Did you ever combine the most outlandish ingredients together when you are a kid? Whatever spices you could get your hands on, leaves, strings, shells, obviously poisonous berries, flowers, sand. You name it.
Years later, as an adult and an herbalist (go figure), I still find excitement and magic in blending ingredients into potions.
A blend that has been a staple in my life for years is in a milk base. Traditional preparation of milk decoctions are called ksirapaka kalpana. 1 part herb, 8 parts milk, and 32 parts water are simmered together.
Nourishing and grounding, my personal take on ksirapaka kalpana is something I have been enjoying as a nighttime treat.
Some herbal constituents are oil soluble and offer the nourishment needed to pacify vata and cool pitta. Extracting the lipid soluble parts of the plant can make the healing properties more bioavailable. You can use cow’s milk or any milk alternative for making a tasty treat.
In Ayurveda, an anupana is a carrier for the herbs to different places or organs in the body. Blends with milk as a base helps to pacify pitta and nourishes the nervous system. Adding ghee to the warm beverage helps the herbs navigate to deeper tissues of the nervous system (majja dhatu) and reproductive system (artava and shukra dhatu).
I am going to share with you one of my secret potion recipes. While you may not have all of these herbs available, I encourage you to play a little and add spices in your cabinet that feel right. I hope you enjoy this tasty treat as much as I do!
1/4th Teaspoon Shatavari
1/4th Teaspoon Ashwagandha
1/8th Teaspoon Arjuna
Pinch of Pippali (you can use black pepper instead)
Sprinkle of Nutmeg
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
Sprinkle of Cardamom
Sprinkle of Turmeric
1/2 of ghee after hot beverage is in mug
Sip, and enjoy!
That moment in time where you are not quite sure. Was that a tickle in my throat? Am I getting sick? Why can I not stop sneezing!? You think you are all right, then bam! Sneezing, runny nose, fatigue. And once you have crossed off Covid as an option, you know you are experiencing seasonal allergies. The dreaded exchange for beautiful weather and flowers is upon us.
Everything is starting to bloom here in Southern Oregon. Lilacs, fruit tree blossoms, tulips, daffodils, cute purple weeds, you name it. While for some it may just be an inconvenience, for others, allergies can shake their whole world. Let’s take a look at what our bodies are going through when experiencing allergies from an Ayurvedic lens and discuss some Ayurvedic remedies to navigate springtime allergies.
Asatmya is the concept of allergies in Ayurveda. While this ranges from food to skin allergies, this also includes seasonal allergies. Satmya means immunity, the resistance to allergies or infection. When our agni (digestive fire) and ojas (immunity) are functioning properly, it is difficult for external antigens to invade the body, create ama (toxic material), and trigger an allergic doshic response, i.e. runny nose, rash, sneezing. However, when agni and ojas are low, our immune system is compromised and we are more likely to be effected by antigens and experience allergy like symptoms.
Per Dr. Lad. Ayurveda Today 1989 – Asatmya “AMA (toxic material) produces Vata type, Pitta type, and Kapha type local or general reactions. The substances which produce these reactions are called allergens. The form that an allergy takes depends both upon the type of allergen and the aggravated dosha (V, P, or K).”
Our antibodies, with vata, pitta, and kapha as separate “strains”, react to these external antigens in their own ways. Kapha type reaction will surface as laryngeal edema, latent spring fever, runny nose. Pitta type allergies include rashes, eczema, and acne. Vata type allergies show up as gas, aches and pains, and wheezing.
Springtime is naturally kaphagenic in nature as the emergence from winter, including snow melt and seed growth, create moisture in the air. Spring allergies are considered a predominantly kapha imbalance, so it is important that we support and balance kapha in our bodies during this transition. Here are some tools to balance kapha to keep ama, and allergies, at bay:
1)Sun Salutations. To get kapha moving in our lymphatic system, practice 3 sun salutations a day. Be sure the stretch towards the sky for sun salutation kapha variation to further promote circulation.
Here is a video of Beverly demonstrating optional Kapha Sun Salutation variations.
2)Trikatu. As agni is our main line of defense against external allergens, we want to make sure we have a strong, stable digestive fire. Trikatu, the blend of ginger, black pepper, and pippali (long pepper) is a heating, yet gentle, combination to increase digestion and eliminate toxins. Ayurvedic Rasayanas’ Digestive Support #13- Trikatu Rasayana is an excellent option to keeping agni happy and our immune system strong, ready to combat potential allergens.
3)Nasya Oil. Administering daily nasya oil through the nasal passages removes kapha from the sinuses and nose. Nasya oil is typically formulated as an herbal blend with a sesame oil base. To lubricate the nasal passages without nasya oil, simply put a few drop of sesame oil on your finger and gently massage the inside if your nasal passages.
4)Kapha pacifying diet. When we are choosing meal selections during the winter to spring seasonal change, favor kapha pacifying foods. Choose bitter, pungent, and astringent foods; stay away from sweet, sour, and salty meals. Pinto beans, split peas, red lentils, barley, millet, quinoa are all great options. Vegetables to pacify kapha during allergy season are carrots, beets, leafy greens; cook with heating spices such as trikatu.
