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Tag Archives: herbs

Ayurveda for Your Period: Pitta Dosha

In my last post, we looked at the Ayurvedic perspective on the menstrual cycle and what can happen to it when too much vata dosha—or wind and space elements—build up in your body.

In this post, we’ll explore the effects of excess pitta dosha—or water and fire.

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Ayurveda for Your Period: Vata Dosha

If you are a woman between the ages of about 14 and 51, chances are that you have some discomfort surrounding your period. Maybe your “monthly visitor” brings along strong cramps and nausea, constipation or a few days of feeling anxious and blue. Perhaps your breasts get tender, your skin breaks out in zits or you feel irritable and frustrated. It could be that sometimes you go for months without shedding a drop of blood, or it stops and starts without any rhythm.

Ayurveda and Your Period

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Beet and Beef Borscht

Autumn has fully fallen in the Hudson Valley. The trees are aflame. Food-wise, this is my favorite time of year. It’s all about soups and stews…long, slow cooking and rich, deep flavors. Read more »

Elderberry Gummies with Nettles and Black Cherry

Recently my son has begun noticing more and more what the other kids get in their lunches at school. I know I won’t have veto-power in his diet forever, but I just can’t bring myself to pack him “treats”.

I wanted to make him a real treat that I felt really good about giving to him. Since he loves cooking with me, especially when there are herbs or medicine involved, we decided to make these really tasty and nourishing gummies.

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Mama Medicine: Fevers

This is the first in a series of posts on “Mama Medicine.” Each of these posts will offer an overview of a common childhood illness along with some suggestions for supporting the body in implementing it’s own healing wisdom. I am happy to try to honor suggestions or requests at any time. Also, if you have some wisdom to add, please feel free to comment below.


According to Ayurvedic legend, the god Shiva in his wrathful form as Rudra, gave birth to fever after a long spell of meditation. His focus had been disturbed by demons and in frustration he opened his third eye and burned them up with it’s laser-like beam. This points to the role of fever in burning up pathogens and other bodily burdens.

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Recipe: Pea Soup with Fresh Mint and Parsley

Peas are in season again and we can’t get enough of them! Last spring I wrote a simple recipe for a green pea puree that makes a great side-dish (or baby food). This recipe is a bit more sophisticated and can hold it’s own as the center piece of a meal. Read more »

Sprouted Mung Bean Dosas with Coconut Chutney

After my most recent trip to India, I found myself very inspired to try making Dosas at home.

In the south of India, dosas are made with something called Urid dal and rice. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to find Urid dal here in France (although I know that it is definitely available in the states and probably also in England, Canada and Australia).

So, that left me needing to experiment.

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Summer Recipes: Coconut Curry Chicken and Veg

The dry heat of the summer sun weakens our bodies.

This is the time of year to focus on foods which bring moisture and lubrication into our systems.

Coconut and lemongrass are both delicious summer ingredients and potent healers.

Coconut is moist and cool. It is building in nature and pacifies the dryness and weakness of Vata and the heat and inflammation of Pitta. It can make heavy, wet, cold symptoms of Kapha worse.

Lemongrass has proven very effective for soothing headaches, particularly migraines. For sufferers of migraines, the summer headaches are particularly common. It is also a digestive aid, relieving gas and bloating cause by Vata.

Ginger and turmeric are both very effective anti-inflammatories. They aid in digestion and have been shown to fight micro-organisms and purify the blood. Ginger is also a pain-reliever and eases constipation from the dryness of Vata aggravation.

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Recipe: Basil Almond Pesto

I love the taste of fresh basil pesto

But, I have a lot of Pitta in my constitution. I have a hard time with garlic and pine nuts. The parmesan cheese traditinally used in pesto is pretty channel clogging and Kapha provoking. I avoid eating it very often and don’t give it to my son who has had some skin and lung issues in the past.

So I created this Basil Almond Pesto recipe.

I know it’s definitely not traditional pesto, but this recipe is pretty delicious. The freshness of the taste of the almonds adds a wonderful and unexpected touch.

But, let’s look at what the medicinal benefits of the ingredients:

Basil is a member of the mint family and is a powerful antioxidant–especially when it isn’t heated. It is a warming herb, so it can be used to help soothe Vata and Kapha complaints.

There are many forms of basil. They are used in herbal traditions all over the world to treat asthma symptoms and digestive upset, to help stabilize blood sugar, to improve circulation and to boost  immunity.

Basil is also antibacterial. It can be used internally or topically to support healthy wound healing and may help fight viruses.

Raw Almonds which have been soaked overnight in room-temperature water and then peeled are sweet and delicious.

They are cooling in nature and soothe Pitta complaints. The are not too heavy and eaten in moderation should not be Kapha provoking. The soaking and peeling also makes them less Vata provoking than other nuts.

Almonds are nourishing and aphrodisiac. They are also laxative and help the body excrete excess water while still being moisturizing.

Olive oil is an amazing food especially when eaten raw. It is very good for lowering “bad” cholesterol and has scientifically proven strongly antimicrobial properties.

The slightly bitter flavor of high-quality, virgin olive oil (as opposed to the bitterness of a rancid or spoiled oil) soothes Pitta inflammation and supports the functioning of the liver. Because of it’s light, bitter, fresh flavor it is not Kapha-provoking, and it’s sweet oiliness pacifies Vata.

Leeks are sweet and Vata reducing. When cooked, they soothe air in the digestive tract (bloating and gas) without aggravating Pitta

Basil Almond Pesto

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How to Drink Water (with recipes)

How much water should I drink?

For years, most of us have heard the suggestion that we should drink “8 cups of water a day.” Unfortunately it isn’t really that simple.

In fact, each of us has a unique constitution and lifestyle that actually has different requirements to stay hydrated. The amount of rehydration we need on a given day is directly related to how much hydration we have lost through the loss of bodily fluids.

When we eat, we need to sip just enough fluid with our meal to make our food somewhat liquid.
In addition, if we can’t digest our water it doesn’t matter how much we drink, we never really get hydrated. It may seem strange to think that we have to digest our water but, just like anything that we swallow, water has to be digested and transformed into a suitable fluid for our body’s nutritional needs. We have probably all had the experience of feeling bloated and overly full after drinking water—this is a sign that it is not being properly transformed.

And that is actually the most important factor. Our body is not like a sponge. Our bodily tissues don’t just immediately soak up the water we drink and suddenly become hydrated. If we drink too much water, just as when we eat too much food, we can dampen our digestive fire. Drinking too little water can also weaken our digestion.

The simplest way to know how much water we should drink is to drink when we are thirsty. Modern nutritionists say this is probably too late—that we are already overly dehydrated by this point—but this may be because most of us have lost touch with the subtle signs of our thirst. It may take some time to redevelop that sensitivity.

In general, all of us will tend to need to drink more water from the middle of summer through the autumn and less from mid-winter through the spring.

When Should I Drink Water?

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