Overnight, as the body processes what we digested that day, Ama (toxins) can begin to form, firstly visible as a coating on the tongue. This coating appears as white/grey, brown, or yellow. It can be light, medium, or heavy, depending on the imbalance of digestion and from improper food combinations or choices. The formation of small amounts of Ama is a normal part of the digestive process, but when not eliminated, it is believed to be the root cause of disease.
According to Ayurveda, using a tongue scraper first thing in the morning is a simple way of removing toxicity (Ama) from your physiology. Its use improves the ability to taste the foods we eat, benefits the body signaling molecules (phytonutrients) that contact the tongue's receptors, and clears the mind-opening up communications with the body's organs.
Additionally, Keratin is a protective layer of cells on the tongue. Under normal circumstances, the amount of Keratin produced and released is balanced with a proper diet. When the diet is too soft, without appropriate fiber and roughage, then keratin builds-up. As it continues to accumulate, it coats the taste buds, and bacteria or fungi can form, affecting oral health and microbes' balance in the digestive tract.
The Charaka Samhita (one of the oldest Ayurvedic medical books) states that tongue scrapers should be made of gold, silver, copper, or brass. But stainless steel is widely available and effective. Ideally, a tongue scraper is used every day, early in the morning, on an empty stomach.
1. Hold the two ends of the tongue scraper in both hands.
2. Extend the tongue, place the tongue scraper on the back of the tongue.
3. Gently pull the tongue scraper forward removeing the unwanted coating.
4. Repeat seven times (cleanses the seven tissues of the body), then rinse off.
5. Drink 2-cups of warm water, informing the body it is time to go.
For some, using a tongue scraper can trigger the gag reflex, but its use gets easier with practice. Relaxing the tongue or exhaling during use avoids this uncomfortable side effect. It is also possible to be overly aggressive with a tongue scraper and temporarily damage the taste buds. Gentle strokes will remove the coating on the tongue without harming the underlying tissue.
Ama & Health
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