As the summer arrives, the Pitta Dosha gets aggravated.
If you have a Pitta dominance in your nature, it's more than likely you suffer from some of its associated symptoms, especially as the hot season approaches: redness, dryness or acne, inflammation, heart burns, acid reflux, nausea, headaches or repeated indigestions, anger or impatience and just that overal feeling of burning up. If you aren't Pitta dominant, you still may feel the heat this summer. So have alook at how to restore balance within and without.
Here is what you can do to counter the effects of the hot season, through foods, lifestyle, and a few natural medicines:
Cooling Down Pitta dosha through foods
As pitta is hot in nature, anything with opposite properties will do the trick. Avoid anything spicy, pungent, too salty or too sour. These 3 tastes will aggravate your conditions. Instead go for the astringent, bitter and sweet tastes which will restaore balance.
Herbs & Spices
Most herbs and spices are heating. They help us digest as they contain hot properties which trigger the digestive system, the seat of Pitta. Yet, we find a few exceptions in Nature, and this spices should be added to your cooking in Summer. Most of these are also diuretic, which means they will help with reducing heat-induced swelling. They will bring their cooling potency to the mix, reatoring the integretity of your constitution:
FENNEL One of the most "sattvic" (balanced) ayurvedic foods. It helps with all kinds of digestive problems by relieving flatulence and constipation, Nausea or Vomiting. It also Calms to the nervous system and its aroma promotes mental awareness and alertness. It will relieve a dry mouth and excess thirst. It fights vaginal dryness. You can also make a paste of the seeds (by crushing them in powder and mixing them with water) to treat headaches.
Cook your dishes with fennel seeds and/or ground fennel. Replace pepper by fennel seeds. Make an infusion of its seeds (1 to 2 tsp in cold water. Heat till it boils. Stop the fire and let it infuse for about 5 minutes, drink warm or at room temperature).
Coriander is also a sattvic herb, which means that the 3 doshas are present in equal proportion. Like fennel, coriander is a wonderful spice for digestion. And as we know, a good digestion is the guarantee of a good helth in ayurveda. Coriander is a strong medicine in liver diseases, which are ussually a Pitta ailment. It clears the liver of toxins and promotes its activity while kindling the digestive system.
It's also very efficient for hot flushes, heat in the body, inflammations, frequent urination. It will cleanse the bladder, and help in reducing cholesterol.
Here is a quick recipe to cool down the Pitta Dosha, inflammation, heavy blood flow or UTI, all due to an aggravation of Pitta.
THE COLD CORIANDER WATER RECIPE
For 75cl to 1L of water, add 5 tsp of coriander seeds (or 2 Tsp). Crush them slightly and had room temperature water. Leave overnight to infuse. On an empty stomach, have a large (200ml) of coriander water. Repeat the process for a week, or during the summer if you stay in a hot place.
It's diretic effects, help clearing toxins, but it's also extremley hydrating and will help with headaches and migraines. It will pacify Pitta if taken a week before your periods are due to reduce the cramps and blood flow.
Aloe vera has very strong cooling properties. It's wonderful to use on sunburns as it cools down, heal and smoothens the skin. Aloe Vera juices can be drunk too on a regular basis throughout the summer.
Coconut also has colling properties. It's sweet (the taste that calms down inflammation), cold in potency, light to digest and is good mild diuretic to eliminate toxins. It will hydrate the body and nourishes the 7 tissues.
Use its milk to cook a curry type dish but without the curry leaves. Instead, use fennel seeds, himalayan salt, cumin & coriander powder as well as fresh coriander as a topping once cooked.
Drink fresh coconut water (which is rich in potassium) and cook with coconut oil
Note: If you have renal failure, coconut water is not recommended.
SPICES AND CONDIMENTS TO AVOID IN SUMMER
Black sesame, chillis,raw garlic, ginger powder, gratted cheese, horseradish, ketchup, mayo, mustard, yellow lemon, pickles, kimchi, tabasco, mango chutney, radish, sea salt, sesame sauce, tamarind, yogurt, neem leaf, saffron, turmeric arebest avopided for a while. Instead you can use the
Anything cold and cooling is welcome: cucumbers, watermelon, melon, sweet fruits (not sour) in general. Lettuce, watercress are good salads to have.
