Detoxification (detox) has been around for a long time, but many people are still curious about the practice. With the new life trend that focuses on the value of simplicity, lightness, and emptiness, the popularity of detox ‘to empty and lighten oneself to restore natural strength’ is expected to continue in various areas. Korean ancestors also wisely valued the concept of detox. <Donguibogam> stated that various aggressors or stress from aggressive emotions pile up in your body, thus harming your health. Toxicity is classified into poor circulation of energy, blood, and food. Toxicity that harms your body inside and out, depends on what you eat. You cannot change your innate traits, but your acquired traits can be fixed by proper diet. What is the proper diet? In Korean Medicine, anything excess and stagnant due to poor circulation can cause fever and toxicity. When you overeat, and if the nutrients are not used properly, your body will become heavier, generating negative energy. Such unhealthy condition will quickly show on your skin.
On March 13, marking King Jeongjong’s 1st year, <Joseon Wangjo Shillok> introduced an episode on how Korean ancestors viewed health. King Jeongjong, the 2nd king of Joseon, ruled for a short period due to the Revolt of the Princes, and his life was always threatened. He enjoyed a ball game called Gyeokgu more than ruling the kingdom. He explained: “I was always on alert and restrained since I was enthroned, so I did not know that I had an illness. Now I am ill again, and my skin is weakening by the day as my mind is agitated.” This story tells us the correlation between the skin and stress, and how King Jeongjong tried to circulate his energy by playing sports. As a matter of fact, the kings of Joseon often suffered from skin troubles due to excess workload, mental stress, and excessive drinking and eating. The prescriptions they used were particularly focused on detox. Lonicera japonica, which is mentioned in <Seungjeongwon Ilgi> to treat King Sukjong’s boils, refers to the flower buds of Japanese honeysuckle that is used to relieve fever while clarifying the blood and removing thirst and swelling. Other fever-relieving formulas, such as Lemna minor, cherry blossom barks, Vespae nidus, and Cicandidae periostracum, were often used as a means of detoxification. Mulberry barks were often used to treat weakness and age spots as they cooled the lungs and whitened the skin, while red clay removed the toxins in the body, and circulated energy with amazing purifying effects. <Donguibogam> suggested taking red clay baths using filtered red clay water once or twice a year to detoxify the body. Finding the core of your body to achieve the best of health is the fundamental aspect of life that has been handed down for generations.