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The History of Detoxification

Cleansing and purification rituals have been around for thousands of years.
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 and emetics.

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:

  1. Judaism- many of the Jewish festivals have a period of abstinence from food and work e.g. Yom Kipur.
  2. Islam- the month of Ramadan involves a month long abstinence from food from sunrise to sunset.
  3. 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.


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