But becareful, if you are Vata or Kapha dominant, these might be difficult to digest. In that case, it's better to cook the vegetables and have them cold.
In terms of meat: ham and dry meats, such as rabbit are fine. avoid all fatty meats (lamb, beef, duck, veal, lamb, sausages), meat based BBQs, fried foods
From the sea: avoid prawns, muscles, shrimps, oysters and crab. and as above, tuna and salmon, sea and ocean fishes such as tuna and salmon, are not only fatty (which is to be avoid in summer) but also full of salt which also aggravates Pitta. Prefer river and white fish.
In terms of veggies: beets, carrots, eggplant, fenugreek leaves, raw garlic, horseradish, mustard and mustard leaves, green olives, onion, raw echalottes, chilli, tomatoes and turnipsarent recommended. Everything else is good for you.
Dairies: ideally all aminal milks are not advisable. Instead chose an almond milk whci has cooling properties. As it creates toxins to fruits and dairies, your breakfast can sustain fresh fruits if mixed with almond milk instead.
Cereals: Buckwheats, Dry oats, oat granola, ota brans, white bread, bagels, rye, rye bread, corn, soda bread, millet, popcorn, quinoa, polenta, spelt, sprouted wheat sghould be avoided. Replace these grains by Amaranth, couscous, Wheat, wheat pasta without yeast, wheat bran cooked, barley, granola, Pitta bread, chapati, tortilla (Breads without yeast), wholemeal flour, wheat bran, spelt (all ok without yeast), tapioca and basmati rice.
Nuts: avoid all nuts except for almond which you can saok for a bit before use.
Fruits: Make sure they are sweet rather than acidic/sour. Sweet Apple, apricot, red fruits, pears, cherries, dried figs, mango, peach, pomegrenade, prunes, quince, raisins, strawberries, watermelon are a good choice.
Best herbal teas: fennel, camomile, dandelion, liquorice mint and gotu kola.
Lifestyle to cool down the Pitta Dosha
Avoid intense exercise which will elevate your cortisol levels inducing heat and stress. It's better to walk under a full moon than run a marathon at this time. Swap with your cardio with some regular yoga, tai chi or go for a swim
If it feels hot, if you have a few inflammed pimples, boils or infected wound, use a paste made of sandal wood powder and rose water as a mask. You can also chose one of the paavaani range products for Pitta balance.
A pitta balancing oil will cool you down and counter the summer dryness. It will avoid hot flushes if you are going through menopause, it will heal and calm down the skin if you have redness or irritation and overal will remove that feeling of heating up. Try the Paavani range of Pitta balancing products in the Boutique.
Stress, intolerance and impatience are the signs of an imbalanced Pitta dosha. As mentioned above, anything like intense cardio in general will see your cortisol levels rise. So opt in for another type of exercise. Avoid conflicts at work and head for a well diserved holiday when possible. Shut down your phone, or decide to check it only for an hour evey day.
Meditation & pranayamas
Meditation will cool down the Pitta mind. Pranayams are breathing exercises which redirect your prana (or vital force). There are 2 pranayamas which are cooling. Sitali Pranayama is one of them: a kind of breathing technique that cools the body, adds moisture to the system and soothes a Pitta imbalance. You simply curl the sides of your tongue and breathe in through your mouth.
Avoid staying on the beach too long or fully exposed to the sun. Stay in the shade and have a swim more often than not. The Charika Samhita (one of the founding texts of ayurveda) prescribes to walk at night under the moon... If your dosha is pitta dominant, you'll enjoy Sweden more than Morocco. Chose your destination accordingly because your environment matters significantly in your wellbeing.
By eating right for the season, taking coriander water in the morning, using the right oil and spices, changing your exercise routine and adding some meditation techniques, you will balance that Pitta dosha and go through that beautiful summer effortlessly.