Cleansing and purification rituals have been around for thousands
The ancient Indian tradition of Ayurveda believed that toxins were
the fundamental cause of disease and developed a whole cleansing
program called “Pancha Karma”.
The ancient Greeks had a strong tradition of cleansing to re-balance
the four humors with enemas, blood letting, cathartics, fasting
The Native Americans had purification rituals using sage, the sweat
lodge and fasting.
The Natural Hygiene movement focused on balance in the diet, fasting,
hydrotherapy and exercise.
In the early 20th century we saw the emergence of the eclectic
herbal traditions, which used herbs for cleansing, laxatives, cholagogues,
diuretics, lymphatics, alteratives, expectorants, diaphoretics etc.
Many of the world’s organized religions have an element of
cleansing in their teaching:
- Judaism- many of the Jewish festivals have
a period of abstinence from food and work e.g. Yom Kipur.
- Islam- the month of Ramadan involves a month
long abstinence from food from sunrise to sunset.
- Christianity- Lent is a six-week period of
fasting and other festivals involve fasting from meat and dairy.
Unfortunately we have lost the wisdom of the ages and regular cleansing
is no longer part of our culture.