Burdock Summer Cleanse

Burdock Summer Cleanse is a decongesting, heat clearing, detoxifying beverage that clears heat and dampness toxins (Pitta and Ama in Ayurveda) from the body, while at the same time protecting Agni digestive fire.
It is excellent for as a general seasonal cleanse, for weight loss, acne, eczema, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis, hives, poison oak and ivy.
In reviewing this post today from my website from a few years back, about my Burdock Summer Cleanse beverage, it became apparent why the version I made yesterday tasted spicier than the one I usually make. The reason why was there was more parsley, ginger, and celery compared to burdock and water than usual. Which is what I wanted, as I have been eating a bit too much heavy food of late.

I mention this because I encounter people all the time that do everything from a recipe. Its almost as if not having a recipe makes them nervous or anxious.

The beauty in making things your own, whether its exercise, cooking, artwork, using herbal medicines, is that when you learn to do things from inside yourself, when you internalize the process from experience, rather than from recipes, things come out differently each time, and beautifully so.  Every moment is unique. The exact opposite of mass production where each BigMac is identical, but of questionable nutritive and aesthetic value in the first place.

I was lucky enough to learn how to cook Indian food from my friend's wives and mothers, in both India and USA. Indian food is so complex, yet none of these women ever pulled out a recipe. Always from the head, and, key point, according to the mood of the moment, like improvised music based on classical training.

So when you cook, even if you first learn from a recipe, as we all did at some point, even if the recipe was memorized without notes from observing your mother or father, be free, improvise, within the bounds of taste and reason, which is, of course, very subjective, but just remember, if cooking for a medical purpose, stick to improvisations that respect the logic of the starting point.

This is the recipe for what I made yesterday

Burdock Summer Cleanse Beverage

2 quarts water
1 bunch flat Italian parsley
1 medium carrot
4 celery stalks with leaves
2 tbsp dried burdock root
1 tbsp sliced ginger root

Bring to the boil, and simmer for 45 minute on low, adding water as you go so the end product is 2 quarts of beverage. When done, pour out the contents, and add 2 quarts water again, bring to a boil and simmer. You can now get a 2nd more dilute version of the beverage.

You can add 1 chopped beet root if you want to make your drink sweeter and spicier, and beets are a rich source of potassium and magnesium, very good summer minerals as potassium is lost by sweating, and magnesium is food for the muscles.

Why Cleanse in Summer?

Summer is NOT the typical time to cleanse the body strongly. Spring is. So I don't imply you should fast on this beverage. But on the other hand we can often overindulge in high fat high sugar treats in summer like ice cream, ice coffee, ice tea, frozen yogurt, that clog the shrotas and nadis (tissues and channels) and weaken the gut. We may also over eat cold energy fruit and heavy foods like barbeque.

A simple remeedy is to start your day in summer with a cup of this beverage instead of tea or coffee, and drink between meals instead of snacking. Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine are not in favor of radical cleanses, so this is a very gentle, seasonally appropriate way to clear pathological heat that develops from overeating sugar and heavy foods and from the summer season, decongest, and detoxify dampness and Ama/toxins from the gut and cells.

As such it is excellent for weight loss and acne. If you are a cold type who is overweight, you can add some black pepper or long pepper to your version and more ginger.


Add Salt If Using As Your Exercise Beverage


If its hot and you are exercising heavily and sweating, make this with a dash of sea salt or more. Otherwise, make it saltless, especially if you have blood pressure issues.

Burdock Root for Skin Disorders

Burdock root which clears heat and toxins from the body is both a food grade general cleanser safe for anyone, but its also used in Chinese Medicine as Kitchen Medicine for acne, eczema, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis, hives, and poison oak and ivy.

But, if you are using this Burdock summer cleanse for heat type skin issues like hives, eczema, or poison oak,  especially if there is itching, then drop the ginger reduce the parsley and increase the burdock as follows:

Burdock Beverage for Itchy Hot Skin Disorders 

4 quarts water
1 cup burdock
2 large carrots
1 celery stalk
1/2 bunch parsley
1 tbsp Job's Tears barley

Yi Yi Ren, Hatcho Mugi, or Job's Tears Barley for Skin Disorders

An excellent ingredient to add to this for eczema, acne, and hives, is job's tears barley, called Yi Yi Ren in Chinese Medicine, which is historically used for hot weather, heat stroke, for acne, and for detoxifying the skin in diseases like eczema acne and hives.  And unlike regular barley, Job's tears appears to be gluten free.

Daikon Radish for Acne with Digestive Congestion

If you have acne, and a thick coating on your tongue, then stick to the first recipe above and try adding 1 tbsp daikon radish and 1 tbsp Job's Tears barley. Acne is to due heat in the stomach that develops when there is food stagnation. Radish is a wonderful vegetable that stimulates digestive fire. Why raw radish is served in Japan with sashimi which is cold and raw.

Even though acne is a heat disorder, when we move the Qi in the gut it helps the heat clear up.

Where to Buy Burdock

Fresh burdock is sold in East Asian markets and some health food stores. Dried burdock is available on line here, and for beverage purposes is just as good as fresh.




copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA July 2016 All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

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