David Brousard, M.S., MTI
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Kapha is the principle of solidity in the body. Like winter, it is cool and heavy in nature, so winter is the time that kapha tends to get out of balance. We can observe kapha functioning in the body as mucous, a by-product of digestion which protects our lungs, and stomach. When kapha is aggravated by eating mucous creating foods such as dairy products or in excess of our capacity to digest, we may experience excess mucous as sinus congestion and colds. The psychological effects may include a feeling of heaviness and depression. Continued aggravation leads to clogging the lymphatic system. At this point, fevers may develop to burn out the excess kapha accumulation.
With this awareness in mind, let's consider some ways to keep kapha balanced and stay healthy during the winter season. Foods that are warm and drying in nature will counterbalance cool and moist conditions. Grains like millet and corn have a drying nature. Vegetables like asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower also have a drying nature. Other warming and drying foods have tastes that are bitter, astringent and pungent. Cooking with herbs like ginger, turmeric and cumin helps to balance kapha. Traditional formulas like trikatu and sitopaladi protect digestive fire and soothe throat and sinus inflammation. Taking maintenance formulas like triphala on a regular basis prevents mucous build-up in the body which leads to the symptoms that we call colds and flu. Herbs like guduchi which build up white blood cells, can be used to strengthen our immune system. Lastly, exercises which are more aerobic in nature generate heat and help circulation and respiration which also helps keeps kapha in balance.
We can see that the benefit of using Ayurveda to return to health is that it provides us with a number of healthy ways to work to accomplish the same goal. This definitely increases our chances for success! Instead of suppressing symptoms, we acknowledge them as important information as to the direction we need to take to get back to health. The sages knew that health is the effect of balance as dis-ease is the effect of an imbalance. Our doshas never stay balanced, but corrections in the range of a healthy imbalance sustains our vitality and may keep us from developing more serious problems down the road. (If you would like a free dietary guidelines list for all doshas please request same by e-mail).
Ayurvedic Cooking for Winter
Aduki Beans with Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash 2 cups diced, Medium onion sliced, Red or yellow bell pepper 1/2, Celery 1/2 cup, Fresh ginger 1 T, Cumin 1/2 T, Corriender 1/2 T, Turmeric 1 T, Soy Sauce I/2 T, Olive Oil or ghee 1/3 cup, Water 3 cups, Cilantro 1 T.
Soak beans 3-4 hours. Heat oil and add spices. Saute onion, celery and pepper. Add aduki beans and squash. Cook under pressure approx 1 Hour. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with basmati rice and green vegetable. Hearty and warming. Enjoy.
More Good Recipies
yellow mung dahl
Pick dahl for stones or grit. Rinse 4-5 times then soak in 4 cups water. Add ghee and turmeric and bring to boil on medium heat. Lower heat and simmer 20 min. Whisk occasionally. In a separate pan heat 1 T ghee add cumin then add to dahl. Add tomato, pepper, hing and salt and simmer about 15 min. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.
cover bottom of pan with 1/2 inch water. Add salt, onion, radish and greens. Cook med heat till tender (approx 15 20 min). Add olive oil, squeeze of lime & serve.
millet breakfast pudding
Add tea spice and vanilla to cooked millet.Blend in almonds and coconut. Add ghee and milk to mixture and mix in well. Cook 10-15 minutes on med-low heat. Let sit for 10 min before serving. Yields 8 cups.
Ghee-clarified butter- a cooking staple
Heat pan on medium heat and add unsalted butter. Cook until gold color, foamy on top with brown solids sink to bottom. Strain through conical paper coffee filter while hot into glass jar. Keep unrefridgerated for use in saute'with cooking herbs or serve on toast for breakfast.
Traditional Chai (spiced tea)for two
Tea spice-use a coffee bean grinder to grind cardomom seeds, clove, and black pepper corns to a powder. Mix with an equal part of powdered ginger with 1/4 tsp cinnimon added.
Bring 2 cups water to boil and add 1 T black tea and 1/4 tsp tea spice. Boil for approx 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup whole milk and sweeten to taste. Heat for added 5 min. Strain into carafe and serve. Great to warm up on a cold winter morning!