5)Warm water and Honey. Upon waking, boil water and add a little bit of honey. Drink as a morning tea. The honey offers a gentle scraping effect to the body, specifically the lungs, and will support proper elimination of mucus. The best honey is raw, crystalized honey.
6)Wake early. Daily routine is key to a healthy lifestyle. As kapha can be heavy and groggy, consider waking at 4:30 a.m. to start your day. Incorporate healthy habits such as a 20-minute walk and stimulating yoga asana. Keep it simple at first, yet steady and consistent. You can always add more to your routine.
The feminine is such a beautiful and powerful thing. According to Sankhya Philosophy, or the philosophy of creation, the feminine is the force behind the birth of the universe. Prakruti, this female energy, manifest nature. She is the creative potential that is the source of creative will and awareness in the universe. The female body is an amazing representation of this creative potential. Taking care of our bodies is always important, however it is ojas, or the nectar of our reproductive systems, that give us immunity, strength, vitality, and ultimately a long life.
The superior by-product of Artava dhatu, or the female reproductive tissue, is ojas. For a woman to be successful for a healthy pregnancy and general well-being, it is crucial that we protect and nourish ojas. Menstruation can offer insight into the health of our ojas. Through emotional experience, color and consistency of blood, and generalized pain in the body, we can understand which dosha is being affected and how to pacify that dosha. Here are some examples of what each dosha may experience as an imbalance during a woman’s cycle.
Vata imbalance: may experience sharp, intermittent lower back pain. Typical out of balanced vata emotions may be prevalent such as anxiety or fear. The blood flow may be scanty and dark in color.
Pitta imbalance: General heat in body, including inflammation, diarrhea, or nausea. Unbalanced pitta emotions may be prevalent such as anger and judgment. Color of blood is general red with a slight smell as pitta dominates a sour scent.
Kapha imbalance: Kapha tends to be dull pain, with heavy emotions such as depression. The consistency of the blood may be thick and have mucous with a heavier and longer flow.
A healthy cycle will not induce pain or a major emotional response. The blood will be bright red and not stain clothing, as staining is an indication of ama, or toxins in the body. Traditionally, the menstrual cycle starts on the new moon. Nourishing ojas can mean many things, so let us explore some practices to keep our ojas happy and healthy for an easy menstrual experience and overall health of a woman’s body.
Of course, actively balancing your individual dosha throughout the month and keeping up with healthy habits will be crucial to a healthy, happy, cycle.
Even if your constitution is predominantly vata, pitta, or kapha, we can all experience the impact nervousness and anxiety play on our bodies and mind. Typically considered a sign of vata imbalance, anxiety and nervousness can get the best of us sometimes.
When the gunas (qualities) of vata such as cold, light, and dry, are elevated and lodge into our nervous system, they can deplete the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is the exterior, protective portion that surrounds the axons of neurons in our central and peripheral nervous systems. The myelin sheath is comprised of proteins and lipids which make a fatty layer. When this protective layer is depleted due to high vata, the flow of electrical signals in our bodies can be compromised.
Signs of vata in our nervous system include constipation, indecision, fear, dry skin, worry, and anxiety. When the myelin sheath is depleted, our physical bodies can respond in unfavorable ways that can be debilitating to our daily lives. Majja dhatu is the tissue layer that is made up of our nervous tissue and bone marrow.
While we are continuing to navigate the world pandemic and other stressors in our lives, we can look to Ayurveda for tools to calm our nerves and handle any situation with ease and groundedness.
Check out Beverly’s video on Vata Dosha for more information on vata dosha.
Keep calm and carry on!
Winter is the time for hibernating.
No matter your prakruti, or unique constitution, we all can feel the effects of the winter season. With shorter days and less access to the sun, winter embodies kapha qualities; cold, heavy, slow, liquid. It is important to consider how we are managing our daily routine to balance the influence these qualities may have on our health. As we are in the thick of the holiday season, let’s add some light to our winter days!
I like to bake this simple veggie recipe on cold days:
Set oven to 425 degrees. Rinse and cut: 2 white potatoes, 2 sweet potatoes, 2 broccoli heads, 3 peeled red beets, 3 carrots, large handful of brussel sprouts halved, 8 cloves of unpeeled garlic, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Bake for 1 hour, stirring vegetables every 15 minutes until evenly roasted.
Wishing you all an amazing holiday season and happy new year!
Allowing your body to simply reset can be a great way to prepare for winter hibernation and make space for deep nourishment. Consider a simple, 3-day cleanse this fall to remove toxins from the body and strengthen your agni, or digestive system.
According to Ayurveda, the most important aspect of where health originates is the state of our agni (digestive fire). If we have a strong digestive system, we can process, absorb, and assimilate our foods. Unprocessed foods can lead to disease as the accumulation of doshas circulate throughout the body and lodge into weak spots, or kavya-gunas, of our organs and tissues. Having a strong agni can also relate to our mental and emotional being. If we are not absorbing or processing our thoughts and feelings, these energies can also lodge in our bodies and create disease.
