts to seem like they are creating the digestive problem. In fact, the real problem in the vast majority of cases is weak digestive capacity and intestinal toxin accumulation (low agni and high ama, in Ayurvedic terms). In a proper herbal cleanse, the body gets a "reset" through treatments that are designed not only to draw out toxins (ama) but also strengthen the digestive fire (agni), thus improve overall digestion.
Revitalize Your Body!
Indeed, detoxifying properly will cleanse the eliminating organs and lymphatic system leaving us feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. An effective program will generally boost immunity, improve the skin, establish regular bowel movements and often improve cognitive function, among other benefits.
When we follow a natural cleansing process we are allowing our body to improve the function of our eliminating organs: skin, lungs, colon, liver and kidney. After our bodily has been decongested from built up toxins, these eliminating organs and the lymphatic system become more effective at performing their respective functions which include detoxification. Additionally, a congested liver, stagnant gallbladder or thick bile will greatly hamper digestion and reduce our ability to absorb nutrients, especially lipids.
What is Non-Effective Detoxification?
Despite its popularity, juicing is not a complete cleanse. Juicing assists the body in the PROCESS of releasing fats, sugars, and toxins not necessarily eliminating them. Just having juice will not provide the body with enough opportunity to eliminate toxins unless the process is combined with a colon cleanse. Many people while doing a "juice cleanse" experience intense hunger pains, headaches, joint pain, fatigue and brain fog. This is a result of cleansing out toxins from the tissue and bringing them back into the bloodstream without providing sufficient channels of elimination. Fasting has many of the same drawbacks and is not suitable for the underweight, frail, or elderly.
A Detoxifying Diet
Almost always, the first step in detoxification is to eat only two or three easy to digest home-made meals each day, at roughly the same time, without any animal protein. Of course, we want to eliminate the consumption of additional chemicals by eating only organic foods. During the detoxification process, the diet needs to be light, warm and nourishing. This should include light cooked greens, soups, grains like barley and rice, plenty of legumes, healthy oils and fats, and seasonal fruits between meals (as per your body-type [dosha] type and health condition). Make sure there is ample fiber in the diet or add additional fiber such as ground flax seeds to support regular bowel movements. Between meals drink two or three glasses of liver supporting herbal tea for liver function and some water with lemon juice to support the flushing out of toxins via urination.
During any cleanse we must strictly avoid restaurant food due to their use of low quality cooking oils, sugar and table salt (not sea salt). Additionally, we have to abstain from fried foods, processed foods, margarine, meat including fish and chicken, most dairy, too many nuts, all alcohol, coffee, and synthetic vitamins.
The Ayurvedic Cleansing Diet
The recommended Ayurvedic diet during a Spring cleanse is an easy-to-digest Indian dish called Kitchari. Generally, it is made from split mung beans, white or brown basmati rice, spices, ghee and lightly cooked vegetables. However, depending on the individual, different grains and beans can be used to further promote weight-loss. By having a mono-diet of Kitchari two or three times per day, the digestive system is given a period of rest, and more energy is available for the body's organs and systems to cleanse and improve their functioning.
What to Drink
Herbal teas are recommended over plain water due to their therapeutic value in decongesting and stimulating the body's eliminating organs, circulatory system and lymphatic system. As mentioned, fresh lemon or lime juice in water is also cleansing (and tasty).
Cleansing the Intestinal Tract
It helps to begin with a mild colon cleanse for a week or more using supplemental fiber and herbs to remove accumulated fecal matter from the colon. Doing daily enemas for about a week with warm, pure water and sea salt is also highly recommended, as this is one of the most ancient forms of colon cleansing. If a person is already constipated, then starting with herbal laxatives for about a week will be necessary. In the cases of chronic constipation [and high pitta], an intestinal purge using castor oil to flush the entire intestinal tract is very effective.
Detoxing the Liver and Flushing Out Gallstones
The liver is the body's center for detoxification, with a chemical system for neutralizing and excreting drugs, hormones, and other toxins. Regrettably, our liver is often overwhelmed by the high level of toxins we are exposed to each day. When strained and congested, the liver is not capable of performing its maintenance of balancing hormones, burning fat, or effectively ridding the body of toxins. In my opinion, those over the age of 30 should annually cleanse their liver and flush out gallstones. From my experience, many people notice a clear improvement with their overall health and digestion after such therapies.
I recommend for my patients a liver detoxification protocol for 7 to 21 days, by taking liver supporting herbs before meals, and cleansing herbal teas or juice therapy between meals. The gallbladder flush is a naturopathic procedure that involves taking olive oil and lemon juice together after not having any dietary fat for 24 hours and purging the intestinal tract. This treatment results in the gallbladder expelling out all of its bile along with gallstones and other toxic build up wit-in the bile duct and liver. Clearly, this process is preferable to a painful gallbladder attack and having the gallbladder surgically removed! Alternatively, I prepare gallbladder formulas, made of Ayurvedic herbs, which effectively cleanse the gallbladder in a more smooth and consistent manner over a period of time, versus a purge.
Cleansing the Kidneys and Bladder
Before the long hot summer days where liquid intake needs to increase, a urinary system cleanse is recommended. Those with poor kidney or bladder function will be unable to drink sufficient fluids during warm weather without having to undergo some discomfort and the inconvenience of having to urinate frequently, at all times of the day and night. Congestion in this system leads to toxicity accumulation, and a toxic bladder or kidney results in inflammation and possibly infection.
A kidney cleanse is particularly important because the kidneys perform an important detoxification function within the human body by filtering the by-products of metabolism and digestion. Minerals and compounds are absorbed by the kidneys while toxins and waste products like urea and ammonia are expelled. Surplus minerals and salts are filtered via urine so that there is no toxin build up in the human body. There are many proven kidney cleansing protocols and herbal formulas to flush and cleanse out the urinary system. I advise most clients to have an herbal tea for 7 to 14 days days prior to a short therapeutic juice flush followed by a liquid fast for 24 hours. If done properly, this therapy can relieve a person from having to urinate at night, urgent urination and urinary tract infections.
I recommend that a warm salt bath or hot sauna be taken daily during any cleanse to allow the body to eliminate toxins through its largest eliminative organ, the skin. Remember, eating only two or three nutritionally complete meals a day with two or three bowel movements a day is crucial. Herbal formulas may be required to improve digestion and regular of bowel movements throughout any cleanse.
Venessa Kay, Live Blood Consultant, Santa Barbara
My experience with the Heavy Metal Detox [Workshop] was a welcomed journey and I was able to walk out of "head fog" and into much CLEARER thinking. Also I did not trigger any health challenges and that was my greatest fear.
Catherine Ann Jones, Ojai
I'd done cleanses before, but doing the liver-gallbladder cleanse with the Ayurvedic herbs was so much easier. Thank you, Khabir!
Mary Kennedy, Ojai
The results were impressive [from your Gallbladder/Liver Flush Workshop] and I will be doing my second gallbladder/liver flush in a few months. Thank you, Khabir, for your guidance through this process and being available to answer any concerns.
John Whyte, Ojai
I first sought out Khabir's help as I was feeling effects that often coincide with over exposure to heavy metals. I knew what these effects were as I work in manufacturing, where these symptoms are closely monitored on the factory level. I was feeling dizziness, lightheaded, metallic tastes, slight depression and disruption in sleep. We completed a full detox of the liver and gallbladder. I can say that since completion, the symptoms are gone. I'm sleeping better and my focus are back and sharp. Due to the mass amounts of heavy metals that are put in our atmosphere thru ground and airborne aerosols, we all need to detox just to keep our body running properly. Thanks Khabir!