HERBS TO CONSIDER
Guduchi (Tinospora Cordifolia) - a herb for the immune system
Traditionally, Tinospora Cordifolia has been used in Ayurveda to maintain and strengthen the body's natural immune system. It supports the entire immune system by increasing the body's ability to fight infections through building up white blood cells. Guduchi helps us cope with common allergens. It is also considered one of the best herbs for supporting liver function. It helps to clear the channels that bring in nutrients and to remove wastes from the body. It improves digestion, metabolism and aids in the assimilation of digested food. It's slightly bitter taste gives it liver protecting properties.
The adaptogenic property of Tinospora Cordifolia strengthens our ability to deal with the stresses of daily life. It is also considered as a rasayana or a rejuvenative herb in Ayurveda. In its fullest sense, a rasayana produces longevity, improves mental function, and aims at the maintenance of abundant health. Because it is considered balancing for all three doshas, the qualities which govern all physiological and psychological functioning in body and mind, it can be taken safely over longer periods of time without detrimental side effects.
Specifically, Tinosposa Cordifolia has been used in Ayurveda for the management of diabetes, arthritis, gout, fever, urinary tract infections and certain skin disorders. It has also been shown to be a powerful antioxidant, effective in scavenging free radicals from the system. It is taken as a single herb as well as used as a primary ingredient in formulas such as Septilin (ImmunoCare)by Himalaya and Liver Formula by Banyan.
Ayurveda can offer us a fresh perspective in restoring health based on a concept of creating balance using dietary guidelines, herbal formulas and lifestyle modifications. The effectiveness of Ayurveda to maintain health and longeveity has been proven over centuries of use.
Arjuna (terminala arjuna)- for cardiovascular support
Arjuna is highly recommended in Ayurveda for cardiovascular support. The bark of the terminalia has shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation and stabilizing heart rate. Arjuna is said to do its job by scavaging free radicals, which damage healthy tissues, including those of the heart. It is often combined with other Ayurvedic herbs in heart formulations such as guggul, a herb proven in lowering cholesterol, and brahmi and ashwagandha which help to counter the effects of stressful lifestyles on the heart.
In people suffering from congestive heart disease, studies show it has aided in the ability to walk comfortably without shortness of breath or fatigue. In other studies, patients with angina pectoris - chest pain that stems from inadequate blood flow to the arteries in the heart- took arjuna for three months. Those with stable anjina at the beginning of the study had 50% fewer bouts of anjina and were able to walk on the treadmill longer without having chest pains or having EKG signals that the heart was deprived of oxygen. There was also a drop in blood pressure blood pressure and a slight increase in the HDL to total cholesterol level, indicating an overall improvement in the cardiovascular profile. Arjuna is available from our Ayurvedic Store as a single herb or primary in formulas such a Abana by Himalaya or Heart Formula By Banyan.
Ayurveda can offer fresh perspectives for general healthcare based on a concept of balance according to established Ayurvedic principles. The first is step an assesment of individual constitution by an Ayurvedic practitioner. Ayurvedic Guidelines are given for balance, including dietary, herbal and lifestyle, to help restore and maintain wellness over time.
Triphala - the Ayurvedic Mother
Triphala is the most popular herbal formula in Ayurvedic Pharmacology. It contains harataki and bibhitaki which have a warming, astringent quality to support bowel health. In Ayurveda bowel health is seen not only as vital to proper elimination of toxins, but also as the key to assimilation of calcium and other minerals which support bone density.
Triphala also contains amalaki, a powerful blood purifier and one of the highest natural sources of vitamin C. Amalaki has a cooling energy to help control inflammatory responses in the system. It also supports the liver and aids in healthy vision. Triphala is often used daily as an eyewash to reduce redness and soreness due to eyestrain.
Regular use of triphala is said to promote normal appetite, increase red blood cells and both prevent the build up of and aid in the removeal of undesirable fat. It's cleansing and balancing nature keeps the system open and helps assimilate specific purpose herbs and formulas more readily. Its balanced nature supports continued use over time. Because of its detoxifying and rejuvenating properties it is also combined with gugglu to remove stubborn toxins from deep tissue levels. Triphala is available in powder, capsule or tablet form from our Ayurvedic Store.
