Summer season is upon us, and we have to find ways to keep cool. Pitta gets easily aggravated when the temperatures soar. We commonly experience symptoms like skin rashes, fevers, redness, swelling, burning eyes, and UTI’s. Along with those inflammatory physical conditions, we also find that emotional irritability and angry temperaments are quick to arise.
Ayurveda suggests that one of the best ways to cool down these raging fires is through a blood cleanse. “Rakta Shodhana” or blood cleansing is a procedure performed during Pancha Karma detoxification to pacify the excess pitta circulating in the body. A full blood cleansing involves all organs related to the Rakta Dhatu: blood tissue, liver, spleen, and gall bladder.
The main herb used is Manjista (Rubia Cardifolia). To quote the BanyanBotanicals.com website: “Manjista is the quintessential blood purifier in the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia” It is known to cool and detoxify the blood, clear any obstructions in its flow, and move stagnant blood. Using Manjista results in healthy skin and a clear complexion, since the clarity of our skin is a natural reflection of the quality of our blood.
The use of bitter herbs and foods are essential to purifying the blood. Bitters have a special affinity for strengthening the Liver, which must process all of the circulating blood. Bitter tastes remove poisons, excess bile, and have anti-bacterial, germicidal, and anti-inflammatory effects. Common Ayurvedic bitter herbs used in both liver and blood cleansing are Neem, Bhumi-Amalaki, Guduchi, Kutki. In the West we may recognize herbs such as Aloe Vera, Burdock root, Red clover, Goldenseal and Swedish Bitters.
Highly bitter foods commonly used in the Indian diet are Turmeric, Fenugreek, and Bitter Mellon. Bitter lettuces such as arugula, spinach, kale, chard, cilantro, chicory, fennel, collard and dandelion greens are a great summer salad addition. The chlorophyll in these leafy greens work to neutralize acids in the blood. We can get more chlorophyll into the body with fresh wheatgrass and spirulina juice smoothies. After cleansing, it is good to rebuild healthy blood with iron rich foods and bright red foods like beets and pomegranates.
If the blood is really toxic it is a common practice in Indian Ayurvedic hospitals to allow for some blood letting through leaches or cutting. In the West it is safer to use the above mentioned herbs, followed by donating a pint at the local blood bank.
Energetic therapies such as shitali yogic breath or smelling sandalwood essential oil during meditation help to cool down the blood. Wearing soft white clothes and going for a simple evening stroll in the silvery moonlight calms an agitated, angry mind.
For Ayurvedic Consultations, Herbs, and Ayurvedic Spa Treatments, please contact:
Authentic Ayurveda of Sedona