Here we are again. The days are getting short, the nights epically long. Really, how is it dark at 6 p.m.? And how did we ever get used to this piercing cold the previous year? What should we do?
Late fall and early winter are referred to as Vata season in Ayurveda. In order to counteract the the cold, dry forces of Vata, one has to seek to balance it with its opposites. For example, treat dry with moist, cold with warmth, and always give lots of hugs. A Vata-pacifying diet will help, and a key ingredient in this diet should be ginger.
The beautiful rhizome ginger has an abundance of health properties and is often thought of as "universal medicine" in Ayurveda. Referred to as Ardrakam or Shuntha in Sanskrit, the energetics of ginger are pungent (think "spicy") while at the same time sweet and warming. Ginger is the perfect antidote for Vata and Kapha doshas, but may be a bit heating for Pitta, so use with awareness.
Ginger has many actions: it soothes pain, calms nausea, eases digestive discomforts while also supporting healthy digestive function, and encourages healthy circulation (perfect for the cold).
Here are 2 recipes that will help you introduce ginger into your life during these frigid months. You really can't go wrong with either of these choices. Pure vata management meets hedonism at its finest!
Simple Ginger Tea
- 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, sliced
- ¼ Lemon
- 1 tsp Raw Honey (optional)
- Place the sliced ginger in a small saucepan and add 3 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, let cool.
- Before drinking add a squeeze of lemon and drizzle of raw honey.
This is a great beverage to have in the morning or 30 minutes before meals. It helps to get the gastric juice flowing, leading to stronger digestion. While technically a sugar, in Ayurveda honey is perceived as a Kapha-pacifying food that is scraping and heating. Due to these qualities, it is often recommended as a tool to help with weight-loss.
Like ginger, lemon is also classified as a digestive stimulant and is quite heating. To top that off it is loaded with vitamin C to help support the immune system. It's important to remember that having strong digestion will empower the immune system.
- 1/3 cup Powdered Ginger
- 1/3 cup Baking Soda
- It's simple: draw a warm bath and add the ginger and baking soda.
Soak away your anxiety with this potent, stress-relieving formula. The aromatics of the ginger will help open the lungs, support circulation, and stimulate warmth. It's a perfect remedy for a rainy afternoon!
And there you have it, 2 ways to stimulate digestion and circulate heat in an entirely doable, and delicious manner. Take that, autumn!
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- The Calming Effects of Ginger
- How To Eat: An Ayurvedic Perspective
- To Snack Or Not To Snack? An Ayurvedic Perspective
- Ayurvedic Hot Chocolate: A Recipe
Writer Lauren Sauer is a graduate from the Kripalu School of Ayurveda and a certified 500 hour Kripalu Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher. As an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, she is passionate about educating others to become their own health advocate, to live with the rhythms of nature and to simply slow down and breathe. She currently resides in the beautiful Berkshires as the intern with the Kripalu School of Ayurveda.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.