In late winter and early spring, the qualities of Kapha continue to dominate in us and our external environment. What energy does this season bring?
Cold, damp, heavy and sluggish.
Kapha types need to ‘lighten up’ and incorporate Kapha balancing foods into their diet.
Foods and spices for Kapha types or if your motivation and mood is low. We want to incorporate foods that:
- Bring warmth,
- Stimulation and bring a sense of lightness to the body and the mind,
- Eliminate excess mucus and water
Herbs and spices we may have in our cupboards possess powerful properties used in simple remedies to ignite the digestive fire before meals. When the digestive fire is burning steadily we are more able to efficiently digest food and eliminate toxins from the body.
Kapha Balancing Herbs generally have the following qualities:
Diaphoretic Herbs (Dia): induce perspiration and restore circulation. They help clear the subtle channel and capillaries, primarily in our lungs and respiratory system: a typical Kapha site where mucus can accumulate. These herbs also help open the mind and the breath, and increase prana.
Carminative Herbs (Car): help dispel water and mucus, stagnating and clogging GI tract.
Diuretic (Diu): helps eliminate excess water.
Expectorant (Exp): promote the discharge of phlegm and mucus from the body.
Stimulants (Stim): hot in energy and pungent in taste: increase internal heat, strengthen the metabolism and circulation: increase agni – digestive fire. These herbs are the strongest herbs to destroy ama.
These spices are generally great for Kapha and Vata types, but can increase pitta. Vata, be mindful that diuretic herbs in excess can be too drying for Kapha.
Anise – (Stim, Car)
Bay stim – (Exp, Stim , Car)
Black pepper – (Stim, Exp, Car)
Caraway – (Stim, Car)
Ajwan – (Stim, Dia)
Cinnamon – (Stim, Dia)
Cloves -(Stim, Car, Exp)
Cardamon – (Stim, Car, Exp)
Cumin: (Car, Stim)
Fenugreek – (Stim, Exp)
Fennel – (Car, Diu)
Garlic- (Stim, Car, Exp)
Ginger – (Stim, Car, Exp)
Lemongrass – (Dia, Diu)
Turmeric – (Stim)
Here’s how some of these can be used as winter remedies for Kapha Dosha:
Kapha Spice Paste:
This paste can be kept in the fridge for a week or so. Just cover it with a little oil to prevent oxidation.
- 2 sticks lemongrass. Fibrous outer layer removed and chopped.
- Thumb size piece of ginger. Chopped.
- 4 Garlic cloves.
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 2 Kaffir Limę leaves
- Juice of 1 lime
- 4 Pippali or 1 tsp black peppercorns.
- 1 red chilli. Optional as you will get a lovely heat from the black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped.
A little jar of sunshine when it’s cold outside.
Red lentil and carrot Soup. Using the above spice paste.
Red lentils and carrots are both Kapha balancing. In general red lentils are easily digested. The spice paste is very stimulating and warming for the digestive system so also great Vata types.
- 2tbs of Spice paste.
- 2-3 carrots grated.
- 1 onion chopped.
- 120g red lentils.
- 750mls water or veg stock.
- Coriander leaves to taste.
- Salt to taste.
Fry off the spice mix in a little rapeseed oil. Add the grated carrot and onions. Fry for 10 mins or so. Add lentils and continue to stir and chat the lentils for a few minutes.
Add water and simmer for around 1 hour. Either blitz it with a stick blender or live it as it is. I blended it. Serve with coriander leaves…..it’s a little spicy, not too much through. Just enough to feel that gentle glow.
The spice paste can also be added to water or veg stock to make a stimulating, light broth. Add a few vegetables and rice noodles for a light, nourishing Kapha balancing meal.
Ayurvedic Remedies to eliminate excess Kapha, stimulate the digestive fire, assist in elimination of toxins and bring lightness to the body and mind.
Honey is heating and has expectorant qualities. When added with other spices can help stimulate the digestive fire.
Cumin and honey
Cumin has Agni Deepnana properties: stimulates the digestive fire. Dry roast a couple of tbs of cumin seeds in a pan for around 30 sec or until you start to smell their aroma. Crush to a fine powder and store in an air tight jar.
Dip 1/2 tsp honey (set honey is best) into the cumin powder. Take this before 2 meals.
Garlic and honey.
Garlic cloves lightly crushed or pierced with a fork in raw honey. Keep it for 5-6 months. Eat 1 clove per day before meal to increase agni. Store a few bulbs at a time. If you prepare more than this, be aware you might feel the stimulating effects of the volatile oils from the cloves. When I prepared this in bulk it increased me heart rate quite a lot!!
Pickles are also great. Have a small portion of picked or fermented vegetables like Kimchi.
- 1 tsp Ajwan seeds roasted then boiled in water or roasted and ground and taken with honey or with a little bit of ginger.
Ginger, lime and salt.
- A small piece of fresh grated ginger, a squeeze of lime and a pinch rock salt 5 min before meals
Spicy soup – 1tsp coriander seeds, 1tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp tamarind paste, 8-10 curry leaves, 2-3 garlic cloves, 6-8 slices fresh ginger, a little salt (grind into a paste, add 500mls cups of water and boil for 20 mins. You can have this on its own as a soup before your main meal or as a light meal with bread or rice.