6 Ancient Remedies Thought To Keep pH Levels In Balance
Balance is often used as a way to gauge a healthy life and state of mind. And that theory may also come into play when it comes to pH levels in the body.
While there are no studies or evidence show that it's possible to influence the body's ph for improved health outcomes, in some traditional practices, acidity and alkalinity is used as a measure of well-being.
In Ayurveda, classic Pitta afflictions like stress, anger, and impatience can cause the mind to become acidic, which then manifests in the body as heartburn, acid reflux, and hair loss. These seemingly temporary conditions can have negative implications on long-term health as prolonged acidity can lead to serious medical conditions like IBS, ulcers, and chronic indigestion.
The total pH scale ranges from 1 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline), with 7 considered to be neutral. According to Ayurveda, the ideal pH for the human body is 7.30 to 7.45, which is slightly alkaline. Any number below this range means the body is acidic.
However, there are natural, traditional remedies that are thought to keep pH levels in balance. (Again, there is no substantial research to back these claims.) The ancient science of Ayurveda offers ways to keep our Pitta in balance, in turn keeping our minds and bodies alkaline. Here are six you can do for yourself.
1. Try oil pulling.
This timeless Ayurvedic practice is one of the cheapest and fastest ways thought to balance Pitta and lower acidity, because as you swish the oil around your mouth, the enzymes in this raw fat are said to pull out toxins and excess acidity, freeing up your immune system and curtailing inflammation.
The ritual: Take one tablespoon of cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil. Swish the oil around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, then spit. In addition to helping your body reach optimal pH, according to Ayurvedic beliefs, added side effects of oil pulling include whiter teeth, healthier gums, and clearer skin and eyes. You may also likely see an increase in energy and clarity.
2. Tweak your coffee.
Face it: We all love our morning coffee. And while we're well aware of the benefits of coffee, it's ultimately pretty acidic. If you're already suffering symptoms of acidity but can't stand the thought of giving up coffee, this Ayurvedic tweak can help you enjoy that java without letting it compromise your body chemistry.
The ritual: Add cardamom powder to your coffee grounds before brewing. For every 12 ounce cup you plan to brew, add half a teaspoon of cardamom powder. Since cardamom contains chemicals that can neutralize acid, it's a natural tranquilizer for your coffee.
You can further negate coffee's acidity by drinking 12 ounces of warm water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This can dilute the effects the coffee will have on your stomach while also decreasing your desire for that second cup.
3. Opt for an alkaline diet.
Since what we put into our bodies can influence pH, another Ayurvedic way to keep yours in check is to follow an alkaline diet. In short, this means favoring foods that are alkaline — fruits, vegetables, green tea, olives, wild rice — to counteract acidity, and also drastically reducing your intake of acidic foods like meat, sugar, alcohol, and dairy.
Though there's very little scientific evidence that following an alkaline diet will directly affect your health, foods that are high on the alkaline scale just so happen to have been shown to help with everything from regulating weight to boosting immunity to helping combat inflammation to increasing lifespan, whereas when our bodies become too acidic, ancient beliefs note that we're more likely to carry extra weight, have skin issues, and be at risk for numerous inflammation-induced illnesses.
4. Make turmeric your friend.
In some indigenous cultures, turmeric is considered the "spice of life." So it's no wonder that in Ayurveda it's used to balance all doshas and is specifically one of the best anti-Pitta herbs due to its blood- and liver-cleansing properties.
It's truly a miraculous herb with dozens of health benefits, so try to incorporate turmeric into your daily life in any way you can. My favorite ways to get turmeric is to add some to coconut-oil-sautéed vegetables and serve them over quinoa. I also like to add a teaspoon of the spice to warm grass-fed milk and raw honey before bed.
5. Change your mindset.
According to Ayurveda, stress and negative emotions have the ability to physically manifest in the body as acidity. Competitiveness, judgment, and self-criticism are all Pitta-aggravating mental characteristics, and given how strong the mind's influence can be on the body, working on your mindset is crucial for neutralizing acidity.
The ritual: Along with meditation, Pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) and Nadi Shodhana (alternate-nostril breathing) are thought to have profound alkalizing effects on the mind and in turn, the body. All of these techniques are designed to help to balance body chemistry as well as stress and anxiety.
6. Try self-massage.
An ancient self-massage technique from India, Abhyanga, pulls toxins from the skin and helps maintain acid-alkaline levels in the body. It's also incredibly calming for the mind and the nervous system, so the endocrine glands are less likely to produce stress hormones that can cause acidity to manifest in the body.
The ritual: Massage organic coconut oil onto your entire body using long strokes on your limbs and circular motions on your joints every morning to calm your nervous system for the day. Twice a week, be sure to massage your scalp with coconut oil to cool the mind, pacify Pitta, and regulate stress-induced hair loss.
Kiera Nachman is an Ayurvedic practitioner based in New York City, where she has a holistic private practice specializing in plant-based skincare, aromatherapy, herbs, holistic nutrition, energy medicine, and detox. Kiera founded and created Sundara Holistic, an Ayurvedic skin care and wellness brand, with a commitment to spreading the wisdom of the ancient holistic science of Ayurveda.
Sundara Holistic skin care products are formulated to balance Ayurvedic doshas, or metabolic mind-body types, as well as seasonal changes in our bodies. The products are 100 percent natural, non-toxic and food-grade, using botanical oils, plant extracts, and the best, most transformative and healing ingredients found in nature.