Kidney cleansing is important because it eliminates toxins and other wastes that may cause damage to the organs. There are various ways of cleansing the kidneys but one method that is slowly gaining popularity in the Western world is Ayurvedic cleansing. In observance of the National Kidney Awareness Month this March, we will take a look at this natural and holistic manner of flushing toxins from the body.
There are three phases to the Ayurvedic kidneys cleanse which is recommended at least once a year. The process takes about three weeks to complete. The cleanse starts with Purva Karma, the initial stage which prepares both the body and the mind. This initial phase requires modification of the diet three weeks before the cleansing. All stimulants like coffee and sweets, including dairy, are removed from the diet. A week before starting the cleansing process, the diet should largely comprise seeds and vegetables. A good stew recipe for this diet is Kitchari, made from rice, lentils or mung beans, onions and vegetables, ginger and garlic. To prepare the mind, meanwhile, means to take time off from daily regular activities in order to meditate. This may mean going for a stroll in the park or simply just having an “alone” time to practice deep inhaling that will clean the body of any opposing and destructive energy.
The next phase is the Pancha Karma or the cleansing phase itself consisting of cleansing, enemas and laxatives. Enema kits and laxatives may be purchased from any local pharmacy. Through Pancha Karma the body eliminates Dosha (toxins). There are many subtypes of therapies and herbal massages under Pancha Karma that would include Basti (medicated enemas), Vamana (emesis through herbs), Virechana (purgation through herbs), Nasya (nasal administration of oils). These therapies eliminate deep-seated toxins from the body.
Plain Kitchari Recipe
For the 3-day cleansing, you should only consume Kitchari and nothing else. Kitchari should be made fresh every day and can be re-reheated as much as needed to ensure that the meal is full of prana (energy). Wait for genuine hunger before going on the next meal. This means each meal should be taken between 3-4 hours. Though there are a variety of ways of making Kitchari, here is a recipe to follow for plain Kitchari. You will need ¼ cup basmati rice, ¼ cup mung beans, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon yogurt or kefir, pinch of sea salt, 1 tablespoon butter or ghee. Mix rice, beans, water and yogurt in a pot and soak for 24 hours. In cooking, bring to a boil then turn heat to lowest setting for 35-40 minutes. Add salt and serve with butter or ghee. For variety you might add either cilantro or parsley to your Kitchari.
During the cleansing phase massage your body every morning with oil appropriate for your skin type followed by hot shower. This helps in eliminating toxins from the body. Use a neti pot (for nasal irrigation) and tongue scraper daily. For your psyche, you can read, be creative, listen to quiet and soothing music or do some gardening. Avoid loud music and television. Take time to meditate, do some yoga or go on a nature walk. Enough rest is necessary if the cleansing process makes you tired.
The last part is the Rejuvenation phase which lasts for about a week. This is where you slowly return to your regular Ayuverdic diet (rice, vegetables and spices like coriander, turmeric, ginger and cumin). Continue with regular meditation to ensure the rejuvenation of the psyche. Coming out of cleansing can be emotional that it is recommended that you should take time off from work for this last phase.