Ayurveda Q&A with Dr. John Douillard: How to Erase Dark Eye Circles, and Cleanse your Lymph
Q: Some of us have naturally dark circles under our eyes even though we eat and sleep well. What do you recommend? ~ Sylvia Tawse, founder of The Fresh Ideas Group
A: While dark circles under the eyes can be due to lack of sleep, a poor diet or some types of anemia, there is often an underlying cause that is missed. In Ayurveda, we diagnose the body in sequence, starting with the body’s ability to process waste. There are two drains—the lymph and the intestines—that are critical here. The intestinal tract is drained by an impressive series of lymphatic channels that escort toxic waste out of the intestines into the lymphatic system where they are neutralized by some 500 lymph nodes and then eliminated. If this system breaks down, the lymph system will become congested and waste will back up into the blood, joints, muscles and often the skin. If the cervical lymph in the neck is also congested, then the lymph drainage under the eyes can become compromised and dark circles appear.
To get to the bottom of this, we need to restore our digestive system and de-stagnate the lymph system around the guts and in the head, face and neck. Sip hot water every 10-15 minutes throughout the day for two weeks, to stimulate lymphatic drainages and re-hydrate the body. Secondly, begin to eat a 70 percent alkaline to 30 percent acid diet during the detoxifying months of spring to flush the lymphatic system (check the home detox at lifespa.com in “Articles” called The Short Home Cleanse.) Make sure you have a complete bowel movement within an hour after getting up every morning. If this is not the case, take 500 to 2,000 mgs. of trifala, an Ayurvedic herbal formula, in the morning and night as needed. Then there is my favorite lymph-moving herb, manjistha, similar to beets, which will begin the draining process. Stick with it—this is a tenacious but treatable condition!
Author of four Ayurvedic health and fitness books, DR. JOHN DOUILLARD directs LifeSpa, an Ayurvedic rejuvenation center in Boulder, Colorado, where he lives with his wife and six children: lifespa.com.