Cleansing is the ideal way to buck up our immune system to stay well during the winter months.
Here are 3 simple, yet profound tips for a 3-day cleanse:
1. Kitchari. A mixture of basmati rice, mung bean and spices, offers supportive proteins and easy-to-digest food so that our bodies can focus on detoxifying. Try eating kitchari for two meals a day during a 3-day cleanse. You can add doshic appropriate veggies to get mineral and nutrients.
2. Take it easy! One of the best ways to allow your body to adjust to the changing seasons and detox during this short cleanse is to keep physical activities and physical strain to a minimum. Add simple yoga postures and breathing exercises to your daily routine. Give it 15 minutes of stretching and breathing with at least 5-10 minutes of meditation. Relax and rejuvenate! We are not only cleansing our bodies, but our minds. Journaling or emotional expression, like moving your body through dance, can be a great way to move unprocessed thoughts and emotions out of the body.
3. Triphala. Triphala is an amazing, gentle blend of three dried fruits that help the body remove toxins, including scraping the colon so that minerals can be absorbed better. This allows the body to absorb nutrients from our foods to remain healthy, and happy. One teaspoon a day on an empty stomach can help eliminate and help restore regular bowl movements. Vata doshas are better at soaking the herbs for at least a few hours before drinking.
Happy cleansing! And remember, keep it simple. The more we can keep our detoxing and cleanses simple, the more our bodies can rest and rejuvenate. Be well!
Thursday is ruled by Jupiter.
Jupiter, or Guru, is expansive, generous, and joyful in nature. Guru is considered the most benefic planet. Jupiter is Guru because he is the spiritual teacher who advocates for good will in the world. He bestows bounty, good luck, and shows generosity wherever he is placed in your chart. He represents creativity, philosophy, and intelligence; a well-placed, healthy Jupiter will show capabilities of obtaining higher education and intelligence. Jupiter indicates that which makes us genuinely happy and where we find fulfillment in life.
Sagittarius and Pisces are ruled by Jupiter.
A weak or debilitated Jupiter can make someone too optimistic and unable to logically make wise decisions. A lack of caution can create vulnerability to be deceived by others. A weak Jupiter can allow for someone to overspend or extend their resources. There may be some bad luck or issues with authorities. The expansive part of Jupiter can bring in too many #highereducation #teacher material goods into someone’s life and place too much emphasis on objects. A person can get lost in materialism.
A person with a strong Jupiter will be fun loving, joyous, and jolly!
“When Jupiter is with us, all life, all the universe is with us, for he is that cosmic and Devine beneficence” – David Frawley
My teacher, Dr. Lad and I.
Dr. Lad taught me nearly everything I know about Ayurveda and many things about life. As one of his personal herbalist, I learned a deeper side of Ayurvedic medicine, something you can not learn in books. I learned the language of herbal intelligence, a clearer perspective on herbal alchemy, and the power of intentional prayer.
Every Tuesday, my most important duty working in Dr. Lad's herb room was to bathe Ganesha. A heavy and ancient statue, Ganesha flew on Dr. Lad's lap from India to Albuquerque, NM. I would sing mantras under my breath to the love of human kind and care of all beings.
Everyday I feel a sense of honor to have learned and worked alongside Dr. Lad and many other amazing humans. Through Dr. Lad, The Speaker drops profound wisdom.
Mullein on the Banyan Botanicals' farm. This incredible herb grows so easily and strong in many places. Related to spinach, mullein is used for respiratory problems including asthma, cough, and bronchitis. As it soothes irritation in the throat and clears congestion, mullein flowers are also used to treat ear infections when infused with garlic in oil.
I love this herb for respiratory issues as it is a pretty gentle and loving plant. The compounds in mullein move phlegm out of the body while also soothing and tonifying the mucus membranes of the respiratory system.
The leaves are the part of the plant used; the seeds should not be consumed as they are toxic. Not to be used when pregnant.
For any herbal and Ayurvedic support, contact me at email@example.com.
Happy Beautiful Venus Day!
Feminine in spirit, Venus represents refinement, art, poetry, music, dance, pleasure. Those ruled by Venus or have a strong Venus in their chart tend to enjoy the refined qualities of life and have good taste.
Venus rules Taurus and Libra zodiac signs.
When underdeveloped or immature in a chart, Venus can create vanity and superficiality. She loves appearance and is attracted to pleasure, putting everything else at cost. Depending on her placement, she can force intense self-indulgence that turns destructive. Her feminine power can be deceiving and controlling. She loves the be desired, but never owned.
A refined or mature Venus in a birth chart will create love and devotion for truth. She beautifies the world around her, inspiring others toward purity and enjoyment. She is powerful; the romantic that can help us attain communication with the Divine. Where our Venus is placed in our chart indicates affection and harmony in our lives. The power of the Ocean is the power of Venus.
"Venus is joyful in spirit, possesses a beautiful body, is splendorous and has lovely eyes; she is the inspirer of poets, is watery and airy in constitution (kapha and vata), and has curly hair"