Ahh. Take a slow, deep breath. Winter is here. Now the season is changing, withdrawing and embracing a pretty long, dark season of slumber and dormancy. There is a particular stillness that characterizes winter, and with it comes a subtle invitation to redirect our own energies.
Each season ushers in a unique set of qualities that can either pacify or aggravate the inner workings of your being. Regardless of who you are, your local climate is a key player in your overall state of balance and well-being
Ayurveda divides the winter season into early winter (Hemant) and late winter (Shishir). This is the season of Kapha when the cold and heavy weather slows the pace of life. Excess of this dosha leads to dullness, weight gain, mucus-related illnesses, and negative emotions.
Another aspect of winter is that the dry, cold weather aggravates Vata which leads to joint pain, indigestion, and other issues. The Ayurvedic winter diet aims to pacify both Vata and Kapha in winters.
Here is a list of some herbs that can be used in food during winter time to boost immunity and prevent the body from a cold-
- Asafoetida(Heeng)- This herb is a powerful digestive, carminative, emmenagogue, and has analgesic actions. It helps in resolving all the stomach issues. It naturally helps in the pacification of Vata Kapha.
- Cinnamon–Cinnamon is not only a warming, sweet, and exotic culinary spice. It is used extensively in traditional systems of medicine for its therapeutic value. It’s been a part of the Ayurvedic system of medicine for thousands of years. In Hindi, it’s called Dalchini. It is useful in boosting digestion, helps improving respiratory issues, intestinal issues, and prevents cold & cough. It also increases Ojas which boosts immunity.
- Cardamom–Cardamom’s warming and detoxifying effects aid in reducing the accumulation of Ama(toxins) in the body and maintaining health. In addition, it helps to reduce Kapha in the stomach and lungs (such as congestion and mucus) and pacifies Vata, which when out of balance can lead to anxiety.
- Carom Seeds-Ajwain has a profound impact on Vata and Kapha Doshas and has Pitta pacifying effect on your body. It stimulates your appetite and enhances proper digestion. It stimulates liver function and keeps the spleen healthy. The paste of salt and grounded ajwain gives relief to an aching tooth.
- Turmeric–This herbs have a direct influence on the overall energy of the body, relieving gas, dispelling worms, improving digestion, regulating menstruation, dissolving gallstones, and relieving arthritis. It’s tridoshic. Involve turmeric tea in your diet for weight loss during winter.
- Ginger–The health benefits of ginger include treating nausea, easing menstrual cramps, regulating blood sugar levels, and relieving indigestion. Ginger also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can prevent cell damage and help ward off chronic disease. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory drug and helps relieve pain.
- Garlic-Due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, garlic is known to reduce inflammation and lower high blood pressure. It is even recommended for people trying to lose weight. It is good for heart health as it maintains a balance between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels due to its lipid-lowering property. It prevents plaque formation and helps to widen the blood vessels thereby managing blood pressure due to its antioxidant property.
- Fenugreek-Fenugreek has been used to cure skin conditions and many other diseases. It reduces blemishes and dark circles and has anti-aging and acne-curing properties. Fenugreek or methi dana in water is good for the liver, kidneys, and metabolism. Fenugreek seeds also help ease menstrual cramps, reduce arthritis pain, and treat indigestion. It pacifies excessive Kapha Vata in the body.
- Clove-Clove, also called Lavang in Ayurveda, is most commonly known for its uses as a cooking spice and its presence in herbal teas. However, this aromatic, flavourful spice contains a wealth of healing potential and has been traditionally used for thousands of years in treating cough, colds, nausea, fever, infection, general toxicity, and so much more. It is considered balancing for all three doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), although it will still increase Pitta (heat) when taken in excess.
- Saffron-Kumkuma or saffron is one of the costliest spices used in Ayurveda. It balances the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas in our body. It has antioxidants that boost immunity and have anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.