Save more with our Lotus Herbal Line
Check out new Ayurvedic line of pharmaceutical grade single herbs well as traditional formulas such as triphala and hingastak available now in our Lotus Herbals Brand in 250 mg vegi-caps or in 2.5oz powder bottle packs. We have also added popular singles such as boswellia, bacopa, holy basil and more. Get discounts up to 15% on multiple purchases of task specific formulas by Banyan and Himalaya. Plus free freight on orders over $150. Best of all enjoy the ease of purchasing with our new secured shopping cart! Thanks for your continued support since 1996 and have a healthy and prosperous New Year!
Himalaya Herbals Personal Care Products
Himalaya Herbals now offers a selection of natural, effective and safe personal care products. They are carefully formulated from selected herbs in the Ayurvedic tradition and include dental cream, protein shampoo and conditioner, soothing body lotion and a neem face pack. See them on our order form in the "other products " section. Request a free sample of the protein shampoo, conditioner or body lotion with your next order!
Your natal birthchart is projected onto a map of the USA, Europe or world to reveal the locations where specific energies prevail. Learn where to enhance your chances for sucess in a career of choice, relationships or creating vital health. In addition to the map, you will receive a personal report based on your invidivdual birthchart. See the order page in the Astrology section to get your Astro-Map and Report and start the year with some new awareness!
Book Review-The Yoga of Herbs, by Lad & Frawley
A book that explains the principles of Ayurveda and links the common herbs used in Ayurvedic, Chinese and Western systems of healing. It provides the essential properties found in taste - bitter, pungent, sweet, astringent and salty and their digestive and post-digestive impacts. It also provides guidelines for the management of individual constitutions, along with individual herbal preparation and therapeutic actions. A must for anyone wanting a greater understanding of using herbs to restore and maintain health. Available from our bookstore in the recently revised edition.
The Creating Corner
As A Man Thinketh
The aphorism "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he", embraces a key principle of Ayurveda. Our mind is the vehicle of our consciousness. The body is the servant of the mind. Our musculature will respond to the thought that "I must do this" by holding energy to accomplish this task. On the other hand, if we follow that thought with " I can do it or not", just notice the relaxation this thought of choice brings. By our thoughts we can also expand or contract our awareness of who we are. Our identity flows from our thoughts. When we think thoughts that limit our awarness of ourselves, such as "I am a person with this or that problem", we feel contracted, limited and vulnerable. On the other hand, when we think thoughts such as " I am that which supports all forms" which are expanding, we feel powerful, peaceful and content. We can practice meditation on a regular basis to reconnect to a direct experience of our essential nature.
The Path of Least Resistance
Our energies tend to flow down the path of least resistance, just as water follows the river bed. We call this "force of habit" and is based largely on fixed attitudes about our circumstances. It takes more energy not to follow an old energy path, but we create the option to make choices which are more appropriate to the circumstances of the moment. Before each action, a space for making a better choice exists within us.
Sustaining Your Creating Efforts
We all want to keep our energies moving toward creating what matters most to us. The rhythm of activity and rest we observe in nature provides a helpful clue. Our minds are like a gristmill, the more thoughts we feed them the more they grind. We can feel the tension build in the body. We can easily get carried away until the limitations of the body cause us to collapse and we feel overwhelmed with it all. We let go of what we want because we have no energy to continue. Keeping the mind in harness with grounding techniques is helpful to keep moving in a rhythmic fashion. I like to sit back and get in touch with the sensation of the weight of the body against a chair. Just feeling what sits here begins to slow the mental energies down. Then with each outbreath surrender more and more to the force of gravity until your feel action is choiceful once again. It's important to remember Ayurveda is a supporting modality. We need our health and vitality to sustain our energies in creating our wants!
Please Note: The above information is presented for reference purposes only, and has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or meant to be used to diagnose or treat any disease. The product descriptons and information given, describe the traditional healing properties and uses of various herbs found in Ayurvedic Pharmacology.
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