Adapted from the author’s new book, Sex, Love & Dharma: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Relationships.
Have you noticed how often soap opera and silver-screen lovers wake up in the morning and start making out? They must have very little āma (morbid mucoid plaque) and perfect agni (metabolic fire) to pull that off! Giving that first morning smooch with sweet-smelling breath is a sign of great health, and something we can work up to.
But bad breath is not only lousy for lovers; it’s a sign of putrefication in the body. Common sense dictates that you cannot be romantic if you suffer from halitosis, poor digestion, or gas. Blotchy skin, rotten teeth, and arthritic joints are not exactly sexy. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends a daily self-care routine designed to make you healthier, more attractive and energetic, whether you have a partner or are single and looking to attract one.
Start with one or two of these recommendations and add in more every week until this routine becomes a lifestyle. Each of these sections—Bedroom, Bathroom, and Kitchen—have steps that can be done in order or moved around to fit your needs.
Scrape your tongue. Tongue scrapers are inexpensive and worth their weight in gold. In fact, a silver or gold tongue scraper makes for an unconventional and romantic gift. It is “bathroom bling” that holds its value and shows your lover how much you care about his or her health. Gold and silver have healing properties, and Ayurveda makes clever and varied use of these precious metals (which we will explore more later).
Otherwise, a copper or regular metal tongue scraper works just fine for this purpose. First thing in the morning, head to the bathroom and gently scrape your tongue downward (no more than fourteen times; don’t overdo it!). You will see the toxic mucoid plaque that has built up overnight come right off. A coated, sticky tongue in the morning means there is ama in the GI tract: in the colon if it is only on the back of the tongue, in the small intestine if it is in the middle, or in the stomach if it is toward the front of the tongue. If the entire tongue is coated, then ama is present throughout the digestive system. This is something that brushing your teeth or gargling typically does not remove.
Scraping your tongue gently also massages the organs represented there. Like the feet, your tongue has reflexology centers and scraping in the morning wakes them up. Doing this with a copper or gold tongue scraper adds antimicrobial benefits, as copper has been shown in studies to be harmful to the bad bacteria in the mouth and beneficial to the good, health-promoting bacteria. This in turn leads to reduced cavities and better oral hygiene. Even hospitals are now using copper fixtures to help stop the spread of disease.
Remember that ama is the toxic ground of disease and breeds harmful bacteria and toxins that clog the entire body. Cholesterol in the arteries is a form of ama in the circulatory system that leads to heart attacks. Plaques in the brain are forms of ama that engender Alzheimer’s Disease. Getting rid of ama is one of the main jobs of a good Ayurvedic self-care routine.
Brush your teeth with a nonfluoride toothpaste. Fluoride for most adults is not only harmful, but has little use after tooth enamel has finished building in your early twenties. Fluoride has been linked to cancer and calcification of the pineal gland, and should be avoided, according to modern Ayurvedic practice. Instead, use a neem toothpaste, and add a little baking soda if you have bleeding or receding gums, inflammation, and systemic acidity. Using baking soda with neem toothpaste will help to whiten teeth and alkalize your mouth.
Do oil pulling, or kavala. Kavalais an ayurvedic practice that has received widespread attention on the Internet in the past few years. In English it is called oil pulling, swishing oil in your mouth for fifteen minutes in the morning or evening. According to Ayurveda, oil pulling improves gum health; alleviates nasal dryness, TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), and neck pain; strengthens teeth; bolsters liver and spleen function, breast health, thyroid function, and appetite; and even eliminates wrinkles!
Oil pulling also improves the voice and stimulates secretion of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach. These may sound like outsized claims, but evidence is mounting that this five-thousand-year-old practice has merit and should be included in your daily routine. It does take some dedication to see full results, so stick with it and in two to three months you may post one of those YouTube testimonials!
If you’d like to see parts II and III, please leave a comment!
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