Raktamoksha: Traditional Ayurvedic Method for Purification and Cleansing of the Blood
Toxins present in the gastro-intestinal tract are absorbed into the blood and circulated throughout the body. This condition is called toxemia, which is the basic cause of repeated infections, hypertension and certain other circulatory conditions. This includes repeated attacks of skin disorders such as urticaria, rashes, herpes, eczema, acne, scabies, leukoderma, chronic itching or hives. In such conditions, along with internal medication, elimination of the toxins and purification of the blood is necessary. Raktamoksha is also indicated for cases of enlarged liver, spleen and gout.
Pitta is produced from the disintegrated red blood cells in the liver. So pitta and blood have a very close relationship. An increase in pitta may go into the blood causing toxicity, and thus many pittagenic disorders.
Extracting a small amount of blood from a vein relieves the tension created by the pittagenic toxins in the blood. Bloodletting also stimulates the spleen to produce antitoxic substances which helps to stimulate the immune system. Toxins are neutralized enabling radical cures in many blood born disorders.
Bloodletting is contraindicated in cases of anaemia, edema, extreme weakness, diabetes and in children and elderly persons. It is also an illegal procedure within the United States.
Certain substances such as sugar, salt, yogurt, sour tasting foods and alcohol are toxic to the blood. In certain blood disorders these substances should be avoided to keep the blood pure. Burdock root tea, sandalwood, saffron, manjista, guduchi, rose and lotus are herbs that help to purify the blood. Turmeric, goldenseal, pomegranate juice, neem, oranges, beets and raisins can also be beneficial for blood disorders.
For raktamoksha treatment other than blood-letting, there are blood-purifying practices involving herbs, gem therapy or color water therapy.
For blood purifying therapy look for substances that are bitter and astringent and have blood thinning properties. Burdock root tea is the best blood purifier. For blood carried disorders such as allergy, rash or acne the patient should take a milk laxative and the next evening begin burdock root tea therapy. The tea is made from one teaspoon of powder in one cup of hot water. If taken every night, the action of the herb will begin to purify the blood.
Beneficial gems and crystals are pearl, coral, amethyst, rose quartz and jade.
In the practice of colored water therapy, red should be used in vata disorders, blue for pitta and purple for kapha.
For any raktamoksha treatment or related alternative treatment it is beneficial to refrain from yogurt, salt, sugar, alcohol, marijuana, sour and fermented foods.
Indications for Raktamoksha:
urticaria rash acne eczema scabies leukoderma chronic itching hives enlarged liver or spleen gout
Contra-Indications for Raktamoksha:
anemia edema weakness young children old age during pregnancy during menstruation
During any step of panchakarma therapy traditional Ayurveda recommends certain lifestyle and diet guidelines.
It is advised to get plenty of rest during the panchakarma experience and to avoid strenuous exercise, sexual activity, late nights, loud music, television and other such stimulating experiences. It is also advised to take particular care to keep warm and away from the wind and to observe one’s thoughts and experiences during this time.
A mono-diet of kitchari and ghee is recommended, as well as essential restrictions on cold drinks, cold food, caffeine, white sugar, recreational drugs or alcohol and dairy products–all substances which should not be resumed (if at all) until some time after panchakarma is completed. The reason for this diet is that during the cleansing process the digestive fire (agni) takes a rest. Also, as toxins move back into the gastrointestinal tract the power of digestion is further slowed. Kitchari will provide adequate nourishment, nourishes all the tissues of the body, is very easy to digest, is excellent for de-aging of cells and assists in the detoxification and cleansing process. Kitchari is a seasoned mixture of rice and mung dal, and is basic to the Ayurvedic way of life. Basmati rice and mung dal both have the qualities of being sweet and cooling with a sweet aftertaste. Together they create a balanced food, that is an excellent protein combination and is tridoshic.
Panchakarma is a very special Ayurvedic operation requiring proper guidance from a highly trained and skillful Ayurvedic practitioner. This should not be undertaken just from information in this article. One should consult with an Ayurvedic physician, not just someone with a modest amount of training. Panchakarma is done individually for each person with their specific constitution and specific disorder in mind, thus it requires close observation and supervision. It is also done to best advantage, although not always, at the junctional period between two seasons, thus helping a person to prepare their internal environment for the oncoming season.