The summer has definitely begun! This year in Ontario, it took a long time to see it coming but finally it is here. The heat outside is unbearable!! So how do you take care of yourself beyond the iced lemonade?!
The heat and humidity of early summer is especially challenging to Pitta Kapha individuals (like myself). As muggy as it is outside, your body is experiencing the same "weather" internally. The heat and moisture naturally present in Pitta and Kapha constitutions leads to swelling and puffiness in June. Heat dilates blood vessels, causing water retention in Kapha individuals. Fungal and parasite infections thrive in this climate. Read on to find out how to address this.
End of spring, beginning of summer purges the last bit of water from the body as the weather really heats up. While Vata's dryness leaves them especially prone to dehydration, everyone needs to be mindful of water intake and electrolyte balance. Though there's lots of heat and moisture in the air, sweat easily pours from your pores when under the scorching sun. Be sure to keep water on hand and drink when you feel thirsty. Don't suppress the urge to hydrate! Some overdo this as well, guzzling water all day long. This waterlogs the body, overworks the kidneys and weakens digestion. It makes the stomach feel heavy. Instead, be attentive to your body's thirst as soon as it arises, and drink then.
Depletion, dehydration, and an overworked liver can leave you sleepless and with a restless mind. If you find yourself tossing and turning, restore your electrolytes with a Lime Cardamom Smoothie, Recipe below. Or simply have lots of berries.
For Pitta individuals, the heat thoroughly exhausts the liver. An overworked liver may not be able to process internal toxins as well. These toxins are then released by the skin, causing rashes and acne. Keep your liver cool with bitters like aloe vera and bitter greens. Rinsing your eyes and spritzing your face with rosewater gently soothes your liver. Lying out under the moon (moonbathing) also serves to unruffle Pitta's feathers.
As summer swelters, Kapha's may find themselves feeling lethargic and heavy. Kaphas would be wise to favor cooling diuretics like cumin, coriander and fennel tea, watermelon, chamomile and mint.
For Vatas, the equation is simple - moisture + heat = bliss. Summer is the favorite time of year for most Vata folks, who've been waiting all year to express their extroverted nature at summer festivals. With all the activity and stimulation, they need to be careful not to run themselves ragged. Vata is most at risk for dehydration due to heat. So make sure you have your ginger water handy, use fresh ginger instead of the powdered and you won't get as heated internally.
Herbs for early summer
Cool your mind with brahmi, one of Ayurveda's favourite Pitta tonics. Brahmi is a renowned mental rejuvenative traditionally used to promote the intellect, enhance mental performance and support proper function of the nervous system. It is a natural blood purifier and helps support clear, healthy skin. Bhringaraj also reduces a summer temper as it calms the liver and eyes, and supports the nervous system. It is light yet nourishing, and nourishes fluids.
With the heat, your body will naturally crave cooling and soothing herbs. Aloe seems to fit perfectly for summer, as it cools and soothes irritated tissues. Keep it on hand for sunburn, or take internally if you're feeling overheated!
Neem is the most cold of all herbs, alongside cilantro. It's intensely bitter and suited for Kapha individuals who feel angry or irritated in hot weather. Also use neem to purify your blood while protecting you from fungal and parasite infections common during summertime months. Bitter ghee (Tikta grhta) is a classic Pitta Kapha pacifying formula useful during the dog days of summer. Finally, Liver formula from Banyan Botanicals or Liver cleanse from Himalaya are more supportive and nurturing for Vata individuals with an overheated liver. It gently cleanses the liver while strengthening and nourishing it.
Cooling digestives are so important when the cause of weak digestion is heat and high Pitta. Most digestives are hot, and can't be used in summertime. Avipattikar churna and Banyan Botanical's Pitta Digest are both ideal ways to boost a weak digestive fire while helping you keeping your cool.
Cooling, nourishing smoothie recipe:
I know you have heard me say that smoothies are a big "No" according to Ayurvedic medicine, but there is no black and white when it comes to Ayurvedic medicine! It all depends. It depends on the season, on your Dosha and the type of the smoothie you are making! Mixing Fruits and veggies are not a great idea! Mixing dairy with fruits and veggies create indigestion but adding the right herbs or spices to the right combination can be super helpful. Try this simple smoothie to cool you down and activate your digestion for the to months of summer.
- Amalaki's sour taste makes it perfectly refreshing as an herbal "lemonade." Meanwhile it has an even higher concentration of antioxidants than blueberries. Famous as a rejuvenating and revitalizing herb, Amalaki also detoxifies, balances Pitta and reduces inflammation of the GI tract. Use it generously in the summer. Can be found at the studio. Use 1 tea spoon for tis lemonade smoothie.
2 c BANANA
1/4 tsp. CARDAMOM
1 c. COCONUT WATER
1/3 whole LIME
Juice the lime. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve immediately and enjoy this refreshing, replenishing and cleansing delight. Enjoy!