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Ukuphalaza – induced emesis [Kunjal kriya]

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The terms ukuphalaza and ukuhlanza are sometimes used interchangeably as if they mean the same thing, but they don’t.

When you go out drinking on an empty stomach the end result might be ukuhlanza. If you get nauseous you might find yourself uhlanza. In the early stages of pregnancy, when a woman has morning sickness, she might find herself ahlanza. Ukuhlanza occurs as a result of a sudden impulse or an inclination to vomit. With ukuhlanza there is usually no premeditation or external stimulus such as emetics involved to cause vomiting. 

Ukuphalaza on the other hand is premeditated and an external stimulus such as emetics (or concoctions) are usually involved.

What exactly is ukuphalaza?

Ukuphalaza is a cleansing technique that involves voluntarily inducing vomiting after ingesting something to induce vomiting. Ukuphalaza is an African practice that is similar to Kunjal kriya, a cleansing technique that is used in the traditional Indian healing system of Ayurveda and Hatha yoga. Yoga is a comprehensive lifestyle practice that engages the mind, body, and intellect through various yoga postures called asanas, breathing techniques called pranayama, cleansing practices called kriyas and meditation techniques called dhyana. There are different types of yoga:

  • Iyengar yoga – is considered as the highest form of yoga and places emphasis on precision and alignment.
  • Vinyasa yoga – is a type of yoga that is focused on the movement and flow of energy.
  • Ashtanga yoga – is a type of yoga that incorporates dynamic movements and controlled breathing.
  • Kundalini yoga – is a type of yoga that incorporates meditation, chanting mantras, movements, and pranayama.
  • Hatha yoga – is a type of yoga that places emphasis on the asana pose. It is slow and ideal for beginners. Bikram yoga is a type of hatha yoga that is typically done in a very hot and humid room.

Kunjal kriya is a Hatha yoga practice. In Hatha yoga there are six shatkarmas or shatkriyas. Shatkarmas are a set of cleansing and purifying techniques that a person does to prepare the mind and body for yoga. The six shatkarmas are trataka, basti, neti, nauli, kapalabhati, and dhauti.

  • Trataka cleans the eyes and mind,
  • Basti kriya cleanses the colon.
  • Neti cleanses the nasal passages.
  • Nauli kriya cleanses and massages the abdominal organs.
  • Kapalabhati cleanses the lungs and strengthens lungs capacity subsequently increasing oxygen in the body and giving to give you a youthful glow. Most people underestimate the power of proper breathing. Indabulaluvalo (scientifcally known as Kalanchoe paniculata) is a plant used in African traditional medicine to treat anxiousness. Pranayama (a practice that employs a set of breathing techniques) is a proven alternative to treating anxiousness (or uvalo).
  • Dhauti kriya cleanses the digestive tract which includes the mouth and food pipe.

Dhauti kriya is the shatkarma that is similar to ukuphalaza. Dhauti is a Sanskrit word that means cleansing. The word Sanskrit means sanctified or high honour. Some yogis (yoga practitioners) say that Dhauti kriya is the first of the six shatkarmas. Meaning when doing the kriyas to prepare for yoga, you begin with Dhauti kriya.

Dhauti kriya is a cleansing practice that involves drinking large amounts of water and then vomiting it out. There are different types of Dhauti kriyas, each type is meant to clean the different parts of the digestive tract. The one most relevant to this topic is Vamana Dhauti also known as Kunjal kriya. Kunjal kriya is a practice where a person drinks large amounts of lukewarm water, this water may be plain or saline (water mixed with salt). After drinking the water, the person will vomit to remove excess mucus from the food pipe. 

A consistent practice of Dhauti kriya is said to balance the Kapha, Pitta, and Vata doshas in the body. In Ayurvedic medicine, the three doshas are the three energies that are believed to circulate in the body, and they govern the body’s physiological activity. An imbalance in the doshas is said to lead to a range of physical and mental disorders.

Ukuphalaza is to African people what Vamana Dhauti or Kunjal kriya is to Indian people. Ukuphalaza is a practice for clearing the stomach through induced emesis (throwing up or vomiting). The vomit is induced by taking an emetic. An emetic is something that is ingested by someone in order to make them vomit. Emetics can be anything, the most commonly used emetics in African traditional medicines are in the form of a concoctions made with either herbs, roots, tree bark, medicines, syrup, himalayan salt or other types of salts, vinegar, cleansers (or iziwasho zokuphalaza), and others.

For example:

A concoction for induced emesis (ukuphalaza) can be prepared by boiling a plant’s roots or root extracts in water. Or by boiling different types of tree barks in water or in milk. When I first started the practice of ukuphalaza, I used water with vinegar. Water mixed with coarse salt is another good place to start for novice.  

The benefits of ukuphalaza

The emetics (or concoction) used will depend on what you are using ukuphalaza for. If you are using ukuphalaza just to remove extra mucus on the food pipe, then you can use the Kunjal kriya technique. If you are trying to get rid of anxiousness (or uvalo) your emetic can include indabulaluvalo.  As mentioned in the African acupuncture (ukutshopa) article, ukuphalaza is a cleansing technique that heals the body and treats a range of ailments affecting the body from the inside-out. Ukuphalaza is not just a cleanser for purifying the biological body, it is also used for spiritual purging. 

This makes ukuphalaza a biological and spiritual purging practice. The benefits of ukuphalaza are too many to count. You can use ukuphalaza:

  • To detox or remove toxins from the body.
  • If you ate rotten food.
  • If you suspect you’ve been poisoned or unesidliso.
  • If you have a cough and poor breathing problems.
  • If you’ve overdosed.
  • To treat poor digestion.
  • To relieve nausea. etc…

How to perform ukuphalaza?

There are people who specialize in helping people with ukuphalaza. In most cases, these people are also seers or diviners (izangoma). They use divination to glean insight into the causation of an ailment in the body and based on the findings they concoct an emetic to drink and vomit.

There are different ways to perform ukuphalaza and the practice can be performed at different times, despite some who think it should only be done early in the morning before you eat. The following outlines the typical steps followed when performing ukuphalaza.

  1. First, you need to prepare the emetic (or concoction) that will be used.
  2. Then you need to thoroughly wash your hands.
  3. Then assume a position that will enable you to easily reach the place where you will project your vomit. If you will project your vomit inside a toilet, then you kneel next to a toilet. If you will project your vomit inside a bucket, then kneel next to the bucket.
  4. After assuming the correct posture, drink copious amounts of the emetic that you prepared earlier. Sometimes ukuphalaza may begin spontaneously as you are drinking the emetic. However, other times you may need to trigger vomiting by inserting your fingers into the back of the mouth. When using this method, vomiting will be induced by triggering the gag reflex using the fingers.

For people who have never performed ukuphalaza, you can think of ukuphalaza as being akin to taking a spiritual bath as both of these practices are a ritualized form of cleansing.

As a recommendation: try drinking a glass of water before performing the practice. This has been proven to help prevent tooth damage that’s associated with vomiting. After the practice, avoid brushing your teeth as this could cause damage or worsen existing damage rather rinse your mouth with water. Also make sure to replenish any loss in electrolytes by drinking plain clean water.

Learn about other traditional rituals by accessing, Ukuchatha – Enema – Colon Hydrotherapy – Jala Basti Kriya and Ukutshopa – African acupuncture therapy

Safety precaution

The use of traditional medicine in prescribed dosages will yield good results. Misuse and abuse may lead to complications. To learn about correct dosage, consult a traditional healer or a herbalist. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine.

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