Tongue Scraping

By Dr. Ajit

Ayurveda recommends that as soon as you get up, the first thing you should do is brush your teeth and then scrape your tongue with a metal scrapper. Many of my clients ask why it's necessary to do this straight away rather than waiting until after breakfast. 

My reply is simple. If you look at your tongue in the mirror first thing in the morning, you will see a coating on the back part of the tongue. This coating is metabolic waste produced during the night's digestive processes and that the body is trying to excrete. In Ayurveda it is called ama and, if not removed, this waste will get re-absorbed by the body. Scraping the tongue helps the body to remove it. 

If left on the tongue, this ama will be re-absorbed into the system where it will accumulate in different organs and tissues. As it slowly builds up in the body, it can affect the immune system and make us prone to certain health conditions and ailments. 

Regardless of how well you supplement, eat or exercise, if this ama is continually re-absorbed, it will continue to impact your health and immune system, making you prone to other ailments. 

This helps to explain the cause of ailments such as coughs, arthritis and other joint problems, or depression and anxiety. The answer is simple. Once the ama starts moving through the circulatory system, it makes its way to the areas and organs in your body that are already weak because of certain activities, lifestyle habits or pre-existing ailments. For example, if you smoke, your lungs are weak areas and the ama moving in this channel can have easy access to the lungs in this case. 

For those who drink too much alcohol, the liver is an easy target. If you are experiencing stress or emotional problems, it's your nervous system that will be affected. If you've had past health issues, such as asthma or skin problems, the organs associated with that illness or condition are most likely to be affected. According to Ayurvedic science, this principle is known as Khavagunya or the 'weak spot'.

So why should you brush your teeth first before doing tongue scrapping? During the night, when the ama accumulates on the tongue as a bi-product of the digestion process, some of it also settles between the teeth and accumulates on the gums. If you fail to brush your teeth, that ama will be transported back into the body in once you start eating and drinking.

Always brush your teeth first, then scrape your tongue. Brushing releases those small particles on and between the teeth so that they fall onto the tongue ready to be scraped away.

When you first begin, do it gently. Don't try to scrape too hard and avoid going too far back. Scrape three times in the centre and once along each side of your tongue, you’ll see a thick white residue accumulate in the centre of the scrapper. Wash it with warm water, rinse it and use it again.

I'm often asked whether you can use a spoon or the back of your toothbrush to scrape your tongue. Naturally, anything is better than nothing, but if you want to achieve the best results, a proper tongue scrapper is recommended. This is because the tongue is considered a mirror of our individual organs.

Using a tongue scrapper not only removes toxins in the form of the white coating, but it also massages the tongue, helping to relax each of your internal organs. While a brush or spoon will scrape a small amount of toxins from the tongue, it does not offer the second benefit of helping relax your organs.

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