News & Notes 643:For a Refreshing Summer – Ayurveda health tips

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643 icon.jpg   News & Notes 643
2 April 2016

For a Refreshing Summer – Ayurveda health tips

According to Ayurveda, the qualities of summer are hot, sharp, and penetrating. That’s why our pitta dosha – the subtle energy that controls metabolism – can cause us to overheat. The sun saps the energy from the body, from the plants and the earth, increasing the heat and dryness. Pitta needs to be looked after to maintain a good energy, mental clarity, joyfulness, good digestion and blood circulation and a sound sleep.

When Pitta is out of balance it will give skin problems, hot flashes, exhaustion, indigestion or loose stool. Emotionally, excess Pitta can be irritated, short-tempered, impatient, judgemental, excessively perfectionist... Before Pitta reaches uncontrollable heights, let’s keep it cool and calm:

With the food: As Agni (digestive fire) is naturally weak, it is better to eat light, unctuous (slightly oily), cooling food such as salads and juices.

  • Favorable taste: Madhura (sweet) (to take moderately in case of diabetes and high triglycerides). Lavana (salty) taste should be taken reasonably
  • Drink water stored in earthen pot
  • Raw food/salads should be taken at lunch mainly and cooked food in the evening
  • Proteins: from vegetable kingdom (mungdal, chickpeas, beans, sprouts, nuts and seeds), from animal (white meat, fish, seashell, dairies for breakfast or lunch, eggs)
  • Cereals for energy: jasmine rice, barley, oats, granola, millet (fermented ragi)
  • Vegetables: pumpkin, bittergourd, bottlegourd, snakegourd, ashgourd, cucumber (taken separately), salads (green, rucola…) and green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, celery, carrots, drumstick (moringa), zucchini, plantain
  • Fruits: amla, pomegranate, banana, ramphala, chiku, papaya, lemon, apple, grape, date, watermelon and melon (to be taken separately), bael fruit, coconut, pomegranate
  • Beverages: buttermilk, sweet lassi, coconut water, mint, lemongrass, cardamom, chamomile, nannari (sarsaparilla), amla juice, watermelon juice, Hibiscus juice, Aparajita (clitoria terneata), aloe vera juice, vegetable juice, cucumber milk (blend ½ cup of peeled cucumber in 1 cup of milk with a pinch of sugar), electrolyte drink (1 tsp of lemon juice + 1 tsp of sugar + 1 pinch of salt in a glass of water)
  • Other products: ghee, olive or sunflower or coconut oil
  • Spices: tamarind, cumin, coriander, black pepper, turmeric, fennel seeds, fresh aromatic herbs (dill, coriander, fennel, mint, parsley, saffron)


  • Katu (pungent), Amla (sour) tastes
  • Pitta increasing products: sharp spices, fermented, deep-fried, sour buttermilk or curd, red meat, alcohol (strong liquor, red wine), coffee …
  • Drinking beverages coming from the fridge or freezer during meals

Routine to favour:

  • Reduce the activities specially between 11 am and 4 pm
  • Can take a nap of half an hour after lunch under a neem tree
  • Sleep on the roof terrace at night
  • Body massage with coconut oil – if there’s no time every day to apply oil on the body, then massage ears, hands and feet + pour 4-5 drops of coconut oil on the fontanelle
  • Bathe with cool water and apply a paste of sandalwood on the face, heart and lower abdomen (these are the 3 main parts that should remain fresh to maintain the coolness in the whole body); do foot bath in the evening with vetiver roots, rose water
  • Protect the body from the heat by avoiding the direct sun, keep a humid towel on the head
  • Swimming, Aquagym, any water activities. Qi-Gong, Tai Chi, light running: max 30 minutes early morning or late evening; walks in green environment, forest
  • Soft yoga, pranayama (Sheetali, Sheetakari, ida nadi inhalation – left nostril inhalation), meditation with Gayatri mantra
  • Walk under the moonlight, full moon bath
  • Wear loose and comfortable cotton or silk clothes (white, blue, green, gray colours)
  • Cooling jewellery: sandalwood beads, jade, pearl, amethyst crystals, moonstone, silver, aquamarine
  • To refresh the ambiance use lemon or orange peel, jasmine flowers, lavender, wet cloth hanging at the open window, vetiver curtains


  • Physical exertion
  • Direct exposure to the sun between 10 am to 4 pm

Cooling plants for the summer:

  • Amalaki (amla): the fruits are refrigerant and full of Vitamin C, also a Rasayana fruit
  • Aloe vera: the pulp is a bitter tonic, rejuvenate the blood and tissues
  • Bilva (Aegle marmelos): the fruits are used in juice and the leaves in a decoction to calm body and mind
  • Dhania (coriander): the seeds are used in urinary infections, kidney weakness
  • Japapushpa (hibiscus): the leaves and flowers are used for hair shampoo and conditioner; the flowers for herbal tea
  • Manduka parni (Centella asiatica): the leaves are rejuvenative and a tonic for the brain and nerves
  • Pudina (mint): the leaves are used for herbal tea, recipes and foot bath
  • Radha's consciousness (Clitoria terneata): the flowers are used in herbal tea or juice
  • Saariva (sarsaparilla / nannari): the roots are used in syrup
  • Shataavari (Asparagus racemosus): the rhizome is Rasayana (rejuvenative), cooling, calming Pitta, very good for women to harmonize the hormones
  • Usheer (vetiver): the roots are used for bathing
  • Yashtimadhu (licorice): the root is Rasayana (rejuvenative), used internally to refresh the body and when there is irritation, inflammation or ulcer in the digestive tract

Wishing you a light and joyful summer,
Berengere (Bee) in Pitchandikulam Forest and Santé Clinic