The heat of summer can wreck havoc with our systems – but the natural healing science of Ayurveda can help you keep your cool this summer season. Ayurveda teaches that Pitta dosha, with its fire element, is dominant during the hot summer months. Typical pitta aliments (like rashes, acid stomach, ulcers, inflammation, diarrhea, headaches and fiery tempers) are caused when too much pitta dosha builds up in the body. So the key to keeping your cool this summer – is keeping cool! Cooling activities, spices, foods, and habits can keep pitta at a healthy level and let you enjoy the fun in the sun that summer offers!
When balanced, pitta dosha keeps our digestion and metabolism working smoothly, provides the drive and motivation to meet our goals, and helps us to assimilate and process new ideas. However, if out of balance, the natural sharp intellect of pitta can become overbearing and full of anger and rage. This explains why tempers tend to flare when temperatures rise!
To naturally balance pitta, try the following:
- Take a walk near water in the early morning or by moonlight
- Drink cool (not ice cold) water with mint, cucumber, or lime
- Increase your use of cilantro, mint, and coriander
- Eat lots of fresh produce – especially melons, cucumbers, peaches, and grapes.
Along with these suggestions, it’s important to avoid common pitta pitfalls – don’t exercise during the hottest part of the day, avoid hot/spicy foods, and avoid alcohol. But what can we do when we don’t heed this advice – and pitta gets the upper hand? The following tips can come to the rescue when pitta dosha has been aggravated.
- For skin rashes or sunburn, try aloe vera juice or gel topically
- For acidic stomach/hot digestion, try cool mint or licorice tea cool (not iced)
- For bloodshot or irritated eyes, splash with cold water several times a day
- Drinking a few ounces of Aloe vera juice per day can also help cool most pitta imbalances
- Take a cool or cold shower – or at least finish with water as cold as you can stand it, especially on the head (this is also good to avoid/decrease hair loss)
These seasonal tips also work any time of year to pacify pitta dosha. For more information on Ayurveda and the doshas, see our other seasonal blogs – “Spring is in the Air” highlights Kapha dosha, while “Dealing with Anxiety” focuses on Vata dosha. We can learn to maintain our health and well-being throughout the year by using the healing knowledge of Ayurveda to live in sync with the rhythms of nature.
Heather Anastos, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner