Ayurveda, a system of holistic health originating in India, is considered to be one of the most effective natural techniques for maintaining an overall state of well-being. While Ayurvedic herbal healing is classified as a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) outside of India, it is gaining popularity within both the mainstream medical community and many alternative-health circles. The practice of chelation, a process designed to eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from the body, can be achieved through the conscientious use of Ayurvedic healing herbs. Within Ayurveda, popular chelating herbs include manjistha, kutki, guggul and guduchi.
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The herb manjistha acts as a blood purifier because of its high potency of antioxidants. Traditional Ayurvedic medicine views manjistha as a blood purifier; it was historically used to eliminate toxins, clots, fat, and cholesterol from blood vessels. Modern practitioners use manjistha to treat everything from heart disease to acne. Manjistha can help to support whole-body detoxification by dissolving impurities in the bloodstream, thereby enabling them to be flushed through the bowels or urinary tract. Scientific evidence supports the use of manjistha for flushing excess uric acid (which causes gout arthritis) from the body. It is especially useful for people with heart disease and skin disorders.
Known as gentian in English, kutki is an effective detoxifying herb an a common component of Ayurvedic chelation and body-cleansing. Kutki stimulates the healthy detoxification of the liver, which can cleanse unwanted toxins from the body. It is especially useful for people who have suffered liver damage due to toxins like lead, alcohol, vaccines and certain medications. Because of its liver-stimulating activity, traditional Ayurveda supports kutki's use in battling jaundice, hepatitis, and alcohol-related liver disease. Like manjistha, kutki purifies the bloodstream and promotes the health of the heart and blood vessels.
Guggul is a powerfully aromatic tree that provides resin similar to myrrh or frankincense. While guggul is most famous for containing guggulsterones, heart-healthy sterols that can decrease cholesterol, it is also effective in helping to flush toxins from the body. In chelation, guggulsterones can help to eliminate cholesterol, plaque and other fatty compounds that collect in the bloodstream. It is also traditionally used to enhance the function of the bowels and bladder, which help to push toxins out of the body. The use of guggul is particularly advised in people who suffer from high cholesterol. Unfortunately, due to overzealous harvesting for the international market, guggul has become endangered in the wild.
Traditionally known for its "warming" action, guduchi is a popular component of Ayurvedic tonics for longevity and overall well-being. Guduchi has a calming effect on the central nervous system and may be a useful chelating herb for people who suffer from anxiety, depression or learning disabilities because of an overabundance of toxins in the system. Guduchi is renowned for its anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to stimulate and protect the liver from heavy metals and other toxins. Additionally, guduchi is recognised as an adaptogen; like ginseng and rhodiola, it can prevent the body from experiencing damage during times of physical or emotional stress.
Dangers and Risks
Outside of India, the Ayurvedic system of medicine is classified as a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Like all CAM therapies, Ayurveda is viewed with some scepticism by the majority of mainstream medical practitioners. Theoretically, Ayurvedic herbs could react unpredictably with over-the-counter and prescription medications. A much more serious risk is the possibility of heavy-metal contamination of Ayurvedic herbs. The National Centers for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCAAM) report that one-fifth of Ayurvedic herbs contains detectable amounts of heavy metals. In these cases, chelating herbs not only fail to accomplish the task of chelation; they may also cause fatal or near-fatal incidents of poisoning.
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