Revitalize Your Health This Spring With Ayurvedic Herbs: Discover Nature's Best-Kept Secrets
The Ayurveda Experience April 26, 2023
“I am the Soul in the body, the Mind in the senses, the Eagle among birds, the Lion among animals. Among all the trees, I am the sacred Bodhi tree, and of the seasons, I am Spring”. These lines are from the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna reveals himself with various attributes.
Spring is the time when the earth manifests the latent potential inside it. It is an indication of birth, beginnings, renewal, and growth. Seeds germinate, flower bud leaves unfurl, and insects buzz during spring. Therefore, adjusting our daily self-care rituals to seasonal changes is essential to help us maintain harmony with the natural world and enjoy the fruits of spring.
Ayurveda’s take on spring
Ayurveda talks about maintaining a balance in our internal environment to work harmoniously with the external environment. Ayurvedic wisdom advocates living in synergy with the seasons to help support our health, balance the immune system, ensure our well-being, and maintain a healthy digestive fire.
Spring is the time when the earth and water elements are taking over. Just as each person has a predominant dosha, seasons are also governed by a particular dosha. Spring is closely linked to Kapha and is characterized by moisture, heaviness, abundance, and warmth.
Winter may be all about filling up on food, and some Kapha accumulation is inevitable by the time spring arrives. But just as the season progresses, spring melts the ice; it softens accumulated Kapha to eliminate it from the body. While it can be revitalizing, for some, it can trigger potential health challenges. Therefore, adopting a spring routine can be a beautiful way to appreciate the seasonal variations.
About the transition from winter to spring and its impact on the doshas
Every season, our body experiences changes due to climate changes, which affect our doshas. During spring, there is a high possibility of aggravation of the Kapha, and the Vata Dosha, as the water element influence them. Spring is the time that is a transition between wintry weather, which eventually gets warmer and wetter, till the time summer comes. Since there is a progression towards summer, towards the latter part, there is also a possibility of imbalanced Pitta.
So, depending on your dosha, the following things should be kept in mind during spring:
If you are a Vata dominant person, you should indulge in a soothing, calming, nourishing diet. Increasing vitiated Vata with a pungent, astringent, and bitter taste is recommended. In contrast, if there is an aggravation in Vata, it can be decreased by indulging in sweet, sour, and salty ingredients.
For those who are Pitta dominant, indulging in a diet that is moderate, heavy, and cooling is recommended; in case you have an imbalance of Pitta, indulging in a pungent, salty, and sour diet is recommended. However, if your pitta is aggravated, you can come down by indulging in something sweet, bitter, and astringent.
For Kapha dominant individuals, they must indulge in stimulating and warming foods during spring. If people are experiencing a vitiation in Kapha, they can balance it by indulging in sweet, salty, and sour ingredients, and in case they have aggravation, they should indulge in pungent, better, and astringent ingredients.
KNOW YOUR DOSHA!
Ayurvedic herbs and ways to incorporate them
Nature moves fluidly and organically, and Ayurvedic seasonal routines are a great way to align ourselves with dynamic rhythms.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a vibrant and perennial plant. It is a rhizome (underground root) of the native Curcuma longa plant and is amongst the most popular spice in any Indian household. Turmeric has many potential properties, including its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. According to Ayurveda, turmeric is bitter (katu), dry (rooksha), and hot (ushna), making it a herb capable of balancing Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. During spring, there is a surge of pollens and allergens. Therefore, turmeric's anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties can help fight allergies. The curcumin present in turmeric can act as a decongestant to help reduce mucus associated with allergies.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is an effective remedy to enhance digestion and manage weight. The spice does a great job of balancing vitiated Kapha. According to Ayurveda, several health concerns, including coronary artery diseases, allergies due to accumulation of ama (toxic remains), weight gain, and improper digestion, are mainly due to an imbalance of Kapha. Therefore, taking Cinnamon can help balance Kapha, which may help prevent potential heart troubles, and other Kapha-aggravation-related troubles. Cinnamon can be helpful in spring due to its ushna (hot), katu (pungent), and tikta (bitter) nature. Take 1.5 cups of water in a saucer and add a 2 inch cinnamon bark to it. Boil it on a medium flame for 5-6 minutes. After straining, squeeze ½ lemon into it and drink this twice a day to have a healthy digestive and respiratory system.
