This week I want to tell you about the delightful (NOT) world of tongue scraping. According to Chopra.com

The ancient Ayurvedic recommendation of tongue scraping is one that is often overlooked. There are many benefits to this daily practice as far as oral health, and overall physical, mental, and spiritual health. Since the oral cavity is one of the main gateways between your mind/body and the environment, maintaining the health of this connection is critical to general well-being.

In the Charaka Samhita, an early Ayurvedic text, it says that by cleaning the tongue, “(this) removes foul smell, tastelessness … and by taking out dirt coated on the tongue, teeth and mouth brings relish immediately.” No doubt, people who clean their tongue on a daily basis can validate the invigorating effects this practice has. In fact, by removing the coating and stimulating the tongue this helps to balance the heavy and dulling qualities of Kapha dosha in your physiology.

– See more at: http://www.chopra.com/ccl/the-benefits-of-tongue-scraping#sthash.jAYlbocJ.dpuf

I’ve been doing this practice on and off for years (since I learnt it at my first Yoga Teacher Training) and have used a variety of things to scrape my tongue. While the Charaka Samhita states that “tongue scrapers should be made of gold, silver, copper, tin and brass and should be non-sharp and curved, so as not to injure the tongue.” In the past I have used a plastic scraper. Stainless steel scrapers, which are now widely available and resist corrosion, are effective as well. If you have nothing else you can even use the edge of a teaspoon.

plastic tonguetonguecleaner

Recently I’ve been using a copper tongue scraper because the material has additional benefits, as described by Dr John Douillard, a prominent Ayurvedic Doctor.

Copper may be the best metal to be used for tongue scraping because the mouth is loaded with both good and not-so-good bacteria. Copper not only seems to be toxic to the bad bacteria, it also provides important enzymes that are needed for the healthy microbes in the mouth to survive.

So, why not grab a spoon, scrape your tongue from back to front, spit out the “ama” (toxins) and accumulated mucus, and feel better straight away?!