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Posts Tagged ‘Ayurveda’

“Chewie” by J. in Kingston

In Ayurveda, the sister science of Yoga therapy, “Food is medicine.” If we take in nourishment that is correct for our particular nature, and if the body is able to efficiently and effectively break down and assimilate that nourishment, we can stave off many unpleasant conditions and diseases. This process of breakdown begins in the mouth. Most of us consider the mouth on a daily basis. We brush and floss our teeth. We may rinse with mouthwash. But how often do we consider our tongue?

The tongue seems to be a neglected part of the anatomy, something of a flap that hangs around and delivers unto us the delightful and detestable tastes of various foods and drinks. In Ayurveda, the tongue is so much more. It is an assessment tool, a mirror for the internal organs and an indication of the health of their functioning. Yes, the tongue. The lowly tongue can indicate such things as curvature of the spine, inflammation of the liver, and constipation. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and I’m blown away every time.

But how?

Tongue assessment is a study unto itself so I won’t get into the nitty gritty of it all. But let’s talk about digestion. As Vaidya Nitin Shah, my teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner, says, “If nutrients aren’t broken down well, or if they can’t pass easily out of the end point of the digestive system (He’s talking poop here.), then bacteria and waste begin to build up towards the front end of the system (He’s talking the mouth.)” The primary indicator of difficulty in the digestive system is a coating along the tongue. No doubt you have seen it in your own mouth. Maybe you’ve tried to brush it away. There’s something that works even better – the tongue scraper!

The tongue scraper is a U-shaped tool that you run along the entire tongue, from root to tip, gently, and a number of times. They can now be found in regular drug stores, although these are usually made of stainless steel. Ayurvedic practitioners and Yoga therapists alike prefer the traditional copper tongue scraper as it is softer on the tongue and is considered to be anti-bacterial. These can sometimes be found in a South Asian grocery store. In a pinch, you can find them on Amazon. Look for a long-handled, wide U-shape, something like this. Traditionally, the tongue is scraped after brushing the teeth in the morning, as a way to wake up the digestive system and to help “get things moving”.

To clean: Wash with soap and water after every use. When the copper turns a deeper shade in colour, pour a small amount of salt into the palm of your hand (the size of a quarter, at most). Onto the salt pour vinegar or lemon/lime juice, not so much as to dissolve the salt but enough to thoroughly moisten it. Then rub the scraper with this concoction until it looks shiny and new (This takes less than 30 seconds.). Rinse and voila!

Consider this another tool to add to your healthy living toolbox. 😉 I use it every day and can honestly say that it works. I sincerely do not leave home without it.

I wish you all the best, and the cleanest tongue!

Tabitha

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