Question 1: If I Eat Healthily, Do I Need a Cleanse?
YES! According to Ayurveda, we classify cleansers into three main categories.
The first category, toxic cleansers, includes people who make poor dietary choices, such as eating fast food often or lots of processed foods, drinking alcohol daily, and/or smoking daily. In addition, this category also includes people who are surrounded by environmental toxins, such as working at power plants or in buildings with chemicals or even surrounded by high electromagnetic fields (EMF) activity. The American Cancer Society says that up to 90 percent of cancers are environmental. Lastly, people who lead sedentary lifestyles fall into this first category. People who have desk jobs with long hours or those that don't exercise or are unable to do so. This group needs cleansing on a regular basis, at least every other month, if not every month!
The second category is the mildly toxic cleansers. I would say this is the majority of today's population. This includes people who are aware of exercise and diet but don’t devote the necessary time and effort into it. They eat relatively clean but still enjoy a drink or junk food occasionally. They are able to exercise and sweat but sit behind a screen for 6-8 hours a day. This category needs to cleanse about once a quarter. A short 1- to 3-day cleanse is all that is needed to get this group back on track.
Lastly, there are your healthy cleansers, people who still need to cleanse but maybe only a couple of times a year. They eat very clean and don’t drink, smoke, or eat processed foods. They can manage their stress effectively and dedicate time to exercise and wellness. They lead an active lifestyle and understand the power of being outside in nature. These are the people who only need to cleanse about 1-2 times a year! Ideally, at the turn of the seasons, fall and spring, is the best time as our physiology is undergoing a natural detoxification.
We all need to cleanse, purify, and reboot our mind-body system.
Question 2: Is It Good to Do a Castor Oil Cleanse Every 3 Months? Why?
Absolutely! Castor oil is a very gentle laxative because, at the end of the day, it is plant-based. So unlike other laxatives, such as senna or saline enemas, it is still lubricating and nourishing to the colon. It also doesn't have the same rubber-band effect that other laxatives have that might back you up after a flush. Castor oil is also very good at drawing out any excess heat from the body. It is great for people who have any sort of gastric inflammation or bouts of chronic inflammation in the lower half of the GI tract.
Every three months or once a quarter is the perfect time to perform a castor oil cleanse because the toxins are still in your digestive system (they have not yet disseminated from the GI tract into the bloodstream and traveled to other parts of the body). This happens about every 4-5 months, and if you can prevent that from happening, you are able to use castor oil as a preventative measure to combat any imbalances or disorders. However, the quantity of castor oil varies with your age, weight, and body type.
How To Do It
Among all the oils we use for various things on a daily basis, one of the most ignored has to be castor oil. Derived from the castor seeds, this pale yellow oil is rich in antioxidants, can be used for both external beauty treatments as well as internally to cure digestive and other ailments. You might not know this, but medicinal castor oil (industrial castor oil has a toxin called rincin) is a natural beauty ingredient with multiple benefits for skin and hair, and is therefore, a staple in many natural cosmetics. In many parts of the world, a controlled dosage of castor oil is given to kids and adults at regular intervals as a laxative to flush out toxins as well as to remove parasites from the intestines – basically a de-worming agent. However, one must be careful before imbibing this oil (avoid if you have IBS, hemorrhoids, and stomach ulcers), castor oil. Here is one simple method to use castor oil for a detox…
Cure constipation: Take one tablespoon food grade (medicinal) castor oil before bedtime for three nights in a row to cure constipation. You can repeat this once in three months, however, during the process, keep your food intake very light and easy; avoid raw veggies and fruits.
Detox-flush of the stomach
Here’s how: Do this on an empty stomach (this is very important). Add three tablespoon of medicinal/food grade castor oil to a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, mix and drink up fast.
Wait for half an hour.
Have one glass of hot water.
Wait for 15 minutes, and drink two glasses of warm water.
Wait another 15, and have another two glasses of warm water.
Relax till you get the urge to go to the washroom.
For two days after the flush, avoid heavy-on-the-stomach, fried and spicy foods. Totally avoid eating anything raw.
This flush is very intense, as it eliminates all toxins from the body. So, it might make you feel a little light-headed as it also flushes out parasites such as tapeworms. Take it easy for a day.
Castor Oil has strong cleansing properties. Ayurveda uses castor oil internally and topically. Internally, it is a strong laxative used for seasonal cleansing. Food that sits too long in the digestive tract is a primary source of toxic waste products, waste that comes from bacteria that ferment food in your gut. Keeping your intestines clean is a healthy way improve digestion and detoxify. Additionally, Castor Oil Purgation removes toxicity from the colon, kidneys, stomach, liver and spleen.
Panchakarma cleansing with castor oil should only be done under the supervision of an Ayurvedic practitioner. However you may try the following gentle program at home.
- Begin to eat light. For three or four days, eat simple kitchari*, soups, vegetables, broth. Eating heavily before a purgation can be dangerous for the small intestine and colon. Imagine the difference of water flowing through a pipe as opposed to mud or even rocks. Your digestive tract is a soft tube and you must treat it gently. Avoid meat, alcohol, and cheese. Favor cooked meals and be sure to eat your heaviest meal at lunchtime.
- Drink plenty of fluids in the days leading up to the Castor Oil Cleanse.
- Take 1 tablespoon of castor oil with 1 cup of strong fresh ginger tea at bedtime for 7 days. You are likely to wake up at least once in the night to pass stool.
- During the week of your cleanse and 3-4 days after, continue a light diet of cooked foods. Re-introduce heavier foods slowly and gently.
A word of caution
- Do not use castor oil when you are in a stressful environment, which will create abdominal tension, increase cramping, and possibly prevent elimination of castor oil. Seek a calm and wait to make a stressful phone call or socialize until after your morning elimination if possible.
- Get plenty of sleep. Any detoxification takes energy and you will feel tired until a few days after it is over.
- Any type of purgation is dehydrated, so drink plenty of water. Add a little lime juice, salt and a pinch of raw sugar to warm water to encourage absorption.
Constipation, skin disorders, slow metabolism, excess weight, arthritis.
Childhood, old age, diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, inflammation of intestines, fever, debilitation, emaciation, prolapsed rectum, dehydration.
A Castor Oil Cleanse is a strong measure. The point is to reboot your digestive intelligence, however, if used too often, you will compromise the integrity of your colon, which is the opposite of your intention. As with all strong laxatives, prolonged use is habit forming and contra-indicated. Be very honest with yourself while reading the list of contraindications and follow dietary guidelines for preparing your body precisely. Twice a year is plenty.
Castor oil may irritate the intestines and cause cramping. If
cramping occurs discontinue use. Do not use castor oil if you have
inflammation of the intestines. Please check with your doctor before
making any changes to your health and wellness program.
* Kitchari (or Kichadi) is a traditional one-pot Indian dish which combines grains and legumes into a healthful wonder bowl that is known for its detoxifying qualities as well as the ability to balance all 3 of the doshas (vata, pitta, kapha).
Below you will find a recipe for a healthful and nourishing traditional Ayurvedic Kitchadi recipe.
If you would like to learn more about this wonderful food, scroll past the recipe for links to more resources and recipes.
This article contains information and text excerpted from the following sources: