Last month, wellness experts and thought leaders gathered to attend mbg’s fifth annual revitalize for a weekend of forward-thinking talks, movement, and nourishment from the biggest names in nutrition, including an ayurvedic workshop hosted by our partner Pukka Herbs. We’re continuing what we’ve learned about incorporating ayurvedic herbs into our lifestyle below.
Ayurveda, India’s ancient “science of life” practice, is all about bringing your body and mind into balance. It’s based on the principles of three doshas—vata, kapha, and pitta—or energies that make up every individual. Maintaining a physically and emotionally aligned state means we’re often balancing out these energies in harmony with the environment around us, like the change in seasons.
According to the practice, summer is the season of pitta. This energy center is composed of fire and water and controls the body’s metabolic systems including digestion, absorption, and body temperature. The hot temps of summer can spike pitta’s energy, and ayurveda believes that an imbalance causes things to go awry—think stomach issues and skin inflammation, like rashes.
You can restore balance by eating foods that neutralize pitta’s hot qualities. A pitta-balancing diet includes ingredients that are on the cool, sweet, and bitter side to offset the fiery nature and help keep mind and body in a peaceful, rejuvenated state. Below are some herbs that are easy to incorporate into your day-to-day.
1. Aloe vera
Also known as “the lily of the desert,” this succulent is bitter in taste and cold in potency, so it’s helpful in settling some of the issues that can show up if Pitta is imbalanced. The nutrient-rich juice of the plant has been shown to help treat constipation with its toxin-eliminating properties, and its gel is commonly used as a skin-soothing salve to cool down skin conditions like burns and rashes.
Widely recognized as an antioxidant powerhouse and potent anti-inflammatory, this ancient root is also a modern-day superfood: Ayurvedic practitioners have used turmeric to help support a healthy digestive and cardiovascular system, and its vibrant color turns everyday recipes into nutritional gold (golden milk, anyone?). Turmeric’s bitter taste balances Pitta, so for summer, try this ayurvedic turmeric lassi recipe, Pukka’s Turmeric Glow blend, or switch it up with a homemade turmeric soda.
For centuries, ancient medicine used this root as a healing ingredient for digestive and respiratory ailments—which is why so many cough drops nowadays contain the herb. The other main way it’s used is as a healthful sweetener in place of sugar.
Licorice lends an earthy sweetness to Pukka Herbs’ organic-farm grown matcha in its Clean Matcha Green tea, which is also made with lemon and turmeric for a balancing summer tea blend. Turn it into a refreshing cold brew recipe by steeping four bags in a liter of freshly boiled water (removed once it’s cooled down) and placing in the fridge overnight. The next morning you’ve got an herbal cold brew—add lemon slices and honey if desired.
As a cooling herb, most varieties of mint are balancing for all three ayurvedic doshas, particularly the fiery pitta. The antimicrobial and antiviral properties of mint in a tea blend may lend a hand in boosting your immune system in addition to helping you stay hydrated during the summer months. Try Pukka Herb’s Peppermint & Licorice tea blend as a soothing way to aid digestion, or make a refreshing no-alcohol mojito with Pukka Herbs’ Mint Matcha Green tea.
Mint Matcha Mojito Mocktail
- Cover the tea bags with 1 ½ cups of 165°F and brew in a covered container.
- Strain after 30 minutes.
- Cover and cool in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Muddle mint and coconut sugar.
- When ready to serve, add the juice of one squeezed lime, muddled mint leaves and coconut sugar, and chilled Pukka Mint Matcha to a cocktail shaker.
- Shake until thoroughly combined.
- Pour over two tumblers of crushed ice.
- Stir then top with sparkling water.