The next recommendation is to scrape the tongue. Tongue scraping, a sister to oil pulling is a very ancient Ayurvedic daily practice where the tongue is cleaned with a simple tongue scraper. It is still followed by practically everyone in India today.

We recommend using a stainless steel tongue cleaner as they are inexpensive, small, easy to clean, durable and are ideal for balancing for all Ayurvedic constitutions and imbalances. In a pinch, the side of a metal spoon can be effective.

Standing in front of a mirror, scrape the tongue by holding the two ends of the scraper in both hands, sticking out your tongue, and placing the scraper as far back on the tongue as possible. With firm but gentle pressure, scrape the surface of your tongue in one long stroke. Rinse the scraper and repeat 7-14 times until your tongue feels clean and is free of coating.

The Ayurvedic science behind this simple, less-than-a-minute morning routine is powerful. When we sleep, our digestive system remains awake, removing toxins from our body by depositing them onto the surface of our tongue.

Dental research has concluded that a tongue scraper is more effective at removing toxins and bacteria from the tongue than a toothbrush. Although brushing and flossing will loosen and move debris around, they do not actually remove the bacteria. This is not to say that tongue scraping should replace flossing or brushing, they shuould all be done. But its interesting to note that almost half of our oral bacteria live on and in the deep crevices of our tongue; the scraping action of a tongue scraper collects these toxic tongue coatings and removes them from the body. Removal of pathogens that are associated with gum and cardiovascular diseases, as well as dental decay. Oral bacteria and poor oral hygiene are linked to several other diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even infertility.

Yet tongue scraping isn’t simply a fantastic oral hygiene practice to remove bacteria, food debris, fungi, toxins, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue, there are subtle benefits as well.

Ayurveda considers the tongue a road map of the entire body, with each section corresponding to a different organ. Different parts of the tongue are related to the lungs, the heart, the stomach, the liver, the spleen, the kidneys, and the intestines. The back area of the tongue corresponds with the colon, so scraping that area stimulates peristalsis. Scraping the tongue not only removes toxins from the tongue itself but simultaneously stimulates, massages, and cleanses the associated organs and deep tissues. It also increases clarity of the mind by reducing heaviness from the head. When our physical and emotional bodies are balanced, it allows us to be able to focus our consciousness spiritually — the real aim of the bhakti-yogi.

The oral cavity is one of the main gateways between our mind-body and the environment, maintaining the health of this connection is critical to general well-being. If we don’t scrape away these toxins, they get reabsorbed by the body and can lead to respiratory difficulties, digestive problems, and a compromised immune system, which causes imbalances in the mind and body ranging from acne, bloating, constipation, gas, headaches, mood swings and more. Having a clean tongue allows our body, taste buds and digestion to work in balance.

We can notice when our digestion is strong and we are eating properly, we will wake up in the morning with a healthy-looking, red-colored tongue and very little coating on the tongue. So the tongue is the mirror to our internal health, a daily look at the tongue prior to scraping gives us a clue to our general health. In Ayurveda, a good tongue examination is a useful way of evaluating the health of the entire body. If a thick coating is noted, we are accumulating toxins, thus it’s an indicator to adjust our diet and lifestyle.

Proper digestion is considered by Ayurveda to be the foundation of health. Given that digestion begins with taste, tongue scraping activates saliva production and promotes the body’s digestive fire to help with digestion throughout the day. It also improves digestion by increasing our sense of taste, by removing this coating we improve our ability to taste the food, which makes it more satisfying. By increasing our taste reception, not only do we eat less, we also eliminate the need to add more sugar, salt, or excessive spice to the food to make it more flavorful having the ability to distinguish between sensation such as; salty, sour, bitter, and sweet.

Once you try tongue-scraping, there’s no turning back! It’s a simple, but essential and powerful routine for all aspiring Vedic lifestylers.