Stay Cool & Calm This Summer With These 3 Ayurvedic Staples
Is the summer sun starting to get to you? In Ayurveda, the world's oldest system of health and healing, the heat of this time of year is thought to cause the vata dosha (the bioforce responsible for movement) and pitta dosha (the bioforce responsible for all transformation and digestion) to manifest in different ways. Though your experience of the season will depend on your unique Ayurvedic constitution, the heat can lead to a universal sense of physical exhaustion, as well as anxiety, worry, and frustration.
Thankfully, Ayurveda is full of ideas for how we can all cool down, find energy, and boost mood during the summer months. Here are a few of its traditional culinary staples to call upon for some support against the heat:
Fresh coriander, also known as cilantro in the U.S., is a wonderful herb you can call upon anytime you're feeling heated and down emotionally. One of coriander's synonyms in Sanskrit is hrdaya, which means "heart." It's thought to help both your physical and emotional heart, and the mere smell of it can help uplift your spirit.
I love brightening up my food with a garnish of cilantro leaves. Unlike most spices that boost your digestive fire, cilantro simultaneously boosts your digestion while cooling your body. You can boil water with coriander seeds (in a ratio of ¼ tsp. seeds to 1 cup water) and drink this cooling tonic periodically throughout the day. It's especially soothing if you have any heat-related issues, like heartburn or acid reflux.
Ayurveda heavily emphasizes the therapeutic usage of ghee, so much so that several Ayurvedic texts devote a whole chapter to describing the clarified butter. It has long been thought to promote healthy digestion and the mental health benefits that come with it. Ghee is also rich in butyric acid1, a beneficial fatty acid that supports healthy immunity, cholesterol, and energy and regulates elimination.
In addition to being a healthy meal addition, ghee is also incredibly hydrating to the skin when applied topically. Layering a bit of ghee to your face is an excellent way to cool down any redness or burning sensations.
Coconut is sweet, nourishing, and cooling, making it perfect for summer. There are many ways to use coconut oil to combat the heat: Apply a thin layer to your bare feet, ears, and the crown of your head at night, or lather it on your whole body right when you wake up, before breakfast or your morning shower. You can apply coconut oil directly to your skin anywhere you need moisture throughout the day, too, and it can be especially helpful after overexposure to the sun. And don't forget to hydrate the scalp! Lather coconut oil onto your head like you would shampoo for a luxurious self-massage.
And with that, I hope you enjoy a cooling, soothing, and calming experience of this summer's heat with the support of your Ayurvedic friends: coriander, ghee, and coconut.
Ananta Ripa Ajmera is founder and CEO of The Ancient Way, an organization that carries forward the mission of her lineage ancestors, of health and spiritual freedom for all, and the author of THE WAY OF THE GODDESS: Daily Rituals to Awaken Your Inner Warrior and Discover Your True Self.
The Ancient Way offers a balance of modern day food, lifestyle and spirituality with a centuries' old proven way of life that is close to nature, the gems of Yoga and Ayurveda and the call of spirituality. Ananta also serves as Director of Ayurveda at THE WELL, a modern wellness club that brings together world-class doctors and master healers for a more balanced you.
She is also author of the award-winning book "The Ayurveda Way: 108 Practices from the World's Oldest Healing System for Better Sleep, Less Stress, Optimal Digestion and More." Ananta has taught Ayurveda and Yoga staff trainings at Stanford University, NYU, UNICEF, California Department of Public Health and ABC News - to name a few. She studied and practiced Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic Psychology deeply in traditional Vedic spiritual lineages for 12 years. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Vogue, Yoga Journal and MindBodyGreen. You can book a complimentary 15-minute consultation with Ananta here.