By: Dr. Anup Mulakaluri, ND, AWC
Detoxification is a fundamental practice for many natural medicine traditions because they recognize a basic truth. In the absence of obstacles (like pollutants, deficiencies, negative emotions, etc.) our body function naturally begins to lean into balance. For this profound effect, it is important that detoxification occurs at all levels of being; from single cells up to the whole body.

The process of Detoxification

Detoxification is an ongoing process that occurs in the body. Ayurvedic detox is dependent on a healthy digestive fire (Agni). This is represented by enzymatic activity in the body. It is responsible for building and breakdown of the body’s building blocks. When the Agni (digestive fire/enzymatic activity) is weak or deregulated – the body accumulates intermediate waste products.
The intermediate waste products are called “ama” or morbid matter. It can be neither used by the body, nor can it be eliminated regularly. The accumulation of ama blocks normal activity of organs of elimination.

“Dharyati iti mala”
“Excretory products are the basis of whole body”

Ayurveda purports that the health of the organs of elimination is the basis of health. This is because accumulation of toxins alters normal physiology and becomes the initiation point of the disease process.
Accumulation of toxins without proper elimination causes many problems. For example: 1) Cigarette smoke, mold, bacteria, microbial toxins are all exogenous toxins for the lung – prolonged exposure to these leads to chronic lung inflammation.1 2) Heavy metals and other toxins can cause abnormal folding of proteins – a problem that is implicated in causing neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc.2 3) Oxidative stress is created as part of cellular energy building process; as well as a side-product of inflammation; excessive amount can cause damage to DNA, cell walls, nerves, etc.3
There are 5 major organs of elimination:4

1. Liver
2. Lung
3. Gastrointestinal tract (small and large intestine)
4. Kidneys/urinary tract
5. Skin

The process of detoxification can be divided into two aspects:

  • Depuration: the purification of tissues that begins at the cellular level; includes the purification of fluids, organs, membranes, fatty tissue, etc. This aspect involves the packaging and the shipping of toxins, morbid matter, or ama to the emunctories, organs of elimination.

The toxins, ama or morbid matter in our body come from two pathways5: 1) Endogenous, naturally produced waste from the body’s metabolic processes, like oxidative stress, feces, urine, etc.; 2) Exogenous, all toxic substances that we get from our environment, food, and emotional influences. When the process of elimination of toxins is overwhelmed, toxins are “hidden away” in the body to protect vital organs like the brain.

For an effective depuration process, a strong Agni (digestive fire) is essential.

  • Drainage: the efficient elimination of toxins from their location in the body. Healthy drainage is a constant need to maintain a disease-free body.

The process of elimination also occurs at cellular and whole-body level. The main organs of eliminations are main external outlets of the waste products. So the complete process of drainage requires elimination of waste at cellular level and elimination of waste out of the emunctories.

Five Tips for promoting daily detox:

1. For Lungs: Daily deep breathing exercise.
a. Inhale through your nose, filling your lungs to full capacity.
b. Hold the breath for 3 seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth.
c. Repeat this exercise 16 times, twice a day.
2. For Liver: Eat 3-5 servings of seasonal vegetables (with leafy greens) and 1-2 seasonal fruits daily
3. For GI tract: Take probiotics – like Yogurt, kimchi, sour kraut, sour cream, kefir, etc. this is nutrition for replenishing gut-bacteria.
4. For Kidney: 8+ glasses of water; add lemon slices and/or mint leaves to alkalinize the water.
5. For skin: Sweat regularly; 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise, done 5 times per week.

1) Pauly JL and Paszkiewicz G. Cigarette Smoke, Bacteria, Mold, Microbial Toxins, and Chronic Lung Inflammation. Journal of Oncology, Volume 2011, Article ID 819129, 13 pages.
2) Taylor PJ, et al. Toxic Proteins in Neurodegenerative Disease. Science, 2002; Vol. 296, Pg. 1991-1995.
3) Jaeschke H. Reactive oxygen and mechanisms of inflammatory liver injury. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2001; Vol. 15(7).
4) Kruzel, Thomas. Emunctorology: An Old Clinical Science Brought to a New Generation of Naturopathic Physicians; AANP conference, 2010. – See more at: http://www.playbackaanp.com/2010-convention/emunctorology-an-old-clinical-science-brought-to-a-new-generation-of-naturopathic-physicians#sthash.jL0q5Mwh.dpuf
5) Baynes R and Hodgson E. Absorption and Distribution of Toxicants. A Textbook of Modern Toxicology, 4th Edition; June 2010.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.