Summer is in full swing now. Ayurvedic medicine understands that during the summer we are prone to several conditions due to the heat. It is first important concept to understand is that summer heat provokes the fire element in Pitta. Pitta is the Ayurvedic dosha responsible for heat and transformation in the body. Just as the earth dries and crusts in the hot sun, our body also becomes dry. This dryness in turn provokes a rise in Vata – the Ayurvedic dosha composed of air and space. As the external climate heat intensifies, the internal body heat also intensifies resulting in several possible manifestations.
1. Increased musculoskeletal pain – As Pitta heat increases internally, dhatus (tissues) begin to develop dryness, resulting in inflammation and sensitivity in the musculoskeletal system. Musculoskeletal dehydration brings about pain, discomfort and fatigue.
2. Dryness and burning – Elevated Pitta results in dryness and burning in the mucous membranes, resulting in dry eyes, lips, mouth and sinuses. This dryness can often bring about a sensation of discomfort and a deep unquenchable thirst. Deeper dryness can result in urinary irritation and vaginal dehydration.
3. Intestinal dryness and inflammation – As mucous membranes become dryer and inflamed, the intestines become irritable manifesting summertime colic, gas, bloating, heart burn, loose stools with varied constipation and symtoms consistent with Irittable Bowel Syndrome.
4. Skin dryness – Summertime can often bring on sun burns, skin cracking, dryness and loss of luster. Dehydration of the skin reduces the beauty of complexion and increases signs of aging. If left untreated the skin will become scaly, flaky and cracked.
1.5 cups mixed greens – Mixed summer greens are slightly tikta (bitter). Tikta taste helps reduce pitta. Mixed greens have lutein and carotenoids that are powerful antioxidants with antiaging and cancer protective properties. Greens also contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid, another anticancer nutrient. Quercetin also reduces allergies by reducing mast cell secretion and interleukin-6.
1 cup celery – Celery is a great hydrating and cooling vegetable packed with antioxidants, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate, vitamin B6 and fiber. The flavonoids and phytonutrients in celery improve health of the liver, skin, eyes and brain.
4 oz Aloe juice – Consuming aloe juice is excellent for the digestive tract. Aloe normalizes acid/alkaline balance, lessens yeast formation, encourages normal digestive bacteria, soothes the stomach lining reducing dryness, heat and stomach ulcers. Aloe also lubricates the gastric track and normalizes bowel movements. Aloe ingestion boost liver function and provides clearer and hydrated skin complextion.
1 cup grapes – Grapes are well known in Ayuvedic medicine. Grapes contain phenolic compounds, nitrogenous compounds, minerals and pectic substances with a madhura (sweet) flavor that help hydrate and moisten dhatus (tissues). Grapes reduce vata and calm the nervous system. Grapes reduce pitta and vata in the digestive system. Grapes are also excellent for the circulatory system keeping pitta and rakta (blood) healthy.
9 mint leaves – Mint helps pacify pitta, indigestion and inflammation. Mint reduces bloating, nausea and halitosis (bad breath). The aromatic quality stimulates salivary glands and digestive enzymes. Mint also has a wonderful uplifting effect on cognition, memory retention and alertness.
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder – In Ayurveda, fennel powder or seed is used for reducing heat, pain, inflammation, bloating, gas, indigestion and heartburn. Fennel contains phytonutrients including flavonoid rutin, quercetin and kaempferol glycosides providing excellent antioxidants and cancer protection. Fennel’s madhura (sweet) effect balances not only pitta, but also vata.
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder – Cardamom contains niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. In Ayurveda, cardamom is a distinct antimicrobial, gastrointestinal normalizer, coolant and tissue soother. Cardamom helps detoxify the body and reduces premature aging.
2 cups filtered room temperature water
Blend all ingredients in a blender and drink freshly made as a meal.
Read Dr. Christie’s full Ayurvedic Summer Health guide here. Stay healthy and happy this summer.
For more information on Ayurveda or to schedule an Ayurvedic consultation with Dr. Christie Smirl, visit HealthierVibrations.com or email her at Csmirl1@gmail.com. Dr. Christie Smirl is a Doctorate of Ayurvedic Medicine, Nurse Practitioner, Master of Science, Yoga Teacher Trainer, ERYT, YACEP, Reiki Master, Musician and published author. Her motto is “Heal yourself, help heal another and begin healing the world.”.