Tongue Cleaning- An integral part for supporting the good Digestion.
In Ayurveda, to have balanced nutrition, all six tastes—sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent—should be present in every meal. These tastes set the foundation for deep nourishment in all of our tissues. Different parts of the tongue are responsible for supporting the digestion of each of these tastes. Taste signals from various areas of the tongue are picked up by nerve fibers from one of four cranial nerves, and these impulses travel to the brain, beginning the digestive process and getting the digestive organs ready to process the food.
Importance of Tongue Scraping in Ayurvedic Daily Routine
Tongue scraping, or Jihwa Prakshalana, has long been an important part of the recommended Ayurvedic daily routine. Ayurveda acknowledges the tongue as something of a “truth teller” of what’s going on deep inside the body’s digestive system.
The tongue can reflect toxicity levels in the gut, show potential food sensitivities or a weak digestive fire. It points to mal-absorption of nutrients, and reveals the health of other organs in the body. For example, if a thick coating is present towards the back of the tongue, there is an accumulation of Kapha + potentially toxic residue – Ama, as it is called in Ayurveda.
Such is a result of improper eating, poor digestion or a reflection of an imbalance in the gastrointestinal system. Ridges around the edges represent mal-absorption of nutrients, while dryness or cracking represent excess Vata or a loss of fluids within the body.
In the early Ayurvedic text it says that scraping clean the tongue “removes foul smell, tastelessness and Ama.”Charaka Samhita
This ancient practice helps to stimulate the internal organs through energetic connections with the rest of the body. It improves digestion by increasing your sense of taste. It helps to balance the heavy, dulling qualities of Kapha dosha and cleanses the body of ama.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, scraping the tongue should be part of a daily routine.
Benefits of Tongue Cleaning:
- Clears toxins & bacteria from the tongue
- Helps remove coating on the tongue that leads to bad breath
- Helps eliminate undigested food particles from the tongue
- Enhances the sense of taste
- Promotes overall oral & digestive health
- Gently stimulates the internal organs
- Increases your awareness of your state of health
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How to Use a Tongue Cleaner:
Ideally, a tongue cleaner is used every day, early in the morning, on an empty stomach. Simply hold the two ends of the tongue cleaner in both hands. Extend the tongue and place the tongue cleaner on the surface of the tongue, as far back as is comfortable. Gently pull the tongue cleaner forward so that it removes the unwanted coating. Rinse the tongue cleaner and repeat as necessary, usually 7-14 times.
The vibrancy of agni (the digestive fire) and the quality of the blood depends on the strength of the digestive fire to extract the essence or nutrients from ingested foods. Ama is a heavy and sticky substance that is formed through poor dietary habits and low digestive fire. Over time, ama tends to accumulate in the system and block the channels of the body, causing a variety of conditions. The tongue is one of the first stages of this process, and keeping a clean, healthy tongue is vital for the digestive process to work to its fullest and keep ama at bay.
Learn about the Simple Remedies for Digestive Problems
In general, a balanced life is key to health and well-being. And a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene practices, along with the proper diet, exercise, and daily routines that support who you are Ayurvedically, will support complete health, both mentally and physically.