Punarnava or Hogweed: Spring is that time of the year when our efforts to lose weight must be supported with some potent herbs. Punarnava, or Boerhaavia diffusa, is an excellent herb that can potentially help balance all three doshas and promote healthy weight for those with a Kapha constitution. Apart from this, an imbalance of Kapha dosha can result in the accumulation of mucus in the respiratory pathway, leading to a condition called Bronchial asthma. This could potentially cause blockage in the air passages making breathing uncomfortable. Punarnava can help deal with it as it could help reduce the production of mucus and reduces the symptoms of asthma, all thanks to its rasayana (rejuvenation) properties. During spring, people can take 1-2 teaspoons of punarnava juice and water, mix them well and have it once or twice a day before taking meals.
Chitrak: Springtime is associated with Kapha, and the dosha is associated with earth and water. It is also when the digestive fire needs to be reignited, and toxins accumulated over the winter season need to be removed. In this context, chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica) gets our attention. It is a plant with many potential properties and is revered in ayurvedic texts. The herbs can be used in spring as it helps promote healthy digestion, eliminate toxins, strengthen the digestive fire, etc. It can be taken in powder form in the springtime to keep Kapha at bay.
Pippali or Long pepper: Spring is the time when our body needs a boost to deal with potential respiratory tract-related diseases and enhance our metabolism. Therefore, a herb like pipali can be of great value as it not only supports healthy metabolism but promotes respiratory health, clear and comfortable breathing, etc. The herb's katu (pungent) nature makes it excellent to include in our spring wellness kit.
Tulsi: Tulsi is a plant known to have medicinal and spiritual benefits. Tulsi has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antitussive (cough-relieving), and anti-allergic properties that are beneficial in helping with relieving cough and cold symptoms, improving immune response, etc. According to Ayurveda, tulsi has Kapha-balancing properties that can help manage its aggravation in the spring season. In addition to this, tulsi also has the potential to offer a calming effect, encourage mental well-being, and help reduce stress. Ayurvedic wisdom suggests that tulsi can also help remove toxins from our body, which is vital for the spring season.
Triphala: Spring is a natural time for cleansing and detoxing, as removing all winter toxins is essential. Triphala is a great herb to help support healthy digestion, cleanse toxins, rejuvenate, and help maintain digestive fire. It is a combination of three fruits or herbs “haritaki, bibhitaki, and amalaki.” According to Ayurveda, triphala has tridoshik properties, i.e., balancing all three doshas - Kapha, Vata, and Pitta. Taking triphala can be beneficial for internal cleansing due to its detoxifying properties. It can help improve immunity due to its rasayana (rejuvenating) property. The aggravation of Kapha leads to increased sebum production and clogging of pores. Similarly, aggravation of Pitta causes red papules (bumps) and inflammation with pus. Using triphala can help reduce the same with its Pitta-Kapha balancing properties. Applying a paste of triphala and coconut oil on our face and gently rubbing the paste onto the skin for 15-20 minutes can help fight acne and other skin troubles.
Spring is the time when our body needs rejuvenation. It is the time when we need to flush out the accumulated toxins and reignite our agni to brace the summer. However, it is also when our respiratory health can be jeopardized due to changing weather. Therefore, it is vital to experiment with some Ayurveda approved herbs, that can not only help manage flushing of toxins, but support our digestive and well as respiratory health.
READ MORE: Discover The Best Ayurvedic Diet For Spring Wellness | 5 Ayurveda Practices For Spring: Detox And Glow From The Inside Out
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